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Social media: Making Sure Your Prospects See Your Content
In a previous blog, we discussed how to reach out to new customers using content, in particular blogs but also things like how-to pieces, newsletters, and opinion articles on industry trends. Thoughtful articles like these can demonstrate your expertise, and serve to alert prospects that you have a solution that can help them address a concern or take their marketing to the next level.
But let’s face it, all the content you can produce won’t help much if your prospects never see or read it. Getting your expertise in front of the right eyeballs is what this post is about, and focusing on social media as a prime way to do it.
First, determine your target audience for social media, which may include the following potential customers and industry groups, among many:
- Sales and marketing executives, because of their need for sales collateral and marketing direct mail.
- Financial institutions, because they also rely on direct mail as well as flyers, brochures, wide-format bank branch signage, and official regulatory submissions, to name a few.
- Ad agencies, because their clients are within industries that use printed marketing, collateral, and signage materials.
- Health care institutions that rely on printed materials for customer support as well as regulatory compliance.
Next, determine your most effective social channels, which depend on the ones your target audiences follow. Test the readership success of your blogs on a variety of channels, and concentrate on the ones that have high readership, likes, and click-throughs to your other blogs and website.
Consider the following:
- LinkedIn. The essential thing about LinkedIn is that you can target your prospects by job title, industry, and more. But instead of searching for people, search for specific LinkedIn Groups, which can be great places to post your content in front of members with specific interest in printed materials. Search for groups that are aligned with your key prospect industries, those we’ve mentioned above and others you’re targeting. Then, start sharing your content specifically aimed at group members. In addition, engage with other people’s posts, building your credibility. Here is a handy overview of getting started with LinkedIn Groups.
- Facebook. Like LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups are for people with common interests. Post your blog entries in any of the industry groups you pick, as with LinkedIn. And remember that Facebook Group members ask lots of questions. When you notice a question that’s up your alley, answer it to demonstrate your expertise, and share one of your most helpful blogs on the topic as well.
- Instagram and Pinterest. Because you have great examples of your work to share, consider dipping your toe into these image-intensive social sites.
Start modestly, working with one of these social channels on a consistent basis, then expand your content distribution to other platforms where you’re confident that your target industries are significant participants. Make sure to measure the impact of your social postings as much as possible, in particular as they align with your goals, such as awareness, visits to your website, or gaining advocates and fans. That will provide good insight into a particular channel’s effectiveness, and which content performs better than others. Here is a good overview of social media measurement.
While we’ve focused on “organic” marketing here — that is, sharing your helpful blog posts with like-minded social members — these platforms also offer advertising opportunities. As your content marketing gains traction and proven results come in, consider gaining even more prominent, targeted exposure with well-placed and timed social ads. Here is a good LinkedIn primer on paid ads.
Christopher Hosford is editor at large for Target Marketing. Former editor-in-chief of Nielsen’s Sales & Marketing Management magazine, he’s covered all aspects of sales, marketing, and cutting-edge marketing technologies.