If your business has unlimited funds to spend on advertising or does not need to find new customers, then social media and content marketing probably aren’t for you.
If, on the other hand, your company works within a budget with the aim of achieving greater sales of its products and services, then read on.
Content marketing is the art of using social media to engage your target market with information about your business. The content can be blogs, videos, infographics, pictures, tweets, comments, slideshows or any other form of communication – but nearly always it must be ‘social’. This means it should be genuinely interesting, enjoyable or valuable to your ‘audience’, and not just a blatant sales pitch or advert.
By providing engaging content, you will start to grow a social media community of Followers/ Friends/ Connections (depending on the social-media channels you use). This community is, in effect, an online audience of potential clients for your business.
In turn, this audience will also Like/ Favourite/ Recommend your content to others through social media channels, further increasing the reach, profile and perceived value of your company.
The beauty of social media is that it is extremely efficient and cost-effective – not only for targeted marketing, but also as an interface for PR, customer service, sales, staff recruitment and other functions.
STEP 1: Get started
For many businesses, the idea of creating ‘content’ –– can be a daunting prospect, and much time can be wasted on trying to work out how and where to begin.
In every instance, the starting point is always just: Get started – don’t procrastinate! There is no mystery to creating content. Start with a single, simple idea, and begin building.
Here are some suggestions:
A video of your marketing manager telling an inspiring sales anecdote
A graph illustrating a surprising statistic in your market sector
An amazing product photo
A helpful blog article giving useful advice to potential clients J
STEP 2: Be patient
Don’t expect your creative content to win prizes from the get-go. Once you’re reasonably satisfied, put away your blog, video script or infographic, and re-visit it the next day.
This is a good habit to get into, as it allows you to look at your work with fresh – more dispassionate eyes – and invariably find ways to improve on your first draft.
However, do not fall into the trap of continuing this revision process indefinitely. Set yourself an absolute deadline for ‘publication’, and stick to it.
Remember: for your first piece of content, the priority is to get it finished. Settle for a reasonable standard, perfect can wait.
STEP 3: Be productive
Keep at it. Set ongoing targets for producing content to be published on social media.
Your existing and potential clients are the lifeblood of your business – today and tomorrow – so you need to get serious about communicating with them in a genuine and meaningful way.
Aim for producing something new once a week. It might help to set aside an afternoon, morning or even a day every week for creating content that will market your business. Alternatively, outsource the task to a content-marketing company.
STEP 4: Be consistent
When you produce content on a regular basis, not only will it help you become more efficient and effective, but your growing audience will also be expecting you to deliver.
After a few months, your company should have a sizeable portfolio of content. Provided it remains relevant and accurate, the content can be re-published at regular intervals for new members of your social media community to enjoy, as well as giving another chance to those who missed it the first time round.
Through regular and consistent effort, the standard of your content will improve – not only in terms of presentation, but also by becoming more focused on your business’s goals.
A continuous process of creating and sharing ‘stories’ connected to your business content, will allow you to build a valuable social-media community.
STEP 5: Add the magic ingredient
To distribute and share content with others can be simple, enjoyable and extremely fulfilling.
Building an audience, and gaining trust and raising awareness of your company, are the key components of your content-marketing efforts. But there is one magic ingredient that must be added to the mix.
Perhaps the single most-important factor in creating content is passion – and loads of it.
In order to excite and motivate your audience, then you must show that you truly believe in your business, its products and services.
Only by carrying that torch can you ignite the passion in others.
This post originally appeared on The Corporate Zest Blog and has been republished with permission.