Want to Grow Your Business? Produce Great Content.
There’s one key to business growth I’ve noticed is too often overlooked by entrepreneurs and business owners, even those using social media. That one thing is the importance of creating and sharing great content.
If you are unaware of the term “Content is King”, remember it, because it should be at the center of your social media marketing strategy.
Not all content is created equal.
All too often, I stumble upon a brand with an awesome product but subpar content. What exactly do I mean by subpar? It can be a picture with bad lighting and no editing, a caption that sounds too much like an infomercial, a lack of hashtags, broken links, misspellings, or bad grammar, to name a few. Posts like this make me cringe and are an immediate turn off.
Constant exposure to great content on social media has given us high standards. With so many alternatives in the marketplace, second chances are rare. You have to produce great content that engages potential customers, or someone else will — and they’ll be the one making the sale.
Tailor your content to the social media platform you’re posting on.
Whether it’s an image, a blog post, or a video, your content should be tailored for each social platform.
Did you write a killer blog you want to make sure all your followers see? Post it to Facebook. Want to share a short, rich blurb about an industry trend or an interesting article you read? Twitter’s your best bet. Did you take a cool behind-the-scenes shot at your latest product photo shoot? Share it on Instagram. Have a white paper or scholarly article to share? Turn to LinkedIn.
Another thing to consider is how each platform displays posts. Posts without images can get lost in the clutter of a Facebook or LinkedIn newsfeed, so it’s best to include content with a visual component on these platforms in particular.
Additionally, each social media platform has different optimal image sizes — use this comprehensive guide to determine how best to format an image for each (and, do me a favor: NEVER post a pixelated image ANYWHERE).
Lastly, don’t forget to track post performance. See which types of content tend to perform best on each social media platform, and use that information to adjust your content strategy accordingly.
The best content has less to do with selling and more to do with giving.
Your content should not be a giant advertisement that bombards the user. Instead, it should blend in with other posts while offering users the opportunity to interact with your brand.
Here’s an example.
If you’re an outdoor sports company, you could write and share a blog post titled 10 Places You Must Hike In Your Lifetime. Another content idea could be to share a link to a free online guide called How to Choose the Right Hiking Boot for Your Next Adventure. In it, you could go over all the different factors to consider when deciding on a pair of hiking boots: terrain, fit, materials, arch support, etc.
Both of these are examples of sharing valuable or interesting content while remaining top-of-mind for the next time your followers are in the market for hiking boots. Everybody wins.
Better yet, when you produce great content that resonates with your target audience, those individuals will want to engage with your content. They will like it, comment on it, and, if it’s really good, share it — all of which helps to grow your brand awareness (and hopefully your sales).
Getting users to engage with your content is crucial.
The algorithms of most social networks determine what to show and what to bury in users’ newsfeeds based on how much engagement a post is receiving. Each person who shares your post exposes their entire network of followers to the content, causing it to reach even more people who might be interested in your brand.
Engagement is what allows you to grow your brand’s reach. Great content gets shared and thus functions as free advertising for your business. It manifests why your brand is on social media in the first place: To tell your story, grow your audience, create brand awareness, inspire brand loyalty, and ultimately drive sales.
There are many small changes you can make to greatly improve the quality of your content right off the bat. For example, learn basic photography and lighting skills, take the time to style and edit your photos, use an actual camera (not your cell phone), and learn to write effective copy. If these just aren’t your forte, no big deal — you can always enlist some help to produce great content that gets engagement.
Next, make sure your content strategy aligns with your business goals. Returning to the outdoor company example, if your July goal is to increase tent sales by 20%, you’ll want to offer a decent amount of content about camping. If your followers are in the market for a new tent, your content may just be the tipping point that encourages them to make a purchase.
Finally, take the time to plan ahead. Set aside a day or two each month when you’ll plan your posts for the following month. Input these posts into a content calendar so you can stay on top of your social posting each day. If you’d rather “set it and forget it”, use a tool like HootSuite to create your posts and schedule them for a future date and time when they will automatically be shared on the platforms of your choosing.
Producing engaging content is a challenge and involves a considerable investment of time and energy, but the benefits make it well worth it.
Whether it’s buying a nice camera, hiring a part-time employee, or outsourcing your social media to an agency, it’s important to make the necessary investments in quality content creation if you wish to grow.
About the Author: Jacklyn Heinlein is a Creative Strategist at Macleod & Co. based in Minneapolis, MN. As the Holistic Marketing Agency ™, we believe that in a hyper-social world, culture drives success, every employee is a customer touch point, and every customer is a broadcast network. We live at the intersection of marketing and organizational effectiveness. And we see marketing as the entire process of bringing a product, service or business from inception to maximum ongoing profitability.