Search This Blog

Friday, June 20, 2014

Publish or Perish!

Social media is undoubtedly a powerful tool for business-to-business (B2B) marketing, but businesses that aren’t using it strategically are missing out on opportunities to engage with their prospects and clients and to meet and exceed their business goals. One way to leverage the power of social media is to publish meaningful original content. The culture of search engine optimization (SEO) almost demands such content; thin content and unfocused lists of links once served as ways to boost your search rankings, but search algorithm changes now highlight quality content as the preferred method for improving users’ experiences with search results. To get your piece of the marketing pie—or the marketing cupcake in this metaphor—compose your own content and publish it in optimized digital spaces so you can earn the cherries on top: the clients.
Give your marketing a credible foundation. Content is king, and your content should provide substance to your business as a brand. Differentiate yourself from your competitors and establish your credibility by taking a stance on issues of interest among your target audience and by sharing your expert opinion. Think of the content you share now and why you do so. Is it because you trust the source of information and want to pass it along? Why not be the trusted source of information instead? Speaking of a trusted source of information, Ryan Roslansky, Head of Content Products at LinkedIn, notes that members should publish because the content “will become a part of their professional identity. So if someone looks up your profile, it’ll be there. It’s a great way to show your knowledge and expertise.” Be the expert. Be the cupcake.
Use multiple social media platforms that make sense for your business. Consider your objectives with social media and what others in your industry are doing with it before you select and strategically use your profiles. Do you want to use your content to engage with prospects, clients and industry leaders in real-time dialogue? Use Twitter to quickly interact with those audiences and to contribute meaningful information to industry-focused dialogue. Do you want to use your content to connect with decision makers? LinkedIn is the gold star standard when it comes to professional networking. Publish blog posts about trends, news and issues that may impact your prospects and clients. Identify companies you’d like to meet with and join LinkedIn groups to which decision makers belong.  Do you want to use your content to give your business a more human feel? Facebook provides a digital space to post videos and videos, allowing more personal and/or targeted interactions with your audiences. The platform’s Boosted Posts promote your business to more targeted audiences that you define. While these platforms can be used for a variety of reasons, these ideas serve as the icing on the cupcake when it comes to connecting with your audience.
Optimize your digital space.  Merely having online real estate as a place to house your content is not enough in today’s digital age. You want prospects and clients to actually find your content, not for it to be lost among your competition’s attempts to bake their own marketing cupcakes. Search engine optimization is crucial to promoting that space and connecting with your target audience. Your website should be accessible to not only that audience, but also search engine robots; those robots can’t see web pages like your audience can and SEO helps the engine discover what your site is about and what information will be most helpful to users. Your business’ name, address and phone number should be located on each page of your website and on your Google+ Local listing.  This information should be in text format, not in a picture file. Your city and state names should be included in the title tag, meta description and in the content pages as appropriate. Google uses a combination of positive reviews, proximity to the searcher, number of citations and other factors to order local results.  Improve these elements and your local rankings will improve, driving more prospects to your website and other digital real estates where they can view your content. If optimization is something you are unfamiliar with, a marketing expert specializing in digital strategy can help you implement these sprinkles on your marketing cupcake.

Stay current and relevant in your industry. The content you compose and publish can include information on your company’s mission, products and services as well as experience you bring to the industry table. Keep your content professional and targeted; don’t post content that is not focused on building an audience, relationships and a reputation as an expert in the field.   Earn your cherries on top of your cupcake and ask that your company support you in doing so.

Don’t let the dessert ruin the supper! Your online integrity is sacred. Your content should reflect your actual business philosophy and practices. Social media and content marketing are not like movies with building facades but no real substance. In the same way that videos can go viral on the web, your reputation can go viral as well – but that knife cuts both ways. So, put together a strategy for your social media and content marketing, and if you’re not sure how to get started, find a social media strategist to help you. It’s worth the investment and can make the difference between a strategy that drives new customers to your business or the loss of revenue and reputation – both online and off.

By: Susan Gail Taylor, Marketing Coordinator and Copywriter at RME360