The following is a guest post I wrote for 1800loanstore after giving a social media presentation to their marketing team.
As one of the country’s fastest growing lead generation websites in the alternative loan industry, 1800loanstore’s marketing principles have evolved and grown from its early days. As the site continues to grow and utilize content marketing to reach a wider customer base, it keeps exploring other avenues of marketing. Recently, I was asked to give a brief presentation on the use of social media in lead generation for 1800loanstore.
In the presentation I addressed the basic elements of successful social media marketing, which I promptly turned into this blog post for 1800loanstore to publish.
The hardest hurdle to cross in terms of content marketing in general is getting people to understand it isn’t about producing a constant stream of advertisement. Content marketing isn’t about plastering billboards over every space available and filling the air with a steady stream of advertisements. Successful social media marketing is the same – it isn’t about filling social media channels with ads.
Who clicks on ads?
We know people still do click on ads. Some of us make good money from Google adsense on our websites, so ads still work to some extent. The thing is, good content attracts more clicks than ads. Don’t believe me? In any given day, how many ads do you click on versus links with compelling titles or images attached to them? I’m willing to be you click on far more ‘content’ links than ‘ad’ links.
Within social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) people expect to have a dialog and a relationship with the people they follow. They see brand advertisements as an interruption of a social situation. Have you ever been having dinner and in a great conversation with your friends and have the waiter interrupt you every five minutes trying to get you to buy more drinks or order dessert? It is expected but not endearing. No one at the table thinks “Wow, I’m really glad the waiter interrupted the conversation in order to attempt to upsell.”
Here are my 3 quick tips on social media success. These tips all stem from real-life face-to-face interactions and relationship building as translated for the digital world.
1. Show interest in others.
Ever have a friend or acquaintence only talk about himself everytime you are together. He is eager to tell you about his job, his relationship, his life but never, not once, ask you about what is going on in your life? These people are tiresome. They take, take, take with no interset in ever giving. When the entire world of marketers are desperate to get the attention of their followers, the best way to be distinctive is to give attention. Instead of jumping up and down shouting “Me! Me! Me!” take a moment and show interest in your followers. This means truly following what they are saying.
- Like their posts.
- Retweet their tweets.
- Plus one and reshare their content.
Guess what? This is hard work. This won’t be an overnight success. You are creating relationships – there’s isn’t an instant ‘friend’ button you can press. Over time, though, those who follow you will respond in kind. They will retweet, reshare, and like your content. They will feel connected to you. Nurture those connections, because one supporter actively engaged with your content is a very powerful thing, and that is why when you are an active supporter of someone else’s content it makes them take notice.
2. Share the good stuff.
A great bottle of wine or scotch tastes better when shared with others. Sharing is the essence of social interaction, whether you are swapping stories, sharing moments at events, or clinking glasses in a toast to good health, sharing connects us. Sharing your own content is great, but bringing something new to the conversation is better. Yes, when this post gets published, I’m going to share it out among my friends and followers. I try, though, to keep the amount of personal sharing to a minimum. If the people who connect with me on social media only see I share things about me, then the only people who engage with what I post are going to be just the people who care about me, personally.
I may be a popular guy, but honestly, the five people who make up the crowd of people who care just isn’t influential. Though if I am known for sharing great content relating to specific topics, then the followers grow. I am making myself a resource to the community around the topics I share. I am passionate about the things I choose to share and thus might have something interesting to share about it. I may dig up information others aren’t aware, or I may be a good amplifier of a message, helping it spread to more people.
- Share relevant information to your followers
- Share the content you and your site are passionate about
- Share consistently
- Share your own content conservatively
The word ‘should’ rarely helps as it implies the writer knows more about your individual situation than you do. When I use the word ‘should’ understand I am giving you a general guideline I believe to be a best practice. As you start sharing your content, you’ll monitor engagement (you will monitor engagement, right?) and know what works for your particular group. If you are a celebrity, you bet the people following you want to know all the details of your day. If you are a random guy, no one will care you drank only grapefruit juice for a week. What you share on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook should be only one piece of your content to every two pieces of someone else’s. Pinterest can go to a ratio of 1 to 1 to 5 to 1.
3. Be positive.
Someone in your life once told you “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I’m personally not a big fan of this and prefer the version of the quote from Steel Magnolias “…if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!” Most people, though, have enough negative, sour things in their lives they don’t need someone else giving them more. There is a reason why kittens, rainbows, and funny videos rule the web. Everyone is looking for a pleasant distraction. When engaging and sharing socially, focus on the positives. Acknowledge tragedies, sympathize with victims, and be respectful of those who have passed, but don’t dwell on the negatives.
In light of tragic events, it may be hard to find postive things to say or share and you may simply shut down your social media channels. Don’t leave the conversation. Help amplify the messages needing help. In times of natural disaster there is always information needing to be spread – like evacuation plans, locations of emergency shelters, or safe routes from impacted areas. You personal may not be affected by the events, but you can lend your voice to help reach those who are.
Take all the content you’ve shared on your social channels for the past month and read them together. If you feel like you’re reading a Russian novel filled with drudgery and direness, then you might be swerving a bit too negative.
Success in social media comes from one thing and these three tips are variations on the one thing: be the person you’d like to connect with on social media. Do you want to follow a negative, self-centered account that never shares anything of value? Why would you, unless it was your brother-in-law and you felt some obligation to follow? What if the account you followed treated you like a friend, complimenting the content you shared, eagerly told others about the content you shared, and actively shared things with you in line with your interests? I think that’d be interaction you’d love. It’d make your day to have someone high fiving you and patting you on the back. Genuinely be the person engaged with your followers with no expectations from them and you will gain success with your social media.