Before we begin, let’s make one thing clear: social media marketing only works with a plan.
As with most things in life, the best results come from planning. You need a strategy. But that’s all there is to it. This guide will show you the exact steps to take to align your goals with a content strategy, backed by clever social media marketing. Are you ready? Let’s get to it.
Have A Plan From The Very Beginning
It all starts with your goals. Why are you using social media? Why are you blogging? These are the questions that you need to ask yourself. Are you trying to increase sales? Do you want people to download your ebook? Building a list? It is the end outcome that determines what comes next.
But no matter what, it starts with a single goal.
Whether you are a blogger, a community manager, freelancer or small business owner, you have to look at blogging and social media as part of the sales cycle.
Traffic > Conversions > Revenue
Traffic is the lifeblood of any website. Without visitors your message is like a message in a bottle — in the middle of the ocean. There is simply too much noise and content to compete with. If you want to stand out from the crowd you have to take it up a notch.
These are the steps you should take.
Create Content That Offers Value (And Build Your List)
The best way to build an online business is by growing your email list. However, you need a way to compel people to give you their email. The most common standby is an ebook, but there are a ton more ideas you can use. Here are just a few:
- Commission or create a free WordPress theme or plugin.
- Create a video with high value information only available to subscribers.
- Give away a free template (content calendar, Facebook Timeline, etc).
- Offer any other kind of freebie that would appeal to your target audience.
There is no way of getting around the fact that this is going to take a little elbow grease on your part — or money. You either have to create it yourself or hire a freelancer.
The good new is that you do not have to write an entire book. You can pack a lot of valuable information into 10 – 15 pages. Create something that ties into what you offer. You want to create something that will appeal to your target market (i.e. potential clients). Then, design a good cover and add some extra touches with graphics and embedded links.
You can even do a one-page checklist. It can be as easy as you want to make it.
[Tweet “Being social is great, but if you’re doing it for #business – you need a plan.”]
Plan Your Blog Posts Accordingly
If you know what your goals are it makes it easier to plan what you should be talking about. Let’s use an example:
Jane Smith wants to increase subscribers and get more downloads of her latest ebook, “The Happy Marketer’s Guide To More Subscribers”.
If we use the example above, we can see that Jane’s ebook is a guide to getting more subscribers. Naturally, we would choose to publish content targeting people looking for this information.
You would plan your posts accordingly. If I was Jane I would want to brainstorm everything that goes into email marketing and then create content around those questions.
Here is an example blog post she could write:
Make It An Easy Click: Get More Subscribers With ONE Simple Hack
Besides the catchy title, you want to publish posts that tie into your marketing goals. Start by introducing your readers to the type of information they can expect from you. Then, give them answers to the questions they’re asking (or haven’t thought to ask yet).
In this example, Jane can explain the importance of placing CTAs (Calls-to-action) in all the right places. Preferably, above the fold and to the right. She could also talk about how adding a subscribe form at the end of posts can increase subscriber rates.
We follow these same principles on the RankPay blog:
Above the fold, to the right…
After the post, above the comments…
Here’s another idea Jane can use:
Best Email Marketing Software? 27 Experts Reveal Their Top Choice
Again, using our current example, Jane would expand on her ideas by creating content that follows a natural progression.
If you are promoting an ebook about how to get more subscribers, your readers will definitely have questions about what email marketing software is the best choice.
Your content marketing efforts should tell a story.
Think of your blog posts like chapters in a book, each post builds upon the last, creating a series that builds to a climax. Follow this strategy and you’ll grow your readership and gain more subscribers. If you’re all over the place, you’ll have less impact.
Keep Expanding On The Ideas Behind What You Offer
Did you notice how Jane created content around what she was offering? It is much easier to start with a single concept and answer questions related to that original idea.
[Tweet “Your content should be closely tied to what you are trying to promote. Entertain and educate.”]
Each post acts like a sneak peek into the valuable information you would include in your ebook. You entice them to want more by giving away free advice (your blog posts). And you entice them to sign up to get an ebook that promises to deliver more.
Now It’s Time To Think About Social Media
By the time you reach this point you should have the following:
- Something to give to your visitors for subscribing to your email list.
- A content calendar of posts that will help promote your offering.
Since you know when you will be publishing your posts, you’ll have no problem finding things to talk about when it’s time to get busy on social media.
[Tweet “Don’t start with social media. Start with goals, then strategy, then content. Have a plan 1st!”]
Just don’t forget to engage with others (and add a personal touch as well).
You now have a content marketing strategy, and an entire month of posts for your blog and know exactly how to approach social media. Schedule what you can in advance. Doing it this way we’ll make you more productive. You’ll cut out time out that you normally would spend searching for something to write, or finding things to post on social media.
You can then spend that extra time guest posting and spending more time promoting your content. If you take this approach to blogging you will increase traffic, engagement, and your audience.