We all know content marketing is a growing industry. But you might be surprised by how quickly it’s growing: 60% of B2B small businesses plan on increasing their content marketing budget over the next 12 months.
But while everyone is excited to jump on the content bandwagon, not everyone invests in a content marketing plan – only 48% of businesses have a defined content strategy.
The attitude towards content marketing seems to be “build it and they will come.” But it’s likely “they” will not come, unless you tell them about it.
An effective content strategy should include targeted social media promotion, so your content gets in front of people who want to see it.
But how, exactly, do you pull off a successful social media campaign for content?
Use paid social
According to Paul Chaney of Practical Ecommerce, “effective social media engagement is no longer free. To guarantee visibility and reach, you’re going to have to pay to play.”
Of course non-paid social media engagement will likely be brands’ bread and butter for a long time, because people use social media to be social with people and brands they care about.
That said, using paid promotion and social advertising can get your content in front of a new, relevant audience, which can be valuable for building brand awareness and getting your content noticed.
Choose your goals
Hopefully you’ve already defined the goals for your content, but if you haven’t, you can read through chapter 4 of this content strategy guide to find out how.
Now you need to define the goals you want to achieve by promoting your content via social.
Your goals could be brand awareness, pageviews or lead generation, for example. Once you’ve chosen your goals, let them define how you approach promotion.
For example, if you want to achieve greater brand awareness, then you might target users who express interest in your business niche and meet the general age range of your typical customer.
But if your goal is to get in front of potential clients, then you want to target specific people or businesses.
Define your audience
Since paid social promotion targets specific users, you need to define who exactly you want to see your content.
By previously defining your goals, you likely narrowed down your audience as well. Think about the age, gender, interests, affiliations, location, and connections of your ideal audience before you begin promotion.
Once you’ve narrowed down your audience, you should also have more information about which platforms will be most effective for promotion. Keep in mind that not every platform has the same options for targeting.
Use images and effective copy
The headlines and copy you use in a promoted post can make a huge difference in the post’s success – for example, tweets with more adverbs and verbs get more click throughs than those with nouns and adjectives.
Do a bit of research to see which types of copy are most effective on the platforms you’re targeting.
Selectively target active users
In addition to paid promotion, you should also strategically promote your content to your current followers. Avoid the temptation of overwhelming your followers with too many posts promoting your content.
For example, you should tweet your content out several times per day, as the lifespan of a tweet is very short – research has shown that brands receive the highest engagement with 3 tweets per day.
On the other hand, research has shown one post to Facebook per day is the magic number.
Since you don’t want to go overboard and annoy your followers, you obviously want to make sure any social post will have as much impact as possible. A great way to do this is by tracking when your followers are most active online and posting during those peak times.
If you need more help, you can read through this frequency guide.
Followerwonk is super helpful for planning your Twitter campaigns. Among other features, Followerwonk will tell you when your followers are most active: under the “analyze followers” tab, you can see when your users are online.
You should also use any relevant hashtags to get your content in front of people who might not have seen it otherwise.
For Facebook, you can use Facebook Insights to track when your fans are online on any given day of the week.
One of the best things about Insights is that it allows you to target certain fans based on their age, gender, interests, etc.
This really gives you the opportunity to dive deep into targeted marketing–providing your readers with what they’ll find most valuable.
If you’re unfamiliar with Facebook Insights, check out this comprehensive Facebook guide to help you on your way.
While the Google+ community isn’t as constantly active as other social platforms, it’s perfect for targeted sharing – meaning it might give you more engagement than say Twitter.
Next, share your work with any relevant communities your brand is a member of (the keyword here is relevant–you don’t want to spam communities with stuff they won’t like).
Make sure you use hashtags that will get your content in front of interested audiences. G+ also allows you to mention specific people who you think might find your content interesting.
And as a general rule of thumb, remember that G+ is a largely visual platform, so don’t post long blocks of text.
If you need more help, check out this Google+ guide for further reading.
As content marketing budgets grow, the need to invest in a long term content strategy will become necessary for success.
But even if your brand creates highly targeted content, your content won’t likely gain traction unless you show it to those who will find value in it, which means social promotion will become one of the most important steps in your strategy.