Blogging provides your company an opportunity to share meaningful knowledge with potential clients and customers, which in turn gets them to know, like and trust you. Once they know, like and trust you and your company, the sale isn’t too far behind. But blogging without social media is like peanut butter without jelly, fluff without the marshmallow or thunder without lightning. It’s just not the same.
If you are implementing or managing a lead-generating inbound marketing program, blogging without social media is like trying to run your high-performance marketing machine on lighter fluid. It’s going to sputter to a halt sooner than later.
First, people have to subscribe to our blog to get access to your brilliance. This takes time, but by pushing your educational blog content out via social media, you introduce your thought leadership to an entirely new audience of perfectly targeted prospects.
Here are a couple of ideas to consider then blending your blogging and social media efforts together to improve the performance of your marketing program:
- Build your reach. Make a concerted effort to grow your social media reach numbers. These numbers include total Facebook friends, LinkedIn followers, Twitter followers, Google + followers and other social sites that pertain to your business. These numbers are important. Actively work to grow them. This includes making sure those profile pages are built out and have educational content on them for visitors to see, read and share. Encourage your sales team to talk about the value of following. Consider creating a contest to see who can get the most new followers on your company’s LinkedIn page. Reach is important because these people, once they follow you, will get every blog post delivered right to their inbox.
- Join groups. LinkedIn offers groups for every business, every industry, every job title and every issue under the sun. Join as many relevant groups as you can, but make sure those groups include your target prospects. Some of these groups have over 10,000 members. Every time you blog, post your blog content to these groups. This isn’t as easy as it used to be. LinkedIn recently changed the rules associated with posting content to groups. But if you are actually active in these group discussions your content should go through with no problem.
- Make the commitment. Blogging and building your social media reach requires a true commitment to the cause. Whether it’s you or someone else in your company, be sure they have a passion for writing or at the very least a passion for the services or products you offer. Set time aside each day or every few days to write. You spend countless hours networking, talking on the phone and sitting in meetings telling potential clients why you have the exact solution to their problem. Blogging and social media are just another, more powerful way of connecting to those clients. Embrace it.
- Be consistent. Once you have made the commitment, become consistent on what time of the day and week you post. Companies who blog more than three times per week generate 87% more leads. Yes, seriously: 87%. So, at first it may seem pointless because you don’t have many followers, but if you spend the time building up your followers, friends and connections all of these people start to expect their Wednesday morning blog post. These people value what you have to say so don’t let them down.
- Create the space. Before you start blowing people’s minds with your thought-provoking content, be sure you have created space on your web page to host these blogs. Don’t just send your hard work out into the Internet world all alone. It needs a home. Moreover, that home (your website) will show readers who created the content, thus improving your company’s credibility and image. Oh, did I mention more leads too? The same holds true for your social media properties. These days everyone knows to have a great website, but you would be surprised how many businesses still have half-built or inaccurate Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, or Twitter pages. These have to be as amazing as your corporate website.
- Be creative. Blogging can and should be fun. This isn’t an MLA-formatted thesis on neurology, and it doesn’t need to be five pages long. Use pictures, infographics, charts, graphs and anything that will catch the eye of a potential reader. And try to keep it under 800 words. That gives you enough room to make a point without losing interest. If individuals want shorter snippets of info, that’s why you have your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook sites. Click the link for more tips on optimizing social media marketing.
- Give up the quest for Page 1 on Google. Yes … I know everyone thinks that’s the Holy Grail, but it’s not. Once you get on the first page, then what? Does that mean you are going to get more leads? No! Does it mean you don’t need to do any other marketing? No! Blogging and social media are huge component of a successful “get found” marketing strategy. Today, it doesn’t matter how your prospects find you, as long as they do. If they come from LinkedIn, Facebook or Google what difference does it make? Yes, we want to know, but honestly, we don’t care. People are searching for businesses on a variety of different sites, not just search engines. Your marketing must take advantage of this change in buyer behavior.
- Blogging will make you better. You would be surprised how many companies really don’t know what makes them different from their competition — I mean truly different. Selling items at discount or offering a service 10 other companies offer isn’t special. There is, without a doubt, something incredibly remarkable about your company. Once you realize what makes you the best there is, you can use that to help generate content that your clients want to know about. I can’t stress this enough, blogs are not an opportunity to brag, they are meant to inform and educate buyers on answers they don’t have.
- Weigh and measure it. Congratulations! You have finished your first series of blogs and now it’s time to sit back and wait. Wrong! Don’t sit on your hands; this is the part where you track your blogs, see how many people are subscribing (which should increase a little week by week), who is sharing it on social media and taking comments people leave into consideration. Encourage clients and co-workers to subscribe, comment and, most importantly, share your blog on their own social networks. Your community has to start somewhere so it might as well be with those who have the most to gain.
If you are interested in taking your marketing efforts to the next level, download “The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Guide,” which provides a variety of tips and techniques related to content marketing, social media, blogging and more. It’s a must-read for anyone looking to improve the ability to get found, get leads and close sales.