By now you should know that old school marketing strategies just don’t work like they used to. When was the last time you actually watched a commercial during your favorite TV show?
Even if your audience isn’t utilizing the amazingly convenient DVR option that most major cable providers offer, there’s a good chance they’re looking at their phone or tablet when your ad runs. And let’s be real, it’s more likely your target demographic is looking at their phones in the car, than looking at that billboard you’re considering.
So how do you reach these people?
With content marketing.
What’s content marketing? The Content Marketing Institute defines it as a
“strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In other words, instead of constantly pitching your products or services all over social media, you provide quality content that is relevant and helpful to your target audience. You do this to build trust. People want to work with and buy from people the know, like, and trust. So we build trust, which is the foundation of a strong relationship. From there, we continue to provide them with value and build that relationship, which leads to a thank you from there…their business.
If you’re knew to the concept of content marketing, you may be a little freaked out about the idea of not mentioning your products all the time. I get it; it’s different. But the fact is, it works. Some of the largest companies in the world have realized this and have made content marketing their primary sales technique. Companies like Coke, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, and General Electric.
So we’ll move on, assuming you’ve come to terms with not wasting your money on that billboard this month.
I’m hoping you’ve also figured out your business needs to be on social media. If you’re not, please go read this article first. Outside of a few very select, and very small niches, pretty much all consumers are on social media and they look to social media before making any sort of purchases. And yes, this goes for B2B businesses too.
So how do we put them together, content marketing and social media? Let’s look at 6 tips for using content marketing on social media.
1. Define Your Target Market
Just like any other marketing strategy, social media and content marketing don’t work if you don’t know who you’re trying to reach. Your content needs to be relevant to your target audience, and you need to be on the right social channels. Take the time to clearly define who you’re talking to and where they’re at.
2. Know What Makes You Different
So I’ve convinced you that you need to take advantage of content marketing so you can sell without selling. And you agree that social media is essential these days. Guess what? Most of your competition knows both of these things too. So what makes you different? And more importantly, how will you show people what makes you different? Maybe it’s the way you’ll deliver your content. Maybe it’s the type of content you’ll create. Figure out what sets you apart and then put a plan in place to highlight that advantage.
3. Know Which Platforms to be One
This sort of ties in with #1. Once you define your target audience and where they are at on social media, you need to be there too. Learn as much as possible about the social sites your audience is on. Each has its own unique language and specific set of “rules.” Not necessarily the rules of what you can or cannot do with your account, but rather the “social rules” of the people who use it. Spend the time it takes to create the best strategy for connecting with your audience the way they want to be connected with.
4. Engage with Your Audience
I’ve said this a million times before: It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. Be social. If you look at social media as just another place to advertise your products, you’re doing it wrong. Talk to your audience, let them get to know you and your brand. When they engage with you, engage back. Do not be silent, be present.
Don’t worry about negative comments, embrace them and solve problems. Listening to what your customers are saying is one of the most effective ways to generate content ideas. If the people who have engaged with you on social media are voicing concern for an issue, address is it a video, or a blog post, or a short e-book. If you create content that they ask for, you’ll never need to sell them again. They’ll grow to trust you and look to you for help.
5. Use What You Have to Start
By now you may be thinking, “this all sounds great, but I really don’t have a whole bunch of content.” No worries. Use what you have. Look at all your sales brochures, one sheets, or even your call scripts. There’s a good chance most of those items should describe how you solve your customers’ problems. These pieces of information are a great start to blogs and videos. You’ll just want to adjust the way you say it to make it more about helping them than just telling them why you’re awesome.
Maybe you have some sales videos or other articles, you can repurpose these things. You may need to do a little editing, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find your probably have a decent bit of content laying around.
If you’re still stuck on how to get started, hiring a freelance writer can be extremely reasonably priced on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer. You can post a job for free; just layout who your audience is and what you want to tell them.
6. Just Do It
One of the biggest road blocks to using content marketing on social media is ourselves. We worry that we don’t know what to say, how to say it, or where to say it, so we put it off and continue to pour money into old marketing ideas that just don’t work. Just like with social media, a content marketing strategy is important, but also just like social media, starting is more important.
Start today by laying out 3 problems your target audience struggles with. Then answer one of those. That is your first piece of content. A short article that answers the question of how to solve that problem. Not how YOU can solve that problem, but how your audience can solve it. Remember, we’re helping them… not selling.
Social media is an absolute must these days. If you’re not using it, you’re probably missing out on a ton of sales. Old school marketing and sales techniques don’t work anymore. Content marketing builds trusts with your target audience and develops long-lasing relationships with customers by helping them. Use social media to listen to their problems, and deliver the content you’ve created to solve those problems.