When it comes to social media marketing, the majority of the advice you’ll receive centers on publishing content – how often, when, to be consistent.
Yet there is the old saying that we have one mouth and two ears for a reason – to talk less and listen more.
So why is most marketing advice so focused on “talking”?
Social media marketing is unlike traditional marketing.
It’s set apart by its ability to allow customers and prospective customers to connect with you, to learn about you, to interact and communicate. It provides the perfect opportunity to listen and learn. Find out what your customers want and need, the problems they face. Social media platforms offer invaluable insight to those who chose to talk less and listen more.
Rather than focusing on how much you are publishing, consider engaging more.
Find out where your customers are active. Read what they are posting. Engage with them on their content and where they are active. Connect with them on what matters to them.
We are drawn to those who we connect with and those who take the time to listen to us. The more we feel someone is paying attention and cares, the greater the likelihood we’ll take the time to get to know them. This includes following your brand and/or subscribe to your newsletters. It’s about trust.
As a business, loyalty is everything. We need new customers, but repeat customers are our lifeblood. Over time they have a proven track record and no further (or limited) acquisition cost. They are also some of our best advocates. They refer us, promote us, drive down our acquisition costs for new customers.
This combination of learning and connecting drives your content.
One of the biggest issues for brands on social media is creating effective content. They struggle with what to post and how to write it. An interesting thing happens when you listen more. Your content struggles disappear.
The very act of listening and learning, allowing you a chance to “find out what your customers want and need, the problems they face,” means you have the basis for what to publish. There is no guess what you should write.
If you know your customers are facing “Problem A,” write about ways they can face, handle, deal with, or resolve “Problem A.”
Less time on content helps you create better content, or at least, more targeted content. It’s content which will resonate with the audience you’ve curated through that earlier engagement. As it is relevant to them, they’ll more likely see your post in their feeds and read it and more likely to open that email from you. (It’s not that email marketing is dying. It’s that we have no connection with the sender. It’s transactional.)
Relevant content drives engagement.
The second major issue faced by content publishers is getting engagement. When you start creating articles with a message on point with your audience’s needs and concerns, you’ll get better engagement.
If you address something of interest to me, more than simply reading it, I’ll likely contribute. That could be in the form of a like, a comment, or a share. Without getting into the type of engagement you ideally want, all of it has value.
Relevance is the main driver in Facebook’s algorithm and, to some degree, Google’s when it comes to search results (how relevant your content is to the search query at its most base level). The second big driver is engagement.
Content engagement drives visibility.
For Facebook, the algorithm was designed to show what is most relevant to the user, but unless that content is deemed ‘shareable’, no matter how relevant it is, it may not be seen. Facebook uses ‘shareability’ to further narrow what you see. The more engagement a post sees, the more it indicates the content has value – and the more ‘shareable’ it becomes. This is why content with increased engagement, even just likes, is more apt to show in your feed and to show more often. Each further piece of engagement amplifies this.
For Google, engagement matters, even if indirect. Content served up in search results must not only be relevant to the query (keywords, title, slug, meta description), the content must be valuable and authoritative. Blog comments and socials shares are a indirect indicator of value and can contribute to ranking. Increased visibility can/should lead to an increase in backlinks reinforcing the content value and improving your website’s overall ability to rank.
Visibility drives further engagement
It’s a natural cycle. And one created initially by you taking the time on social media to engage and interact, not publish and promote.
The best way to get others to listen when you speak?
Start by listening to them.
Robert is a brand, content and social media marketing consultant at TSO Media, a national speaker and the Lead Marketing Wrangler for WordCamp Seattle. Read more on his site.