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 purposeYour 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…..
Here’s the edited version…..
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.
No Engagement On Your Posts? Who Cares!
One of the challenges for small brands on social media is simply getting engagement. We stress over writing and posting good content our readers want at the perfect time only to find it doesn’t get seen or worse – it does – and still there is no engagement! Rather than tell you why and how to get that engagement (I’ll save that for a later post), I’m going to throw this out there and tell you to:
Stop worrying about how many likes, comments, and shares you’re getting. You do NOT need engagement on your social media posts for your efforts to be successful.
For the record, your efforts should be focused on creating engagement but not seeing good levels of does not mean your efforts were worthless and social media as a failure as a result. I stress this point because it is possible, no matter what efforts you undertake, you may never actually get good levels of engagement.
Maybe it’s your product or service?
If you’re a fertility doctor, a divorce attorney or therapist, there’s a good chance not only won’t someone want to like or comment on your posts, they may not even want to like your page. The same may be true for lawyers, financial planners, and doctors. On the off-chance, someone they know will see that activity is enough of a reason to not engage.
Some just prefer to lurk.
Some people don’t like to comment. They may like the page and lurk on purpose. They want the information, not the conversation. They’re learning, researching and making a determination of what they need or want and if they’ll buy from you. Unless they have a specific question, you won’t likely hear from them until they’re ready to buy. Even then, contact is likely to be them emailing, calling or stopping by, not social engagement.
Stop stressing over post-level engagement
It isn’t necessary to drive sales
A very compelling CTA in radio spot or print ad may get your customer’s attention and trigger that ‘buy response’ but by the time they get home or take few minutes to think about it, they can find all kinds of reasons not to buy. The moment passes and it’s forgotten.
The big value for smaller brands using social media is the direct connection and interaction it enables. You can talk to your customer, ask questions and work to move them to action in real-time on a piece of content. This direct, immediate communication makes it much easier to work through customer objections.
But what if you don’t get the engagement? Those compelling CTAs in a radio or print ad still work. Not every customer will have or create obstacles. The same holds true for CTAs in social content. Even though social media’s value is predominantly its inbound capability, it still can be successful as an outbound tool. A post with a great CTA doesn’t need engagement to convert.
A word of advice here. Leveraging social media in this way over the long-term is not a good practice. What you may gain with this approach will be far less than otherwise possible using social media as a relationship tool. I am merely pointing out it’s possible for social media to generate revenue as an outbound tool when the inbound aspect isn’t working.
It isn’t necessary to drive website traffic
This is another area where engagement simply isn’t needed to convert. A great intro which makes the reader want to click through and an optimized link (think visually appealing featured image a great meta description and title) is enough.
In fact, a post which doesn’t see a like or comment but drives traffic may result in even better engagement later. Once on your site, there is an opportunity to capture email or other lead generation information allowing you to provide more tailored content and to engage with a prospective client when you want, rather than waiting for them to take action.
Focusing on writing content which drives web traffic is a great tactic for those whose businesses, like those mentioned above, tend not to get post-level engagement.
It isn’t necessary to build relationships
How do you build relationships and connect with your audience if you’re getting limited or no engagement?
Limited: With the exception of Facebook (it’s not as easy but still possible – why you need to leverage your personal profile for business) you can see who liked or +1’d your content and privately or publicly thank them, even ask them a question to drive further interaction They still may not reply with more than a like, but they are aware you noticed them and took the time to acknowledge them. That is a simple gesture which goes a long way.
None: Even with lurkers on your profiles, you can still create relationships.
If you cannot build relationships through conversation, build it through your content.
Original Content. I urge my clients to be more personal on their business profiles. Bring some of yourself into your brand. If you’re a small business owner or solopreneur, it’s already there. You just need to showcase it and put it out in the open. Bonds form over commonalities and shared interests. They form when there are natural connections.
This is one of the primary reasons knowing your audience is so important. Knowing their likes, wants, desires and interests, their buyer persona, allows you to create content which speaks to them. Posting stories which appeal to your audience on a personal level as part of your content mix is a simple way of connecting without the actual conversation.
Shared Content. Sharing content is a terrific way to reduce your time commitment while still showing authority but it is also one of the best ways to create relationships through content. Consider HOW you post the content you are sharing.
You do not need to engage with your audience to form a connection or bond if you’re creating content which resonates with them.
The Bottom Line
Without question, you want the engagement. You want likes, comments, and shares. You want to write content to drive them, but knowing you may never get that engagement, make sure your content needs to ‘speak’ directly to your audience, to make them connect with you and your brand.
Facebook Is Still A Viable For Lead Generation!
The original article below provides an excellent example of a Facebook post directly responsible for a lead. To show this is not an isolated example, I caught (through social monitoring) a post I wrote and published for the same client on March 29th of 2016 generate a lead more than 3 months later!
What makes this example an even better testament to the value of Facebook:
- The link shared was NOT from my client’s website.
- The original post was not ‘boosted’ or part of a paid ad.
- The original post had very poor initial reach.
Yesterday I posted an article to Facebook for a B2B consulting client, Darling Geomatics.
It included a quick snippet, a link to an article run by the Sierra Vista Herald written about a particular project they recently completed and a thank you. The post itself was completely non-promotiona. No CTA. No “how could this help you?” Just a simple informational post.
After allowing the post to ‘run its course’ for a few hours, it was strategically (and inexpensively) boosted through targeting. Just 20 hours later it has:
- 44 likes
- 2 shares
- 5 comments
- An organic reach of 404
- A paid reach of 2851
- Has generated 2 new likes
- It resulted in a request for services:
Keep in mind that this is for a local business with only 355 Likes prior to the post!
Why did this post work?
That’s hard to assess and on quite honestly know why. I’m not sure I could even duplicate it on purpose. It could simply have
been the right post, the right targeting, and some dumb luck. The point though – social and specifically Facebook – can and do still generate direct leads and sales when used properly.
Without question Darling Geomatics’ approach to how they use Facebook creates the foundation for such successes:
- The strategy for the page (and all of their social profiles) is branding and to be informational and educational around their services, not promotional.
- The content is quality. Consistency and regularity may be critical but quality content still trumps both if you have a loyal following.
- Following: It’s not bought. It’s been earned through what they post and their reputation. Page growth is primarily driven by offline channels.
- Paid advertising (boosting) is limited and strategic.
- Tactical engagement (how and when they engage)
- It was posted based on the optimal time according to their insights and my experience monitoring when they see their best engagement, NOT at a time the ‘experts’ say is optimal.
Does Facebook generate leads for you?
Most overlook the platform, though, based on the notion it’s not where the decision maker is active. There are 2 issues with the thought process.
First – you’re focused solely on the decision maker. Ever wonder who influences the decision maker? It could be a lower level manager, the office manager or even his or her spouse. Back in the day, to get in the door, I ‘sold’ the office manager. I let them sell the person controlling the checkbook. I focused on the influencer.
Second – Facebook, more so than any other platform, is a social destination. It’s where people go to hang out, keep up with friends and family and look for referrals/advice. Small business owners are present on the social media site. They’re employees certainly are.
A few final notes
- Make sure you have a monitoring system in place or having a reputable firm doing it. Once a lead comes in, your timing in how it’s handled can make the difference between getting and losing the sale. In this case, the comment was initially acknowledged and responded to within 38 minutes. That allows time for a follow-up later without the client thinking they were ignored.
- While you should not look to social channels as a sales tool and not every post will perform this well, a good strategy, smart posting tactics (that do not revolve around ‘expert’ generalizations) and monitoring works.
Content Monitoring vs Brand Monitoring
A few weeks back I published an article on LinkedIn (updated here last week) asking people to stop monitoring for brand mentions. Clearly, I don’t want you to stop. You need to pay attention to what others are saying about you, when they’re saying it and where. More importantly, you need to be aware that conversations are taking place about you and your brand yet many of them never mention your name. Brand monitoring is only one aspect of your brand reputation management efforts. If you aren’t monitoring for content mentions, you’re missing a critical component.
In my LinkedIn post, I pointed out the need for monitoring your content as a tool to catch theft and plagiarism. I routinely monitor for phrases, keywords and article titles as well as my name, ‘Tactical Social Media’ and my branded hashtag #BeTactical. As a result, I caught an outright case of unauthorized use of my content and was able to take down the blog post and shares on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Since neither I nor my brand was mentioned in the post, content monitoring was the ONLY way I could have found it.
Content monitoring goes a step further, however than just catching theft.
Why You Should Be Monitoring For Content in Social Media
Content Monitoring – Insights and Opportunities
Insights: If you’re content monitoring, you gain valuable insights into what content is being shared. Content monitoring, combined with Google Analytics and social sharing metrics, provides a very clear picture of what content is best received, where it’s shared from (I contribute to a number of sites), where it’s being shared to, what’s driving viewers back and what other’s are saying about it.
With content monitoring, I know exactly what content to write on for future articles (though I still like to write as much on what I feel is important), what points to explore further and even if I need to rethink some of my ideas. Insights gained help me tailor what I write based on the audience of a particular site or social channel.
Opportunities: As I said earlier, not everyone will mention or tag you or your brand when sharing your articles. Content monitoring prevents lost opportunities. The fact that someone is shared your content is important. They read it and liked what you had to say enough to pass it into their audience. You want to leverage that fact. You already have their attention. You want to keep it. One of the best ways to do that is simply acknowledging them. That’s hard to do if you don’t know they’ve shared or interacted with it in the first place.
While I would have caught shares of my article this morning even if I wasn’t content monitoring. (It did hit for my brand as well as the blog title (‘Leveraging Facebook Authorship’), the only reason for that happening was due to an anomaly. For this article, I included the brand name as part of the title for SEO purposes. I normally do not as character length is limited. What I would have lost missing this?
My article was initially shared twice on Twitter, once by Jose Javier Garde and once by Personal Branding, then reshared 5 more times. In the end, the first share by Jose Javier Garde was favorited 12 times and ReTweeted 6 times. That’s great exposure for my content.
I was able to favorite each of the initial shares and Tweet out a couple of ‘thank yous’. While not saying ‘thank you’ isn’t necessarily being unsocial or unappreciative – the fact is most don’t – doing so makes you stand out. Jose knows I appreciated his sharing my content. That makes him more likely to follow my blog, get on my mailing list, follow my social profiles and share my content in the future. That’s a huge relationship building opportunity as well as future visibility.
That simple thank you to Jose, however, actually generated some great exposure of its own. It was favorited 9 times and ReTweeted 4 times! Content monitoring generated some phenomenal visibility and huge relationship building opportunities.
In this case, and in several others I catch daily, while there is a huge upside to knowing my content had been reshared, not knowing wouldn’t have hurt me…at least financially. But what if the content shared was preceded by something negative? What if someone had tweeted a link to my content and stated the ‘author clearly doesn’t get social media’?
While I firmly believe you should respond to all interactions on your content (if they took the time to interact, the least you can do is acknowledge it), not responding to negative posts/reviews leaves your reputation at risk.
If you’re not content monitoring, why not?