The world of blogging and the world of social media used to be two very distinct Internet phenomena. One was known for being a place for serious conversation in long form with posting schedules; the other was known for zippy entertainment in spontaneous bursts. These days, however, social media and blogging have begun to merge into two sides of the same marketing tactic. Connecting with your audience can take place in both spaces and statistics tell us it would be foolish to ignore either.
For example: More than 80% of Millennials, the audience with the most purchasing power, check Twitter daily. And almost 70% of the entire adult American population uses Facebook. Those are just two of the many popular social media platforms out there. And as for blogging? Search engines index over 430% more pages from website with blogs, than those without. So how can you use these tools together to boost your engagement all around?
Cross Promotion on a Blog
The first way to integrate social media accounts into your blogging is by simply including your social media content in your blog posts. This doesn’t mean rehashing what you’ve Twitted or Snapped today; but it does mean embedding content that leads to your social media accounts, such as embedding Instagram photos or Facebook videos. There are two reasons for this practice:
First, it gives your content a continuity that clearly links your blog and your social media presences. Second, by embedding the content rather than reposting it, you’re giving your audience an easy way to find you and follow you on social media.
Video Content is King
It’s no secret that video content is the number one choice for sharing information online. In fact, YouTube reaches more 18-49-year-old Internet users than any cable network in the U.S. does TV watchers. That’s an astounding statistic that proves just how powerful video content is.
In your blog, consider posting your YouTube videos with content below for people who may not want to watch the video, or who want to skim the content and briefly check out the video. This integrates your video content with a blog that can be indexed by search engines.
Other Tips for Integrating Social Media with Your Blog
Want to integrate your social media accounts with your blog even more? Try these ideas:
- Include a share button so that your audience can post your blog post to their own social media accounts. If you use a “Click to Tweet” service, be sure to add a brand-specific hashtag or your username so that the Tweet leads their followers to you.
- Keep your follow buttons visible and up to date. Social media brands change their look frequently. Keep yourself caught up to ensure your audience that you are a quality account to follow.
- Integrate social media only how it makes sense. Does your social media feed include contests and limited time offers? Make your current feed on your website visible for customers to take advantage of the information. If your feed is more about curating blog posts and sharing industry news, consider letting your more in-depth blog content shine.
Efficiently Integrating Blogging and Social Media
The key point is to not ignore the power of either platform. More than 409 million people view blogs every month on just one blogging platform, and social media has billions of users every day. Integrate the two to streamline your audience generating efforts, and you’ll soon find that all of your content is doing double duty. This saves you time and money as you work towards growing.
It’s no secret that your customer base is searching for you online before they ever make a purchase. As of 2017, statistics show that up to 80% of your customers will look you up first – often before even visiting your store. With such a significant part of your sales dependent on the impression you make online, you can’t afford for your content to be anything less than stellar. But all too often, businesses fall into the same trap when it comes to their online presence.
It’s a Trap! Focusing On Your Business, Not the Solution
Did you know that only 22% of businesses have satisfactory conversion rates with online content (according to a 2016 study by Econsultancy)? There’s one big reason that many business owners overlook: their content is all about their business.
When your content exists only to stroke your brand’s ego, it won’t connect with the audience. While there is a place and a time for telling your customers who you are, they don’t come to you for a brand experience – they come to you for a solution. The solution is your product or service, and that’s what your content should focus on.
Educate and Inform
When you head to the Internet, what are you usually searching for? If you are like most people, your searches are typically for information of some kind, rather than a blind hunt for an advertisement to sell you something. Today’s consumer has been raised to find the information they want on the world’s largest marketplace, and that could be a powerful tool for your brand when used correctly.
Lead generation, or getting people to visit your website or profile, is one of the most important parts of online marketing. And yet, only 20% of marketers feel that their efforts are effective, according to a 2015 study by BrightTALK. The problem is that the audience is hunting for answers, and will happily skim through all other content until they find what they need. Offer your audience education and information to slow them down and keep them coming back to you for more.
You Are Not Your Audience
Another issue that many businesses face is that their content is not tailored for their audience. They use their blog or their social media profiles as means of sharing updates or launching products – in other words, keeping all the attention on me, me, me.
Your audience needs content that is tailored to them. That is the number one way that you will convert clicks to sales. In order to deliver content that converts, you need to know what your audience wants. Information? Solutions? Entertainment? Often it’s a mix of the three. But, did you notice what’s not there? That’s right – anything to do about the running of your business. Keep the focus on what the audience wants.
Fix Their Problems or Make Them Money
Offering a product or a service is all about fixing a problem. Your audience has a demand and you have the supply. Your content should make it very clear how you are going to fix their problem. Is your product or service going to remove a major life obstacle, or is your content going to help them make money? Fixing a problem or helping someone make money are the two most important types of content on the Internet today. Highlight these aspects of your business before anything else.
Since 2014, online research prior to making a purchase has accounted for more than 80% of all shopping habits according to Retailing Today. Give your audience what they want – the solution – because they aren’t searching for your brand.
The humble blog remains one of the single most powerful marketing tools available to entrepreneurs, small business owners and big businesses. Your blog provides a place to highlight products and services, to give your business a personal face, to grow thought leadership, and to connect with your audience on a deeper level. However, it is crucial that you practice good blog management techniques to ensure effectiveness, save time and really create the impact you need to see. Let’s look at some of the basics of blog management.
Yes, blogs can be informal things. However, the most successful blogs are planned strategically and tied directly to a company’s goals. This applies to everything from the topics chosen to the posting frequency selected. In order to plan this way, you’ll need to determine your goals. Those must be concrete, attainable and specific. It does no good to set a nebulous goal, such as, “We want more readers”. There’s no way to measure progress toward that, nor does it tie in with any of the company’s products, services or its position in the market.
Get Your Topics Together Now
There’s a lot of freedom to be gained from blogging “on the fly” but while that might work for personal bloggers, it’s no way to run a business blog. You need to have your topics planned out well in advance. Ideally, you should have a minimum of a month’s worth of blog topics planned and the posts written at one time. This gives you at least some buffer, but it also ensures that there is a constant stream of relevant content being posted to your website.
Not Written as Articles
To be clear, articles can sometimes double as blog posts. There’s actually a lot of crossover between the two. However, when it comes down to it, blog posts should be more personable and articles should be more journalistic. Make sure that your posts strike the tone you want for your company. This will vary from one business to another, and will hinge on your brand’s perception, your position within the industry, and the persona you’re trying to create for your company.
One area in which too many businesses fail when it comes to blogging is in regular posting. Many start off strong, posting once or twice a week for a couple of months. Then, something comes up. There’s a crisis in the workplace and it’s all hands on deck. Someone is out on maternity leave and there is no replacement planned. This is when everything falls apart. Without regular posting, your audience has no real incentive to check back, and they’ll eventually get out of the habit and you’ll lose readers and reach. Set a posting schedule during your planning session and then stick to it. Really, the frequency of posting doesn’t matter as much as staying consistent with your posting.
Reply to Comments
Blogs are social, but in order for that to happen with yours, you need to actually interact with your readers. Ask them questions in the post, but make sure you reply to their comments on each post. Of course, you’ll need to moderate spam or abusive comments, but your authentic readers and followers need to hear from you, and your responses should be timely or you risk alienating them.
Blog management doesn’t have to be a struggle. If you’re dealing with tight deadlines, a lack of staff, or any other challenge, Words You Want can help. Get in touch today to learn more.
Social media can be a powerful tool in your online marketing efforts. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should be big parts of your Internet marketing strategy, but the fact remains that these networks must be used correctly if you’re going to leverage full value from them. One of the most important things to understand is the need for engagement. Social media is not a one-way street. It’s a two-way conversation, which means that you need to engage your friends and followers and make them part of that conversation. How do you do that? Here are a few best practices to follow to improve your results.
- Know Your Audience and Share Content That Interests THEM
You might be under the impression that your social media accounts are about your company. That’s only partially true. They’re really about your followers and fans. It’s all about keeping them interested and engaged, so make sure you’re sharing content that interests them, and that does not necessarily tie directly to your own products or services. With that being said, you can do a great deal that does tie directly to your company without making it a sales pitch that will interest your followers.
- Know about Adjacent Content
Adjacent content is a confusing term that really means nothing more than content that is somehow related to your audience and will be of interest to them, that doesn’t originate from your company. You don’t need to share a competitor’s post, but you can share news stories of interest, community events, industry trend information and the like. This will give you quite a bit of content to post that doesn’t fall into the realm of being promotional.
- Responding to Followers
You can’t expect your audience to be engaged if you’re not willing to engage with them. This means that you need to reply to comments, respond to mentions and the like. You need to be involved. If you’re not, you really can’t expect your audience to be, as your lack of interaction proves that you really don’t care about them. It implies that you’re only on social media for your own benefit. While there’s nothing wrong with a company pursuing profitability (that’s sort of the point), you should never be blatant about it. Build relationships, and sales will follow.
- Don’t Over-Post
Striking the right posting frequency on social networks can be a huge challenge. It varies a lot from one network to another, as well. For instance, a tweet is generally only viable for about 18 minutes after you tweet it (although it technically lives forever and inappropriate tweets can come back to bite you long down the road). However, you shouldn’t tweet ever 30 minutes to make up for that fact. You need to post often enough that your audience is engaged, but not put off. After all, too much of a good thing is still too much. This applies to all of your social networks, from SnapChat to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more.
- Add Value
While sharing humorous pictures, posts or videos can be great, as can new product announcements, community event posts and the like, don’t neglect the ability to share tips and tricks with your audience. These can involve your products or services, or a related area of your customers’ lives where you can provide additional benefits. For instance, a gutter company might post tips about roof care and maintenance.
Social media engagement doesn’t have to be an impossible challenge. Follow these tips to see better results, and get in touch with Words You Want for professional help.
If your business isn’t involved in social media, you’re missing out on an incredible tool to help build your brand awareness and expand your audience. There are literally billions of people on Facebook alone, much less LinkedIn, Twitter and the other social networks. Of course, finding success here is not as simple as creating an account and posting. You need to ensure that you’re engaging your audience, and that can be hard to do. Thankfully, there are a few ways to increase social media engagement.
Listen to What’s Being Said
One of the most overlooked benefits of social media is that it gives you, the business owner or decision maker, unprecedented access to the private conversations and pain points of your followers. Use the free tools available to tap into the conversation and learn what your audience is saying about your brand, about products or services similar to yours or what troubles they’re experiencing where your brand could help. Tools on offer include Google Analytics, as well as Social Mention and many others to tap in and drill down.
Join Forums and Groups
Both Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to create and join forums and groups dedicated to specific interests. LinkedIn is the best option for B2B companies, as it allows you to provide value and relevant information for users with problems related to what your business offers. However, don’t neglect Facebook, as the social network has tens of thousands of users groups that are filled with people who have questions or need a helping hand that only you can provide.
Conduct Surveys or Polls
Customers love being able to give feedback and feeling as though their wants, needs and opinions matter to the businesses they patronize. You can enhance your social media engagement by conducting surveys or polls and asking your audience for answers to questions that matter to you as well as to them. This can allow you to really drill down into what makes your audience tick and can provide information and answers that can be applied to all aspects of your online marketing strategy, and possibly even your product lineup or your service offerings. It can also help pinpoint differences between your business and competitors.
Give Followers an Inside Look
Social networks like Facebook are great places to give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your business, your employees, your processes and more. A quick glance at your own Facebook feed should show you just how widespread (and successful) this practice has become. As an example, local breweries across the country post videos showing their employees at work, their beer being bottled, their tasting rooms in full swing and more. It’s a great way to really make a deeper connection and share something that your audience will appreciate (after all, they’re following you because they’re interested in your company, so give them what they want).
Get in on Hashtags
Hashtags have been around for a pretty long time now, but it’s surprising how many businesses just don’t know about them or how to use them. Really, they’re nothing more than ways to tag specific types of content in a social post. For instance, a farmers’ market might post a picture of produce lining a table with the hashtag #eatlocal or #localgrown. You can turn this to your advantage by using established hashtags that relate to your business, products or services, or even inventing your own in certain instances.
Increasing social engagement doesn’t have to be rocket science. The tips above will help you do just that.