Step 5: How to Use Social Media in Your Content Strategy

Social media is a vital tool, it let’s you distribute your message to thousands of potential customers.

There are 3 techniques to social media you should know about. Each one is really powerful but together, they’re unstoppable.

The objective here is to start entering the lives of your customers. Be seen, be interactive and make conversations happen. It can be daunting though, everyone else is trying to do the same thing.

1. Post updates from external sources.

Stay on top of your industry news and let others use you to stay up to date as well.

The first thing to do is to start talking and the easiest way to do that is to find out what people are talking about and repost or retweet it.

This isn’t just about reusing information for your benefit, it will help you learn about your market, what your competitors are doing, what people are looking for and what you can offer. To appear to be a thought leader, you need to know what’s going on. How you find that information can be in a variety of different ways.

Here’s some easy starting points:

Google Alerts

Create a Google Alert for keywords and issues in your area. Google will scour the web for your search and update you whenever there is a new article on the subject. This is a great way to find out what’s current, what’s being talked about and who else is on the scene.

http://www.google.com/alerts

Digg reader

You may not yet have a cohesive list of sources to find information from, it takes time and knowledge, but over time, you will frequently find yourself visiting the same few sites. The next time you do, bookmark it and add it to Digg reader, it will give you a constant feed of useful articles you can read and post to your followers. Having everything here helps you find content more efficiently.

http://digg.com/reader/

2. Post your articles to spread your influence.

This is where you use all the great content you’ve been producing. You really should be producing your own content to be a valuable asset on social media. Social media together with original content will help you gain a good reputation, humanise your brand and raise your awareness as a thought leader.

Link articles back to your website / landing pages with a link shortener so that you can track its success. Bitly.com makes it easy to generate shortlinks and measure them. Use the data to find out what and when is most popular to your users, give it time though, 1 click shouldn’t dictate your entire topic plan.

Remember that writing click worthy posts to social media is an art form you will want to master. Look around you and see how others post, make your posts interesting, secretive and just like other calls to action, make them intriguing. Don’t be afraid to repost your articles occasionally in case people missed them.

If you’re using WordPress, there are a number of plugins that will post your articles automatically. Social from MailChimp does this very well a well as many other thingsĀ http://wordpress.org/plugins/social/.

3. Connect with others and build your network.

Find people in your market and add / follow them. Even if they verge on being a competitor (if they are a direct competitor, then that’s up to you).

This point is very similar to point 1 but instead of articles, you are adding people. With that, you should use your own criteria about who to follow because you’ll be hearing a lot form them. To start, you can search for #hashtags and keywords that you’re interested in and follow people who are saying the right things. Remember though that these people will be doing the same thing as you and you should look for people with a touch of personalisation rather than automated tweets.

Find people who get retweeted, published about and those who write the articles from point 1. If you see events happening in your market, find the speakers on social media and follow them, they’ll be creating content from the forefront.

Communicate, don’t shout

Social Media should be used for what is was designed for, to communicate and connect people. Remember that as a business, don’t be afraid to say what you think in line with your brand, your business should have a soul and you aren’t writing press releases for critique. Carefully check updates for spelling mistakes however, they’re not professional.

As your audience grows, remember that quality is better than quantity, try to get the good guys interested rather than the autobots even if the numbers game gets addictive!

Once you’ve built an established brand you can extend social media for many more purposes than just pushing content so it’s worth the investment.