The Value of Social Media and Content Marketing

Sep 19, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments
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The business press is full of stories about how small-to-medium sized businesses are using Social Media channels to attract and engage customers. But while there are plenty of individual success stories, the confidence in what to do specifically is not always clear for small business owners that are strapped for time, funds and online marketing resources.

We were talking with a small business owner recently who was lamenting about not updating his website, and that his competition was showing up “all over the place” online.  The nature of his product requires some education and an effort to dispel common misconceptions. Like so many others, he runs a small business with limited time and budget.

To us, this was a classic opportunity for the power of the conversation: Social Media and Content Marketing.

According to Hubspot, a major force in Social Media:

There are 55% more website visitors for companies that blog, 97% more inbound links for companies that blog, and 434% more indexed pages (by search engines like Google) for companies that blog.

Our tip for him was to allow Netword Plus to start a blog for his company that answered the most common questions prospects and customers ask, and to do so in a compelling way: with video, images and text. Each keyword-rich new blog post would benefit his SEO efforts and improve his website’s Google rankings.

With 1 post a week, he’d have 52 more pages and videos on his website in a year, each offering interesting, useful content that could position him above competitors. Along the way, he’d be able to gather insight from our analytics, social shares, comments and interactions with the blog posts to refine message effectiveness.

A few key questions would help us start his blog content plan:

  • Why do current customers buy your product? This can come from sales people and/or the business owner.
  • What are the misconceptions & objections? Document the things that are education opportunities.
  • What type of information helps them change perception?  What are the tipping points from skepticism to confidence? Is it demonstration, 3rd party data, credibility of the company, word of mouth?
  • Where do prospects look for information on this solution? Talk to sales people, look at website stats and any logged information about lead sources.

By answering these fundamental questions, Netword Plus can create blog content for the small business owner that specifically addresses the questions, concerns and triggers that will influence prospects to trust, buy and refer.

Many readers might be thinking that more substantial SEO and social media tactics should be set up as well, and they’d be right. But a strong base of content must be the first step. Without powerful content, social networking and optimization won’t work to convert prospects to customers anyway.

Netword Plus can then create daily postings for the business on Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, expanding the conversation even further. Netword Plus is able to respond to questions, concerns, and even praise, validating and assuring the business’ established and prospective customer base. Maintaining a “feedback loop” means you’re connecting with real people, interacting with them and providing something of value that they can share and act on.

Beyond Social Media

An email newsletter that re-purposes blog content and the Q/A that happens on Facebook, the blog and Twitter can be delivered to existing customers. Viewing every channel of participation as an opportunity to interact and share will help grow networks, trust and credibility as the “go-to source” for the product category being promoted. It’s important to create value, but also to not lose sight that this is business. Don’t be afraid to suggest solutions or promote offers. Just do so in a relevant way.

Finally, Netword Plus delivers web analytics and social media monitoring twice a month, which helps the business assess how people are finding and interacting with their content. Watch for trends in network growth like fans, friends and followers but especially with quality of interaction through comments, likes, shares and the effect on blog/website traffic that drives inquiries and sales.

For a lot of small business owners not used to online marketing, SEO or social media, these suggestions might be out of their comfort zone. But with the way consumer behaviors are changing and increased competition, getting out of the comfort zone and into a place where direct customer interactions drive content and inspire business outcomes is an essential investment.

You have a business to run. Let Netword Plus run your Social Media and Content Marketing program for you, keeping your business competitive and your cost factor down.

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