Content curation is the order of the day!
And we don’t refer to digital content as a way of maximising Search Engine Optimisation and Link Building on your website’s backend. We’re talking about content that people WANT to read, and the sharing of information that people NEED.
So, if you’re a business owner, and you’re conducting some DIY content marketing for your own brand, then get creative and release some genuinely interesting content that piques the interest of your target market.
But this article is not trying to encourage you to create content; you should realise the importance of your own content already. What we are trying to do is help you target the right audience with your content, and one of the best platforms on which to share content is social media.
Social media requires scrutinising. That’s because it is not only a window through which you can share your content, but it allows people to follow (and therefore trust in) the brand. It has also been noticed that people are more likely to read/view content that has been shared by their friends. Potential followers and new-content consumers are only likely to share your content if it has been re-shared by one of their friends, other than through the brand pages itself.
Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing
This shows us the value of followers, and that a single follower is probably worth writing content for, rather than would-be followers that you have yet to attract.
But is your follower the right kind of follower?
A social media follower who has a constructive influence on your social media content marketing campaign should, typically, fulfil a couple of key roles for your business. These functions are a trade-off for all the lovely content that you have provided them. These followers must be influencers and engagers.
This person shares a large circle of friends to which they regularly post topical content. They’re also considered somewhat learned in the topic that is important to your brand.
The follower is regularly found on the specific social media platform, and they can almost always be counted on to share, comment on, and like your content.
Case Study: One of my business’ very loyal clients is one of the largest painting contractors in South Africa. Luckily, one of the brand’s most avid social media followers is an interior & exterior designer with a large following of friends who find her posts incredibly informative. Not only does she post content that is relevant, but she can be trusted to re-share our content regularly, boosting our brand’s share-of-voice online.
So, how is it that you can build an audience of influencers and engagers?
The answer is easy, but in practice it will take time and dedication. Your circle of followers must be appealed to. This means that content must be regularly created. This doesn’t mean re-shared, but rather your brand must make efforts to create content from scratch.
Content must also be created specifically for the platform.
- Facebook: Facebook content must be made up, primarily, of videos, curated-content (links to blogs), and images.
- Twitter: Links to blogs and lots of images!
- Pinterest: High-quality photographs and infographics.
- LinkedIn: Links to industry specific blogs created specifically for the professional, as well as product/service portfolio of images. Quotes seem to work wonders too!
- Instagram: High-quality images, infographics, as well as quotes. Don’t forget to post story-based images often.
- Google+: Links to blogs and other articles found on-site.
- Facebook: I just put this social media platform up again to illustrate its importance.
So, you’ll be able to set up a loyal following on social media if you fulfil our 3-step social media plan. As stated before, the concept is simple, but ensure that you carry out each of the points rigorously in order to attract the correct followers, and get your influencers sharing your content!
Step 1) Share only the highest-quality content. It’s not a bad idea to share that content created by other brands, but make sure that you create enough of your very own content regularly!
Step 2) Follow only the most relevant brands to your business. In addition, make sure that you are running a flawless advertisement campaign on social media at all times!
Step 3) Engage with your followers. This cannot be emphasised enough! Brands often forget to connect with followers’ posts, focusing on their own page and content instead. How is the follower meant to feel connected to a brand that doesn’t engage with them?
Following the above-mentioned steps will put you on the right path of both attracting new followers as well as retaining your current industry influencers (and get them re-sharing your content). Make sure that you appeal to these influencers, as they form the backbone of the audience to which you are targeting your content (as well as products and services).
Staying Relevant In The Facebook Age Of Meaningful Social Interactions
With Facebook announcing that it is pushing brand and publisher content out of news feeds, how can businesses, especially small and medium enterprises in South Africa, remain relevant?
It was deemed a “rude awakening” early in January 2018 when Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the social networking platform had changed its algorithm, basically meaning it had changed what users see on their news feeds.
This follows a pretty harsh year for Facebook, where it was criticised for not having the right countermeasure to stop the spread of fake news and propaganda. So now its set of rules has changed; bumping up users’ friends and family members’ status updates and photos, and underplaying public news articles and content published by brands.
But where does that leave the small or medium businesses reliant on communicating their brand messages through Facebook? How do they now reach Facebook users (estimated to be approximately two billion)?
There is still a way
“’Meaningful interaction’ is not something new to Zuckerberg’s focus on how brands engage with their Facebook audience,” explains Jodene Shaer, international business owner and head strategist of social media engagement specialist, Chat Factory.
“There is a place for paid media, but if a brand is trying to be seen organically, then it must feel like it is part of the flowing content people want to see from friends and family. It is pushing for the reason that Facebook was created in the first place – to be social.”
Truly embracing the power of live videos and video content on Facebook – and then creating reasons for the public to engage with those posts – is an excellent move for any business that is budget conscious, Shaer adds.
“The ranking for visibility of organic content is highest when live. Live videos are absolutely the route to go, as followers receive a notification that you are live and there is greater chance of visibility. A big advantage is that you can save that content to the page and it becomes shareable, and can be uploaded to YouTube, where there is still a strong call for business content.
“And it doesn’t have to be high budget either, but it must be authentic, informative, engaging and encouraging. Of all things, ensure that all comments are responded to and shares and reviews are acknowledged.”
Looking beyond Facebook
Shaer believes that smaller local businesses can make their ad rands stretch further on Facebook by moving onto Ads Manager, instead of simply using the Boost button. “The reach is different, so invest in watching some YouTube videos as tutorials,” she recommends. “Boost to unique target audiences and turn the boosting into a science, by watching your reach. Set up smaller boosts and spread your spend across a few posts instead of one big boost. Track your stats and see which audiences work best.”
“One way that South African SMEs could also make use of InstaStories, as these are gaining organic reach. They could also look at varying hashtags, but using a few to reach a very specific audience.
Related: Marketing Tips For Start-ups
“We’ve seen the opening up of the use of LinkedIn and had people return to using the power of Twitter, so it’s worth investigating how to maximise other platforms while trying to keep your budget low.
“None of this should put a small business off, but should create exciting and challenging opportunities to shift how social media is used and explore the outcomes of each post, to truly develop a social media presence,” she adds.
Shaer will be one of an entire panel of dynamic, expert presenters speaking at the upcoming Madex 2018 show, the ultimate marketing, advertising, design, social media and all that good stuff expo.
How To Market Your Hotel
An integrated digital marketing strategy that provides multiple channels to communicate on will help you to reach more potential customers.
It’s imperative these days to enable customers and guests to interact directly with your brand in real time – and your ROI will reflect this success. To achieve this, your marketing team should utilise a number of different channels in order to achieve an integrated digital marketing strategy.
Why? When potential customers are only able to use one means of communication or booking platform, such as a hotel’s website or blog, Facebook, Twitter or a third-party booking site, their frustration could cause you to lose their business.
Your digital strategy
By engaging in an integrated digital marketing strategy and addressing multiple channels with a clear, consistent message, you are bound to reach the maximum number of potential customers. Through the creation of a larger online presence, your engagement reach will be far higher, solidifying your company’s brand in the best possible manner.
Your first step in achieving an integrated campaign is to determine your target market. The second step according to Robert Nienaber, managing director of Suiteres, is to “create a message – tell a story about your product or service and what makes it unique.
For instance, the history of your establishment’s location, the nature/wildlife, your amazing food or historical rooms or perhaps the owner’s unique story. Tailor that story for your target market to captivate them – they will buy into your brand as a result.” Be sure to keep your message consistent across all mediums, be it written, photographic or video.
According to Ivo Kittel, head of Development & Design at Suiteres, different channels can be described as such: ‘These consist of website and online booking systems, third-party channels – such as online travel agents or your global distributions systems – and social media platforms that support the aforementioned and drive traffic to them.
‘Print media, events and other offline techniques can also assist by driving clients to visit your website or to engage with you on social media. All these channels should be strategically linked for best effect.’
An unusual hero in the travel market? Smart phones and tablets, on-the-go devices that allow users to review and recommend hotels on social media profiles, as well as third-party sites. Together with the integrated digital marketing strategy, this increases potential customers’ connections to hotels, airlines, car hire companies or event organisers.
What’s more, a key driver in drawing in new customers and causing previous ones to return, is the offer of regular perks, benefits, freebies and discounts via a newsletter.
Bear in mind though, that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Each company will have differing concerns and requirements, and these are what you should use to build an effective marketing campaign. The following should be noted:
- Effective communication between marketing team members is essential. There needs to be collaboration across the multiple channels you’re utilising. In doing so, your overall offering will be streamlined and have maximum effect.
- Choose your key channels, those that will receive the most attention and marketing spend. These need to be the channels that garner the most hits or collect the most bookings – also known as ‘converting’.
- Determine your target market and get as much information as you can on them, over time. For instance, which platform do they opt for first? Do specials lead them to make a booking, and if so, what are they? This and any other informative data assists you in your decisions and allows you to use your marketing funds in the best manner possible.
According to Vanessa Rogers, head of Communications at Suiteres, ‘The above-mentioned strategy should ideally be supported by a skilfully crafted PR campaign – one designed to complement and support your marketing message.’
Taking this into account, you should consider having relevant articles published on third-party websites and print media or arrange for a client to be interviewed on radio or a streaming site. These forms of PR are more cost-effective then an advertising campaign.
The details matter
Importantly, customers need to know they can contact you quickly and easily, whether they are making a booking or requesting additional information. One thing you can be certain of: if a customer is unable to communicate efficiently with you, they are very likely to book elsewhere.
10 Online Marketers To Watch In 2018
The more diverse your sources of news and inspiration, the better. These ten people can help get you there.
Online marketing requires experience, creativity and a working knowledge of the latest trends and technologies necessary to stay competitive in the modern landscape. And while there aren’t any shortcuts to gain more experience, there is a convenient way to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends and get inspiration for your creative campaigns.
That way? Following and paying attention to the best, smartest marketers in the industry.
With 2018 just getting started, I wanted to list some of my favourite marketing influencers, some of the most influential experts in the industry and some of the most promising creative minds to pay attention to this year:
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