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Technology & InternetContent Marketing - Are You Building a Reputation within Social Media?
There are different approaches to using social media for business, but what most have in common is their emphasis on the quality of “content.” More and more often you hear the phrase “content is king.” The underlying truth is that if you get your content right, you will indeed start to rule.
To figure out what kind of content is the right content for you and your business, you have to be clear about what you want to achieve. There is a difference between attracting the largest quantity of readers for a blog article and inspiring a dialogue that can lead to real business interaction. There is also a difference between merely selling a product (often is the goal in B2C content marketing) and wanting to build lasting relationships with your audience members (more the case in B2B).
Building a Reputation
In B2B, most business decisions require thoughtful consideration. Business partnerships, external services, and purchased products can determine the success or failure of a branch or company. External services are therefore chosen with utmost care; it is better to take time to look for the right partner than to trust someone who may be the wrong fit. To generate new business within social media you must provide useful knowledge that will establish loyalty within your relevant industry. You want to be the one who knows his or her business best, who presents educational and trustworthy content, and who would make an ideal partner or collaborator. The content you publish and spread throughout social media should communicate these motivations.
Yet this sort of reputation cannot be built with just a single post. For starters, only a limited number will see this single post, as social media is built on constantly updated news streams. It takes time to establish a thought leadership and a loyal audience.
A reputation is not built by stating (or repeating) facts you hope people will relate to you. A reputation is something you achieve after telling a story, articulating knowledge from between the lines, answering questions, providing insight on your field of expertise, knowing the right people and providing information that can help your target group address real problems.
Building a reputation with content marketing is not limited to a social media strategy. (You have probably done some form of content marketing offline in the past - giving speeches, participating in interviews, having the local paper visit your company or contributing an article to a local paper.) However, the benefit of working online is the rate at which your knowledge can reach your lead generation.
Choosing Your Content
The content you choose to build your reputation should relate to you and your business. This does not mean that you are confined to regurgitate a (boring) product explanation or service description. The content itself, as well as the form in which it is presented, have limitless potential (as long as your boss is on board). Content can appear in articles, videos, photos, graphics. (Hint: you can even tell the same story in different, creative mediums.)
To understand what kind of content is good content, try to stay away from focusing on what you want to tell, and rather aim to provide what your target audience would like to read or know. If you pay closer attention to your online history, this is probably similar to the stuff you, too, like to read while browsing or seeking new specific answers. Consider with the kind of information you provide, how to introduce disruptive topics or shed new light to those discussion already in action.
To give you some ideas (and direction) for content creation here are 5 examples:
- Create How-To lists and lessons
- Give your perspective on industry news
- Tell a story about challenges you faced and how you overcame them
- Interview someone who will inspire your audience
- Relate company news from a new perspective, ie. an intern, programmer, accountant
Reach Your Audience - Publish and Share
Creating content is only the first step in building a reputation with content marketing. The next step is to publish and spread this material. While it may sound easy, it can prove to be frustrating for many. It can be tempting to think, ‘What is the use in spending a lot of time and perhaps money on creating stellar content, when in the end no one gets to see it?’ This is why it is important to know the channels you use to spread your stellar content, and your audience within them, to make the the most of your energy.
Not every platform will achieve the same results. To get certain content noticed on the most populated social media networks can be hard, as these require time to build a following. You have to take into account which form of content you are trying to spread in the various channels (ex. a high quality picture might be best spread throughout Pinterest, while a video surrounding the same topic would be most effective on Facebook). Consider your motivation and who you want to reach before deciding which platforms to use.
Places to publish content:
- Your/company blog (including Wordpress, Tumblr)
- Content publishing platforms (ie. exploreB2B)
- Guest posts on other blogs
- Q&A platforms (Quora)
Places to share content:
Be open to new or smaller networks which allow you to communicate and interact with professionals. It is not the number of users on a platform, it is the number of relevant people you can communicate with that counts.
While the concept of content marketing is not new, Web 2.0 has inspired a new level of influence. There is not ONE right way, but many approaches that can help you advance your business. Do not expect to get everything right from the start; social media and content marketing is a lot about learning, listening, communicating and trying. Along this path, you will get noticed and successfully build your reputation.