It is very clear that the popularity of social media is increasing by the day. For sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, the fastest growing demographic consists of users 35 years and older. Though social media was once considered a fad for kids, it has become a viable marketing opportunity for business.
For the average user, social media is a way to connect with friends and family. For the business user, social media works by sharing compelling information to capture the attention of your target audience. When you do this well, you can count on generating website traffic, client leads and even media attention.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter revolve around the concept of a status update. When you update your status, everyone in your network can view what you have to say/post. This is where the real opportunity to establish yourself as a leader in your industry. Instead of updating your status to report that you are having dinner or that it’s time to pick up your kids, share interesting status updates and watch the magic of social media explode.
Many people have said they never know what to say or to post. Below is 25 ideas of what you can post for your status updates on Social Media sites.
Type of Information to Post on Social Media Web Sites:
1. New blog posts
2. Someone else’s blog post
3. Article you’ve written
4. Articles from somewhere else that you like
5. A video about you, almost like a video business card
6. A funny or controversial video
7. Before and after photos of work you’ve done
8. Fun photos of places you are or have been
9. Client success stories
10. Free ebook relating to your business
11. Upcoming events, like business mixers and happy hours
12. Live reports from an event you are currently attending
13. Book reviews
14. Recommended products, like cell phones and computers
15. Recommended services, such as great marketing guys like me 🙂
16. Tips and tricks for doing something better
17. Recent media coverage you have received, like press release or article
18. Inspirational advice (preferably your own, motivational quotes are over-used online)
19. Breaking news alerts, you can get news out faster than new media
20. Requests for participation (ask for comments on your blog)
21. Contest announcements
22. Teleseminar/Webinar invitation
23. Special sales, offers and discounts (not too many)
24. A compelling question you want answered
25. Anything offered for free, people look to Social Media for free info
Guide to Success
1. Your status updates should appeal to your target audience and provide value. Also, it doesn’t always have to be directly related to what you do. For example, a mortgage broker might share community resources, local event announcements and family-related tips. This type of information would likely be more appealing to the broker’s target audience than current interest rates and articles about mortgage insurance (though you can occasionally include those too). The point is to become a valued resource.
2. Follow the 90/10 rule. Avoid selling online and you will achieve more sales. That’s right; we’re all tired of being sold to. When you provide value, you build loyalty and trust. It’s fine to include sales offers up to 10 percent of the time, but make sure you are primarily serving up useful content.
3. Use interesting titles and descriptions. You only have a limited amount of space to share information which means that a good title can make the difference between a reader who clicks through or completely ignores your post.
4. Track your results through Google Analytics or Bit.Ly. Pay attention to user response. If you’re receiving comments and your content is being forwarded to others (for example, retweeting on Twitter), that is evidence that your efforts are working. Also, your network should be growing steadily as a result of the value you’re providing.
5. Don’t over use hyper links. When you share compelling content, it provides an opportunity to link back to your website or blog. This is great for building website traffic. However, not every post needs to have a link. Mix up your posts so that some simply offer something short and sweet. You can also shorten links and track the number of click-throughs with a service like http://bit.ly.
5. Be consistent. You will get the best results from marketing content through social media by participating on a regular basis. Ideally you should share something every day, even multiple times per day, to stay visible. You can automate some of your updates with services like http://ping.fm, http://socialoomph.com. But don’t automate everything!
6. Engage with your audience. Social media involves a two-way conversation. It’s not just about posting data out into your network and waiting to reap the rewards. Reply to people who comment, forward and share useful content from others and make sure you have a human presence in social media land. Think of it as being at a global business mixer, you don’t walk up to the first person at the event and try to sell them something.
7. Build a social media plan. A plan should identify your target audience, include a strategy for ongoing content generation, should identify frequency of updates and indicate the amount of time and resources you are going to allocate to managing your social media strategy. Ask others for input or solicit the help of a social media expert. There is opportunity for every kind of business to benefit from social media. You simply need to find the strategy that works for your business.
by James Hickey VP, Social Media Technology at Parallel6