If you’ve used social media for any period of time you may be well aware of how negative people can be when they’re behind a keyboard. At some point, your brand or business may have to deal with a furious customer or an “Internet Troll”.
But how should you handle responding to criticism?
Below are some options on what to do when things get ugly on your Facebook page, Twitter profile and more.
This may come as a surprise, but sometimes the best response is no response. It goes way back to the old adage our parents (and their parents, and so on) used to say: “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
Unfortunately, there are people on the Internet who feel they should be heard, regardless of how inflammatory their comments are.
A general rule of thumb by anyone in the social media marketing field is to not silence those voices by deleting their comment. It may just fuel on the fire. In some cases, responding to negative comments can do the same.
I don’t always advocate ignoring comments, especially those that are warranted and may need addressed to foster good will and better customer service. However, if someone is trying to goad you into an argument, it may be best to leave it be.
A mentioned above, you don’t want to silence your audience. If they find out you have deleted a comment, it may make matters worse, as the entire concept of social media marketing is to amplify your messages across different overlapping circles of people.
Infuriating someone who already has an axe to grind may amplify their negative message. Regardless if that message is true or not, you may want that fire to spread as low as possible.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate messages that harassment, cursing, or other derogatory comments. Take constructive criticism into consideration before you go as far as deleting or reporting a comment, or outright banning the user who made it.
Obviously if the account making the comments is a fake user, or is created with malice in mind, this should weigh even less on your conscious. You’ll see more of these fake accounts on places such as Twitter and Instagram, as Facebook has cracked down making sure their users are genuine, real people.
If this were a fire, the last thing you want to do is have it blow up in your face. Be careful with your choice of words and how you handle responding to critical comments. You can be formal or informal depending on your industry and style, however, also be aware that text doesn’t always convey emotion and your best intentions to use humor could be taken the wrong way.
The last thing you want to do is engage in a back-and-forth argument, as it will quickly spiral out of control regardless of your best intentions: it’s literally a no-win situation.
Sticking with the fire analogy, another way to respond to a commenter and make sure their voice is heard, while also keeping that fire from spreading all over your page, is to ask the person to contact you directly. That could mean a personal/direct message, email, and/or phone call.
However, you approach it, taking the conversation offline puts it into the private realm where it will no longer negatively impact you be being in the view of the general public.
It should also help calm an individual with complaints as they get to explain their issue and hopefully have it corrected.
When perusing Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform, most people don’t realize they should have an underlying strategy to posting for their business or brand.
Unlike making personal posts, where photos of your children, pets, or food are the norm, you should incorporate these ideas into your social media campaigns. Doing so will not only keep your content fresh, but it will help further engage your audience.
I always like to think of these three principles like a circus: everyone doesn’t go to the circus to see the lions, so you need a trapeze act, clowns, etc. In the same way everyone isn’t visiting your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter profiles for the same reason.
That’s why it’s important to shake things up by following these three principles for promoting your brand or business on social media.
The most basic principle of posting to social media is to inform someone of something.
That may sound basic and it is. If you have an event, you should notify people of when it’s happening and all of the pertinent details: when, where, why, and how. The “how” can be any associated costs, such a fee at the door, entry fee or even if your event is free. (Which is often a determining factor for families to plan to attend your event.)
Informational posts can also include product or service announcements, deadlines or pretty much any other details that are important to share with your followers.
Oftentimes the informational post you create on social media will lead back to somewhere on your website. If it’s for a product, you will want to link where to buy it. If it’s an event, you may have more details than can possibly (or neatly) fit within a social media update.
A little different than simply informing your following of an event or announcement, educational posts do as they indicate: they teach someone about a topic.
This too seems like a no-brainer; however, you’d be surprised at the number of missed opportunities I witness where someone can position themselves as an expert in their field by sharing a link that educates their audience about a particular subject matter.
Almost always this should be a link back to your own website: it’s a lot wiser to send traffic your way than to someone else!
Educational posts usually have a lot more value to your target audience but they may not always strike a chord with everyone. Have some patience, as your informational posts and the next category, will help shake things up and keep everyone engaged with your brand’s social media.
Entertainment posts are listed last because it’s incredibly easy to get too carried away with them. Sharing photos or videos is fun, and it may get you that quick satisfaction of a like or share, but if that’s all you do you will lose the entire purpose of your social media accounts: which is to help build your business’ presence with the goal of converting followers into advocates and purchasers of your products and services.
It doesn’t hurt to have an occasional fun item on your social media pages. It helps break up the monotony of virtually yelling to your followers about an event or an announcement, and assists in my making your page less boring.
Granted some business ventures will almost never have anything entertaining to say or do. This (and not your TV or radio spots) is an opportunity to share photos of the grandkids or pets, or get employees and coworkers involved in your pitch. If you have a special day at the office, such as Football Friday or a company picnic, sharing pictures of these events can further help others relate to your brand.
But again, don’t get too carried away with this. All it takes is for a joke to be taken the wrong way to destroy your credibility, so be careful what you post.
Once again, I emphasize making it about yourself, especially when it comes to entertaining updates. Sharing another page’s amusing post does not make youentertaining. In fact, it may make someone question why you aren’t the ones having fun!
People love to fawn over Instagram and for a long time I was opposed to even having a presence on the social media platform.
That may come as a surprise to many. As a content marketer, I’ve seen many other experts recommend jumping on every new train which enters the station. First, it was Facebook, then it was Twitter, now it’s Instagram and Snapchat and whatever else the next fad may be. This is great for content marketers who make their living off of creating materials for their clients: it’s another avenue from which to generate revenue.
But what about the average Joe who is doing this on their own time and dime to build brand awareness?
To those folks I don’t have an easy answer, other than Instagram is its own animal. Here are some of the positives and negatives of using Instagram in your social media marketing campaigns.
For active readers of this blog and listeners of the DisContent Podcast, you already know I’m a big advocate of owning your own content. That is, you want to make sure your information and/or content is on your website, your podcast, or sent via an email newsletter or published in an eBook.
Posting to social media means that information is locked to a service like Facebook; which locks out anyone who doesn’t use Facebook.
Social media should be a means by which you announce your new article or list a podcast episode. It shouldn’t house all of your information, because it may soon disappear. (Or worse, never be seen at all.)
I’m keen on saying Your website is your baby and as such, Instagram offers only a single way to go to your site: within your profile bio. Any other mentions of a URL or link to your content won’t be hyperlinked. That means you have to rely on your audience, the same audience scrolling rapidly through their app, to remember where to go to view your info or manually type it into your site.
The good news is that’s how we want to train your followers: to visit your website. The bad news is that Instagram may never connect them from point A (the Instagram site or app) to point B (you).
One thing that’s different with Instagram versus its social media siblings is that you might see content posted well beyond the usual “expiration date” of a post made on Facebook or Twitter. It’s not unusual to see an Instagram post pop up on your feed a week after it was made.
That’s a good thing. It means you have a better success rate of someone seeing your content!
As mentioned earlier, since you cannot share links, everything that gets posted to Instagram is an image. It was always intended to be a photo-only platform but has since expanded to video as well.
If you’re in an industry such as running a café, you may have a built-in reason to post photos as you can create a gallery showcasing your food. But if you’re an author, outside of a book cover you may be scratching your head for ideas.
Even if you’re not a graphic designer, using Instagram isn’t hopeless. In the author scenario above, you can take a quote from your book (or better yet, a testimonial) and add it to any number of online image creation apps which are available (usually at no charge).
Canva is a great one I use myself, just to get a quick and dirty idea done.
Event posters are also a no-brainer for Instagram, however, you will want to make sure it can all fit within the square box specifications of the platform.
If you want to do anything besides setup your basic account and profile information, you better grab your smartphone: Instagram won’t allow you to post photos directly from a desktop computer. (At least not without some workarounds.)
That can be a challenge for people who have pictures they’d like to post but don’t have them on their phone. In that case, a number of tools can be used to help move files between devices.
Instagram is a great place to network with complete strangers with the use of hashtags. It’s much like Twitter in that regard, possibly even better, as relevant information will find its way to your screen.
That means more eyeballs on your content.
Want to share someone’s Instagram post to your account? Good luck.
The most you can do is make a screen capture of their image or use a web service to download it. From there you’ll end up posting it as yourself, which in a roundabout way amounts to stealing.
There are apps which will allow you to re-gram Instagram posts, tagging the original account in the process. They are a bit clunky to get used to, but it’s the only way to properly credit the original content creator on the network.
Now you can see why getting involved with Instagram can be a confusing task. The social media network operates much differently than Facebook or Twitter when it comes to sharing content. However, with a large installed base of potential followers (audience) and the ability to create business profiles which synchronize with your Facebook page, it’s becoming harder to ignore Instagram.
Just be aware that you will more than likely have to create original content specifically for their platform, which could cost you more time and/or money long-term. In order to make an educated decision of whether or not to join in the frenzy, you’ll want to weigh the benefits of maintaining a steady stream of content on Instagram versus that of repurposing your usual posts on multiple channels. If you feel you can post on Instagram consistently without stretching your overall content marketing efforts thin, go for it.
If not, focus your efforts by targeting those social media networks in which you can post the same thing to with little or no modification: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.
When I first meet business professionals who are interested in digital marketing, their questions almost always surround how to get seen on the first page of Google or building their Facebook following to thousands of page likes.
They’re almost always surprised to find out that Facebook is merely a conduit to bring leads back to your website. Some businesspeople struggle to find value in other social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram if they’re not already using them too. Often, they are looking to get into more social media networks and that makes their efforts, overall, stretch thin.
Rather than focus on social media, and those vanity numbers associated with it (retweets, shares, likes, and views) you have to first concern yourself with having a strong foundation for digital marketing.
That usually begins with content marketing.
I notice companies who share other page’s posts or make short blurbs about themselves with no way of getting back to the main source of information: your website. A well-designed website should already have your products and services listed on it, as well as calls to action to contact you for more details or to make a purchase.
When you post to your website, it’s there for as long as you keep it there.
That’s why social media isn’t the be-all and end-all for your marketing efforts. Social media is very volatile. A tweet may be gone in seconds, shoved down the page based on the number of people you follow, and how often those people tweet or retweet other accounts.
Producing content, such as a blog post or a podcast, takes time. However, that time is well spent when you own your content. Furthermore, that content doesn’t disappear overnight in a sea of tweets or friends and family posting photos.
Your website is your baby.
It’s your digital brochure and conforms to your specifications. It can host as long of a blog post as you’d like, archive photo galleries, or even list a podcast episode. You can write an article, update your audience on an event or share a new product with them.
Unlike social media platforms, you are not confined to playing by the rules of Facebook or Twitter, forced to only post graphics to Instagram, or compete for space within Google Plus circles. With your website, you make the rules. And since you own the platform, anyone can refer back to your website when they need to find that information.
Try doing that with Twitter or Facebook. It’s nearly impossible to scroll through even two days’ worth of posts sometimes… even when you know the person or page that posted it!
Therefore, make your website the number one place to find your content. Social media should only be used as a means to promote the content you produce outside of it. A quick hello or update is always acceptable.
However, keep in mind that you don’t want to undermine your main source of information for your brand or business by tossing it into the gigantic sea of social media. Instead, leverage social media as a way to notify those swimming in that giant body of water to your efforts. In this way, your message doesn’t get lost among all of those persons floating along in those pools.
In addition, make sure you are on the platforms you can best support. Being on every social media network isn’t as important as making sure you keep those channels updated with content which makes your account a “must follow”.
Believe it or not, I get asked to “post this on Facebook” more often than you’d think.
I’m not sure if the word “Facebook” has become synonymous with social media in that way that we now “Google” things or when we used to “Xerox” copies, but that question sometimes makes me wonder if people realize there’s an entire world of options out there besides the giant that is Facebook?
Let me backtrack before I get into those options: you absolutely should be on Facebook. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it! Facebook is the king of the proverbial social media jungle. It has the most users and may get you your biggest bang for your advertising buck. It’s not often I come across someone who doesn’t want to be on Facebook, but I meet resistance (or even blank stares) when mentioning the benefits of other platforms.
I strongly believe you don’t need to be on every social media platform. I previously talked about the positives and negatives of several social media networks, but need to go into detail about the pitfalls of only being visible on a single platform.
Facebook is the biggest of them all, but that also means you may have more competition. If you’re not a niche brand or product, you could easily get swept under the rug. Therefore, if Facebook is your only means of advertising, that isn’t good.
I always advocate leveraging social media to bring that potential audience back to your website. However, if you’re only broadcasting to a single pool of people, that also isn’t any good.
Oftentimes your Facebook page is going to begin with immediate friends and family who you invite to like your page. You have to cast your net a bit wider to find strangers. The best way to do that is jumping into services that cater to the general public.
Twitter is by and large the biggest platform to do so. While Instagram is growing, you cannot link back to your site within individual posts there (which also have to be anchored by posting a photo). On Twitter you can easily send out short, quick messages. As with any service there’s a caveat: tweets are limited to roughly 280 characters (pending photo attachments and links) plus Twitter is like a newswire in that the information is consumed as fast as it vanishes. (Almost instantly.)
While I made that comment about Instagram, the service links up nicely with Facebook (their owner) and can help you cross-promote to both your business page audiences.
Facebook and Twitter posts rank high when using Google. There’s a strong possibility that your posts there on a particular topic will rank higher than your own website. (Note: that’s typical and nothing to be discouraged about.)
YouTube videos will always rank higher on Google than regular text posts. Since video is a hot medium and Google owns YouTube, it would behoove you to create a channel and post clips, if you have them. (As always, make sure you have links in your description!)
Pinterest and Google Plus can regularly show up high in web searches as well. While they may not have the same market penetration as the bigger sites, image searches routinely find pinned items on Pinterest boards or pull from a story posted to Google Plus. With Google’s 90% or more market share of web search, even a “ghost town” such as Google Plus (which has some dedicated users who refuse to use Facebook, etc.) has a positive benefit to sharing there.
Business professionals should be on LinkedIn, but should also be aware that some of the platform’s features are paid-only. The best way to leverage LinkedIn’s benefits is to keep your personal resume up-to-date. Business pages don’t get a lot of play in the general day-to-day use of LinkedIn, nor will you have much success cold-contacting individuals with sales pitches. (LinkedIn has been anti-spam for a while now.)
If you can dedicate the time, simply sharing your content to your personal profile or in community groups where it’s acceptable is the best avenue to using this service.
Finding what social media platforms work best for your social media marketing campaign can be a trial and error process. If you find that you’re not gaining traction on one service, give it some time and then try another.
The focus of this article was to get you thinking about more than Facebook. With Facebook’s fight against “fake news” and a recent privacy scare, they’re becoming a more difficult platform for businesses to effectively use without paying for the privilege.
Also, if you haven’t broken out beyond a “friends and family” audience, it’s time to start finding outsiders by using other services as part of your overall strategy. However, SEO benefits are the main reason you want to amplify your message to as many services you can comfortably, and consistently, keep updated.
Some of those circles may overlap, but in the end, you want to have your entire net cast as wide as possible: you never know when one of those paths will lead someone back to your business.
In my line of work, I often see some dubious requests. Among those are to publish a blog post ASAP or worse yet, post several articles within a single day.
That wouldn’t be such a bad strategy for someone consistently producing content (think: newspaper). However, most of the clients I work with struggle to produce content even on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Often, they’ll have a productive day where they write a new article full of advice or several similar smaller posts.
The reaction is almost always the same:
Publish these ASAP!
I usually question the motive. Sometimes you may be in a line of work where deadlines necessitate such a move. The piece in question should be brought out into the public eye as soon as possible.
Most of the time that’s not the case. Rushing to publish something at 5 pm, when everyone is leaving work, isn’t going to get it in front of more eyeballs than if you wait until the morning. In fact, if this is shared on social media (especially if you have automation tools which post it to Facebook or Twitter as soon as its published) you’re more than likely doing yourself a disservice based on the volatility of social media. Tweets disappear almost instantly. Facebook posts scatter around the ether.
The advantage of posting now soon become a disadvantage.
The same can be said for the day of the week you post on. You need to know your audience. For example, business blogs should focus on publishing between Monday and Friday. However, posting Friday afternoon probably isn’t advisable either, as most businesspeople are wrapping up their week. Monday mornings could also have the same disadvantage though, depending on the medium you are broadcasting your new article, it may get more play through that afternoon and into the coming days of the week.
I also have to hold back some overzealous types from wanting to publish and/or post four blogs in a single day. There is no advantage to that and it could be even worse than an ill-advised sports article posting while that team’s fans are watching them play a game! (Okay, that might be the worst scenario, but bear with me.) Should you make multiple posts in a single day, you’re making those individual articles compete for attention with one another. Worse, if your homepage and/or blog only show the last X number of posts, where X is 2 and you post 3 new articles, that means the third blog won’t be visible on those pages.
Even your most hardcore readers may not see that additional post.
Ditto for social media. On a medium where you’re already competing for eyeballs with other people or businesses posting information, there’s a negative benefit to blowing through all of your content at once.
The final and the most obvious problem with rushing to publish content is making errors. A small typo may not be the end of the world, but factual information such as math, dates, times, etc. could make all of the difference between positioning yourself as an expert and looking like you don’t know your subject matter.
Therefore, the optimal strategy with producing any content is to be consistent. It’s one of my mantras, but it holds true. It’s better to have a small stack of ready-to-go content that you can publish as a steady stream to your audience than burn through all of it in one fell swoop. Organizing your efforts and spreading them out over time will reap greater rewards than a “now” mentality.
I have several tools which I like to use to plan out when my content is published. You can find this on my resources page. In addition, you’ll also find tools to help you post to social media more efficiently. You can always re-post to social media in the future. As long as you’re not spamming your audience they may even revisit your blog post or podcast which they started but didn’t finish, or they may refer it to a friend.
In that way, you can put your eggs in different baskets, save yourself some time and stress, and set forth on a successful content marketing campaign.
If you’ve ever heard the idiom “A picture is worth a thousand words” there is no truer sense of the word when associated with content marketing. The last thing you want is an image that doesn’t properly fit on your blog or looks out of place on social media.
There’s no doubt about it: photos and images help your content marketing efforts get attention. Much more attention!
That’s why it’s important to make sure you not only have photos on your blog posts, but that they are properly formatted to avoid some of the problems commonly seen when you share your links on social media. I’ll give some examples of those issues below and how you can avoid them.
Almost always, I try to avoid using any graphics with text on them. One of the chief reasons is that Facebook will charge you more when boosting your post… or worse, they will not allow you to use it as part of an advertising campaign.
Don’t ask me why, but that’s their rules. We have to play by them.
The other reason is to avoid having text “chopped off” when your link is shared. Therefore, you’ll notice that I refer to “photos” below, but this pertains to any graphic image. Less text is better: no text is best. Leave the typing to what you write in your blog or the description within your post.
If your image isn’t properly formatted on your blog, then it won’t be properly formatted on the various social media networks you may share it on.
For those of you using WordPress, Facebook will traditionally look for the first image in your blog posts and associate it when sharing. Ditto for other platforms such as Twitter and Google Plus.
Therefore, it’s imperative that image is formatted correctly. I’ve found that a landscape-oriented image with a size of 1024px by 512px is the optimal size when sharing your posts across platforms. Facebook can handle any square image so long as it’s at least 600px wide on one side, however, Twitter will crop square images, particularly on their mobile applications.
There are many imaging programs which will allow you to crop your photos to this specific size. One popular option is Adobe Photoshop, which is a commercial application. For those on a budget, you can try open source or free programs such as GIMP, XnView or Microsoft Paint (or its newest incarnation, Paint 3D).
There is also a plethora of smartphone apps which can do the same: a simple search should be able to show you which ones are available. From there, it’s just a matter of personal preference as to which one is more user friendly and fits your needs.
Once you have a 1024×512 image, its time to place the photo in your blog. For the 70% or more of you out there, chances are you’re using WordPress. That means you will have a featured image box from which to set the main graphic associated with your post.
That box is usually part of the sidebar and looks like this:
To help Facebook and Twitter know your featured image is the “main photo” to accompany your blog post, you can also install the Yoast SEO Plugin. Once activated simply double-check that Facebook Open Graph meta data and Twitter card meta data are both enabled under Yoast’s social settings section.
This is a one-time setting, so once you save the changes, all of your blog posts (past, present or future) will have those social meta tags included.
That’s it! Now you’re set to share your post. However, let’s look at what some of the downfalls of not using properly formatted images might look like.
I probably see this more often than I should. With the advent of high definition computer and smartphone screens its as important as ever to not use tiny “postage stamp” sized images on your blog.
Or else, this is what will happen:
You will need images that have a good resolution but are not too big either. As you can see, this is far less eye-catching as when a properly formatted image is used:
(Note: while these examples are from Twitter this will appear similarly on Facebook too.)
Also keep in mind: bigger doesn’t always mean better.
The reason I recommend images sized 1024px in width is that embedding large images on your website will slow it down. When your page load speed decreases, your SEO will be penalized. It’s a careful balance as you want to be found by Google and look good on social media.
WordPress can only handle certain sized images internally too. If you upload an image that’s too big, it may get rejected or worse, crash your website. So be careful in making sure you format your images before uploading them to your blog.
This post not only ignores the size of the image but also fails to consider text being cropped:
There’s no benefit to adding wording to your images if they are featured images for your blog. A post or banner added to a social media post promoting an event without a link, of course, is acceptable. It may still be governed by the same rules as sharing links, but in many cases an event flyer or poster is a necessary evil to share. (Just be aware of how cropped images could make your presence look less than professional.)
In any other situation you should attempt to put necessary text within the description of the social media post followed by the shared URL. In this way, your message won’t get truncated.
Nothing could be more embarrassing than having someone’s head chopped off in a photo:
While this may still happen on some devices even with the recommended 1024×512 image size, your chances are greater that it will not.
Therefore, heed my advice throughout this article in optimizing your images before putting them on your blog or sharing them on social media.
This may seem like an odd title for an article when one of my main pillars of content marketing is social media. However, in the tradition of one of my go-to mottos, “Don’t worry about being great; just be good”, getting your name on every social media platform could end up having a negative impact in many ways.
For example, say you start a Pinterest page for your business but never update it: an abandoned or dormant social media page could make your business look “out of business”. Depending on your industry, that could be a really bad thing. In the case of what I do for a living, working as a social media manager, not keeping my own pages up-to-date would make me look incompetent at doing my own job!
Just think: if this guy can’t keep his own sites up-to-date what is he going to do with mine?
The same could be said for a restaurant that hasn’t posted since 2015: are they still open? Or even your general services, such as landscaping: can I contact this person through Facebook? Will they answer?
Oftentimes your social media pages may show up higher than your own website in search rankings. That means a potential customer or client could land on your Facebook or Twitter profile instead of your website: if that were to happen, what kind of first impression would you like to make on them?
By all means, this doesn’t mean that you have to post daily. I’m a firm believer of being consistent, but even an update once or twice a week, something that will only set you back a few minutes each day, is more than sufficient. There are also tools to make sure you can save time by not having to log in to each social media network individually. You don’t need to overextend yourself in that regard.
Another thing to consider is what networks you have a profile on. I’ll give some ideas on which are the most, and least, beneficial to your brand below.
I can’t give you a reason to not be on the world’s largest platform. I understand that some people don’t want to be personally involved with Facebook for one reason or another, however, in terms of leveraging the reach of your business, Facebook offers the most bang for your buck.
It’s also a platform where it can be difficult to be seen. Initially, you are going to build your Facebook friend from your personal network, which often consists of family and friends. Cracking the nut outside of that circle could prove difficult, especially with recent changes to the platform. In all likelihood, you will need to spend money on ads but don’t worry: it’s nowhere near the cost of placing an ad in traditional media such as TV, radio, or newspapers, nor is it as competitive or costly as Google AdWords.
In fact, as a business, you will have to spend money on advertising to be seen on Facebook, but at least you will by doing so. Other platforms have tried but are not as successful at getting your name out there as Facebook is.
Facebook also has its own internal search engine which can help you get noticed just as well or better than searching for your brand on Google. Therefore, everyone should be on this network and utilize it as best as possible.
Twitter is also becoming another tough cookie to crumble but remains one of the larger networks to reach “strangers”: that is, people outside of your friends and family.
Since many tools allow you to post simultaneously to Facebook and Twitter, I don’t see any reason you shouldn’t be on both. Just don’t sweat having a lot of followers: that comes in due time if you have an incentive to pay attention to what you tweet.
This may come as a surprise, but I don’t find incredible value in Instagram unless you have a brand that people get excited about. Think of a popular local event like a festival or a restaurant that has brand loyalty. Since Instagram is based on posting photos, those types of businesses tend to have photography which will get people excited to pay attention to you. The pictures sell themselves.
However, some companies would be better off focusing their content marketing efforts elsewhere. If you have to produce graphics to publish on Instagram (which has no dedicated web platform and requires the use of a smartphone) it can become a time sink. Remodeling companies with before and after photos will benefit far greater from an Instagram presence than a book author might, as authors are selling words and often don’t have photographs (other than a book cover) that would necessitate using this platform.
Instagram doesn’t hyperlink any URLs you place within your posts, also negating the true SEO value of social media. Keep this in mind as you decide what platforms you should be on and how much time to dedicate to updating each.
Google Plus may look like a ghost town for social media purposes but posting there will still net you positive results when someone searches for you on Google. (Play in their sandbox!)
Ditto if you have videos posted to YouTube. Video will actually get better search results, so YouTube could end up being your best bet above all the services mentioned.
Pinterest suffers from some of the same issues I’ve discussed about Instagram. However, Pinterest has links back to your site/content. The main problem is that anytime you see something on Pinterest, it’s the photo (and not necessarily your business name or link) which is the main focus of what’s being shared and where. Pinterest might work best for those in an arts and crafts industry, selling goods on sites such as Etsy.
Snapchat is so far out there it surprises me businesses are on it at all. It’s a play for younger eyeballs on your materials, but oftentimes making an effort toward a very specific demo is negatively impacting your efforts by only focusing on a small percentage of potential customers. There’s nothing wrong with being on this service but beware of the short lifespan nature of its disappearing content. (Which is also a concern with Instagram and Facebook stories.)
LinkedIn is a no-brainer to network with professionals, but business pages often go ignored here. You’ll likely have to reshare content using your personal account for it to gain any traction there.
Get on the services you feel you will be able to keep up with best. Facebook and Twitter can be posted to at the same time. Google Plus can also be added to that list, and oftentimes LinkedIn as well. Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat all have their own APIs which usually aren’t tied into social media management platforms.
That could cost you more time and effort, so be sure to weigh the benefit of having to regularly update each of these accounts, sometimes individually, before taking the dive “just to be on them for the sake of being on them”.
I’m often asked which programs help me most efficiently and effectively run my social media campaigns.
To be honest, quite a few of these programs aren’t specific to social media, but they are incredibly helpful in my daily workflow. Let’s take a look at five of my favorite apps and how they could help your content marketing efforts.
If I could only have one app, Dropbox is it!
If you’re not familiar with Dropbox, it’s a cloud storage application which works on a variety of platforms. The genius of using it for social media is when you must take files on the go. It’s one of the primary ways I get photos and custom graphics onto Instagram, by creating those images on a computer first, saving them to my Dropbox, and then accessing them later via a smartphone or tablet.
You can try Dropbox for free with limited storage and features. This free tier may be more than enough for your needs too, but there are also paid upgrades which can increase your storage space exponentially and also act as a backup for your important files.
Labeled as a “social media dashboard” the main reason you may want to use Hootsuite is for posting to multiple social media networks all at once. It also acts as a powerful scheduling platform and can assist you in monitoring all of your networks from one area.
Hootsuite’s free plan will allow you to add up to three networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn are among those you can post to at no charge, with up to 30 total posts per day. (Other platforms, such as Instagram, are available with paid plans: honestly, it’s not worth it, as it doesn’t operate in the same manner.)
They also offer a more limited mobile app that will allow you to do much of the same from a smartphone but be aware that the more powerful (and far more complicated interface) lies in using a traditional web browser via a PC or MAC.
Okay, I lied: if I could have only one app, Trello might do it for me.
A highly customizable project management tool, Trello can be manipulated to run everything from your blog post editorial calendar to a grocery list. It’s one of the coolest applications I’ve found in recent years and I nearly use it for everything.
Trello begins with a “board” but then filters into individual “lists” and “cards”. The magic of these cards is that you can set due dates, leave comments, add checklists, attach files and more.
If you want to be consistent in your marketing efforts, I highly suggest checking Trello out.
Have you ever felt the need to copy something to your phone from your computer? Or send a link, text, or a photo from your phone to another device?
Look no further than Pushbullet, an application which works like a universal clipboard.
Now you can safely type your social media posts from a computer, paste it into Pushbullet, and then copy/paste it on your phone to wherever you need. You can also quickly retrieve photos from your phone’s camera and “push” them to a computer for editing.
The interface is a bit too simple, however, which is why I also recommend…
The king of notetaking apps limited their free plans a little over a year ago but is still a go-to program of mine.
Literally available anywhere, Evernote has dedicated phone and tablet apps, as well as software for PC and MAC computers. However, any web browser in the world will give you access to taking notes and more.
While this program also offers many features of those above, such as checklists or embedding photos and files, the company has a limit on the amount of storage space you can use, plus it can be a bit more daunting to organize these extras in the same way as Trello or Dropbox can.
The true genius of Evernote is sticking to text: as you’re aware, spellcheck can be a bummer on a small screens (especially if you have fat thumbs) but Evernote will allow you to use some voice dictation software, like Siri or Alexa, to potentially save you time and help you take a virtual notepad with you anywhere for when inspiration strikes.
While I’m a big proponent of content marketing, I’ve come to a realization that it’s not for everyone.
What kind of brands could benefit from content marketing?
It all depends. The world of content marketing isn’t a one size fits all solution. First, we have to definite what content marketing is. This is my definition, and not something you’ll find in a dictionary
Leveraging different platforms to share your information (“content”) on them.
Content marketing is comprised of many platforms. I like to think of the five “pillars” of content marketing as the following: blogs, podcasts, social media, email newsletters, and eBooks. (I do believe they belong in that order as well, but more on that later.)
One channel you may already use in your content marketing strategy is posting to Facebook. If you’re regularly updating your followers by posting blurbs or photos on your business’ Facebook page, congratulations: you are already using content marketing to build your brand’s awareness.
From there, however, things get a bit trickier.
How much time do you devote to creating content? Do you always send out the same information? Does it generate any interest? Which platforms do you need to be on? And do you need to be on all of them?
Being consistent is as important as the message you are sending. But aside from creating a marketing strategy, the first question atop your to-do list should be “Is this right for me?”
Whether you own or operate a nationally recognized corporation or a pizza shop with a single location that answer is almost always yes. There are far more benefits to generating content and publishing them on your various channels than not. Some of those are simply getting your name out, while others have to do with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In many cases, “sweat equity” (that is your own time and effort) is all it takes to operate a successful content marketing campaign. But in many cases, people will feel as though they’ve become a slave to the process and give up: which a have far-reaching negative effects on your brand. (Yes, even worse than never getting started!)
That’s why I created this site, along with my upcoming book and podcast series. I don’t want to see anyone abandon their blog or Facebook page, giving up because they feel they don’t have the time or the means to share their story. Oftentimes the very tools you need to successfully grow your business with content marketing are right in front of your nose.
Sometimes, the materials you need are right there too and require no extra work other than a few minutes each week.
If this kind of information sounds interesting to you, I implore you to follow and/or subscribe to my various social media accounts and the DisContent Podcast. In the coming weeks you’ll learn how to utilize the same tools, tips, and tricks I use to efficiently, and effectively, leverage these five pillars to build your brand’s awareness.
And if you don’t have any these outlets already setup, don’t worry. I will be sharing how to successfully build a platform in which your content will shine.
My goal is to make sure you no longer see content marketing as a scary word. Join me, and you’ll see why.