You’ve done it. You have finally finished creating an amazing piece of content. You spent hours researching and developing something that you know your readers are going to love. So much work has gone into this piece, and you can’t wait for people to read it. This could be the content that goes viral and which is read by thousands. Only one problem — how are people going to read it if they don’t know it exists?
They’re not. You can’t expect to publish your content and people to just flock to it. The whole “Build it and they will come” business model doesn’t really work, here. They aren’t going to be searching for you — you need to be searching for them. You have to promote your content in order to get it in front of as many people as possible. Now, there are a lot of ways that you can do this. However, there is one method that works a little better than others: social media.
Social Media Rules
While there are a lot of ways that you can promote your content, none of them are as good as your social media platforms. Think of these social sites as the Olympians of the world. They are just better at sharing content than anyone else. But why are they so great for content promotion?
Well, just think about it. Americans spend 25 percent of their time on social media. In 2014, consumers doubled their sharing activity on mobile devices. As of the second quarter of 2016, there were over 1.7 billion Facebook users. Whether we like to admit it or not, Zuckerberg changed the world with Facebook, and today we are a society dominated by social media.
If we think of the social sites as the Olympians of content promotion, then Facebook is Michael Phelps. There is no doubt that Facebook is the greatest. It is the absolute best place to be sharing and promoting your content. But why?
The first thing that most people bring up when they are complimenting Facebook is the sheer reach that the platform has. Facebook has a global audience made up of 1.49 billion members worldwide. That is more than any other social media platform out there. With that many people using the site, you can make a safe bet that your audience is out there somewhere.
Facebook is also the most popular social media site for sharing. Not only are more people on the site, but they use it more and use it for sharing content. The next closest site would be Pinterest, but Facebook’s sharing activity is 10:1 that of Pinterest. In addition, 81 percent of all shares come from Facebook.
Also, Facebook has Facebook Advertising, which is one of the most advanced advertising tools on the market today. With over 22 billion ad clicks per year, Facebook Advertising has become the biggest advertising opportunity since search came along. The ads on Facebook tend to be relatively cheap, compared to other marketing channels, and there is also a large variety of ads that you can run on the site.
But the one thing that makes Facebook advertising really stand out is the targeting capability that it has. You can target people based on demographics, age, language, behavior, connections, geography, etc. You can also perform remarketing to target those who have visited your site previously. You can also create lookalike audiences that clone audiences you have. The possibilities are really endless, here, and guarantee that you can serve your ads to the audience that you want.
Using Social Media for Content Promotion
We’ve established that social media is a great tool for promoting your content. But how do you start using it to your advantage?
First thing first. You have to start with great content. Without it, this whole promotion strategy is a complete waste of time. No one wants to read sub-par content, and, trust us, people are going to know when you don’t put much work into your article. Your content needs to be better than all the other content out there.
Here is our best tip for getting your content shared and read by thousands: Have a dazzling headline. People don’t want to waste their time, and they aren’t going to read your content if you can’t compel them to do so with a strong headline. Take it from David Ogilvy: “It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.”
After you have created an incredible piece with a strong headline that is going to draw readers in, it’s time to get it out there. You want to share it across your social media platforms. If you don’t want to take the time to share your content on each one individually, you can set up scheduling software like Hootsuite or Buffer, where you can schedule all of your platforms at once.
We know that posting your content on Facebook or Twitter seems simple enough, but there does need to be some thought behind how you post and when you post. You want your content to be formatted correctly for each platform. For example, on Facebook, your audience is going to want more information in the description of the article, whereas on Twitter you only have 140 characters to explain your article, so you have to ditch the fluff.
When you post matters, too. You can Google “best times to post on Facebook” (or Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to see what other people think is the best time to post on platforms. Normally, you can find good information about posting and the different platforms in these articles, but the best way to figure out when to post is to do a little research.
The easiest thing to do is go check out your Facebook Insights page. There you can see when most of your audience is online, and then you can see the time frame when you should be posting your content. You can also try posting the same or similar content at different times throughout the day and see which one does better.
Unfortunately, sharing your content really isn’t enough, anymore. You are also going to need to promote it. Now, there are several ways that you can do this. One involves email outreach. You can send your content to other influencers to get them to share it. You can also put your content in the email marketing that you already have set up and, when people read your newsletters, they will see your great content.
Another way to promote your content is through social media advertising. We have already talked about Facebook Advertising and all that you can do with it. You want to make sure that you are utilizing this because you aren’t going to get a lot of reach organically on Facebook. Unfortunately for you (and fortunately for Mark Zuckerberg), once Facebook realized that they could make money off of content promotion, they ran with it. Today, you are going to have to pay to get your content out to your entire audience.
But it doesn’t stop with just Facebook Advertising. There are other advertising channels on other social media platforms that you can use. LinkedIn has a great advertising platform if you are trying to get your content in front of other businesses and business professionals. They give you two options to promote your content, with either sponsored updates or text ads.
You can also run ads on Twitter, which is very cost-effective and generally has a wide range of users available at your disposal. Promoted tweets will help you reach a wide group and help with engagement.
Engage with Audience
Once you have shared your content and promoted it, you should see some engagement on your posts. This is what you want — you want people to read your article and have something to say about it. If people are commenting on your article, you want to make sure that you are commenting back to them. This is how you build a strong audience: engagement. You want to make them feel appreciated for reading your work and as if the two of you are friends.
Online Audience Photo via Shutterstock