It seems unbelievable that it was only five years ago that Twitter was just three months old. Equally as surprising is that Facebook had only just become available to non-students, and that it was Digg that was considered the leading social news service.
I don't need to tell you what happened next! Twitter and Facebook are social media Goliaths. It has turned traditional marketing on its head; messages are no longer simply sent to consumers, consumers are now in the driving seat. Web users want to find you, not the other way around. We entered the era of marketing as conversation rather than monologue.
What Twitter, Facebook, Google and Yahoo have in common is that people visit these destinations in order to discover and share new content. On the other hand we have millions of blogs, forums, community and service sites where people who are passionate about a certain area or niche "hang out" with like-minded people. Very often this is where new trends and content is often created.
At Silicon Beach Training we believe in working and playing hard in both arenas in order to effectively use social media to build our brand. It's no longer enough to produce one type of content, or one way of communicating, or one style of writing. You cannot make your audience listen to you, we no longer live in the passive TV era, your followers, readers and fans will only come back if you give them what they want, what interests them and what they would like to share with their friends and peers.
You can no longer dictate to your audience, you need to communicate with them and listen to them. By listening you can learn what makes them tick, what fires them up, find out what they really care about and create content in line with their needs, wants and passion. Follow this advice and you cannot fail to engage with your audience.
I reticently watched a video of Rand Fishkin talking about the Google freshness update a couple of weeks ago. The quote that struck home most to me was "If you are not guest blogging and content marketing you must be mad!" content marketing is the new black, to compete in business you need to be a publisher. Not just any publisher but one with a voice to establish your brand, you need your own values and point of view.
Social media is not only about setting up Twitter accounts, Google Plus business Pages and Facebook pages. It's about actively participating in the communities that are also interested in your niche, it's about engaging with them.
So although content marking is the new SEO, even publishing good content isn't good enough. You also need to:
- Join and initiate conversations
- Research what your target community is talking about
- Give as well as receive - comment, join the debate, ask for opinions and offer a unique point of view
- Find out who is especially esteemed in your field and communicate with them, flatter them and share their content
By focusing on conversation marketing, you're providing a service, the service is a continuing dialogue, the more value your publication has the more it will be shared and the wider the message is amplified. Remember it's not just consumption you should be aiming for it's action - liking, retweeting, sharing, google +1 adds, LinkedIn shares, blog post comments and discussion.
Written by Heather Buckley of Silicon Beach Training providers of a range of maketining training courses including SEO Training and Google Analytics Training.