Whereas brands were once lambasted for coming off like robots, a human social media presence has become an expectation among many followers. Similarly, showing off the human side of your brand means showing off the faces behind your social feeds. That said, having followers who regularly engage with you and your content are infinitely more valuable than 10, that ignore you.
The beauty of social is that you can form relationships in an instant with followers from just about anywhere. Consider how a content calendar can make the process much easier by…. For example, mass auto-replying has gone the way of the dinosaur as it typically comes across as insincere. This now-classic tweet from Bank of America is a good example of how to turn your social followers off via improper automation. That said, automation in the form of scheduling or curating content is totally fair game.
This is why brands rely on social tools to help curate pieces of content already approved by marketing leaders. Bambu by Sprout Social , is in fact, just that piece of software needed to turn your employees into brand advocates. Tap into your workforce to help build your presence! And if your followers seem to be buzzing about a particular problem, you should craft content that speaks directly to it. That said, profiles can be optimized through imagery, keywords and fully filling out your account information. Similarly, a well-crafted Twitter profile with the right mentions and HD imagery can signal your authority, helping you attract more followers.
And as noted in our guide for conducting a Facebook audit , a fully optimized page with complete business info can actually help your page rank better in Google. Instead, consider imagery such as:. Juantastico: Break the Trend. It's easy to get stuck in a routine, but creativity lives outside the lines.
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Take it from Juantastico, grab a Sharpie and Break the Trend! From homepage feeds to icons on your site footer or email signature, anyone who comes in contact with your brand should only be a click away from becoming a long-term follower. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram feeds can all be easily integrated into your site with little more than a copy-paste code. Cross-promotion on your website and through other social channels is a proactive way to grow your following over time.
Inactive social feeds are a bad look for brands, plain and simple. Through scheduling or simply blocking out minute chunks throughout, you can post content and respond to customer concerns without wasting time. Between breaking news, trending hashtags or whatever the latest meme might be, brands always have room to get topical with their content.
Of course, tread lightly with anything overtly political or controversial that could isolate your audience. Looking at the recent boom of influencer marketing , paid relationships among social movers and shakers is becoming more and more common. The good news is that both social ads and influencer marketing can have an insane ROI.
These data points can help you treat social media less like a guessing game and more like a science. Either way, you should strive to post content that forces your followers to stop in their tracks. Instead, there are small tactics and strategies that can help you build toward social accounts that prime for engagement. And yeah, fifteen tips might seem like a lot on the surface. That said, these principles are staples of brands killing it on social right now.
We want to hear from you, though. Any tips or tactics that we missed? Let us know in the comments below! With Sprout Social , you can post to all your social networks from a single window. Queue up content in advance, or let ViralPost find the best send times. Published on June 19, Brent Barnhart : Brent Barnhart is a professional writer and content critic. When he's not battling the latest buzzwords, you can often find him strumming the nearest guitar. Sprout Social Request a Demo. Close Menu.
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Analytics Drive strategic decision making across the business with access to rich social data and analytics. Engagement Streamline and effectively scale monitoring and engagement efforts with a unified inbox. My advice? Choose the cheapest option that gives you the bare minimum functionality you need in order to achieve your email goals and move on.
You can always switch things up and move over to a tool with more options in the future. What you're trying to accomplish for your business over the next couple of weeks or months should really dictate what you're doing in your email campaigns and newsletters. Some of the goals you could be trying to hit with your email strategy could be brand awareness, awareness about your products, loyalty to your company and your brand, as well as driving people to your website to consume your content. The content you're creating for your blog is a great place to start with what you could send to your email subscriber list.
Take that content and use parts of it to create email campaigns that'll drive people back to your blog to read the rest of your post, watch the full video or listen to the entire podcast episode. This is exactly what I do with my own weekly sometimes twice weekly email newsletter.
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I push out a preview of the week's new podcast episode and new blog posts when they're published, so that my subscribers can dig into the full piece of content if it's a match for what they need at the moment. There are 3 main types of emails you can send to your list, in a way that supports your content marketing goals:. General campaigns and newsletters: These are sent to your full list.
They're great when you're just starting out and your list isn't really huge as you know that pretty much everyone on the list wants to hear about your company and the content you're releasing. Communication that gets sent to targeted segments on your list: As you grow, you'll want to make sure you're sending the right messages to the right groups of people on your list. Your ESP should let you select segments based on demographic information or what links they've clicked on in the past, so you can send more targeted campaigns.
Automated messaging: These are messages you're going to send out to multiple people over time. Think welcome emails, delivering an e-course, or lists of your top content. There are no hard and fast rules about sending once a week or once a month. Rather, how often you send is going to depend on how much time you have to spend on email and how often you have news or valuable new content to share. As you're just getting started, aim for 1 email a month. You want to be consistent and talking to your subscribers as often as you can without overwhelming them.
And you also don't want to go 4, 5, or 6 months without them hearing from you, because they're likely to forget how they even got onto your email list and your chances of getting marked as spam increase significantly. We have a blog setup and our email service provider is ready to go. Now, it's finally time to talk about the actual content you're going to create and how it aligns with your content marketing goals. You probably have a ton of ideas for posts you can write or videos you can film at this point.
However, that initial excitement can wear off quickly when other things get in the way. For your content marketing to be successful, you need to make sure you stay strategic in what you're creating and avoid falling into the trap of simply reacting. Great marketers set their own agenda, so you'll need to create a content marketing editorial calendar that isn't reactionary.
Rather, one that is filled with repeatable content that is directly tied to your business goals. Your pillar posts or content types we discussed earlier will help tell you the kinds of posts you're going to write, but what about the actual specific content of each? For this, we turn to keyword research. Here's how Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, explains the basics of using keyword research:.
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Once you start thinking about your audience's needs, Rand offers a 5-step process for coming up with the specific topics and keywords your audience will be looking for. This will be the foundation of your content marketing approach. Brainstorm topics and terms: Start by writing down as many ideas of terms or topics your audience is interested in.
It's good to involve people who work directly with your users at this point, like a customer service or sales rep.
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Use a keyword research tool to gather results: Now, it's time to plug those terms into a tool like Google's Keyword Planner, Moz, keywordtool. Expand and refine your list: Take that big list and refine or group them together. What looks good? What doesn't make sense to your business goals? Build a spreadsheet and prioritize terms: Now, it's time to get organized. Build a spreadsheet with the data you got in your tool, such as keyword, estimated search volume, difficulty and opportunity and assign a priority to each one.
Which is most important to your business? Outline content that hits the 3 key needs: Take your top terms and outline content that will serve your goals, the user's needs, and the keyword targeting. This is the trifecta of killer, SEO-friendly content. Rand's final piece of advice?
Make sure you're not just aiming to match the content you see ranking 1, but blowing it out of the water:. He elaborates, "What's the thing where when you read the first few search results you say, 'This is great, but I wish they If you have great answers to that, don't ask 'how do we make something as good as this? Blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics--they all have their place in your content strategy and it's up to you how you use them. What's non-negotiable, however, is that they tell a story. As Seth Godin says, "Marketing is the act of telling a story to people who want to hear it.
And making that story so vivid and true that the people who hear it want to tell other people. Change: How are you changing people with your product or content? Does that emotion change them in a way that helps your brand? Alert: Once you're changed someone, how do you build the privilege of being able to tell them when you have something new? With that in mind, let's look at the specifics of putting together some of the most popular content formats: blog posts, videos, and podcasts.
Blog posts are a great place to start with your content marketing, as they have the lowest barrier to entry, by far. You don't need a designer or special equipment. Just start writing and you're ready to go. Start with an outline: Start with just a skeleton of what you want to say.
This means having a few lines for your intro and why people should care about your topic, as well as outlining the main points or sub-headers you're going to use throughout the post. Read through this. Does it make sense? Does your outline quickly answer What, Why, How and Where? Add the meat: These are the details, the statistics, quotes, images, or case studies.
- Blood in the Snow (Sean Kendall Series).
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If you're making claims in your post you need to back it up. Use Google to find statistics around your topic. And when you link out to studies or references, these are great people to reach out to later on when you're distributing your content. One-up the competition: At this point you've got a good post, but not a great one.
Take the next step and see what the competition is doing. What's the 1 result for your topic and how can you make yours better? Can you go more in-depth? Add more images or resources? Write a great headline: The last, and almost most important part of writing is your headline. You only click on things that catch your eye when you're scrolling through social media, and your audience is the same. There are great resources on writing headlines on Copyblogger and Quicksprout. Check out sites like Unsplash for better-than-stock photos and then use a tool like Canva to add extra elements like text or icons.
However, making videos can seem like a monumental task if you're used to watching the highly-produced content from people like Gary Veynerchuk that have entire teams dedicated to producing his content. If you've watched cooking recipes or DIY How-to videos online, you know how simple an engaging video can be to create. Present what you're going to make, the ingredients, process, and end result, all in 60 seconds or less. Keep it short: Under 60 seconds at the most.
If you can keep it under 30 seconds you're killing it! Have a plan: Think about your ingredients or props you need or how you're going to show the steps. Use hand signals to communicate to your users: The majority of videos are watched without sound, so think of other ways to communicate what the user needs to know. Use your tools: Many use a Hyperlapse tool, Box to store our videos, and a video stand, which you can create with something as simple as two stacks of books with a plank across. Place your camera on the edge of the plank and fire up your camera app.
You can set a 'stage' for where you're filming by taping it out on the table. Gather your resources: Either bring them in one at a time or have them all laid out in your center stage. Start with a compelling image: Either an impressive 'finished product' to arouse interest, or some unconventional ingredients. Don't worry about it being perfect: DIY videos go viral every day. If you can tell a compelling story in a short amount of time, it doesn't matter if you shot it on your iPhone or a professional camera.
Podcasts are super hot right now as a content format, and for good reason--it can fuel your content marketing with relatively low effort compared to writing massive blog posts like this one.
Plus, with how busy your audience is, giving them a way to passively listen to your content is fantastic for lowering the barrier of entry. However, like video, you're probably thinking you need all sorts of specialized gear and skills. And while yes, audio is a whole other beast, you can get started with just a little bit of effort.
Pick your topic or niche: If you already know your audience and your topic, this should be a no brainer. However, you'll want to find some specific niche of your topic to get people interested. There are currently over , podcast shows out there, so get specific! A few tools to help you research niches are cast.
For my podcast, I chose the topic of side hustle ideas because that's been a consistent theme on my blog for the past several years, and it's been the cohesive topic that bonds just about everything I write about together--so it made sense to talk about it on my show. Gather your tools: A basic podcasting setup consists of a microphone and software for recording your voice.
This can range from as simple as your built-in mic which I don't recommend due to the poor sound quality to an external USB mic, audio interface, and professional recording software. Find your guests or outline your own episodes : If you're doing an interview-style show like mine , you'll now want to start getting some guests involved. You can use your existing social network to reach out to people you already know or are connected with on Twitter or Facebook. You can also head to Medium or Amazon to find authors or experts on topics specific to your niche.
Once you've gathered a list, put together a template outreach email as you'll be doing this over and over that's short and clear with expectations. Tell them who you are, what your podcast is about, and what you're asking of them. Edit your podcast: Audio editing is a form of art. Luckily, there are tons of affordable options for hiring a sound engineer or podcast producer like mine to stitch your episodes together. Next, upload these files to Google Drive or Dropbox. Upload and promote: Congrats! You now have a podcast episode that's ready to be uploaded to iTunes, SoundCloud, or anywhere else and promoted alongside the rest of your content.
Now that you've got your content together, how are you going to promote or distribute it? You have to be productive with your marketing efforts, because if no one sees, listens, or reads the content you've put so much time into creating, was it even worth writing it in the first place? With so much competition in the content and social media spaces, CoSchedule's Garrett Moon says it's important to find your 'blue ocean' opportunities--places where you're not fighting with existing markets and can do your best work. One example he gives is Groove--the help desk software--who decided to shut down their already successful blog to focus on something only they could talk about: their numbers, metrics and own startup story.
They went from producing the 'me-too' content that everyone is creating, to something that is unique and have been rewarded with massive increases in traffic and users. This content marketing focuses on utilizing their core competencies, but here's how you can find those same kinds of opportunities within your own business:. Observe your competitors: What are they doing, where are they publishing, and how are they using email? Understand what your customers are already seeing. Search relevant topics on Google: Look at the top 10 results and see what's there.
How long is the content. What images are being used? What's consistent or stands out? Ask yourself: What are you and your team really good at?
What are the patterns that your competition are falling into that you can disrupt? Are there people in your audience that you aren't serving? What have you created that you're the most proud of? From these 3 steps, you should be able to start seeing opportunities where you can excel that aren't already crammed with competition.
Another tactic that's crucial to content marketing is to always prioritize the highest impact content. Bring in the rest of your team to help. Identify all of the real 10X opportunities and put them in one column. Rank the difficulty of your 10X opportunities on a scale of If you have a 10X opportunity with only a level 1 difficulty, you should jump on that right away and prioritize it within your content marketing strategy. At this point, you know what you should be focusing the most on. There could be a time in the future when they do become a higher return activity.
They just don't have the same potential impact today--and thus should be a lower priority in your overall content marketing strategy right now. Regularly revisit your idea board to re-evaluate priorities and stay on your toes. It's pretty much impossible these days to separate your content marketing strategy from your social media strategy. Social media has become an integral part of getting your content in front of the right people.
But you need to do more than just post to Facebook and Twitter once or twice. Gary's strategy is called jab, jab, jab, right hook and is some of the best overall sales advice I've ever received. So when you finally ask them to buy what you're selling, they do. What this comes down to is not simply talking about your content and asking people to click a link or subscribe to your newsletter.
Instead, you need to show that you're a trustworthy source of educational resources and earn their attention for when you do ask for something in return. At the core of your content marketing needs to be the belief that it's a long-term lifetime investment in building your worth. Moving from the big picture of social media to the actual aspect of building posts, Brian Peters, a digital marketing strategist at Buffer, and fellow content marketer, explains his process too:.
Find your voice: What are the words and graphics and visuals that you're going to post? Choose what platforms you're going to use: When you're just starting out you simply can't and shouldn't be on every platform. Pick what makes the most sense for your brand and where your audience is more likely to hang out.
Does that mean Facebook or Snapchat? Generate platform-specific content: You can both create original content from your blog posts or other content, or curate other people's content like relevant links or videos. Both have their place and should be a part of your strategy. Every platform has its own nuances and subtleties to how they get used and people share.
Set up your social media 'stack': What tools are you going to use to support your social media strategy? Peters suggests Trello for planning posts in advance and making sure you have all the content you need.