Digital media is all the rage. Facebook is part of our daily lives. Sixteen years worth of videos are uploaded to YouTube daily. Live-streaming social media apps are changing the way we see the world. And while HME suppliers will not likely be behind the next hit mobile app, there are plenty of ways you can use digital media to create content that should be used in your marketing plans, a process often referred to as content marketing.
If you have tried creating content, chances are you fall into one of two camps:
- Camp Digital: You believe you can apply some, if not all, of these digital tools to help grow your business and sales. You believe there is a direct benefit to your bottom line, but you sometimes cannot put your finger on it.
- Camp Analog: You do not think any of these tools will have a meaningful impact on your bottom line. You do some digital marketing when you have time, but even then, you have not seen any meaningful results.
No matter what camp you’re in, chances are you’re struggling to find your footing in this digital age.
If your digital marketing efforts are struggling it’s most likely because of two big reasons: 1. You are not patient. and 2. You are not consistent.
Your efforts are not failing because of the quality of your content; in fact, I believe there is no such thing as bad content. It is how you use your content, present it and what you want to get out of it that matters. Here are a few things you can do to get yourself on track to success with your digital marketing efforts.
Make a Plan
You would not start a business without a business plan. Likewise, you should not jump into digital media without one. Posting randomly without reason to Facebook is not a good use of your time. You need to define what you want to accomplish with your efforts. Time is money, so you should not be wasting time posting to any digital platform if you don’t have a goal in mind.
Pro tip: Start with one platform (Facebook, for example) and build up your following. Don’t do Facebook, Twitter and a blog all at once—or they will all suffer.
Make a Calendar
Facebook, Twitter and blogs thrive when they are fed consistently and on schedule. Chart out what content you are going to post and when. Don’t worry about repeating yourself, as long as it is on a different day, at a different time, with a slightly different worded message.
Stop Hard Selling
If you post a photo of a product you sell, name the price, and the features and benefits, then you just totally missed the point of social media. You need to provide something of value to anyone following your page. Stories are what move people.
Once you have picked a platform you want to focus on, you have to speak the language of that platform.
Social Media Platforms Translated
Facebook: Post no more than twice a day. Facebook wants its content to generate likes, comments, and shares. If it is not “social,” this platform will bury you, even if you pay money to boost a post. The best thing you can do is share photos and stories of satisfied customers (with their approval), exciting stories about your employees getting promoted or their kids’ graduations and your store’s social gatherings. Also promote events in your community.
Pro tip: Videos get more exposure on Facebook. Facebook Live video streaming is also highlighted more often to all of your followers.
Twitter: You can post as many times as you want in a day on Twitter, because the stream is always changing. Twitter is all about listening. Try a tool such as Hootsuite, and set up keyword searches. Respond directly to people and offer them help, services and, in some cases, information about a product you sell.
Pro tip: If you tweet @someone on Twitter, add a period before [email protected] so that everyone who follows you will see the tweet. If you don’t, only you and the person you tweeted to will see it.
Blogs: Blogs come in a variety of styles and formats, and are moving into stand-alone content marketing pages that provide value to a select audience.
Begin posting once a month and build up from there. Set up posts to go up at the same time every month, for example the first Tuesday, at noon. Promote the blog post on Facebook and Twitter, and post at a few different times during the week to capture different audiences. After a while, you will have a reservoir of content you can recycle and promote content again at a later date.
Capture Email Addresses
At this time, email is the most valuable digital media-marketing tool available. Add a “Subscribe for Email Coupons and Updates” link anywhere you can. An email distribution service such as Mail Chimp can be free or low-cost for a small business, and allow you to reach subscribers who may not take part in social media with news and store specials.
All social media and content marketing takes time. If you post something worth sharing, often and on-schedule, then your efforts will pay off in time. Just pace yourself, start somewhere small and build your following.