Content is one of the most talked-about tactics in marketing these days. In fact, more than 70 percent of both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers plan to produce more content in 2015 than they did in 2014, with six out of 10 expecting to increase their content marketing budgets, according to e-Strategy Trends.
That’s all well and good, but the content must fit into an overall marketing strategy in order to be effective. For many brands, this tactic means incorporating both social media and content marketing to increase qualified traffic, build the audience and raise brand awareness and lead generation. In short, social media should support your content efforts.
Makino, a global manufacturer of machine tools, is one example of a brand doing content marketing well. This company has long understood the value of compelling and informative content to serve its engineering audiences. For years, it has successfully produced long-form customer stories that demonstrate its technical expertise, and it showcases these case studies in the company’s custom publications. But Makino also makes a practice of repurposing those stories into more visual, snackable content and has found leveraging them through social media to be effective.
It recently produced a case study about Eagle Manufacturing that was repurposed in various formats and distributed through the company website and social channels. While all of these methods shared the same story, by delivering it in several versions at different times, Makino was able to appeal to audiences from the factory floor to the C-suite. For example, an infographic was shared on Facebook, photos were shared via a Facebook photo album, a testimonial video was uploaded on Facebook and YouTube and a white paper, magazine article and mini case study were promoted via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. The results? Social impressions drove 22 percent of all traffic to the story-driven microsite, and over 50 percent of all white paper registrations resulted from users visiting the microsite through other content and social marketing properties.
If your company is interested in using social media to enhance its content efforts, here are nine tips to consider:
1. Know your audience – Know what social media channels your audience is using and tailor your content, visuals and message to that platform.
2. Understand your options – Understand how to use social content on each unique channel in order to maximize results. Realize that you can embed a link back to your site or to additional images. Know the appropriate sizes for images across social media channels. Remember that you can achieve better responses on Facebook if you put your video directly on the Facebook video player rather than linking from YouTube to Facebook.
3. Test and learn – Decide which social channel you want to try first and then get started by repurposing content you already have. From there, expand your ideas based on these successes and don’t be afraid to continue to try new things.
4. Repeat – Sharing your content more than once can increase traffic. This means sharing at different times of the day to account for varying time zones and even reposting several months later. Experiment with frequency of posts to find that sweet spot.
5. Reframe your content – You can post once as a link, once visually as an image or use different wording in the post itself.
6. Add social media “follow” buttons to your content, website or blog – Put these at the top or bottom of the story.
7. Get found – Use keywords that represent audience interest or that are relevant to your business or industry, as this helps people find your content. Include links in descriptions of all visual content and embed links back to your site whenever possible. Always elicit a call to action.
8. Interact – Don’t forget to interact with customers when sharing content on social media. Ask questions, answer their questions or share other people’s content.
9. Be visual – Make your posts visually appealing with photos and infographics.
Eight-four percent of B-to-B marketers use social media in some form, according to Aberdeen Group. With the variety of social channels out there and the multitude of tools at your disposal, it is easier than ever to get that story from your mind to your audience in an interesting and humanly relevant manner.
Michelle Crawley – Senior Writer, gyro Cincinnati
Michelle is a senior writer at gyro in Cincinnati where she works on some of the agency’s biggest manufacturing, high-tech and food industry clients. She has spent over 20 years working in the fields of corporate writing, marketing and public relations. Michelle holds degrees in journalism and history from Miami University (Ohio). Follow her at @mcrawleywriter.