1 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing L et s assume you ve created a white paper or some other form of content. Doing so involves research, writing, editing, rewriting and design. The cost involved isn t tremendously high that s one of the advantages of content creation as a marketing tool but it s still significant. Like any investment, you want to maximize your return. To do so, you need to get the content in front of as many of your desired readers as possible. One proven tactic to accomplish this is direct , the workhorse of B-to-B marketing. Another is social media, for content is the foundation of social media. Content is the foundation of social media. This article will show you the specific ways to use social media to derive the most benefit from your content creation. Consider it your social media starter kit. A few of the topics we will discuss include: How often to create content The strategic content marketing process The social media channels to use for marketing content, and how to use them How to find influencers to add to your network and to share your content with The importance of good content, and how to find it How to develop a social media following Tools that help you with social media
2 2 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing Know Your Goal and Your Audience Before we get into the details of how to use social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, we need to briefly discuss the two things you need to know before creating content: your primary goal for the content and your target audience. To learn how to pick topics to produce content on, see the blog posts Make Your Content HOT With Social Media and Tell Your Company s Story Well. Ten Tips. If you don t know your goal for the content and your audience, your content marketing will, at best, be inefficient, as both influence what you write and how you promote it. For example, if your goal is sales leads, parts of your content might refer to your product(s) and you should require people to fill out a form to download it. If your goal is thought leadership, the content should be completely non-promotional and not include a download form, which is a barrier for many readers. Regarding audience, you are writing to solve a pain point for them, so you need to know who they are, both so you can write for them, and so you can target them with your social media and/or campaigns. A White Paper Shouldn t Just be a White Paper Let s return to assuming that your white paper or other piece of content is written. Did you know that your content creation on the topic should be far from complete? To maximize your ROI, you will want to turn the content into a series of blog posts over the course of a month or two, each on a different topic or section in the content. For a 2,000- word white paper, for instance, you should be able to create at least five to 10 blog posts. You should also plan to compose a significant number of tweets perhaps as many as 60 or 70 (more on this later), again over a month or two that publicize the content. Both the blog posts and tweets should provide a link to the download page. Creating these smaller pieces will increase the visibility and potential downloads of your main piece of content. There are two reasons for this. First, people are busy and consume content
3 3 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing Consider advertising or paid promotion of your content on Facebook to get additional exposure. at different times. By expanding the breadth of time you promote your content, you will increase the number of people who will have access to it. Second, people vary in the way they prefer to consume content. Some prefer white papers. Some prefer to read blog posts, but might be persuaded to read the white paper by a quality post. Others might find content through Twitter, via Facebook or LinkedIn groups, etc. Due to the actions involved with this content marketing strategy, it s a good idea to market only one major piece of content at a time. If you have other pieces of content, it s generally a good idea to use a much more toned-down approach to avoid turning off your target audience due to promotion overload. General Social Media Practices There is no single recipe for using social media to market your content. It s not like creating spaghetti alla carbonara or cream cheese swirl brownies, where one way fits all. The social media practices that work best for one company might not work best for another. That s because companies have different audiences, different goals for their social media marketing and different reputations. These differences can affect what the best social media mix will be. It may be helpful to think of social media as a stock market, with the individual channels being the stocks and the total number of people using them making up the prices. (However, the value of social media sites to companies will vary depending on how engaged their target audience is on those sites.) Like the actual stock market, it s good to have a diversified portfolio with social media. Post your content to a variety of sites, and don t fall in love with one channel. The popularity of individual social media sites go up and down, and new sites are created every year. Social media differs from the stock market, however, in that there is much less cost and risk to experiment. For example, if you ve relied on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, it s a
4 4 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing simple process to find LinkedIn groups to post on, linking to your content when appropriate. If it works, great. If it doesn t, no big deal. Regardless, keep experimenting. Unwise communication can backfire and harm your reputation. It s important, however, to remember that you are communicating with potential customers. Intelligent communication can lead them to take the action you want, but unwise communication can backfire and harm your reputation. Here are two tips to avoid running into problems: While the goal is to promote your content, avoid being overly promotional. If most of your tweets are promotional, for example, you ll drive away followers. It s important to use a communication style that fits with the company image you desire. If you want to be seen as edgy, write edgy blogs and social media posts; if you want to be seen as highly professional, use a business-like tone. Setting Up Your Social Media Sites To maximize your return on social media, you need to build a significant network among your target audience, whether it s followers (Twitter and company LinkedIn pages), connections (personal LinkedIn accounts) or friends (company and/or personal Facebook pages). The first step to do this is to develop your personal and your company Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pages. If you don t have a blog, you should create one. You could also consider setting up company pages on sites such as Google+, YouTube and Pinterest, among others. Display your social icons across all your various web and social properties. Each of the company social sites should be branded consistently, with the same graphical look and feel across every channel. This makes your social media presence appear professional. Also, put the icons for your various social media channels on your website, and when possible, on your company social media pages. Next, you need to start promoting your sites. This can and should be done in a variety of ways. These ways include, but are not limited to:
5 5 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing Ask your partners to follow, connect with, or like you (perhaps provide an enticement for them to do so) Put out an campaign announcing your new social media site(s) Announce it in your blog, on your website and on your other social media pages Developing Your Network After you set up your sites, use them. After you set up your sites, use them. It seems the obvious thing to do, but it s not uncommon to find company social media sites that are rarely, if ever, used, which can create a bad impression. Your immediate goal is to build your network. The size and quality of your network determines who will see your content. Great ways to build your network include posting content that people in your industry will find valuable or useful, and commenting on industry blogs and social media conversations in an intelligent, non-promotional manner. (Remember, everything you do should be consistent with your desired company image, so if edgy is the goal, be edgy.) Social Baby Steps But how do you find the best, and most appropriate, content to share? By following the relevant trending content and social media conversations in your industry. You make a name for your company on social by helping drive the conversation and prompt your target audience to follow, connect with or friend you. Not only will this help you get your content read, but also others will be more likely to want to work with you, and buy your products and services.
6 6 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing There is a problem, however. It is time-consuming to, by oneself, try to stay aware of the trending conversations and content for one s industry, and ultimately it s a failing proposition. Information today is shooting out a fire hose, with millions of articles per year and Twitter breaking the 400 million tweet-per-day barrier earlier this year, according to The Verge, a technology website. You can try to use general search engines to sort through it all, but there is a tremendous amount of noise and out-of-date information. Some software options have been developed, however, to solve this problem. Give to Get. The 80/20 Rule: A general rule of thumb is to Tweet four pieces of other people's content for every one tweet promoting your own content. And even that may be too much. The most well-known enterprise solution is Radian6, which tracks the content and conversations across industries ideal for large B2C companies. For the human resources industry, there is SocialEars HR. This tool, which, in order to sharply reduce noise, analyzes only the journalists, analysts and social influencers who matter in HR, will give you a list of trending content and conversations based on keyword searches. It also will list the influential people who are creating and sharing the content, and allows you to instantly add them to your network. Now, let s discuss how to use the three principal social media sites for B2B marketing: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. How to use Twitter It s a must for B2B companies to be on Twitter, but there are a number of important tips for handling this 140-character world. As we wrote earlier, it s vital to develop your social media network. Ideally, you generated a good start on your followers when you promoted your Twitter account. But it s important to keep adding quality followers. There are a number of ways to do this, which generally involve following other people in hopes that they will follow you in return (your chances will be greater if your tweets contain intriguing content). We ve mentioned how you can find influential people and content through SocialEars HR. Another great tool to find people to follow is Twitter s Who to Follow feature, which
7 7 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing provides suggestions on people to follow based on whom the people you follow choose to follow. The Browse Categories option within Who to Follow also works well. Expand the visibility of your tweets by using a variety of relevant #hashtags. Also find new people to follow and content to share by tracking conversations for important hashtags TweetDeck or HootSuite can help you do this. A possible option to consider is there are a number of companies that help build follower lists. Generally, they follow people for you in hopes that those people will follow you in return. This practice can be effective in increasing your number of followers, but they might not be the followers you are looking for. You may have noticed the following conflict with content marketing via social media: While being non-promotional helps build your follower list, the goal is to promote your content. How is the conflict resolved? The general rule of thumb is the 80:20 Rule: promote four pieces of content from other people for every tweet promoting your own content. This, however, is something to experiment with, as your audience might be less or more willing to read promotional tweets than others. Earlier in this article, we mentioned that you should compose as many as 60 or 70 tweets over a month or to promote your content. To stay within the 80:20 Rule, assuming you did no other promotional tweets, you would want to do at least non-promotional tweets during that time. Otherwise, you d need to reduce the number of promotional tweets. Whatever the number ends up being, you should vary the wording of the tweets, perhaps highlighting different parts of your content, and use different popular hashtags to increase your reach. SocialEars HR provides a list of popular hashtags for the human resources industry. With the heavy, constant flow of content on Twitter, there is an array of free software tools that help you manage it. A few include: For a list of popular HR Twitter hashtags check out this blog post: The Top HR Twitter #Hashtags. This web application flattens Twitter, so you don t have to refresh your screen or switch tabs for updates. You can track updates from people you follow, tweets you in, direct messages, favorite tweets, trending topics, and new followers.
8 8 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing This is an alternative to TweetDeck for managing Twitter. One useful function: you can use it to have new content from your blog automatically posted to your social networks. For more free tools, check out this blog post: Twitter Tools: What the HR Influencers Use. This website will tell you the best times of the day to tweet. It analyzes your tweets and your followers tweets, so you can start tweeting when it makes most sense to reach others. It is free for an analysis of up to 1,000 of your followers. How to use LinkedIn and Facebook We re grouping LinkedIn and Facebook because you can use both social networking sites in similar ways. One must is to share your new content (white paper, blog post, infographic, etc.) on your company LinkedIn and Facebook pages. If you ve developed your connections (LinkedIn) and friends (Facebook), this is another way to get visibility for your content. It s a great idea to venture out from your company pages to LinkedIn and Facebook groups for your industry. These groups include people who are eager to network. Still, it s a good idea to be non-promotional, only linking to your content when appropriate. To find LinkedIn Groups, simply go to the Groups menu on the home page. You can create a group, view a group directory and view a list of groups that LinkedIn suggests for you. Finding industry Facebook Groups is more difficult. One of the best ways is to simply use Facebook s standard search function. Other Ways to Promote Your Content The focus of this article has been on how to use social media to promote your content, but there are a number of other marketing options to consider. These include pitching your news to prominent industry journalists and bloggers, perhaps offering a customer or expert for an interview. Or, write the article yourself, and submit it to
9 9 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing Lead Generation: Most Important Tools publications. Another option is a direct campaign to a list of prospects, either a house list or a rented or purchased list. Also, if you have a newsletter, mention the availability of the content there. You can also do a webinar or a podcast about it. Even a short YouTube video. There are just so many ways to promote content. Like we mentioned earlier, experiment, and see what works best for you. But at a minimum, have a content marketing strategy and use social to promote your content. Participants in a recent BtoB Magazine survey identified content marketing (51 percent) as being the most important tool for generating leads, outscoring brand awareness (38 percent), thought leadership (34 percent) and sales (29 percent). Conclusion That s a good amount to digest, but you don t have to do every marketing method or use every tool we mentioned to have success with your content marketing via social media. You don t have to do every marketing method or use every tool to have success. Instead, our goals were to give you general best practices for success, to inform you about some pitfalls to avoid and to provide you some ideas for experimentation. When you do your promotion, we find it best to spread it over 2-3 months (you can certainly experiment with the time), after which it s best to have another piece of content to promote. Then with the new piece of content, follow the same steps you did with the first, perhaps experimenting in different ways. If you habitually repeat this process, you will have a solid year-round content-based marketing campaign that will give you increased visibility online, increased sales leads and better SEO.
10 10 Your Social Media Starter Kit For Content Marketing Need Help? Give us a Call. We have more than a decade of experience providing marketing and PR services for the global HR marketplace. Use our HRmarketer.com and SocialEars HR software (HRmarketer.com) to improve your content marketing and industry visibility. Need more hands on help? Our full-service agency, the Fisher Vista Creative Marketing Group (FisherVista.com), offers a range of marketing and media visibility services to increase your online presence, web traffic and sales leads. To talk with one of our marketing specialists, call We have sales offices in California, Canada and the United Kingdom. About HRmarketer and SocialEars HR: HRmarketer has over a decade of experience providing marketing and PR services for the global HR marketplace. Our HRmarketer.com software has the right information accurate and up-todate that you need for successfully marketing your business to HR and other key B2B decision-makers. Share this article Did you like this article? Please share it with your social networks. Just click and post. Our latest cloud software, SocialEars HR, is a radically different approach to social listening. By going beyond listening to just the social update (e.g., Tweet, LinkedIn or Facebook post) to analyzing news stories, blogs and content linked to from these updates, SocialEars paints a clearer picture of what's being discussed, content being shared, who wrote it, and the people most influencing the topics in the HR marketplace. This helps you listen to the right conversations, discover the information important to your needs, and engage with the people and influencers that matter. To start using SocialEars HR for your personalized PR, visit and set up a free trial. Finally, our full-service agency provides a range of marketing and PR services to increase your visibility, web traffic and sales leads. To talk with one of our sales specialists visit HRmarketer.com or call We have sales offices in California, Canada and the United Kingdom.