Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

More than 140 characters on Twitter; how is it going to impact content marketing?

Content marketing on Twitter with more than 140 characters

Most people I have come across (especially on Twitter) flinch at the thought of people being able to write more than 140 characters on Twitter. In fact, many believe that a big reason why Twitter succeeds is because of its 140-character-limit. If people are allowed to type more than 140 characters, they declare, Twitter will become just another spam-filled platform where long streams of text will clog the timelines and most of this text will make no sense.

The inherent strength of Twitter is of course it’s short messages. The entire format has evolved around this state of brevity. Even in terms of usability, it is easier to quickly scroll through shorter spurts of text rather than long paragraphs. Yes, images and videos are there that often occupy lots of space, but you can disable them in almost every Twitter app that you use on your mobile phone or tablet.

Twitter would like more long form content published on its website just like Facebook and LinkedIn, according to this Re/Code update. The company is working on building a “product” that will allow people to use the social networking website to post more than 140 characters or long form text. It isn’t very clear whether it will be the users of the “product” who will be able to post long form content while the remaining Twitter users go on using 140 characters, or the facility will be available to everybody.

Longer content means people spending more time on the website and more time on the website means greater ad revenue, or at least this is how the conventional logic goes. Up till now, as you know, long form content is published elsewhere – your own website or your own blog, Medium, WordPress.com, Tumblr and even Facebook these days – and the URL with a small textual description is published on Twitter. So basically Twitter is constantly sending traffic away because the whole purpose of publishing your URL on Twitter is to send people to that URL and consequently, leave Twitter. People are not staying on Twitter longer unless they are engaging in some ongoing conversation. If they come across blog posts and articles on Twitter itself, they won’t have to leave the website.

What does an ability to post more than 140 characters on Twitter mean to content marketing?

In simple terms, there will be another platform at your disposal where you can publish content to promote your business. The true purpose of content marketing is to help people while letting people know from where the help is coming. Marketing messages don’t sell. Relevant, useful content does. So the same philosophy will apply on Twitter when you decide to use its ability to publish long form content for content marketing.

But isn’t it a big hassle to post content on different networks? You might already be publishing long form content on LinkedIn, Facebook and Medium? Of course, then there is also your own blog. After all how much content can you publish?

Personally, I wouldn’t suggest my clients to go for all platforms. For B2B marketing, yes, LinkedIn is important and it is worthwhile to invest in content marketing over there and publishing long form articles and blog posts specifically written for LinkedIn. But for Twitter? I’m not very sure. You may call me a power Twitter user but I mostly use it for political, social and cultural interactions, not for business purpose. For business purpose I use my own blog as well as LinkedIn and I believe the same applies to most of my clients.

Not much data is available regarding how much business Twitter exclusively generates for advertisers and marketers.

Also, I’m not saying that for content marketing you can totally disregard Twitter’s ability to publish long form content. It is hard to predict how everything will evolve. But as of now, even if you decide to post longer blog posts and articles exclusively on Twitter, keep in mind that the audience is used to quickly browsing through shorter updates. The sort of attention people pay to tweets might be totally different from the sort of attention they pay to posts on LinkedIn or even Facebook. So start experimenting with first, one paragraph, then a couple of paragraphs and then maybe a few more paragraphs.

I often suggest my clients to publish long form content on their own website and on LinkedIn and then use their other social media profiles to promote that content. You may do the same with Twitter.

It also depends on your audience. For example if you are an author promoting your books then Facebook would be a better platform and you can start building content over there along with on your own website. If you write business-related books then LinkedIn would be a better platform for you and you should focus on creating long form content on LinkedIn. If your experience of having interactions on Twitter tells you that you are going to get good response by publishing long form blog posts and articles on Twitter, then sure, go ahead.

Boost your content marketing with hashtags

Hashtags are everywhere may it be Twitter, Google Plus or Instagram. Hashtags are a great way to boost your content marketing effort because it helps you focus target audience on social networking websites. According to this infographic on Quick Sprout, tweets with hashtags generate two times more responses than those with no hashtags.

Screenshot of the hashtag infographic

What is the sense behind using hashtags? They are like the keywords on search engines. Social networking websites use hashtags to organize information under various, preferably, main topics. For example, when I’m posting content on content marketing I use the hashtag #ContentMarketing so whoever is following this hashtag will be able to see my update.

This is the main strength of using hashtags. Many people follow relevant hashtags so if they happen to be following the hashtag that you have just used in your update, they will be able to see your update which, otherwise, they wouldn’t have seen without having followed you. When you use the hashtag even those people who are not following you will be able to see your updates provided they are tracking that particular hashtag.

But don’t over use them. As you can see in the above graphic, the effectiveness begins to decrease as you use more of them. Preferably, vvv v vv use a single hashtag in one update.

Here is a humorous video on the use of hashtags:

5 ways to make your content social media friendly

What exactly do we mean by “social media friendly” content? There was a time when people knew of Internet by email. Many people thought that if you were checking email, you were “Interneting”. Yes, they were familiar with the concept of websites, but it was mostly email. The same happens with social media these days. It is so prevalent that many people, people who haven’t used the Internet much before, think that it’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that are Internet rather than millions of websites. This means that social media and social networking websites have grown into a totally separate entity and for the purpose of content marketing ignoring these websites is like ignoring the telephone or the email while trying to do business in the contemporary world.

Just as you need good search engine rankings to promote your content, you also need to optimize your content for social media and this is what you mean by making your content “social media friendly”. Your content is social media friendly when

  • People feel like sharing it on their timelines (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn)
  • They don’t need to modify your headlines and descriptions in order to share your links
  • Sharing your content is just a matter of a couple of clicks

For a very long time I have been thinking of dabbling with infographics. I recently tried to work with a neighbourhood graphic designer but although she is good at using image manipulation tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, she was terribly lacking on the creative side. We were working on a project and I had to tell her practically everything. The only blessing was that whatever I told her she was able to accomplish it.

Anyway, this is the infographic that I have created titled 5 ways to make your content social media friendly. It isn’t much but it’s definitely a beginning.

5 ways to make your content social media friendly

The five ways are:

  1. Create compelling headlines: Your headlines are, as far as optimizing your content for social media goes, are the most important aspects of your content. Compelling in this context means they should invoke strong feelings, so strong that people should be driven to share your content on their timelines.
  2. Publish irresistible content: In my daughter’s social sciences book there is a headline that goes something like this, “one man’s garbage is another’s treasure”. It is about the garbage collectors who make money off the garbage we through away so thoughtlessly. So what is irresistible and what is not depends on individual need, but catering to your niche, create content that is highly useful and valuable. It should solve some purpose and this is why people will share your content. When sharing your content people must feel that they are doing a service to their friends and followers.
  3. Use social buttons: It’s easier to share content when you just have to click a button. I like the way you can share certain portions of blog posts and articles published on Medium. The relevant, share-worthy portions have a Twitter icon nearby. You just need to click the icon to broadcast that particular sentence.
  4. Use social optimization tags:
    These tags normally reside in the header area of your web page. In a typical web page there are already title, description and keywords tags. You can also have dedicated tags for Facebook and Twitter to instruct various social media and social networking channels to automatically pick up customised headings and descriptions rather than using the default ones. If you are using WordPress to manage your website or blog, you can easily get plug-ins to achieve this.
  5. Choose publishing time carefully: You will need some time to figure out during what time of the day your target audience is most active on social media and social networking websites. Publish your content when there is greatest chance of it being noticed and shared.

Social content marketing strategy and the importance of verified Twitter accounts

Social content marketing doesn’t just involve continuously posting your content on social media and social networking websites. It also means getting attention from the people who are well-known and very active on social media circles. Famous people, well-known people, whose identity can be easily stolen and due to that people can be misled, have a facility to get their Twitter accounts verified.

This blog post on Business 2 Community gives the example of the Twitter account of Shaquille O’Neal which is, of course, verified. Shaquille O’Neal tweeted some good words about the phone company Blackphone, which the company used on its website as a recommendation. This may have brought lots of traffic on the website. Just the fact that Shaquille O’Neal is promoting a particular product can suddenly catapult the sales to crazy levels. Just imagine, a business or a company may have to pay him a few million bucks in order to broadcast the same message if the message is not voluntary.

As you may know, not everybody can get his or her account verified by Twitter. You need to be an influencer in your field, and more than that, there should be a possibility that someone might use your name and your fame to defame you hoodwink people, or simply spread misinformation in your name and cause you harm and expose you to litigations.

While there is not a direct way to leverage verified Twitter accounts, what the above link blog post intends to say is, try to get your product or service promoted by people who have a verified Twitter account and then you can use that particular message as a recommendation.

Again as it happens in content marketing, you cannot suddenly one day wake up and ask a verified Twitter account holder to give you a recommendation. You will need to establish a relationship. You will need to introduce yourself and regularly interact with that person (actually interact rather than just sound like an opportunist).

How to draw maximum benefit out of social media content marketing

Social media content marketing maximum benefit

A content marketing strategy without taking social media into consideration cannot hope to achieve much these days because pretty much everybody uses social media and social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn. If you are into consumer goods or something like fashion accessories, your best bet would be Facebook. If you want to immediately provide support to your customer and client base, Twitter can work wonders to your content marketing strategy. If you want to reach out to the B2B market then there is nothing like LinkedIn. So what I’m trying to say is, for every sort of content marketing need, there is a platform available to you.

This Social Media Examiner blog post lists some ways you can increase your influence by strategically posting content on social media websites according to their core users. There are some basic traits that are common to all social networking and social media websites because basically, as the name suggests, they are “social”.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while posting content on social media websites:

  1. Post content for readers, not buyers: When you try to target buyers, your entire tone changes. People on social media and social networking websites don’t want to be bothered by marketers and businesses. They are there to interact with the existing friends and make new friends. They are there to share all the cool things they are doing. If they want to buy a mobile phone, they would like to buy it on their own and then be cool about it, also, on their own.

    Let us use my example. I provide content writing and content marketing services. If I want to target people on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I won’t constantly badger them with my marketing messages. They will be put off and soon they will start unfollowing me. My best bet would be to raise awareness about publishing high quality content on websites and blogs and what is the benefit of marketing such content. Obviously if they are interested in this topic they will follow me and they won’t mind hearing about this topic again and again. This way, whenever they need a content writer, they will know whom to approach.

  2. Stick to your niche to stand out: If I’m continuously publishing helpful content about content writing and content marketing than people obviously know what I do and what is my expertise. If I go on posting everything under the sun, they won’t be able to make out exactly what I do. This goes for any profession. If you are marriage photographer and if you want people to know that you are available for the same service, you should post lots of content on such photography rather than simply posting cute marriage photographs or cuddly animals playing with each other.
  3. Keywords also matter on social media and social networking websites: I think as long as people use textual cues to carry out searches, keywords are never going to go out of fashion. If someone searches for “business content writer” on LinkedIn or Facebook, they should be able to find someone like me rather than a morning breakfast supplier. Unless these specific expressions exist in the content that I post, how are people going to find me?

    Keywords also make an unconscious impact. When you come across my content and repeatedly read about content writing and content marketing, unconsciously these keywords are continuously stored in your brain and this will ultimately have an impact on your decision when you are looking for a content writer for your website or blog.

  4. On social media and social networking websites it’s important to know what your audience wants: And then post content accordingly. It doesn’t mean if my audience is more interested in morning breakfast suppliers or marriage photographers then I should start posting content on these topics – it means I’m attracting wrong sort of audience and which further means, I’m doing something wrong with the sort of content I’m already posting. This should be changed immediately. I should post content for an audience that is interested in knowing more about content writing and content marketing and more importantly, an audience among which someday I hope to come across my clients.
  5. Use data to add value:
    People love to know facts. They will love to know that 62% B2B marketers prefer to use content marketing rather than knowing that “more and more people are using content marketing”.
  6. Regularly engage with your audience: Content on social media and social networking websites should never be one way because then it defeats the entire purpose. Encourage people to respond. You cannot always do that, but occasionally, ask interesting questions from your audience. This will also tell you whether they are actually paying attention to what you are posting or not. Engaging your audience will make it easier for them to remember you for what you do.