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14/02/2012

10 principles of social media content marketing

By Jeff Bullas.

Content has become the new “black” of marketing as companies realise that engaging content that begs to be read and shared is essential to growing a brands presence online. Content is not just a blog post but can be a variety of media that can be published online.

This could include:

• Photos – Flickr
• Presentations – Slideshare
• Videos – YouTube
• Images and Photos – Pinterest
• Multimedia – Tumblr and Facebook

Publishing is one thing but the real power is in the sharing. This is what you call contagious fluid content. This is facilitated by social networks and social media.

The Rise of Social Networks

In 1997 the first social network was created called sixdegrees.com and was the forerunner of the modern social networks that started to gain traction in 2002.

The first of the modern next generation social media networks that followed in 2002, had the the funky name of Friendster, which to my ear sort of sounds like a hybrid cross between a “Friend” and a “Hamster”.

As with any good idea it was quickly copied (“ripped off” is another phrase that comes to mind) and MySpace was created and launched in 2003.

This social media network dominated for the next 5 years as teenagers became addicted to the interactive and multimedia rich, self publishing web platform that allowed them to share music, content and information with their friends.

The Addictive Power of Social Media

The addictive power of the social network was on display to many parents as dinner tables around the world were deserted by teens after gulping down their meat and potatoes, as they rushed off to their computers to continue their “MySpacing”

In 2008, Facebook surpassed MySpace and became the dominant social network.

Since then we have seen the rise of the “smart phone” connecting people to the web without wires or a desk bound computer.

This mobile social web has allowed everyone to become a publisher no matter where they are.

The Information Tsunami

At a conference in 2010 Eric Schmidt the then CEO of Google stated:

Every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003

This information includes content such as emails, tweets, Facebook updates, Photos, YouTube video uploads and text messages.

Social networks have largely contributed to this tidal wave of information and content

• Videos Uploaded to YouTube – 48 hours of Video uploaded every minute and YouTube receives 3 billion views per day
• Photos Uploaded to Facebook – 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day
• Tweets on Twitter – 200 million tweets per day
• Email – Over 100 trillion emails a year or more than 300 billion emails a day
• Text Messages in 2011 – more than 7 trillion

Many teens are averaging over 3,000 text messages per month.

Much of this is content is not of great quality in fact it is estimated that 89% of all emails are spam.

So as a Social Media marketer, business owner or CEO, how do you harness, focus and take advantage of this information and content “Tsunami”

Is Traditional Marketing Broken?

If you want to get serious about social media marketing for your business or organisation the foundation of any focused effort is having great content to publish and promote.

Other terms for this marketing approach are

• Inbound marketing
• Content Marketing
• Pull marketing

These all provide a description for an alternative paradigm to traditional marketing that is all about interruption marketing including telemarketing, cold calling and traditional advertising that pushes messages “at” you.

Technology now allows us to block calls, skip channels on your TV or record and watch later.

The secret behind content marketing that is published and promoted on social networks including blogs, Facebook and Twitter is attracting loyal tribes of readers and viewers.

This allows you to attract and pull customers to you that will engage, read and view and then buy.

The 10 Principles of Content Marketing

Here are 10 building blocks that you need to include in your plans for marketing your business on an increasingly social and mobile web.

1. Get Focused
Who are you speaking to? Provide content that communicates with your customers and prospects in a language they understand.

2. Create Goals for your Content
What are you trying to achieve– capture emails, provide leads, nuture prospects or improve your visibility to search engines.

Do you want to make the content so entertaining that it makes your brand memorable and remarkable and do you want the message to become viral. A funny video may achieve this.

When designing your content make sure it is not content for contents sake, but is assisting you in growing your business

3. Become a Publisher
The democratisation of publishing and marketing means that you now don’t have to wait for your local printer to print off 10,000 marketing brochures and then organise them to be letter boxed .

Now you can write a blog article, email it to your “opt in” subscribers, tweet the link to your Twitter followers and promote it on Facebook.

4. Solve Problems
Everyone has problems and helping your customers and prospects solve them will take them from interested readers to raving fans. Write content that shows people how to fix their problems that are relevant to your industry and market.

5. Include Calls to Action
Don’t forget to include calls to action with your content. It could be to subscribe, share or register for an eBook or whitepaper.

Creating small calls to action will lead prospects towards the ultimate goal for any business and that is to put some money down or place an order.

6. Talk like a Human
Corporate speak was invented by copywriters but a while back people started switching off.

Being “Authentic” is the new black and being real is the “new marketing” that is a message that cuts through

7. Show What Works
Case studies that “show” how your product is used are much more effective than “telling“. Create content that showcases how other customers are using your product and services to achieve success.

Nothing like a bit of “social proof” to create credibility, trust and action.

8. Have some Fun
The original 10 commandments didn’t mention having fun but it helps enormously to present you and your company as having a sense of humour. This doesn’t mean making every piece of content a comedy act but lighten up and show your other side.

Orabrush YouTube Video – This companies use of humour and social media helped them sell 1 million toothbrushes that reduces bad breath.

9. Publish Everywhere
Publishing was expensive and just placing an ad in your local newspaper could cost you thousands.

Now you can publish on dozens of social networks at no cost within minutes. Despite there being thousands of social networks, publish on the social media channels that are used by your customers.

Make your content ubiquitous – place it everywhere from hub (blog or website) to outposts (Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) where your customers hangout!

10. Create Multi-Media
Not everyone likes reading, in fact the younger generation generally reads and views content in many formats including online videos on YouTube. The social web is about rich multi-media that engages interest and communicates visually and not just the “written word“.

Publish your content in several different formats and media types that your customers will like and enjoy. Some examples of these are video, audio (podcast), photos, whitepaper, info-graphics and eBooks.

I know I have 10 commandments listed here but I am sure that you may have discovered some more.

How have you used and optimised your content for your social networks and marketing?

Look forward to hearing your stories.

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