During my time working for an SEO and Social Media Marketing company, I have come to learn a lot about the industry and what makes for good SEO and SMM. One of the things that I learned right off the bat from my colleagues is that content is extremely important to a good SEO/Social Media marketing campaign.Some people may even go so far as to say that it is one of the most important aspects. After all, without great content, how do you get your followers, fans, and other connections to share your content and website?
Without well-written, original content, how will crawlers find your page and begin to rank it for the correct keywords?
While this makes perfectly good sense, and I do believe content to be of the utmost importance in any marketing campaign, I recently have begun to rethink my opinion on content. My change of heart came after realizing that for some of my clients, all of my great content was not returning the results that I had hoped for. Despite my content being engaging and informative, with good pictures and catchy titles, it was not being shared. Why? Because my clients did not have connections.
Content means nothing if you do not have the connections to back it up
Close your eyes and think for a minute about why you are on the Internet and social media to begin with. Chances are, you use most of your time engaging your connections – commenting on Facebook posts, Tweeting and Re-tweeting, etc. If this is how you are using the Internet, don’t you think that this is how your customers are using it as well?
The answer is yes. That is why it is so important to think in terms of your own self. Many marketers’ strategies revolve around what they believe the customer to be doing, as if the customer is some alien being so different than themselves. Yet marketers are customers in their own right, are they not? Customers do not use social media for the purpose of going after their favorite brands and products. This does happen, of course, but it is as a secondary reaction to already being on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. That is why brands need to actively be engaging with customers and building connections with them, rather than simply relying on what they perceive to be good content that they hope people will be commenting on.
What kind of content will engage my customers, then?
As I have just mentioned, people use social media and the Internet to keep in touch with friends and build their relationships. In order to have an impact, your goal must therefore be to engage your customers and allow them to start thinking of your brand or business as their friend.
But how? Customers are not going to appreciate their favorite stores bombarding them with sales pitches every day. This is not engaging. If you want to build a relationship with your customers, create posts that are interesting and relevant. So you own a clothing store? Share your favorite fashion blogs, the newest looks for the upcoming season, and always ask your customers opinion. Include a “call to action” in the post, encouraging them to like, comment, share, or friend. This technique can encourage even the most passive users to share content that they find entertaining with their friends.
Engaging with customers builds your social reach.
When your customers like or share your content, their friends and followers will see it, as well. After all, that is more or less the point of the “share” button, right? Let’s pretend for a moment that Bobbi BlueJeans simply LOVES your clothing store. Let’s also pretend for a moment that Bobbi has about 482 Facebook friends and 183 Twitter followers. Chances are, many of them have the same interests as she, and would therefore find your content has interesting and engaging as she does. If she shares your content with just one of those platforms, she is exposing your content to tons of new, potential customers who were probably not already a follower or fan of your pages.
Now your brand and your page has been given an extra push and chances are a few of her friends are going to go to your page and like it, follow your Twitter, etc. And, if Bobbi BlueJeans likes your content enough to share it, who says that hundreds of other customers already on your page won’t? Chances are, they will.
Of course, content is still as important as it ever was. But content should never be looked at as the “end-all, be-all” for your marketing campaign. Instead, focus on utilizing engaging content to connect with your customers on a more personal level. Customers will appreciate this and will eventually build trust in your brand. This will allow you to have customers for life, increasing your long-term growth and sales. Content can help you get noticed, but your connections will have the ultimate say in whether or not your business will thrive.