I get it. I understand the need for more content to serve to an ever-growing flow of content consumers. The art of recycling content is important, particularly on sites like Twitter where a piece of content can and should be used multiple times in order to get the message out to everyone. It’s a chronological feed, after all, and posting it once will only get it seen by an extremely small portion of your audience.
With that said, it’s getting out of hand. I have been finding posts that are months old and no longer relevant hitting my feed from car dealers around the country. There’s a limit. Old news is old news. In the case of the Tweet above, the article posted on Twitter by a Toyota dealer on March 30, 2014, is a link to an article from July 4, 2013. That’s too long for this type of news.
When recycling posts on Twitter, here are some things to keep in mind:
Is it relevant? Old posts are find if there’s context that makes it work today. For example, posting an article about Tesla’s early days in trying to launch with dealerships would make sense to post considering their current stance.
Is it timeless? Some posts, particularly advice posts that give the reader information they can use today, can be posted up until the point that they’re obsolete. An example of this would be a video that demonstrates how to change the batteries in a key fob. Until they change the way you open the key fob, it still makes sense to post for months, even years after the original.
Is it nostalgic? There are times when old posts are even better than new ones. A picture of an old Honda ad from the 70s would play well to show how far the company has come over the years.
Has it been posted very recently? This is one of my biggest pet peeves. If a post comes through today that is just a different wording on something posted yesterday, than it’s not acceptable. The exception: timely events. If you have a big sale or charity event this weekend, then posting a different variation of the same thing over and over again is acceptable and demonstrates focus on the event.
As more companies use content libraries to keep the feeds flowing, it’s important to keep in mind that the libraries must be refreshed. They must be pruned. In the case of the post above, it’s simply not acceptable. That was news for about a month. There is plenty of content out there in the form of current news about every manufacturer and the local area. Don’t get stuck beating a dead horse with your posts.
Content marketing is hard. It requires your business to take up the role of a publisher. Now, that’s not something businesses or brands are used to doing traditionally. Most of the marketing now focuses on the “inbound marketing” phenomenon and that requires patience, extreme focus on generosity, establishing trust, and providing value. It also calls for the need for thought leadership and an ever-demanding presence over the web (including blogs and social media).
All of that is hard work.
Is there a way this can be made easy for you as a business owner? They say technology is a savior, so do tools exist that help to pump up your content marketing efforts?
Here are some web-based tools you can use to accelerate, streamline, and organize your content marketing efforts:
Content Aggregator Tools
To develop content, you’ll need an influx of incoming content. You’d basically need to read a lot to write as much as you ought to. How do you practically crawl over the web to consume so much information that’s spewed out everyday? You get smart and use an aggregator tool!
You can start with LinkedIn’s Pulse, move on to Flipboard for your mobile, TrapIt (claimed to be the world’s most advanced content curation app), set up good sources through Feedly (an alternative for Google’s now-dead RSS reader), and finally wade through Reddit manually.
By working with these tools, you make content available to you at all times. Read, repurpose, develop content on your own string of ideas, or gather information from other content on the web to make your own brand of valuable content. Curation is a pill for content creation and aggregator tools help you do just that.
Content Creation, Organization and Management
Organized efforts are a must for content marketing and there are plenty of tools starting from project management to content organization. Google Drive is ubiquitous and plugs well into the workflows that most small businesses have. You might also want to check out Trello, Asana and Basecamp for organizing projects, content, and teams. To actually create content, you could use tools such as one of the ubiquitous meme generators, Visual.ly, Issuu or UberFlip.
If you are a business owner, you can use Evernote in a million different ways. Note ideas as you get them or jot down facts you can later repurpose as full-blown resource pages or social media updates. You might also use the web-clipper for content curation.
If you work with a team of social media managers and content developers or freelancers, you could bring your team aboard using Evernote for business and collaborate on ideas, content planning, blog posts, and a host of other things.
Plugging into a Hot Spot
Most of the popular publications now have tons of content already as “pillar content” or “resource pages.” You could visit Social Media Today for syndicated posts and resources. HootSuite has a special section with tons of resources too.
In addition to that, many other websites provide on-site tools for helping you to create even more content.
Further, you could literally create an endless flow of content based on ideas from comments, reviews and user-generated posts on communities, forums or rating sites. If you have anything to do with food and restaurants, for instance, you could use reviews from Yelp for first-hand information and then turn it into list blog posts. For technical niches such as hosting solutions or servers, you could make use of information from comparison engines such as Who Is Hosting This and cite them as sources for your blog posts.
Content from Social Media
Social media is big and it’s a huge resource by itself. Using a tool like Storify, for instance, you can create stories using social media data. Use Swayy to get some of the best content to share with your audience based on their interests and engagement behavior. You might also want to consider a tool such as Curata that can help you find trustworthy content quickly and curate this content to fuel your content marketing efforts.
Even without any of these tools, you can still use the dripping content off social media updates and quickly whip up posts relevant to your business niche or industry. It’s quick, it can be credited, and it works for you in multiple ways. Don’t just create content for social media; make your content attract attention off social media too.
Tools for Other Types of Content
While writing posts and creating content based on text is easier, it’s not the end of the road. There are videos, slide decks, podcasts, magazines, and tons of other forms of content that you should create. There are tools for you to develop this kind of content too. Animoto or GoAnimator are ideal for creating short videos. Using Jing or Camtasia, you can create screen casts to show off your products or provide courses.
While it could be a daunting task to create so many forms of content and pump up your content marketing efforts, you also have a mind-boggling and never-ending list of tools to help you create content. Most of the tools are affordable and you can also pick the tools that fit your purpose or budget.
The question is: the tools exist and the list will continue to grow. How are you going to use them? If you are in business, which of these tools are you using currently? Which of these could turn you into a full-fledged business content publisher?
Does your company have a social media presence? If your answer is no, stop reading this and read this article to understand why it’s important and how to begin building a social media profile. If you do have a presence, how well does your social media strategy deliver results? How have you defined success?
Whimsical tweeting and posting company updates and news to your profiles consumes your time and generally doesn’t yield much benefit. However, with a strategic approach to social media you can rise above the noise, find new prospects and influencers, engage them in meaningful conversation and one day call them customers.
Let’s start with what makes good conversation in social media, and on which networks. An effective social media strategy pinpoints where audiences are online and what they care about, so that you can join the discussion. The discussion is happening. You need to find it and then be part of it.
Now, let’s look at how other companies apply social media to their marketing efforts.
How Do High Growth Firms Use Social?
In a recent study, 500 CEOs, executives and marketers from professional services firms were asked to rate the effectiveness of social media as a part of their digital marketing strategy. The answers were compared between high growth and average growth firms in the figure below.
The results showed that the fastest growing companies found social media tools to be much more effective for marketing online than the average growth companies, and they were using social media more often. If you want to follow suit, take a similar approach.
A Breakdown of the Tools
Now that we know the benefits of social media, which social media tools are right for your social media strategy? In the same study, some of the most popular social media tools were ranked in order of effectiveness:
If these results seem surprising to you, let’s look at each social network and how it could benefit your firm. LinkedIn exists as a purely professional network. And while many people use it solely for networking, building a company profile and joining groups, discussions, and sharing content can have a major impact on your online marketing. Since people using LinkedIn are already thinking professionally, it is an effective place to market your services. Explore the many groups on LinkedIn – there are some for every industry.
Twitter comes in second place and is a great network to share content – both your own and external content – and to engage with your audience on a personal level. There are tools to help you find Twitter followers in your specialty (follow them, and most will follow you, too). Sure, some will be competitors, but many are also buyers in need of solutions.
Facebook and YouTube round out the most effective social media tools, largely because while the numbers of users are vast, they have less of a focus than LinkedIn and Twitter.
What Do the Experts Say?
In our research, experts in online marketing and social media were asked to rank the effectiveness of these social media networks as well. The results show that companies are not taking full advantage of the tools available online.
Not surprisingly, the experts rated LinkedIn and Twitter as the most effective, but they rated the networks’ effectiveness even higher than the high growth firms. There is even more to be leveraged from these networks than even some of the most successful marketers know.
The experts rated YouTube significantly more effective than high growth firms. Video is often an untapped, but effective component of online marketing. Taking a good look at how your firm is using video could produce great results.
Unexpectedly, the experts rated Facebook less effective than the high growth companies. Many are under the impression that Facebook provides more benefit for marketing online than it really does. While this is likely bad news for Facebook, it is important for firms to know so that they can focus their social efforts appropriately.
Social media isn’t just for personal use anymore. Your company’s target audiences are online and participating in social networking. And in order to drive growth and higher profitability, take a closer look at how your company is approaching social media to get the best results possible.
The rapid growth of the social media in the recent past made it an indispensable tool in the hands of marketing managers around the world. Social media improves the opportunities to connect with your customers and facilitates two way communication between you and your customers. Social media strategy when properly implemented can boost both your internal and external brand.
Women rule social media. There have been numerous studies that show that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are dominated by women. 75% of women according to Pew Research Center use social networking sites compared to 63% of men. This is important to understand.
There’s a catch-22 in social media for those whose job it is to stay active and informed. On one hand, you have to constantly update Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Foursquare; slowing down on any of them can hurt exposure though the various ranking systems (such as Facebook EdgeRank) associated with them. On the other hand, you have to keep them somewhat diversified to both cater to the specific personalities in each as well as give a valid reason to be followed actively on multiple channels. Why would people follow your Google+ updates if they’re just carbon copies of your Facebook posts, for example.
Preparing for a new year is never easy no matter what line of work you’re in. In social media, it’s damn near impossible. Regardless of how much analysis of the previous year you complete or how strategies you put in place to start the year, things change… rapidly.
I learned how to drive 36 million pageviews to web properties through social media platforms by employing three levels of adoption. The Social Trinity is the foundation of a social media policy that allows you to use communication tools on digital networks for the purpose of building your own community. Once you gain an understanding of the true value of each contact feature on a digital network, you can adapt the use of social platforms, formulate your social media strategy, and communicate with your target communities and to make them part of your own community.
The Social Trinity
Identify all points of exposure for your digital assets.
Identify all points of private contact.
Study popular sections and past successful campaigns launched on the digital network.
For instance on Twitter, a point of exposure can be an @reply, hashtag, comment on a wall, link to external website over which you have control. Points have exposure leave your footprint on an action performed on a social network. When you @reply a person your conversation exchange is viewed by everybody who follows you and that person and people who find your conversation through a search engine query. Naturally, the more you @reply people the more you are exposed to their followings. Similarly, on Digg when you vote for content, you leave a link pointing back to your profile; thus the the more you Digg the more exposure you receive to your digital asset on Digg – your profile.
Points of private contact will allow you to work out collaborative arrangements with other users of the platform. Peripherally, you should also learn how the culture on the digital network shapes the way private means of contact are used. I know of many people with large followings that typically ignore direct messages; an alternative way of contact would be to follow the link in a Twitter user’s profile to load up a person’s blog or other website that may have an email or other point of contact to which a person may pay more attention. Some people more frequently use the Facebook private messaging system.
Some platforms have popular sections such as the Digg front page and Twitter trending topics. You could study these popular submissions and adapt your submissions to cater to the community members’ interests. When popular entries are hard to find, google terms such as ‘twitter case study’ or ‘[social network]’ + ‘case study’ or ‘[popular tactic]’ like ‘contests, sweepstakes, viral campaigns.’ Once you learn of popular and successful campaigns you can try a similar campaign adapted to cater to your target community; you use your points of exposure and points of private contact to communicate with other people on the platform required to execute your campaign.
Neal Rodriguez discusses social media marketing tactics he has executed to meet his and his clients’ business objectives on nealrodriguez.com. Subscribe to Neal’s feed to stay abreast of his updates.