Social media has become an integral part of our lives. Facebook is today what a landline phone number was a few decades ago. Websites like twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ have also become immensely popular. The general population may use them primarily for fun and to keep in touch with friends, but business owners and marketers alike see social media platforms as the best way to reach out to potential customers and brand themselves.
Everyone and their grandmother is on social media, but how can business and website owners use this fact to their advantage? As always, it all comes down to content. Sharing or advertising your website or business on social media to certain demographic groups is great and could work, at least to an extent, but building a website with the demographic in mind and producing content with the demographic in mind yields much better, long-term results.
After all, the key of dominating social media and getting customers from it is getting your content liked and shared (retweeted, repined – basically shown to large groups of people). And since content is what social media users pay the most attention to, it is what everything revolves around.
How to Create and Optimize Content for Social Media
So, what is the problem? There are a few. First, social media users are constantly bombarded by information (and therefore content) – it’s being aggressively shoved down their throats. Whether we’re talking about paid advertisement or content being shared by other brands (your competition), it’s tough to get your name out there. This is why your content needs to be fun and original.
Since social media users are processing large quantities of information in a matter of minutes, it’s incredibly important to stand out. Writing an attention-grabbing title (and description) is the first step if you’re directing traffic from social media to your website. This doesn’t mean you should take the clickbait route and come up with a controversial title that has little to nothing to do with the content (after all, you want to stay professional), but you should write a title that makes a person want to check out what the content is about. Still, try to stay relevant and make sure the title is relatively short. Writing a catchy tittle like this is not as easy as it sounds, so brainstorming a few titles with someone or simply checking out what your competition is doing and putting your own spin on it is the way to go in the beginning.
The content itself needs to be relatively short and easy to digest. Search engines may not love short articles, but social media users do. Even if you’re writing a long article break it down in as many subheadings as possible, use bullet points and lists to make the content easy to read. Use simple vocabulary and convey your intentions (whether you’re pitching a sale, offering a service or simply sharing information) clearly and concisely. The attention span of the average social media user is very short, so it’s important to get through to them and get as much info out as possible. Short, punch sentences and a friendly writing style should be your main focus.
Driving traffic from social media doesn’t end at publishing links your fan base can see. Perhaps paid advertising (Facebook, for example has a few great marketing tools) is something to think about but if it’s not in your budget or if you simply don’t want to go down that route, there are still ways to reach out to more people. Writing comments in relevant groups and linking to your page (we’re talking about Facebook right now, but this goes for most social media sites – participate in discussions your target demographic participates in) is a classic method that will probably always work, as long as you’re subtle about it, but it all comes down to organic shares.
Getting your content shared by your website visitors, organically, is the best way for it to be promoted and it requires no money and little to no effort on your part. Except, of course, writing content that gets shared on social media. That is the tricky part, but what many website owners forget to do is pay attention to how optimized their website is for social media. Make sure to place social media widgets in visible places – below or above every single article. Every share matters and if social media “share” buttons aren’t conveniently placed, most visitors won’t think about sharing an article with their friends.
Another thing you can do is simply ask for a share. Meaning, instead of ending an article with a simple conclusion you can write something like “Press the share button below or tweet this to your friends”. Anything goes, the call to action is what matters. If you’re getting organic traffic, from search engines, to your website, why not leverage that traffic to social media too? If you get 4000 visitors a month and only a quarter of them shares an article from your website with their Facebook friends or twitter followers, that’s potentially hundreds in traffic and, hopefully, customers.