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Common-sense Advise on Growing Your Following

September 24, 2012

We frequently trumpet Content Marketing via  social media to get the word out, turning your admirers into advocates which will lead to  new-found customers who themselves become advocates where the cycle begins anew.

Ultimately, the vision is to leverage content-based social media advocacy- a key element of your marketing and sales department.   That’s right, outsiders not on your payroll perform many of the very feats of marketing and selling as your own employees!  And many companies are succeeding at it.

How to pull this off is the challenge.  Noise in social media continues to grow to deafening proportions.  Cutting through the clutter is near impossible.  How is a resource-constrained New Market Entrepreneur to add this to a plate already piled high with critical to-dos?

There is a powerful rule of thumb circulating around that goes a long way toward helping Entrepreneurs organize their Content Marketing priorities and get results.  It’s called the 70/20/10 Rule and it applies anywhere you post content in an attempt to get traction around your cause.  This includes Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and/or Pinterest.  It also includes any niche social media platform where status updates that flow into your fan/followers’ news streams.

  • 70% needs to add relevant value.    Give a tip, advice, how-to’s, link to an interesting article, talk about local news or events, ask questions; engage with your community! When posting, think to yourself, “given what we stand for (the reason your followers are following), would this post enhance their following experience?”
  • 20% needs to share other people’s content. By sharing others’ promotions, business pages, tips; you are helping spread their message to your audience. They will recognize this and most likely share your content with their network.  But don’t forget the first rule!  What you share must add value to your followers.
  • 10% can be promotional, but no more that 10%.  Ideally, these promotional messages also are highly relevant and add value.

In short, your Content Marketing is not about you.  It is about them.  It’s really hard to continuously source material that’s worthy of your cause, that is not overtly self-promoting, and that is worth the inherent distraction it will cause your followers.  However, when your content is all of these things and really good, you followers will gladly share it with their friends and followers and that’s how the cycle begins!

A few tips to help you make your postings more effective:

  • Be observant and ready to connect non-obvious dots.
  • Set yourself up with a continuous inflow of information that will serve as your source for connecting dots and sharing value added insights.
    • This is where the lion’s share of your time commitment will live.  If you leverage the very latest in powerful content curation(1) technology while focusing your sights efficiently you will actually achieve additional benefits that go beyond content marketing– namely, you will build valuable insights that will deepen your market/competitive knowledge that can only better serve future product development and sales/marketing efforts.
  • Don’t be afraid to let your own  (or your venture’s) personality show through.
  • Ask open-ended questions that encourage customers to get involved.
  • Respond promptly to customer comments posted on your page.

(1) While beyond the scope of this post, there is an arsenal of low-cost/no cost content curation technology out there that will allow you to automate the discovery of keyword-based content.  The old standby:  Google Alerts.  For a newcomer that’s  like Google Alerts on steroids, check out http://www.bottlenose.com (a real time social discovery engine).

If you are unwilling or  unable to dedicate at least one hour/day,  (every day) of your own or a staffer’s time, social-media based content marketing is probably not for you.    However, if you can find the time remember that it will pay off in many ways beyond building your following leading to greater awareness/interest and action for your product and/or service.   The positive side benefit of this commitment will help you become more informed about your space which will lead to better down-stream decisions in product, marketing and sales.

Good luck!

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