There’s no doubt the role of social media has increased drastically recently. Seemingly every company is trying to hop on the social media marketing bandwagon in hopes they’ll connect with their consumers in a new, exciting, and profitable way.
But how many of these companies really know what social media marketing is? Based on my experiences, many people think simply placing social media buttons on their blog is all they need to do. They believe the buttons’ presence will propel their content to the front page of Digg, Reddit, and other sites.
That’s why I’m here to say—Social media marketing is more than buttons!
Social Media Marketing Takes Time
The first thing that needs to be understood is effective social media marketing takes a long-term commitment. Look at the front page of Digg. It’s no coincidence that many of the same users submit hot content on a regular basis. They’ve taken the time to become a top member of the community, and they’ve learned what they need to do to promote their content.
You can’t just go onto Digg or any other social media site with guns blazing, submitting your content like a mad person. In fact, that’s a surefire way to shoot yourself in the foot, ruining your chances of ever experiencing true social media success.
If you really want to reap the benefits of social media marketing (inbound links, improved online visbility, brand awareness, etc,) you need to take the time to learn the community you’re targeting. It doesn’t matter if it’s Digg or a niche site like Sphinn, if you want to be successful you need to understand how the community works. Take the time to figure out which type of content tends to get the best reaction. More importantly, take the time to help promote content other than your own. If all you do is submit your own content, no one will ever take you seriously. Make connections with others, and get to know the community on a personal basis.
Great Content is a Must
I hesitate to repeat this overused phrase, but content is king. You’re never going to bluff your way into creating hot content that generates tons of links. You have to know how to write the content that social media users crave.
And it all starts with the headline. If you don’t have a compelling headline, you stand almost no chance of having your content rise to the top. Why? Because there are millions of blogs and thousands of submissions every minute of the day. What determines which submission social media users will click on and vote up? The title. Make your title click-worthy or suffer the consequences.
Once you have a click-worthy title, it’s time to focus on the content. First, scannability is a must. Online users don’t like to read long blocks of text, so it’s essential that you break it up into short, easy-to-scan paragraphs. It’s also useful to include bold, descriptive headings throughout the piece. This way, the visitor can glance over the article to get an idea of its subject matter. Then, they can decide if they want to read it or not.
Another critical element of social media content writing is relevancy. If you’re dragging up topics that have been exhausted for years, social media users won’t promote it. Relevancy is key. If you aren’t talking about the latest issues, you’ll get passed over for someone who is. That’s what the Internet and social media are all about—the latest, most in-depth information.
But if you can’t be the latest, then make sure you’re the greatest. If you aren’t the one breaking stories in your industry, be the one who provides the most detailed coverage of it. By creating the go-to resource for a particular topic, you could have a hot piece of linkbait on your hands.
Oh, by the way, don’t forget to use those social media buttons on your blog. They really are useful, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on.