I’ve been working in, with and around social media for over five years now, and the question I get asked the most is “what kind of content should I use for our social sites?” Actually, the conversation typically starts with “No one is engaging with our content – can you take a look?” After I ask a few questions, and view their content, it almost always comes out that the company is posting content about their brand, products and services….and no one cares.
Why don’t social media users want to know about my products?
To answer that, ask yourself – why did you open Facebook today? Why did you visit LinkedIn? Did you do it to hear about a company’s new product? Of course not! You opened Facebook to see your sister’s new baby pictures, or hear what your semi-crazy, anti-establishment friend is ranting about today.
Why did you visit LinkedIn? You wanted your mind to be stimulated by something interesting that your network posted about how to improve your business, or a great piece about EQ by Travis Bradberry.
So, it’s no wonder that your new product post didn’t generate any likes, clicks or shares. You’re giving your audience what YOU want to give them, not what THEY want to read. So, how do you fix this? How do you create a successful social media content strategy that helps both you AND your audience?
First, you must realize that it’s not about you. It’s about your audience. It’s about what they want. They want to read something to stimulate their mind, improve their business, catch-up with their friends, or escape from their daily grind. So, to be successful:
You need to add value.
But how do you that? It’s simple: distribute content that your target audience would like. You can do this by following a 4-step process to create PURE content, which stands for Powerful, Useful, Relevant and Engaging content:
In social media, you are competing with everyone. EV-ERY-ONE. Your company’s social media content is jostling for views with photos of your brother’s new puppies on Facebook, Kanye West’s thoughts on Twitter and the latest Marvel movie end-of-credits scene on YouTube.
So, before your next post, ask yourself – “would I want to look at this instead of photos of my brother’s new puppies?”
Your content is jockeying for views with how-to videos on YouTube and LinkedIn. As a result, your content needs to be informative and helpful to your audience.
The right useful content depends on who your target audience is, and your target audience in social media should be the same target audience as your other channels. If you are a high-end law firm offline, you shouldn’t be posting legal basics on social media – that is not your target audience.
Once you provide enough value, then over time, you will earn your audience’s trust. At that point, you are a business partner, not a sales person. Then, if you talk about your products and services, it’s okay. You have established yourself as a company that adds value, so your products will be viewed as adding value as well. And in many cases, your audience will ask you about your products before you tell them.
In today’s highly data-driven world, you know more about your customers than ever before, so use that data to make your content as customized and personalized as possible.
This is easy on LinkedIn where you have pages of free information on each LinkedIn user’s profile, which you then can pair with other interactions you have had with your client or prospect, and data from your content management system.
Based on all of this information you can send your client highly-targeted content, which is extremely personalized down to a 1-to-1 level. Will that communication outperform a generic email blast from your company’s latest campaign? Absolutely!
How do you get your audience to do take the next step with your content (comment, share, retweet)?
Here again, it goes back to adding value. If you give your audience something helpful for free (e.g. a “how-to” video on YouTube – Lindsey Boggs does a great job of this), that’s great. Then, add some pizzazz! Add your own personal flare to it to make it your own, and in your own voice. Gary Vanderchuk is fantastic at this.
The more genuine you are, paired with helpful content, then the greater chance of your audience engaging and eventually transacting. The more you give, the more you receive!
- Social media content is not about you. It’s about adding value to your audience.
- Your competitors on social media are everyone.
- Success in social media hinges on distributing PURE (Powerful, Useful, Relevant and Engaging) content
About the author
Robert Knop is a passionate helper of people, and Founder of Assist You Today, a company dedicated to helping companies get closer to their customers, build trust and drive sales by harnessing the power of social media. He’s always happy to talk strategy, digital and social media.