I couldn't agree with you more. Creating valuable content for your customers is key. Before you start using any social media sites you need to know what you will be sharing there. Good info.
Social Media Marketing or Content Creation: Which Comes First?
While creating a Facebook Fan page, Twitter profile, and LinkedIn profile, YouTube channel, Flickr account, etc and then using those social media networks is technically “creating content,” for the purposes of this post, when I speak of “content creation,” I am referring to adding new pages to your website or blog. Learn about the Pros and Cons of Different Types of Content Creation.
I work for an Internet Marketing Company selling access to software and an internet marketing education. As such, I speak with business owners and marketers daily who have questions about internet marketing, some more advanced than others. Regardless of education level, the most common questions are focused on Social Media with no mention of blogging or content creation on their website. One reason for this may be because “Social Media” is as buzzworthy in 2010 as “SEO” was in 2006. See the Google Insight’s for search data below.
Social Media Marketing Questions
A few commonly asked questions on Social Media Marketing are:
- How do I do Twitter for Business?
- How do I get traffic to my Twitter page?
- How do I start a Facebook Fan Page?
- How do I get traffic to my Facebook Page?
Of all business owners and marketers that ask these questions, very few of them have more than 20 pages on their website and the overwhelming majority of them do not blog. A next logical question to the business owner/marketer is, “What’s the goal of your Twitter or Facebook account?” or “What are you trying to accomplish with social media?” Most respond with answers along the lines of: “I want to get new customers from (insert social media site).” Mr. prospect, if your goal is to acquire new customers from social media, you need to first commit to a content creation strategy.
Social Media Marketing without a Content Creation Strategy is ineffective for Small and Medium Businesses
Sure, for big brand names like Lady Gaga or Coca-Cola, a social media strategy without content creation on their website/blog makes sense and can be very effective. The reason why Small and Medium Businesses are turning to the web to acquire new customers is because they do not have the brand recognition of a Lady Gaga or Coca-Cola and the web offers an avenue to acquire customers at a lower cost than traditional marketing methods. Lee Odden wrote an article on 4 Steps to Social SEO Success where he mentions a methodology that I’m very familiar with: Creating, Optimizing and Promoting content for online marketing success. Notice that “promoting” comes after “creating” and “optimizing.” Small and Medium Businesses need to recognize that Social Media offers a way to promote content, expand their reach, connect with prospective customers and position yourself as a trusted advisor and drive those prospects back to your website and give you an opportunity to convert that visitor into a lead/customer.
3 Steps To Creating Content On Your Website/Blog
- Identify goals. Are you looking to acquire new customers from social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc)? Set a goal to add a minimum of 2 new web pages/blog articles per week. Each web page/blog article is a new opportunity to rank on search engines for a specific keyword phrase (and semantic variations of that keyword) and be shared on social media networks. The more pages on your website/blog, the more opportunities to “get found” on search engines and in social media networks by your target audience. Simple math.
- Keyword Research: What Problem(s) Does Your Product/Service Solve? Think of search queries on search engines as questions being asked and the search engine results as answers to those questions. Understanding that search engines fundamentally help searchers answer questions, it is important to think about the questions that your prospects ask when doing research on your products/services. Identify a large list of search queries (also referred to as “keywords”) that are relevant to your product/service that you would like to rank on search engines (in organic listings) for. A large list of keywords can be overwhelming, so pick your top 20 keywords that you would like to rank for, and target those words when creating content on your website/blog.
- Create The Content! Now that you have identified goals (2 web pages/blog articles per week) and 20 keywords that you would like to rank on search engines for, it’s time to start writing. Think about educating prospects that are researching problems that they need to solve and how your product/service can help solve that problem. Be sure not to “product vomit” or strictly write about your own product/service. Teach prospects how they can solve their problem on their own. If you teach someone how to do something, you are positioning yourself as a trusted advisor and prospects will want to learn more from you, share your content on social media networks, link to you and become a custodian of your brand.
Small and Medium business owners should seriously consider dedicating time to a content creation strategy before diving in to social media marketing. If the goal at the end of the day is to acquire new customers via the web, social media is an excellent distribution channel for the remarkable content that you create.
About the Author
Hi Ryan, I couldn't agree more that blogging is by far the best way to grow traffic, leads, and conversions. Other forms of social media are easier and don't require as much work or skill and, as you said, aren't as effective as blogging. The need for content strategists will continue to grow as more and more companies scramble to grow their digital footprint.
Great post. I completely agree. I used to work for a videogame company whose corporate blog used to sit in wastelands of page 7 on google. All they needed was someone to monitor their google analytics to find that people came to their blog for walkthroughs. I love analytics it helps people see common sense.
Enjoyed reading this! I've never quite understood the way people market via social media without having a website base. Like someone said, as much as twitter accounts and facebook pages are great, nothing beats having your very own website, and that is where you want people to go ultimately. I also like the custodian branding point you touched on in #3, so much so that I'm going on over to read the second article, it sounds interesting. Great post Ryan...