Wednesday, October 3, 2012

8 Advantages Content Can Give You In Business Social Media

Content is supposed to be King in Social Media. But why is that so? What can content do for you, that you could not achieve without content? Done right content can work wonders for your business in Social Media. Yet many get frustrated because they do not get out of their content what they expected.

 Yet it is still hard to figure out what kind of content is best for a given business and purpose, because the goals you can achieve, the benefits a business could get out of content and the means by which these goals are met vary from case to case. Social Media is a large playground; you need the right toy for every different angle, challenge and personality. To get the most out of your efforts, you need to be sure about what you want to achieve and what you expect. The content that is best for you depends strongly on your own specific goals.

Here are some benefits you can achieve with content, usually one does not come without helping the others. You can force the ones more important to you, by choosing the right content and actions. BUT: Do not expect the last one to come on its own and first!

1. Information/Answers

You have a question, a problem, or need information but have trouble finding exactly what you are looking for? Write an article about your problem or question. Describe what you know, and what information your are looking for.  Ask your following or post the article in a place where an active audience is present. Ask if someone in your following can point you to helpful information, pose questions in forums or better even on Quora. 

2. Insights

Where books often have a lot of valuable information, no content is better accessible than online content. You will be able to find almost any information online, without having to go to different libraries, you just have to find it. To stand out from the mass of content people online often share valuable personal experiences. If the already existing information is not sufficient for you and you are left with more questions – go back to 1. And ask!

In addition to the existing information in content online, your own content can inspire discussions and comments, that can be a well of more information, often you are pointed to more information or given a different point of view.

3. Following/Audience

You want to get attention in social media for yourself, your experience, expertise and products and services? Publish content online and share valuable insights. Connect to people in the different networks and communicate with them. You will be able to grow a following and an audience exceeding any audience you could gather offline with speaking and networking at conferences or other events. This is the ground work for point 8 “New Business” – build a following and start connecting to people in social media before you expect them to buy your products or services.

4. Visibility

Do not fall for the wrong assumption that just publishing content will get you visibility. Yet good content is the starting point and the fundament on which online and social media visibility is built. Publishing content that is of interest to your target audience and sharing it through different channels will help you get the visibility you are looking for. You can grow your social media following based on the good content you share, your visibility will grow, too. Good content in the right outlets is the ground on which you can build your visibility.

5. Communication

It is hard to create and publish good content and realize that it does not get any reactions, be it shares or comments. This is something that happens over and over again in social media and web2.0. It does not necessarily have to be like that. While it is really hard to get a conversation started on a newly established blog, there are more possibilities to get into conversation with interested people.

The right content in the right outlet will help you start communicating with your target group: Choose content, that poses questions and gives room to different opinions. Publish your content in a place where an active audience is already present. Have a look at content that inspires reactions and try to learn from these pieces for your own content.

Do not wait for people to talk to you: Start conversations yourself. Ask questions and share your opinion. If you already “talked” to people they will more likely comment on your own content.

Do not limit your communication to your own content and the outlet where you published – share your content in other networks and communicate in these outlets: LinkedIn Groups or Twitter are good places to easily start a conversation.

6. Connections and Contacts

Some people in social media mistake followers or audience as contacts. Yet, contacts need to be build, there is much more to “connecting” and “contact” than sending a contact request to any more or less random person in LinkedIn or following someone on Twitter. Even though the reason for contacting or following might be legitimate and the contact request fits the business needs of both sides, to connect you have to communicate, stay in touch and build the connection – and trust.

Social Media offers a great opportunity to start connecting to people, content gives you the means to find a targeted group of people willing to connect to you. Yet connections and contacts are hard work – to build and maintain.

7. Reputation

With your content you can show your knowledge and expertise, you can help people, and let your audience glimpse at your experience and customer references. You can show personality and character. You can choose yourself what information to share and what to withhold – all with the reputation in mind, that you would like to have. Sharing knowledge, helping people, giving a voice to happy customers – all the things that help you show your expertise and be recognized as a thought leader in your chosen area of interest, and all based on the content you publish and share.

Let your content speak for you and show that you are the expert people want to connect to and work with.

8. New Business

There are many people in social media that make the mistake of expecting this “New Business” first. They publish a product description or a service offer and expect tons of new customers to cry out: Deal! Yet without the other 7 steps the business you get out of social media will be meager, arise by chance and most likely not be what you expected.
Yet by building a following, online visibility, communication, connections and building a reputation as an expert, you position yourself as the person to turn to, the thought leader people ask for help in case they need it, and you will get new business – growing with your iagrowing following, connections and recognition in social media.

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