Because social media is a dynamic force, it’s important to regularly revisit your approach and perspective on it, as part of your content marketing plan. Social media is growing and there is ever more data on who is using what platform. If you’ve missed a few of our previous posts on social media don’t worry, they will always be there.
Over the next few posts, we’d like to offer some insight from two of our solutions managers*, Abe Zarran and Greg Henderson. Their focus on Social Media for ePublishing, combined with previous experience working with a major advertising house and ownership of a parent website provides some valuable insight on social media, user engagement and traffic generation.
Let’s start with some stats, gleaned from Nielsen data:
Usage still skews towards youth, but the 45- to 54-year-old age bracket has seen 45% growth since year-end 2012.
Among U.S. Internet users, 73% with incomes above $75,000 are on Facebook (compared to 17% who are on Twitter).
86% of Facebook’s users are outside the U.S.
Has a surprisingly young user population for a large social network — 27% of 18 to 29-year-olds in the U.S. use Twitter, compared to only 16% of people in their thirties and forties.
An international community that skews towards male users.
The most male-oriented of the major social networks. It’s 70% male.
Dominated by tablet users.
84% of U.S. users are women.
Strong with teens and young adults interested in self-expression, but only 8% of U.S. Internet users with incomes above $75,000 use it.
What does Social Media Marketing Do For Publishers?
Short answer: It is extremely effective for building traffic to your website, and building awareness of your brand.
How? Social media leverages existing quality content to attract reader attention and encourages those readers to share that content via their social networks.
Two Key Benefits:
1) Social media allows you to connect with customers and prospects via a multitude of different channels.
2) Social media is now an integral part of SEO and SEM strategies because it creates quality back links for content to websites.
But really, social media is just the tool (albeit a powerful one). Success depends on presenting quality content, compelling reasons to share that content and an easy mechanism for sharing. Simple, right?
Let’s review what a winning social media strategy means in applicable terms:
TIP # 1
Be Where Your Readers Are.
The number one rule is to know your audience.
In terms of social media, that means that you should know the channels and platforms that your audience frequents. A couple of words about this:
Yes, your readers are on social media.
We’ve heard it many times, “Our readers aren’t using social media.” When you reflect on the fact that there are more than 1.5 billion active users on Facebook alone, you might want to reconsider that statement. Your readers are still human. They probably do what a lot of other humans do.
Social media is not for youth alone.
Yes, many social media users are young. Teens use it a lot. But look at the Pew research and you’ll see that social media isn’t just for youth. Case in point, Abe’s mom is ALWAYS on Facebook. She’s 68.
Audit your social media channels. Where are the bulk of your readers? It might not be Facebook. Maybe it’s LinkedIn or even an association site. Use the data tools at your disposal to glean the specifics of your audience. And check out the nifty infographic we’ve shared to get an idea of how the general population uses social media.
We’ll repeat this a dozen times (and if you don’t believe us, read on!). Don’t just post and run. Don’t just post your products and/or your content and hope it results in sales or attendance. Social media is about a discourse you create with the subject matter that is interesting and relevant to your readers.
DO develop a strategy to evaluate efficacy of your content and tactics as time goes on. Use the analysis to decide how to change and adapt based on previous performance.
You received no response from your last post?
Ask yourself why.
Look at the analytics, look at the audience data, adapt and ENGAGE again. Social media marketing doesn’t stop at that one post. It continues as you carry the conversation with your readers.
Don’t Try to be Everywhere.
Use the channels that fit your target audience. It’s likely that resources and number of staff already dictate the number of channels you target and the frequency of updates. The more places you’re posting the more work it entails.
Maximize the effectiveness of your social media channels by being consistent and posting a variety of content across different channels (people will disregard channels when they see the same thing over and over). Deliberately choose where you want to be and what your goals are for each channel.
Don’t know where to start? Check out this Social Media Map. It lists many, many social media sites, including several that you probably haven’t even heard of. Remember, social media is not just Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media is comprised of a vast array of sites and tools that are available to us for sharing and socializing with the content creators, our social circles and business contacts. The best practice is to use those that are appropriate to your GOALS and to your TARGET AUDIENCE.
Remember, with social media you have to be ENGAGED. Engagement is what makes social media work. You can’t just set up a Twitter account and start tweeting in the hopes of people embracing you.
We’ll give you a little time to chew on these first three tips. Up next: more about data, social media and your audience, plus a few specific tricks to achieve greater engagement.
Part II of this post.
Part III of this post.
* We’d like to thank Greg and Abe for taking the time to share this knowledge. As ePublishing Solutions Managers, they are busy guys. They help us to stay on the cutting edge of Enterprise Publishing System technology, while managing client accounts, providing ongoing consulting to our clients and acting as a point of contact to our design and development teams.