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.
Stop Worrying About SEO And Start Writing.
I found this article on writing SEO content by my colleague Timothy Hands to be a good read and on target with my thought process:
I loathe how it’s made out to be a complicated, non-understandable concept that allows others to overcharge customers for work, that in many cases, is not necessary.
I firmly believe if you stop focusing on SEO, regularly write good content on a consistent basis providing answers to your customer’s questions, it will come naturally.
Granted there are some aspects of SEO which must be addressed at the time your site is built and others that should be looked at periodically, BUT if you take care of the basics as you add content to your site:
- Adding metadata at the right length
- Create a good SEO title
- Use image tags for all media
and pay attention to a few guidelines when you write:
- Avoid intentional keyword stuffing
- keep articles to 300+ words
- Put some effort into sharing what you’ve written
- Write consistently (even if that is only twice per month)
- Write in a natural, conversational style (it doesn’t have to be textbook perfect and you’re trying to connect with the reader)
SEO does and will, over time, take care of itself.
I’ve used this approach for Tactical Social Media (as well as my previous business). Having never done keyword research for myself, I still rank well in SERPs for many high value terms (seems as I keep writing on social and SEO topics, those keywords naturally appear in my content and create site-wide density), others are finding and linking back to my content naturally and the quality and consistency of my content lead to my blog being syndicated. The result – a domain authority score of 21 for a brand and website that did not exist 11 months ago.
Is that the BEST option? Maybe not. For the small business owner, the solopreneur who is already buried under tasks and still needs to figure out how to consistently blog (not to mention being active on social sites) it’s a good one. There’s only so much one can do. At some point, we need to consider the ‘diminishing returns’ factor.
At what point does the time, effort and stress of trying to consistently craft the perfect SEO optimized content outweigh the value received? At what point does trying lead to you simply NOT doing it at all?
Stop worrying about SEO!
Stress less, write more. It may take more time to get there, but as they say, it’s the journey that matters. Better to be happy and enjoy the ride.
This post was adapted from my LinkedIn article on 19 November 2015.
Should You ‘Regram’
using apps to share Instagram posts by others? Having one account under Tactical Social Media and another under me (with minimal overlap) there is an advantage to sharing my own content.
From their own Terms of Service (the short version): “Post only your own photos and videos… Given this statement and no native share option, it would seem ‘regramming’ is not permitted.
What has set Instagram apart from the other big social media sites is original content.
There is a bit of conflicting info here if you look at the long version: “….don’t post anything you’ve copied or collected from the Internet that you don’t have the right to post.” While they’re telling us to only post our own content, they seem to have left the door open to sharing when you have permission.
I have been sitting on the fence on this one.
Should you Regram?
I’ve read a few articles discussing what counts as permission. One even stated you may have the rights to share content which someone else posted featuring you or your brand. Personally, even if your brand is featured in my content, unless I give you explicit permission to use it, you cannot. It’s still my content. This can be a real issue when it comes to user-generated content, not just on Instagram but on other social media sites as well.
Apps like Regram, Repost, Instarepost (I purposely haven’t included links to these apps) and a few others I have found make it possible to share Instagram posts and do include a watermark attributing the image to the original account. This, however, doesn’t count as permission.
Do you Regram?
If you do, what are you sharing?
- Is it your own content across your profiles?
- Is it someone else’s content.
- Do you have permission to regram a particular piece of content if you’re sharing from others?
- What about when someone tags you or your brand in a post? Should you regram it? Do the right to do so?
A final thought.
The short of it – Instagram has made it ambiguous in its TOS but the lack of a native share option leads me to think the practice is not acceptable. The fact that third-party apps exist doesn’t change what is or isn’t allowed.
There is a small window here where the practice may actually be used legitimately. It’s possible Instagram’s TOS was designed to foster personal, original content and allow sharing of it (as opposed to posting content found elsewhere. The lack of a native sharing option may have been to remove their potential liability for content theft rather than prevent the practice in its entirety. In this case, regram apps, which are designed to allow sharing from within the social site would OK.
I’ll leave you with this related post for as additional food for thought – Instagram Etiquette // Is Regramming OK?
For now, I don’t regram and my professional advice has been not to do it, but is the practice acceptable? Should I reconsider my stance?
And if you’re still working on figuring out Instagram for your brand: Questioning How To Make Instagram Work For You?
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?
UPDATED 21 Oct 2017: It seems Facebook has removed the authorship tag from social shares as reported by Social Media Today.
A special shout out to Mike Allton who does a phenomenal job of explaining Facebook Authorship and how to set it up. I had a chance to chat with him about it and his help and insight were invaluable. I highly recommend you read his article Facebook Adds Authorship. Bloggers Take Note!
Authorship was designed for journalists as a way to further connect with readers who engage with their content. This provides the author a larger audience and an incentive to further share content to Facebook. With 44% of users getting their news via social media (according to a 2014 study by American Press Institute) Facebook is clearly looking to capitalize and keep readers in-house.
But I’m A Small Business Owner, Not A Journalist
The beauty of Facebook Authorship is that it can’t discriminate. Anyone can take advantage of it and small business owners and freelance bloggers SHOULD! Authorship provides a valuable tool in the form or personal branding and great tool for driving exposure for your business profiles (on any social platform).
Personal branding often gets overlooked. We focus so much on building our business’s branding we forget about ourselves. That can be a major issue if you sell your business, change careers, jobs or in the case of Realtors and other professionals, if you change brokers, brands or distributors. If your following is tied to the brand or business, when it goes, so does the audience. (Back in July I closed a business, changed industries and moved halfway across the country. It was a conscious personal branding effort over the years that enabled me to smoothly make the transition and build a following for Tactical Social Media. I didn’t have to start from scratch.)
Never selling your business or changing your brand? Social media is a valuable networking tool. When you meet someone, how do you introduce yourself? I’m guessing you introduce yourself as, well, YOU and not your brand or business. It can often be easier to build a personal following than one for a brand. As with journalists, it allows you to connect on a deeper level with customers and clients. Once in place, you’ll have opportunities to leverage that following for your business. In this case, the “Other People’s Audience” you’re leveraging is actually your own personal audience!
Leveraging Facebook Authorship and Other People’s Audiences
Driving traffic To Brand Pages
While you can directly share content from our blog or website and you can always post new content on your personal profile, it won’t drive eyes to your brand page. The best advice still remains to post new content to your brand page, then share publicly from that page to your profile. Those shares will pull attribution in the form of the ‘via tag’ (just make sure you aren’t using the ‘Share Now (public)’ option)….
This attribution will not only provide exposure for, but also a link to, your brand page for those following you personally. You’ll also have posted content on the page itself for fans.
The added benefit to Facebook Authorship is the ability to leverage your personal following, grown within Facebook, to build your brand, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn or other social channels by sharing content from those pages.
Want to drive exposure for multiple pages at the same time? Consider sharing content from your profile on another social channel to your Facebook page. Then share it to your personal profile. The initial content will provide the link to your of social channels while shares within Facebook will promote your brand page.
If you do choose to open up your personal profile, one simple recommendation – look at some of the content you have already shared. For anything you’d deem safe for public consumption, change the visibility of that particular content. Why? When someone does choose to follow you, there will already be some content in place. There’s nothing worse than showing up somewhere and finding it a ghost town.
A Word of Caution
A greater risk of being unfriended and negative feedback: If the goal is to leverage your new following to grow your business, it could backfire. Leveraging authorship means posting more business content and doing so publicly which limits control over targeting content.
Most of my friends are actually business colleagues, acquaintances and in some cases, people I don’t know but accepted as a friend. This might seem odd but Facebook has always been more a business tool for me than personal (I’ve been using Facebook for my businesses since 2006 and started using it solely for business). Facebook, through lists, also provides great control over who can see what I post. I have lists for specific locations, business professionals, targeted interests and personal friends (I do actually have a few!).
The point to the lists – I have long taken advantage of my personal profile and brand to drive visibility to my business content. What I’m careful to do, is limit what and how much I post and who sees it. The idea is to not inundate the friends I do have with business content they likely don’t want or care to see. With most people on Facebook to keep up with friends and family, posting too much business content can get you unfriended. Worse, they could click on the content shared and choose to hide all content from your page. That negative feedback has an impact on post visibility and organic reach. When I share business content, I control the audience for that post using the lists I have created. When I choose to post publicly (content my followers can also see and engage with), it’s done very tactically in terms of the content, timing, and frequency so I don’t offend anyone and risk the negative feedback.
Facebook’s own rules: Another concern with Facebook Authorship – “It’s against the Facebook Terms to use your personal account to represent something other than yourself (ex: your business). If you’re using your account to represent something other than yourself, you could permanently lose access to your account….”. Journalists might be able to rest easy since their providing news and information, not selling or promoting but business owners and bloggers could create a headache for themselves For businesses, Facebook could take action if you’re posting too much business content or being overly promotional on your personal profile.
The huge value in Facebook Authorship is still personal branding and using it as a relationship building tool. If you’re solely using it in this regard, posting predominantly social or personal content, adding in the occasional commercial post won’t send up red flags.
So Now What If Don’t Want To Use My Personal Profile?
The Public Figure Option: While mine was set up as a business tool and still used for networking, over the years I have added more friends and made my profile more personal. To allow for personal branding, I set up a public figure page under Robert C Nissenbaum years ago. Since it is a business page, I can easily cross share business content for Tactical Social Media and more personal content. It’s actually the URL I have used under my user name for this blog. It does provide the same authorship link as a personal profile within the shared post.
The one piece lost – the follow button. As Mike pointed out in a conversation it makes sense since you cannot follow pages. You can still mouse over the link and “Like” the page. You’ll get the added benefit of being of having your Call To Action button clickable as well as the Save feature. According to Facebook, you should see the larger ‘Like’ button triggered when you return to Facebook after following the link.
Of course, if you don’t already have a public figure page in place you’ll have the daunting task of building and maintaining more than one page at a time. If you already have a Public Figure page or can handle the second page, this is my recommendation for how best to leverage Facebook Authorship.
The Business Page Option: You can always opt to use the actual URL for your business page for the authorship attribute if you don’t have a public figure page. The only downsides here – it does look funny having the author show as a business, you eliminate the personal branding option.
The External Link Option:
Thinking outside the box, there is the possibility that one can use any link in the Facebook URL field. This would allow you to add the link to your LinkedIn profile (very tactical idea), your Google+ profile or any other site. For the purpose of this post I’ve updated my Facebook URL to my LinkedIn profile for testing.
UPDATE – After publishing this post and sharing it to Facebook using LinkedIn URL, no authorship link was included. Changing back to my public figure page URL and updating the post did not reinstate the link. Hence, until further testing – it would appear that Facebook Authorship attribution won’t allow using a link outside Facebook.