how you post and share content matters

If you listen to me long enough and you’ll know I am more focused on social networking and being engaged than creating content. I’ll keep saying it too….

 

Your content is designed to play a supporting role.

 

People do business with people. They build relationships. They act on those relationships. When they choose to act is when your content matters. It is at that point they will read (or read again). It is at that point they will decide if, aside from having that relationship with you, they trust you are the right person or business to hire.

Content isn’t the most important thing…. what you post and more importantly, HOW you write, post or share content IS critical.

Your content MUST have a purpose

Your content MUST serve a purpose. It must help build relationships, must be authoritative and/or must drive action.Click To Tweet

Not every post needs to do all of it, and the best content will hit multiple points. If your content doesn’t hit on at least one of those points, you’re wasting your time posting it. PERIOD

I adore Rhonda over at Fat Dog Creatives. She’s a fantastic graphic designer and her process is incredible. She’s also a big proponent of me (yes, I have an ego).

She shared one of my Facebook posts about the value of engagement  to her business page. I immediately thanked her (as Tactical Social Media, though I could have as myself.) and as quickly as I did, I scolded her. Love that she shared it, hate that while it was good for me, it did nothing for her!

She already decided to share my content. She gave me something, so why not leverage it to truly nurture the relationship, to establish her own authority, drive some action and share a little bit of herself? She should use it further help herself.

 

Blindly posting or sharing content provides little value to YOU. Make what you post count for you AND your audience.Click To Tweet

How you create your post matters

How the share first appeared…..

How you post and share content matters

Here’s the edited version…..

How you post and share content matters if you want to see results

The difference?

She leveraged my content to help build her authority. She continues to nurture our relationship (more than simply sharing my content, she acknowledges she is learning from me – that ego thing again) and she is making it personal and herself more relatable to her clients.

 

The bonus… Rhonda will get some HUGE additional visibility:

*  She tagged me (with permission – do not ever tag a person in a business post without permission. It is rude and a relationship killer) placing her post on my timeline. Her brand was promoted to my personal network.And since I was tagged personally, I responded personally. That adds further reach.

*  She has real content that could be found later when someone uses Facebook’s search function (and trust me, they do!).

 

While I will continue to preach that content is less important than social engagement, there is no doubt content is vital. It’s not about how much content you post, how often or when.

 

It is about WHAT you post and HOW you post and share content that matters.

What if you could spend less time writing content and still drive web traffic and generate leads?

Oh. Wait. You can….and I do!

Social Networking: Lead Generation Without Content

I spend the majority of my time actively networking, not posting and sitting on my ass hoping my content is seen. I follow specific people and pages. I interact, support and add value. That simply activity, which is easy and honestly, fun, is what YOU should be doing and what I  have found to be the BEST way to leverage my time on social media.

 

One of those I follow is my friend (and one of my influencers) Debra Jason. We met on social media through a mutual friend. While we have yet to meet in person, we have spent a good deal of time networking together and supporting each other.

I am always reading her content (it is that good). She recently shared a post from her website, The Write Direction. As a standard practice I commented on the post itself and to further support her, also took the time to add a comment directly on the blog post itself.

 

The result of networking and interacting with Debra:

  • I saw her social share of the post.
  • I added a valuable comment on social and the blog post itself
  • One of her blog readers saw my comment.

 

Apparently, the comment made an impression. Not only did they track back to my post (Want Results From Facebook? Stop Sitting On Your Ass!), they filled out my lead capture form to sign up to receive my content in their inbox!

 

Lead generation through social networking, not content.

 

A perfect example of driving web traffic and lead generation WITHOUT content.

I’ll add this is not an isolated example of driving web traffic from social networking. There is this one:

 

Value of commenting on a blog post found through social networking

 

And this one:

 

Driving web traffic through social networking

 

Social networking is how I have been able to leverage social media effectively to build my brands since 2007, and it’s proven to remain highly effective through all of the algorithm changes.

A single value-added comment might just be worth far more than any piece of content you post.

 

Consider spending less time on your content and more on being active, visible and engaged.Click To Tweet

Driving Interaction From Your Reactions

When Facebook’s reactions showed up last week, there was the typical banter as to who likes them and who doesn’t. Me, as with most new features or updates, it’s never about liking or disliking them. It’s about figuring out how to use them.

And, as it turns out….

…Facebook’s reactions are quite the tool for getting more interaction on your posts.

Facebook's reactions rolled out globally - using them to get more engagement

Why?

Facebook does a great job at limiting brand pages from communicating directly with people. It’s why pages can only tag individuals under only a few circumstances:

 

Here’s the kicker – reactions count as engagement. No big update there as I could always tag you to say ‘thanks for the like’ previously. The issue with that approach meant ‘do it for one and you pretty much need to do it for all.’ Could get a bit tedious, not to mention string of comments filled with the same ‘thank you’. I will admit my friend Debra Jason has this technique quite well. (It’s actually her technique I thought of when reactions first appeared).

Reactions, however, offer a bit more. Add a ‘Wow’ to my Facebook post and I can tag you in a comment asking ‘Why the wow’. I could further ask if it was you learned something from my post or some other reason.

An angry reaction?  I could respond with ‘Do you disagree?’

So much more potential than the plain old ‘like’ wouldn’t you agree?

Facebook’s reactions open up a number of new opportunities for brand pages to tag individuals to create more engagement and interaction.

What If The Auto DM Was Used Differently?

I have never been a fan of using the automated direct message feature on Twitter. In fact, I downright hate it. How much? I will unfollow 90% of those who send me an automated direct message within minutes of my reading it.

I often finding myself challenging the norm. I’m always looking at ways to leverage the tools at our disposal in a different way, to achieve a different goal. Twitter’s direct message feature may be one of the best social media tools we have at our fingertips: it provides direct access to followers which could number in the 1000s even for a small brand.

As I see it, the problem with the automated direct message isn’t the use of it, it’s HOW it’s used.

 

Auto DMs tend to fall into one of two general categories:

  • The simple ‘Thank you for following me” At least take the time to make it look like you are personally thanking me. - Twitter automated direct message fail.– This one may seem fine, but how unsocial is it to send an automated greeting to someone you just met? At least make it look like you took the time to personally thank me.

 

  • The ‘Please follow me over on Facebook, LinkedIn, sign up for my email, you may be interested in, buy my crap’Example of an automated direct message which resulted in an immediate 'unfollow'. – I get this is an opportunity to drive web traffic, promote your wares or get an email address but at least send me welcome note and ask how I am first. If I walked into your retail store and you asked for my email address or tried to sell me something without saying hello first, I’ll exit stage left…immediately. At least take the time to be social, even for just a moment.

 

But What If?

  • What if automated DM’s were more like follow-up emails sent to subscribed followers?
  • What if we used them differently?
  • What if we treated our followers the same way we do when they fill out a contact form, sign up for a newsletter or get a free download?
  • What if the content they received wasn’t a request but us giving something? Maybe a piece of advice? Maybe a free download without requesting an email address?
  • What if the DM provided something of value to them rather than a pitch to buy, download, follow, try my crap?

Would you accept them or still see them as spam, insincere, rude or annoying?

 

The Automated Direct Message As An Effective Marketing Tool

To make them an effective marketing tool three things must change:

Expectation. When we sign up for a download, fill out an entry form at an event or sign up for anything, we KNOW we’re being added to an email list. We expect that. We know we’ll receive an email a few days later saying thank you. We know we’ll likely receive offers and requests (hopefully mixed in with some valuable content).  So what is different between signing up for an email list and following someone on Twitter?

 “….when you sign up for an email list, you expect to be emailed. It’s intrinsic to the nature of that transaction. When you follow someone on Twitter, though, your purpose isn’t to be contacted privately – it’s only to see what they publicly post. Receiving a DM isn’t necessarily part of the equation, so it can seem a little invasive, or annoying. (You already get promotional messages in your email inbox – do you really want them showing up in every one of your other inboxes all across the Internet?)” 

– Tom over at Team Edgar in response to a discussion we had a few weeks back on an older article on Twitter’s change in its DM rules.

I agree completely with the reason we follow someone isn’t to provide private, targeted access but given the pervasive nature of them, I think we EXPECT to be contacted privately.

 

Perception. Direct messages are so maligned, even if used to provide value, they would be ignored or result in the inevitable ‘unfollow’.

Side note: If you scroll back to the top, you’ll notice I said “I will unfollow 90% of those who send me one within minutes of my reading an auto DM.” What about the other 10%? I have received messages which resonated, provided value or, based on the source, weren’t seen as spam.

Given my own approach and as much as I detest them, I think perception can be changed.

 

Personalization. Even once the expectation of receiving and perception of DMs changes, there is the small issue of tailoring the message. When it comes to email, we can easily segment to tailor our message. We can personalize each email. You know when you receive them they are automated but at least they address and speak to you. There still needs to be a tool which enables this functionality with a minimum of input on our part to make it effective.

There are a few tools already available and designed to send automated DMs but I don’t think any have the same functionality of most email or CRM tools (please let me know if any do).

 

A Final Thought

Twitter’s direct message feature holds some interesting potential as an effective marketing tool. It’s a huge opportunity to establish a relationship if / when used properly.  If it will ever be accepted is a whole other story as a viable or trusted. For now, I don’t see myself using it on a broad, automated level. I may start playing with it on a manual basis similar to how I respond to all requests to connect on LinkedIn so don’t be surprised if you follow me and I reach out to you. It is, after all, social behavior and an opportunity to build a relationship and that’s the real value of social media.

What is your opinion on the use of direct or automated direct messages?

Do you see a potential for using them?