Thursday, March 27, 2014

4 Key Arguments for Using Social Media - Updated

1.   To get noticed. It’s all right if you want to stay unknown, if you want to stick to the old ways, but if you want to get noticed these days social media is a great way to do it. Getting noticed is important for all types of people. In the past it was ok to hide away and not talk, you were forgiven. These days people expect it of you. Stand up, get noticed, be strong!

2.   It will allow you to connect with customers, partners, employees and all the other groups who you work or play with. Social media is a communications tool. It’s a some to many tool. The telephone was a one to one personal communications tool. TV and radio are about communications by a select few to many. Social media is a low cost communications tool where you can reach out to groups of varying sizes and send them all a message or just one.

3.   It’s a positive step to take. By taking action on social media you are sending a positive message. There are many groups who will appreciate this positive message. People under 29 are mostly on social media already so whether they are customers, employees or other partners they will be encouraged that you are getting engaged with social media.

4.   It’s good for your well being to be more open and communicative. In the old days, and for some sections of society this is still true, secrecy and cover up were the order of the day. I agree that many traditional things are good; family, culture and sport are just three, but we have found out, all over the world, that secrecy and cover up can be used by criminals who steal, corrupt political life or abuse children. Being open is symbolic, for me, of a rejection of all those people who did those evil things. 

Key arguments for using social media
My son, Martello Tower, Dublin, Ireland, near where I live

Friday, March 14, 2014

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #2 Mass Empathy

Another tool for creating engagement and a sense of involvement in your posts is empathy - mass empathy.

Empathy is compassion or rapport. In storytelling terms it is the ability to place your readers in the shoes of your characters. So how do you do that in a social media post? Here are some things to consider:

1. Speak from the heart. Talk about the personal and human impact of what you do.

2. Use personal stories, names if you can.

3. Talk about the emotional and physical impact of what you do on others.

4. Explain how it impacts, don't simply name the feelings.

5. Explain the impact of clean water, how it feels on your tongue. Don't just say it's clean.

Empathy will be engendered when people can see themselves in the position of a user of your product or service. If you have described this in personal terms, with descriptions of the real impact of what you do, then you are more likely to engender empathy in your posts.

To buy my guide, Social Media is Dynamite, click here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

5 Ways to Create Lead-Generating Written Content

In any type of marketing, lead generation is basically defined as the practice of gauging interest in your business’s products or services. This is typically done through building lists via email, a subscriber base, fans/followers, or even phone numbers. 

When using social media sites like Facebook to generate leads, the only thing that really changes are the amount of tools and tactics available at your disposal.

However, through all the different apps and widgets to help you suck up emails like a giant tornado, it’s actually the tried and true practice of content writing that can help you the most. If you can construct compelling content, any promotion you run is going to be much more successful.

Let’s have a look at a few solid ways to create written content that will help you generate leads.

The Top 5 Tips for Creating Written Content that Generates Leads

1: Draw Attention to Your Topic
Let’s view this as the ultimate starting point: People see your content for the first time, with no idea whatsoever about who you are, what you do, etc. How do you go from first timer to graduating someone with one piece of written content? The answer: You don’t. The idea here is to draw attention to the topic, not to convert people. You’re never going to do the latter with a piece of content, but you can achieve the former.

Remember that this is the very top of the funnel, thus it’s much wider and more encompassing. What your aim should be here is to ultimately get people interested in what you’re offering them. You can accomplish drawing attention by:
  • Sticking specifically to the defined market; i.e. addressing a problem for people who are looking for a solution
  • Asking a unique, intriguing question
  • Using wordplay and alliteration to draw interest
  • Keeping things short and pithy – to the point with a bit of flare
  • Focusing on proper spelling and grammar
  • Avoiding run-on sentences, long words, unnecessary punctuation, and bold, all-caps print with numerous exclamation points (you’ve seen it before, and it’s a turn-off)
  • Remembering that the idea is to get people to simply look at the content for now, not to give you their credit card number
This is the initial step in a process for writing lead-generating content, so don’t sigh and walk away in frustration. The first step here is to ultimately figure out how to use your language to get people to read on. Take a look around at popular brands and promotions and read their teasers for a better idea.

2: Make it Brand-Specific
Now that Joe and Jane Average have stopped on your content and have started reading it, they need to know more. This is another area where less is going to be more, but it’s also an area where a knack for smooth writing is going to pay dividends. What you’re aiming for here is to introduce your brand to the public at large. Tell people who you are, what you’re about, and instill a sense of trust in people so that they’re comfortable following through with your eventual call to action.

A great tip to remember here is that your content introducing the lead-generating mechanism (a promotion, a poll, a quiz, etc) doesn’t have to be the final piece of content. In other words, a post that introduces or mentions the promotion can link to it; it doesn’t have to be constructed like one of those run-on-forever, excessively long weight-loss sales pages. The most important step here, however, is to put your brand out there.
  • Try using simple words like “we” and “our” to get the brand feeling across
  • Use your brand’s name
  • Make people feel comfortable when reading
  • Raise awareness for your business
  • Show consistency in your content and across different platforms
There’s no secret hiding under a random rock by an oak tree. Great writing is about keeping things clean, interesting, succinct, and intriguing readers. Putting your brand into it simply gives a face to the words. “Our cola is America’s favorite” doesn’t have the same ring as “Coca Cola is America’s favorite soft drink.” Branding.

3: Emphasize the Incentive
Now that readers are interested in what you have to say and know who’s saying it, it’s time to give them a reason to follow through with the action. More than likely, the post they’re reading is going to lead them to some sort of sign-up mechanism in order to get them into the funnel. This is where the actual leads come from. People need to give you their email addresses or some other form of contact. Your writing to this point hasn’t been to sell them on becoming a lead; it’s simply been to keep them around and to inform them about what you’re offering and who you are.

To get people to actually become leads, you’ll need to toss in some incentive. However, writing does play a crucial role here. Every business from Alaska to Zimbabwe is offering discounts and BOGOs and other incentives. It’s how you sell the incentive that makes a difference. As Jonah Hill might shout when losing a fight, “Use your words!”

Here’s how you can use your words to emphasize the incentive:
  • Put emphasis on how limited the offer is: Days, number of people, etc
  • Make any free gift shine by touting its positives
  • Show some enthusiasm in what you’re offering
  • Stick with one or two sentences
  • Cut out the fluffy adjectives
  • Emphasize the benefits to the customers, but don’t lie
4: Summarize and Share
Remember here that these tips are for your content in general, from status updates and quick posts to the actual text of the promotion page. So you’re looking to take some style tips to use for every piece of written content, not simply a single long post hoping to get leads. With that said, it’s now time to think about advertising your promotion. And in any piece of content that’s linking to the actual promotion, you want to keep things short, and you want to emphasize sharing.

Try a spin on these two examples to help you get the idea:
  • “Our new product, the XYZ3000, is satisfying customers from every corner of the globe. For a limited time, we’re offering a huge discount to the first 200 people to share this post.”
  • “Want to know more about how Business X can change your life? Click here and see.”
As you can see, these are very simple sentences but they still touch on all the key points discussed thus far. It’s content that has a brand feel, that emphasizes the incentive, that’s succinct and easy to read, that encourages sharing, and it makes it clear that the reader must follow through. So rather than having an incredibly long post that attempts to convert, these are just interest-grabbing quips that lead to the actual promotion (which may be an app or a landing page that you construct).

5: Hire a Helping Hand
Depending on the venue, your methods of advertising are going to differ. From Twitter, for example, you’ll want to employ the use of effective hashtags in order to find a broader audience. On a site like Facebook, however, you’ll really need more of a helping hand by way of paid advertising. This is where Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories come in handy.

Practically speaking, ten new customers are most likely more than enough to cover any type of investment you make. Imagine getting fifty new customers, half of those being repeat customers, and hundreds of other leads that may eventually become customers. Needless to say, investing is smart. What you want to invest in here is an ad-management app that will help you target the right demographics with your content. This also gives you a great opportunity to test different combinations of text on markets to see which ad is the most effective.

The best part about advertising on Facebook is that you’re not boxed in with conventional ads. You can advertise an entire post if you want, breathing new life into something that was already popular.
By sparking a reader’s curiosity, introducing your brand, emphasizing the incentive, and leading them to a distinct location with a clearly defined goal in mind, you can transform a wide range of readers into leads. 

Once they’re in the funnel, you’ll need other weapons to transform them into customers. But in terms of getting them in, some good content goes a long way.

Post written by: Simon Campbell, a writer from a facebook ad campaign tool – Qwaya. He loves to write different topics about social media and participates in some communities and forums. If you have more social media marketing questions, feel free to ask Simon on Twitter

Image Credit: sparkieblues