There are many different ways to market your business, and a lot of them — print ads, TV, radio, and so on — share a common trait: it is a one-way communication. Your brand goes out to the consumer, but the consumer can not converse in return.
Alternatively, social media marketing is an engaging and reciprocal interaction. Networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and numerous others are reliant on the give-and-take between companies and their customers, making it a very personable marketing method.
That is not to say that one way is better than the other; in fact, these marketing efforts are usually most effective when used in conjunction with each other. But our focus for today is on social media marketing, and more specifically on how we can encourage users to repeat and share your message on social media channels via a process called social seeding.
Social seeding is a marketing strategy wherein quality content is promoted on highly visible platforms, such as blogs, social communities, and email services. The main goal of social seeding is to build a strong base of engaged followers and fans. This improves the likelihood of people seeing and sharing your pictures, links and messages through social media, and consequently improves your brand’s online visibility.
Social seeding may be examined through a basic process of: create content; provide sharing opportunities; and collect seeding points.
From the get-go, it is important to plan your tactics with the right mindset. Always remember that you are creating a campaign for social media marketing, and as such your content should be made to engage viewers directly and incite them to promote the material on your behalf. Simply slapping social buttons around your website is not enough.
So let’s think about the motivation for sharing things on social media. Say you’re using Facebook; you’re scrolling through your wall; and you “like” something. Why? There are a number of possible reasons, but it’s often because you thought the content was:
Essentially, when you create high-quality content for social media marketing, you need to ask yourself: Why would my customers want to spread this? Present something that in someway sparks an emotive response, and of course remains valuable and relevant to your specific audience.
You’ve got some great content — now how do you get it out there? Ease of sharing is a big factor. You should always have CTAs, or call to action buttons, whether these are social shares (through which a viewer could share specific blog posts, services, or products to their friends on social media) or social media links (where viewers could “Like” your business profile and view other posts).
More importantly, these CTAs should be easy and intuitive to locate. If social sharing is made difficult, most people simply will not bother.
In addition to presenting sharing opportunities on your websites, emails, and so on, there is of course the important step of promoting your content on social media itself. Even newer businesses can benefit from learning where their target audience spends their times — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube? — and reaching out to people directly.
Gathering seeding points is a great way to establish the longevity of your social media marketing efforts. Seeding points are essentially any person or page that publishes content, and that could be helping to promote your campaign.
So how do you find your seeding points? Let your customers guide you. Look to the places they are interested in or interact with; this could be a social media platform, a news website, a discussion forum, a competition hub, or so forth. Engage with a wide variety of networks, especially at the beginning. After all, you can analyse the effectiveness of your work later, and optimise or focus your efforts for the next campaign.
Start seeding and reaching out to seeding points. With the right strategy in place, you will ideally be able to market your campaign across multiple channels, be shared by many different people and pages, and amplify your message through continuous communication. The ultimate goal is to make social sharing easier, allowing your business to benefit from the interactive, ‘human’ aspect of social media marketing.
Like any facet of marketing, social seeding is not a practice that can be mastered overnight. But if it is professional done, it has the ability to improve your search engine ranking, heighten your online visibility, and allow potential customers to become aware of, and to interact with, your brand and business.
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