You’re so vain, you probably think social media marketing is about you

We all know people who are “inwardly focussed”.  OK, let’s not beat about the bush here, self-involved.  Whether they be friends or work colleagues, we all have that person who dominates conversation. If you have done something, they’ve done it better.  If you’ve been ill, they had it worse.  No matter what you’re talking about, they skilfully turn the conversation back round to them.

No matter who it is, or what the situation they’re in, these people are a royal pain in the what-not. However, when it comes to networking and marketing, it’s potential business suicide.

Think about the last time you went to a networking event and were faced with a total stranger who thrust their hand out, introduced themselves and shoved a business card at you. Five minutes later you’re still listening to them drivel on about their business, the product, their experience, their sheer wonderfulness.

Did you ever do business with them?

Have you ever referred to them?

Come on be honest, do you now avoid them at all costs?

Thought so.

Social media marketing is absolutely no different.  When I start working with a new client they often query what to post on social media, usually citing the fact their industry isn’t interesting enough to post about twice a day.

When I reply that the last thing they want to do is keep talking about themselves, their industry or their product they look at me like I have two heads.

But how will I sell if I don’t mention my latest gadget?

Over the years I’ve learnt to curb my urge to face palm and cry; however, this still remains my initial instinct.

I know I’ve said it before, but if you’re new, or have forgotten, let me say it again: social media marketing is NOT about selling.  It’s about building relationships with your audience, and you can’t do that if all you try to do is sell to them.

No matter how many of my ramblings you’ve read in the past, you may well find yourself thinking this makes no sense.  Your business is on social media because you want to sell things. Your audience knows you want to sell things to them, and clearly they don’t mind otherwise they wouldn’t be following you.

Right?

Wrong.

The key thing you need to remember is that your audience is not on social media because they want to buy things. They use social media day in, day out for entertainment, to learn things, to keep on top of news and current trends, to interact and to be, well, social.

Your constant posts to buy, buy, buy are nothing more than spam.

They can’t learn, they can’t interact, they can’t engage.

If they can’t do these things at any point, they will tune out.  It doesn’t matter if they unfollow you, or simply mute you – the end result is the same.

You are never going to get them back.

When it comes to social media marketing your job is to inform your audience.  Tell them about products that are on the market – even if you don’t sell them. Let them know you are the best person to come to when they are looking for advice.  Don’t judge every interaction by what you immediately get out of it.

A customer may come to you, ask your advice and go elsewhere. But they will always remember how you took the time to help them in the first place.  Next time they need something they may come to you and actually purchase. If you wow them then, I assure you, you have a customer for life.  And that is definitely worth whatever time it cost you in the first place.

People cannot build a relationship with someone who just talks at them constantly – you need to find ways to make them want to interact and engage with you. Let them learn about you, what your values are, what you stand for and what your experience is. Get them to care about your story.

Look after them, and they will most definitely look after you.

 

 

5 content ideas you should be using

There is little doubt that having a blog on your website, or using another forum, is a great way to generate traffic and engage with your potential audience. However, finding things to actually write about can prove a little problematic at times.

So, here are our favourite options if you find yourself stuck for ideas.

# 1 – Listicles

Other than just being a really cool word, a listicle is a fantastic blend of the classic list based article. Essentially, take a concept, and turn it in to a numbered list. For example, top 10 things to blog about.

Having a list means you can easily call out a number in your headline: “5 reasons you should use a Time Saving Hero”. It’s engaging, and lets your time poor audience know there’s a degree of conciseness and even skimability about the content, that might encourage them to click and read.

# 2 – How to’s

People like to find out how to do things for themselves, and telling them how to do something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re giving away your secrets for free. Create posts that walk them through how to do something useful, whether it’s making a cake, setting up their Facebook business page or even changing a lightbulb. If t’s useful for your audience, then it’s worth doing.

Make it as simple as possible, add images and photographs, and where possible even add in a video to make it more engaging.

# 3 – Checklists

Checklists can be a great way to provide useful and very specific information, and is usually more precise and targeted than a listicle.

We recently prepared checklists for a travel agent client who wanted to help customers who were travelling with young children. The list was informative and useful, and was shared frequently even by people who weren’t customers (which was kind of the whole point).

Use checklists to show you really know what you’re talking about.

# 4 – Best practices

As an expert in your field you will no doubt come across the good and the bad in your industry on a daily basis. Why not take the time to share some best practice advice on a given subject? In the past we’ve done this for how to connect with people on LinkedIn, or how to optimise your social media pages.

We’ve always found that such posts are not only informative, but they often encourage a bit of healthy debate – from all members of your audience, including competitors. This is a great way to increase engagement and visibility, and perhaps even learn something yourself.

# 5 – Tips and tricks

One of our clients is an IT expert – there is nothing he doesn’t know about computers, and everything they’re capable of doing. Each day he shares tips and tricks via his Facebook page, from how to delete temporary files to free up disk space, to useful shortcuts on PowerPoint.

These are great posts, but people only see them if they follow his Facebook page. We recently encouraged him to pull together 8-10 tips at a time, and turn them in to content to share via his website. The reach has been huge, as people have been commenting and reposting specific tips.

It’s a great way to share your knowledge, and again place yourself as an industry expert.

 

5 tips for great web content

Most businesses these days have a website; however, few actually take the time to review its content, ever. Let alone regularly.

 

Web content is vitally important.  At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how good it looks, if it doesn’t tell a story, make people want to engage, or provide relevant information.

 

How then can you make sure that your content is up to standards?  Here’s Lu’s top five tips to get you off to a good start:

 

#1 – Keep it relevant

Have you ever typed in a search item and clicked on a link, only to find that the page you’ve been taken to is useless?  Unfortunately, it happens quite a lot, and it’s infuriating.

 

Make sure people who end up on your page are actually able to find the information they’re after.  Don’t title a page or blog post as one thing, and then write about something completely different.

 

#2 – Keep it short

Web readers are skimmers.  They don’t want to sit and read War and Peace, so provide the information they want or needs quickly, and concisely.  Use images, bullet points, graphs and infographics where possible to make it even simpler for them to digest.

#3 – Keep checking spelling

Nothing says unprofessional like a page full of spelling or grammatical errors.  Admittedly, none of us are perfect (we’ve been known to send something out with an error or two before), but it’s important to take a few minutes to go through everything just one more time before you hit publish.

 

Don’t go to the effort of researching and writing something amazing, and then leaving the wrong to/two/too in place.

 

#4 – Keep it strong

If you’re providing an opinion, then do so with authority.  Don’t be wishy-washy about it, and mince your words.  People want to know what you think, and what your opinion on a particular topic is.

 

Equally, if you’re talking about your products or services, do so with confidence. If you don’t believe in what you’re writing, why would anyone else believe it?

 

#5 – Keep doing it

The key to writing good content is practice.  Very few of us just stumble on the right words, the first time.  Try a few variations of what you’ve already got, and see how well it’s all received.  Review your site every couple of months in line with your analytics, and try to work out where people are coming from, what they’re viewing and where they’re dropping off.

 

Just keep it at, and you’ll hit gold in the end.

Five topics for when you’re stuck for things to blog about

You’ve decided you wanted to start producing your own content for your website, blog or perhaps LinkedIn, and things were going great. For a few weeks.

Then you started running out of things to write about and consistency of posts is a thing of the past.

Sound familiar?

If so, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  It can be really difficult to come up with fresh new ideas every month, or week (depending how often you plan to post), and if you didn’t come up with a content schedule before you started, you’ll find it even harder.

However, there’s no need to panic.  Here are 5 great ideas from Lu for things to blog about if you’re suddenly feeling stuck

# 1 – Customer successes

People buy from people, and one thing that works really well is hearing from other people that have had good experiences of your business.

Why should a potential client believe what you say about yourself?  Of course you’re going to say you’re amazing, and your service is second to none.  No one’s going to believe that, but they will believe a real live customer that has taken the time to leave you a review.

If you’re short of time you could just share a review a customer has left for you, although the best thing would be to turn it in to a proper story. Perhaps a case study, guiding your audience through the when, what, where, why and how of what you did.

# 2 – Seen something you wished you’d written?

It is often the way, you read a post and kick yourself for not being the one to write it yourself.  If that’s the case, you could always write a comment about the post, and link back to the original article. Give your own perspective, agree or disagree with certain points and invite other people to comment.

# 3 – Get controversial

One of the best ways to get people to interact with something you have to say is by disagreeing with public opinion. However, it is always best to only do this if you do actually have a different opinion and are happy to stand by it.

If you do kick up a storm, always make sure you’re able to monitor any comments that come through, and that you are respectful of those who disagree with you.

# 4 – Talk about the news

Has anything happened in your industry, country, or the political world that has an impact on your business or your customers directly? If so, write about it. Give your opinion or explain what you’ve seen happening.

Many of our clients commissioned pieces on how a leave or remain Brexit vote would impact their industry and more importantly, their current clients.  Responses were very positive as it answered specific questions relating to some quite niche areas.  It was information their audience would have struggled to find anyway else.

# 5 – Do a roundup of opinions

If there is a new product, or a problem your customers all face, why not compile a blog on all the different opinions?  You can link to other people’s blogs, or perhaps just provide summaries.  It can be a great way to get people talking about issues that impact them, and might even give you some ideas on how you can improve things.

 

Here at Time Saving Heroes we provide content writing services for all types of business and industry.  Whether you already have topics in mind, or you need us to come up with some suggestions, we’re on hand to help.

Call 0161 883 2024 and speak to Lu, or email us on lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk.

The five steps to great content marketing

Whether you plan to do your content marketing yourself, or hire someone to work with you and manage it, there are certain things you need to think about.

Below is a list of things we run through with all our clients looking to improve their content, no matter what stage they’re currently at.

# 1 – The plan

Before you get started with content marketing (or any form of marketing, for that matter) it’s important you have a fully defined plan.

You need to understand what it is your business is trying to achieve – do you want to promote a new service or product, increase brand awareness, or develop stronger relationships with your existing customers?  Every organisation is different, and there’s no reason why you should have only one objective.

The only important thing is that you know what it is, and how your efforts are going to help you achieve it.

#2 – The audience

I keep banging on about your audience, and I’m sorry if that’s getting boring, but it’s really very important.  You must never forget who it is you’re talking to, and why they’d be interested in hearing what it is you’ve got to say.

Think about your audience – do you just have one type?  Or do you need to find a way to get multiple messages out to a wide range of people?  Perhaps you have a service that would only benefit SMEs, but you also offer something for larger corporations.  In which case, you need to make sure you have relevant content that appeals to both types of client.

# 3 – The development

Once you know what it is you’re trying to achieve, and who you’re trying to achieve it with, you need to start developing your content.  This doesn’t necessarily mean writing down everything you’re going to be sharing in blog, meme or infographic form (though, you should do that too) but more how you’re going to say it.

The key to building relationships with your audience via content is establishing a tone of voice they can relate to, and they know will always be there. That tone of voice will be determined by your company brand and the values you hold.  It will also be influenced by who is doing the actual content – so try to keep that as consistent as possible.

Do you want to be funny, or are you more serious?  Are your posts going to be factual, or do you want to inject a degree of humour?  Are you going to talk about the industry as a whole, or your own business?

# 4 – The delivery

All of this is brilliant to get you started, but once you’ve got content you need to get it out there.  Before you start it’s worth thinking about how you’re going to deliver your pieces.  Will you publish articles directly to your website?  If so, how often are you going to update them, and what topics are you going to cover?

How are you going to optimise your content, and what social media channels are you going to use to help you distribute it?

# 5 – The follow-up

Content marketing is all about the interactions; there is no point in putting information out there if no one is going to see it.  The only way you’re going to know whether it’s having an impact is to keep an eye on it.

Make sure you’re constantly looking at what content you have put out, and whether that is influencing visitors to your website or blog.  Are people actually interacting with what you have to say?  What topics are more popular than others?  If people are commenting, what are they saying? Are you thanking them for getting in touch?

 

If you’re reading to start thinking about how to improve your content and what you offer your audience, call 0161 883 2024 and speak to Lu, or email us on lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk.

We’re on hand to help you with every stage of the process if you need, or can just guide you in the right direction should you need a bit of support.

Why is content marketing important for your business?

It seems we are constantly inventing new ways of doing things, and communicating is just one of the things affected by advances in technology.  One thing that has never changed is the need for a business to reach out and interact with its customers.  The only thing that is different now is the fact there are so many different ways of doing it.

No longer are you stuck with simply face to face conversations, letters, emails or leaflets. Consumers are used to obtaining the information they need through social media, and how they interact with the companies they use.  Social media allows brands to develop their own personalities, and consumers react to them in the same way they would other people.

In essence this interaction is won or lost on the strength of your content marketing.  If you’re not sure precisely what content marketing is, check out our blog from a few weeks ago.

What we’re looking at here, is why content marketing is so important to your business and the ongoing relationships you have with your customers, and prospects.

Who says content marketing is important?

Many people who have no real experience with content marketing have a tendency to assume it’s just one of those jargonistic buzz-words, and will soon die out.  Just a fad.

Let me assure you, it’s not.

Equally, it’s not something that “us types” bandy around in the hopes of making a quick buck. Trust me, the buck isn’t quick enough to be worth the pretence.

The reality is content marketing’s important because consumers say so, and so do search engines.

Your audience expects to be able to find out as much as possible about you, your business, your products and services without actually having to talk to you. Within a few swipes and swooshes they want to know what you offer, why you offer it, what your values are and why you’re better than your competitor.

Equally, they want to feel that you stand for something, that you embody something.  Key here is the idea that you’re not just another faceless company that doesn’t care about them.  They want to feel engaged, they want to be part of your story.  They can’t get that level of connection simply from a logo and a website’s product list.

For many potential consumers they’re likely to come to your site through a search engine, having sought the answer to a particular problem.  The best way to be the answer to their problem is to appear on the first page of a search engine result.  There are lots of different ways to achieve that, but the best one is to have good quality and consistent content.

 

Content marketing is important, and can make a huge impact on your business, whether that’s through increased revenue or improved customer loyalty.  If you’re ready to start thinking about how to improve your content and what you offer your audience, call 0161 883 2024 and speak to Lu, or email us on lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk