Social Media Strategy: Content Marketing and Engagement Marketing
If you have a blog, a business, or a brand, you need to be involved with social media. Author Gary Vaynerchuk says that "Social Media = Business." People are online and are using social media and you need to be where the people are. Here are some #GeekGirl stats to support this:
- 77% of North American households are online
- 669 million users are on FaceBook
- 200+ million users are on my beloved Twitter
- 152 million user generated content Blogs
- 35 hours of video are loaded up to YouTube every minute
People are watching, creating, and consuming content online. People are connected to their computers and the world via an internet connection. The internet has flattened the world for me. Never before could I hop online and connect with another person or another mother at any hour of the day and night. All of these connections have led to relationships with real people all over the world!
Over time you get to like, know, and trust these people that you may have never met face-to-face. This leads you to want to get to know each other better and you do this by learning more about them via their websites. These sites could be a blog for moms like MomItForward, a tech blog like DigiTwirl, a great foodie blog like HowToSimplify, a crafty blog like Tip Junkie, a product site like Pure Detroit, or a service website like Jula Studio. Whatever the case may be, we want to learn more about these people and their lives and their businesses because of our connections with them.
Social Media Strategy
There are so many facets to a Social Media Strategy and volumes of books, blogs, and articles about this topic. No two people and no two businesses should implement the exact same strategy. However, I do believe that all Social Media Strategies should include two components I want to talk about today: Content Marketing and Engagement Marketing.
We live in a society of content consumers. Over 1 billion pieces of content are shared daily just on FaceBook! The goal of sharing content is to engage current and potential consumer bases or target markets. If you have a blog for moms you would want your content to be focused on topics, articles, and blog posts of interest to moms. If you have a financial services business then you would want to provide your community with content in alignment with what your recommend and advise your clients.
Here is a biggie for me. I always want to there to be a blend of content from both yourself and your company and other resources. Providing valuable content of interest to your community from reliable resources greater than yourself is important [say that 5 times fast!].
Also, if you have a local-based business such as a dentist, realtor, or local retail store - you need provide articles and information regarding local events and local causes that are taking place in your community. If your business is based upon a local community, you need to become a local community connector showing that you know what is going on in your area and that you are invested in your neighborhood.
Show that you are expert in your arena. Give people something of interest to read that is aligned with the mission of your business or blog. Give people a reason to keep coming back to you.
Now having said all of that – quality content must be followed up with quality engagement. You cannot simply set up a feed of your blog posts, a feed from your FaceBook page, and a bunch of RSS feeds and expect this whole social media thing to work. There is the part that is social. People do business with people with whom they feel connected and engaged. You cannot build a relationship with an article or a post.
Step One for me every single day on any social media platform is to make sure I respond to each and every mention, comment, and post from other people. If someone took the time to write on my FaceBook wall or send me a tweet; I absolutely always respond back.
Step Two is for me to listen to what other people are saying and comment on what they are talking about and their interests. On twitter I am connected with a community of moms via my @TimeOutMom handle and I watch my home stream tweets come through and comment on what I see moms talking about. Today I talked with moms about Oprah's farewell show today, how I have mysterious stains on my clean clothes in my closet, and the pros and cons of the ipod nano, shuffle, and touch.
Note that Step Two had nothing to do with my business, my services, or my blog. This step was purely connecting and engaging with my community. This is how we build relationships and get to know each other better. People want to know you as a person before they can even think or care about your business.
What does all of this mean?
Social Media is powerful in that it helps to build relationships, make connections, and even build a business! Always provide valuable content of interest to your community, both your own and from reliable sources in alignment with your messaging. Show that you are an expert in your field. Hop on the train of social media instead of watching it go by. Make sure that you spend time acknowledging each and every person that has taken time to talk to you and reach out to you. Take time every day to reach out and listen to what your audience is saying. Listen to what is important to them. Lastly, don't just be a voyeur. Reach out, get engaged, and get connected!
Homework and Additional Resources:
- The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk, @GaryVee
- UnMarketing by Scott Stratten, @UnMarketing
- Engage by Brian Solis, @BrianSolis
- Case Study: How 3 Companies Took Content Marketing to the Next Level, from mashable.com, @mashable
Have you embraced social media? What social media platforms do you like to use and why? How do you provide content and engage your followers through social media?
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
In the past 10 years, Melissa Lierman has spoken at more than 300 events to audiences on social media, marketing, website development, and SEO. She applies those skills in her day-to-day professional life as the director of social media and consulting for Mom It Forward, Inc. She also manages the social media for Premier Fitness Camp, ZarBee's, The Madow Group, and the evo Conference. When she’s not speaking, she loves the one-on-one consultation she does with brands, PR agencies, small businesses, and bloggers. Melissa has three children, is a mom blogger at TimeOutMom.com, an avid tweeter @TimeOutMom, loves connecting with people all over the world!