In an ideal world, marketing content through social media would be an extended process because we would all have the time to do it the right way. We could focus on positioning it, nurturing it, and timing everything out exactly like it should be timed. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world and we have to maximize our results while minimizing the time and effort to achieve them.
There are plenty of shortcuts that make promoting content on social media faster and easier and there are plenty of techniques used to make the promotions more effective. The real key is to find the right mix of the two to get the most out of it. Here is a process that can be used to get the most exposure for the content without spending too much time on it.
1. Build content that can be shared
It may sound like a no-brainer but you’d be shocked to see some of the content that companies are willing to share on social media. Sharing content that doesn’t work for the medium can do more damage than good. It can get you tagged as a spammer on Facebook, get you unfollowed on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+, and make the various algorithms governing your exposure start to hate you website.
Content should rest on one of two places: the website or the blog. Those who have their blog on their primary domain are already ahead of the game, but if you have your blog on a separate domain or a subdomain of your primary website, you’re not in bad shape. If you have no way of posting regular content to your website and you don’t have a blog, this isn’t the article for you. Get one or both of those, first.
The content that you want to share on social media should be relevant and must be interesting. Nobody cares about the sale you’re having this weekend (unless it’s of general interest for one reason or another, but that’s a different blog post). Make sure that the content is designed to be shared easily and that people who see it will have the desire to share it with their friends. Otherwise, it’s not the right content to be sharing on social media.
2. Share it on Facebook and Google+
Because of the longer forms that these two platforms allow for your content descriptions, they need special care of their own. Unless your pages are low-maintenance (in other words, unless you don’t have time to pay attention to them), you should never use a feed to populate your content here. It doesn’t take much time to come up with a unique description and pick out the right thumbnails, something that can only be done if you’re posting manually.
The description that you put in the body of your Facebook and Google+ posts are like value propositions. Why should users be interested in clicking through to the post? You have room, but unless there’s something really important to say about the content, don’t go over a sentence or two. Make it unique and either answer or ask a question in the description.
For thumbnails, be sure that it’s not an ad or some other irrelevant image that’s being displayed. This is a post killer. If either Facebook or Google+ is having difficulty pulling in the right thumbnail, eliminate it altogether. You don’t want a spammy looking thumbnail accompanying your post.
3. Share it on Pinterest, Twitter, and your other social sites
If there’s anything visually appealing about the content, Pinterest is a good way to entice people and drive traffic. If there’s nothing visually appealing, add something or skip Pinterest. Articles do not play well on Pinterest if the image associated with it is boring. Your top thumbnail should have some value on Pinterest (look up and you’ll see The Flash representing this article even though it’s not about comic books).
While sharing on both Twitter and Pinterest, don’t just put the title and a link. You should take advantage of hashtags whenever possible and relevant. If you have room, make a quick statement or ask a quick question. For example, this post on Twitter will likely look something like this:
Again, just as we don’t recommend using tools to post to RSS feeds to Facebook or Google+ unless absolutely necessary, we also don’t recommend posting to Twitter directly from a Facebook feed. Doing it manually adds seconds to the process but the results are much better.
If you use sites like Scoop.it or Tumblr, this is also the same process. Twitter and Pinterest are the most important now, but keep your eyes open for others.
4. Use your following or fake it 'til you make it
Many have the ability to post something and watch as dozens, even hundreds of people share their wonderful content automatically. Most of us don’t have that luxury. The biggest mistake that many companies make is not taking advantage of their team.
You employees use social media. The customers you have a close relationship with use social media. You have friends and family. Ask for help, particularly with important content. There’s no shame in asking others to help share your content. If they are a part of your organization, they should be willing to help out. This isn’t universal. There are many employees who hold their social media efforts in high regard and do not want to mix business with pleasure and that’s fine. No need to force them. Just keep it in mind when it comes time for promotions.
5. Plan for redistribution to revive evergreen content
The process is five steps and it’s quick and easy, but that doesn’t mean that it ends the moment all of the steps are done. The concept of “rinse and repeat” applies here and you need to be organized to make it work properly.
If the content you’re posting is evergreen and able to be relevant a month or longer later, schedule time to reinvigorate the content. Post it to Facebook and Google+ a couple of months later. On Twitter, you can post it every couple of weeks as long as you change up the text slightly. Don’t overdo it, but the people that you reach with a social media post today will likely not be the same people you reach with the same basic post a month later. There’s nothing wrong with recycling as long as you’re doing it right.
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Social media can be an excellent way to get engagement, to communicate with customers and clients, and to improve your overall exposure. There are many who are against using social media in this way because they haven’t seen the value. The truth is this – if they haven’t seen the value, they weren’t doing it right in the first place.