Your customers don’t care about you. And they don’t join social networks so they can do business with you. In my last column, we unpacked those two marketing myths and explored how to craft social updates that answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
The content you publish to social networks must be relevant to your target customers and shareable across multiple platforms. Let’s look at some popular social outposts to see which types of updates get shared most often, and the tools used to share those updates.
Blog. The articles my readers share most often include the words “how to” in the title. You won’t go wrong when you publish a succinct tutorial that helps readers in your niche do a specific activity. I increase the shareability of my tutorials by embedding screenshots and videos.
Other types of blog content readers love to share include guest posts, case studies, infographics, interviews, short videos and link-style posts that point readers to relevant articles around the Web.
Make it easy for your blog’s readers to share your content; ask questions and invite them to post comments. Include “sharing” buttons such as “retweet” or “like on Facebook” in a prominent location within each post.
Most importantly, syndicate your blog. The major blog hosting services include tools that allow you to set up an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, which gives visitors the option to subscribe to your latest posts via their feed reader or e-mail. People who subscribe to your blog are much more likely to share your posts on their social networks.
Facebook. Photos and videos are Facebook’s bread-and-butter; your fans can hardly resist viewing, liking and sharing posts that include images. I take advantage of the image craze by uploading the picture that accompanies each of my blog posts to Facebook. I accompany that image with a short “teaser” that links to the blog article. Instead of displaying the standard thumbnail-sized image that Facebook grabs when it recognizes a link, my Facebook update includes a large photo that’s more likely to catch my readers’ attention.
Syndicate. If you publish a blog, applications such as NetworkedBlogs or RSS Graffiti will automatically post a link to your latest blog article onto your Facebook wall. You can also connect your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts so your Facebook updates auto-post to Twitter (or vice-versa), and your tweets automatically appear on your LinkedIn profile.
Keep in mind, however, that Facebook updates allow up to 63,206 characters, whereas tweets are 140 characters. If you auto-stream Facebook updates into Twitter, your followers will see only the first 140 characters (which includes the link to your Facebook page). I appease my Twitter followers by rewriting Facebook updates so they’re less than 140 characters and posting them manually to Twitter.
Schedule. Ideally, we’d all have time to manually post updates to multiple social networks throughout the day. But we have jobs, families and real-life friends. I keep my sanity intact by relying on tools such as HootSuite, SocialOomph and TweetDeck. These powerful management “dashboards” allow me to schedule the exact day and time updates will appear on each of my networks, and to monitor and message via a web browser, e-mail or smartphone.
When it comes to social networking, it’s impossible to do it all. Give yourself permission to syndicate and schedule some of your updates. Use the time you’ll save to create content your fans will be delighted to share.
Laura Christianson owns Blogging Bistro (bloggingbistro.com), a Snohomish-based company that serves a full menu of online marketing services, including content writing, social media consulting, and website creation. Contact her at 425-244-4242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.