If generating leads is vital to increasing sales at your company, don’t ignore social media. It can help you get the word out about your services, allow you to engage with customers and potential customers, and even figure out what kind of content to add to your website. There are social media networks for every niche, using every medium – including content, imagery, and video. You’re sure to find something that works!
Before you start using social media, though, you’ll want to have something to say. Sharing other people’s content is wonderful – and a must. However, to get people back to your site where they can become leads means that you have to give them a reason to visit! This means blogging, and it means learning to package your message properly for each network.
Get Suggestions for Generating Relevant Content
The first rule of social media is to create original and relevant content. While this may seem impossible in today’s world of content overload, you can do it! No one will say exactly what you want to say in exactly the same way, on the same platform, and in the exact same format.
As for relevance, Google got as fed up as the rest of us with rubbishy search results and came up with a completely new approach to content ranking with its Hummingbird update in the summer of 2013. It re-established the concept of relevance, and denigrated pop-up ads, false leads, and other distractions.
Search Engine Journal writes that Hummingbird is a step toward the concept of a “semantic Web” that will recognize the relevancy of non-written content such as photographs and videos. This is an important step since video and images dominate a lot of social media sites. Interestingly, I’ve started to notice some of my Pinterest pins showing up in Google Alerts. So, you might want to start pinning!
If you use lead generation services, which gather demographic and other information on potential customers, you have an extra way to look into what potential customers think about and what they value. For example, if you sell insurance, take a look at a sample homeowner insurance lead; you’ll see it includes demographic data on people and properties, giving some insight into the actual human beings you want to reach and supplying interesting options for relevant content.
For instance, in that sample lead, you see that “John Smith” lists an antique valued at $1000 in his profile. Could you write a blog post about protecting and restoring antique furniture, getting antiques valued, or how to haggle at antique stores? Creating great blog content with tantalizing images you can there share on social media brings people back to your site where they can learn more about you and contact you for more information.
Social media is an excellent way to get more eyeballs to your blog. “Get into the habit of actively thinking about blog topics, “says David Spark of Spark Media. Be on the lookout for stories that incorporate conversations you’ve had and will interest your customers. Think about the questions you answer over and over again, or the concepts you really wish people understood and keep a list so you are never without a blog topic idea.
Your Next Best Content Ideas – On Social Media!
Look at social media networks to find out what people are talking about. For Pinterest, look at what’s popular, or just type in a keyword or two – you’ll see plenty of hot content at the top. For Twitter, look at trends. On Google+, go to Explore and look at “What’s Hot.” Just because something is only popular on one network doesn’t mean it won’t be a hit on another – you might just be ahead of the trend!
Create and Test Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Deciding on a social media strategy means taking time to understand your audience, where they get their information, and what their needs are.
If you sell a consumer product that isn’t tangible – insurance for example, you probably rely on getting people to visit your website, where they can learn more about you, join a mailing list, etc. before they get to the point of making a purchasing decision. Social media offers useful ways to boost your inbound marketing, particularly if you have fresh, Hummingbird-friendly content to use.
Brad Fried, who owns an agency that serves professionals like insurance agents and accountants, urges them to take the time to create an effective inbound marketing strategy using social media, including blogging, and pay-per-click advertising. These techniques make direct appeals to your target customers and maximize Hummingbird’s sensibilities.
Share every single blog post your write to your social media channels (multiple times to Twitter). Create a Pinterest board for all your blog post images, but be sure to share them to other boards, including any group boards you belong to. One way to test the effectiveness of your content (written and visual) is to share multiple versions of updates for one piece of content. You might change up the text on Twitter (try attaching an image, too). You could create multiple pinnable images for each blog post and see what works best. And by all means, make sure you:
Tailor the Presentation For Each Network
Think carefully about the audience(s) you want to reach when choosing the platforms, the messages, and the media you use to reach different audiences. In general, younger people gravitate to video sites and older folks like sites that rely more on written content.
If you share the same content on every social media network, it may work, but you’ll have to change the way you’ll present it! For example, the casual friendly tone of Facebook, or the breezy, fun feel of Vine will fall flat on LinkedIn – the buttoned-up (but powerful lead generating) network.
Let’s go back to our health insurance sales example. With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, agents have two interesting and relatively new markets: independent adults over age 18, and parents of children ages 26 and under. Here are few ideas to reach them – and they’re easily adapted for any industry:
- Blog about how easy it is for parents to add adult children to their health insurance policies. Blog about young people who are on their parents’ plan while they pursue education or training.
- Consider a Facebook business page customized for you as a local business or company, depending on your reach. Post blogs to it and check it at least daily to answer questions and reply to comments. Never use your personal Facebook page for business purposes.
- Video interview young adults you know about their new car to post to Vine.
- Create a Pinterest board that features your favorite or long-term clients.
- Pin Pinterest-optimized images with teasers for top content.
- Share an image to Instagram with applicable hashtags and an invitation to visit the blog for more information.
- Publicize on Twitter and LinkedIn (don’t forget groups!).
- Always get written permission to use others’ images and words.
It’s important to devote time to these efforts from on. Finding out what really works, establishing a presence and following and tweaking for success takes time. If you find that you recognize the importance of content and social media, but just don’t have the time, see if someone on your staff has the time and skills to contribute. If not, consider an agency (like ours) that can handle everything from analysis and strategy through implementation and day-to-day management. Call 800.305.9420 x1 and find out what we can do for you.
- How to Get Started on Pinterest as a Small Business Owner (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- What is Inbound Marketing? (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Why Content Marketers Love Pinterest (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Pinterest for Business – Eight Commands for Perfect Pinning Every Time (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Pinterest Group Board Tips & Why You Should Join (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- 10 Reasons You’re Missing the Boat on Pinterest (scalablesocialmedia.com)