A beginner’s guide to promote content on social media

promote content on social media - a beginner guide

If you don’t know how to promote content on social media, putting all the pieces together can feel like quite a challenge. There are so many options, so many technologies, and so many tips and tricks all clamoring for your attention.

To help distill the process down to its basic elements, we’ve created two imaginary business owners: Marisa, who owns a retail store, and Ted, who owns a professional services firm. This post will outline their businesses needs and their content promotion goals. Then it will lay out a detailed weekly content promotion plan and schedule for each of them.

Each promotion plan is a little different, because the businesses are different. Your business will be different than these plans too, of course. But after reading this you’ll know:

  • The basic elements of a promotion plan
  • How they should change with different business priorities
  • How to decide which options are best for you

These promotion plans do not go into a screen-shot by screen-shot explanation of how to set up tweets or Facebook updates. They don’t talk about ideal post length or timing. Those are important, but they’re more the “branches” and “leaves” level of detail for content promotion. This post is a guide through the forest.

How to promote content on social media – example 1: Marisa, modern furniture store owner

Marisa has got a retail location and a website. She gets most of her sales through the retail store, and about 20% of sales from the website.

The retail location needs more foot traffic. It’s in a good area of town, but hidden behind a larger retail business. If people just knew how close her store was, she knows she could see a big increase in sales.

Her website is doing well enough, but not great. It doesn’t get a lot of traffic. However, because she’s an avid enthusiast of modern design, she always writes weekly blog post updates on the company blog. She’d love to curate more content for her social media accounts.

Marisa is smart with computers, understands the basics of social media and learns pretty fast. But online marketing is not her first love. She’d rather be talking to customers or sourcing new décor for her store.

Marisa currently has accounts on these social media platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Google+
  • Instagram

 

How to use her content and curated content to promote her business

Because Marisa has been publishing a weekly blog post, she’s actually got a lot of content. She’s also lucky because she naturally likes to read and share what she finds on other furniture design sites. After she learned that curated content can be as convincing to potential buyers as in-house content, she’s completely fine with setting up a 3 to 1 sharing ratio, where she’ll share three curated pieces of content for every one piece of in-house content.

Marisa can also queue up her social media posts with Scoop.It Content Director, or any of the other social management tools. Her plan for each of networks is below. She’ll also set up publishing goals in Content Director and be able to track when she hits or misses those goals.

 

Social Media Platform or Channel

Results so far

Updates per week (the goal)

Source of content for those updates

Minutes required to format / create that content

Scheduled times to update / publish

Company blog

Good. Decent traffic, some inbound links, and creates nice content for other channels. About 30% of site traffic is from blog updates.

1

She writes the blog post

About 180 minutes (3 hours)

Thursday mornings

Facebook

Okay. Almost 1,000 likes. Good inbound traffic. About 20% of inbound traffic to her site is from Facebook. She also has a small advertising budget ($100 a month) to help lift her posts’ exposure.

5

She pulls one paragraph from the blog post for an update or two. All other updates are from curated content she finds online or via Scoop.It

About 3-10 minutes per update

Every weekday morning. She queues these updates up once or twice a week, then schedules them to publish via Content Director.

Twitter

Kind of poor results. She’d like to automate this platform as much as possible.

7

A sentence or two from the blog post makes for a few updates. All others are curated content.

About 1-3 minutes per tweet

Every evening at 9:15pm

Pinterest

About 10% of inbound traffic to her site is from Facebook. She does get orders from Pinterest leads.

3

One image/pin from the blog post. Other pins are curated

About 3-5 minutes per pin

Saturdays at 11am, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm

LinkedIn

Nothing. She’s decided to cut LinkedIn for  content promotion. It’s a B2B site, not a retail sharing site

0

No updates

Tumblr

Some activity, but pretty light. She gets maybe 5% of her inbound traffic from Tumblr

3

One image/pin from the blog post. Other pins are curated

Saturdays at 11am, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm

Google+

Pretty light. About 5% of inbound traffic. She wants to keep this channel largely for the Google Local benefits.

3

One image/pin from the blog post. Other pins are curated

Saturdays at 11am, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm

Instagram

Pretty light. About 5% or less of inbound traffic

3

One image/pin from the blog post. Other pins are curated

Saturdays at 11am, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm

Email Update

Significant traffic – about 25% of site traffic comes from the email.  She gets direct sales from the updates.

About 90 minutes per email.

Thursday afternoons

 

Comments about this plan

Marisa is simplifying a lot of work by sending basically the same updates to Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ and Instagram. She’s not truly active and engaged on those platforms, but wants to keep a foothold there because she does get some traffic.

Her big time investments are the blog post, Facebook, and the email newsletter. She has chosen to invest the most time in those platforms because that’s where she’s getting the most results.

She could save even more time by curating every other blog post, and by using Content Director to automatically created a curated email. She could also save time by checking her analytics, seeing which posts and shares did best over the last month or so, and then reposting those updates. It is okay to reshare and repost content on social sites, especially if it is content people liked, and you don’t have much more than 10-15% of your content being reshares.

If she wanted, Marisa might also be able to expand her presence on Pinterest. She does get orders from that traffic now and then, so there is a business incentive to put more time into it.

She might also want to consider cutting Twitter, or scaling back her updates there. That’s a bold move, and might not necessarily be a good call. But at least so far her analytics data is not showing any orders, email list sign-ups, or even much traffic from her Twitter presence. The same argument could be made for her Tumblr and Instagram accounts, but she’s not ready to close up shop on those platforms quite yet.

 

How to promote content on social media – example 2: Ted, tax preparation firm owner

Ted owns a tax preparation firm that specializes in helping people with rental properties. He works with people across the country. There are three other CPAs in his firm, plus several accountants and other assistants. He gets much of his business from referrals, with the remainder coming from his website and when he does public speaking at conferences.

He’d like to get far more work through his website, which means getting more traffic. Ted himself writes about one post a month for the company blog; each of the other CPAs writes one post a month, too. They’d all very much like to complement those posts with more curated content so they could be working with clients, not writing blog posts. Ted is also intrigued by the idea of writing a book, which he thinks would better position him as an expert and let him increase his rates.

Ted is very smart with computers, but he really doesn’t want to do any of the social media marketing. One of his junior accountants is very interested in social media, and so Ted would like to have that employee do the bulk of the online promotion for the firm.

Ted currently has accounts on these social media platforms:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • SlideShare

 

How to use his content and curated content to promote his business

Ted and his team have been writing good blog posts every week, but it’s been taking a lot of time. They could shift over to letting the junior accountant curate posts, even if it was just every other week. That alone would open up about 8 more hours per month of time to work with clients instead of writing blog posts (at $150 per hour, a $1,200 per month savings). If curating posts don’t appeal to them, they could possibly hire a good freelance writer to write the blog posts, and maybe to work with them on the longer content formats (ebooks and resource guides). The writer might also be able to ghost-write or draft sections of Ted’s book.

Ted and his senior team could set up a loose system to forward content to curate and share to the junior accountant. That accountant/social media manager could then queue up social media updates weeks in advance. If they had any holes in their update schedule, they could use Scoop.It to find other interesting content. This system could let Ted basically back off entirely from the social media promotion and just focus on clients, his book and his presentations.

Ted’s presentations also represent a terrific stream of content. Every talk he does could be recorded and put on the site. Excerpts of those talks could be linked to in email updates and in social media updates. And every PowerPoint deck he creates could be made into a SlideShare deck.

 

Social Media Platform or Channel

Results so far

Updates per week (the goal)

Source of content for those updates

Minutes required to format / create those pieces of content

Scheduled times to update

Company blog

Okay. Decent traffic. Some inbound link. Creates content for other channels. About 25% of site traffic is from blog posts.

They are considering a service like JustRetweet or ppc ads to get more shares and exposure. They may also try some longer posts or resource guides to see if that will help build more links.

1

Ted and his 3 CPAs write the blog posts

About 4 hours for each post

Tuesday mornings

Facebook

Okay to not-so-great. Almost 500 likes. So-so inbound traffic. About 10% of inbound traffic to their site is from Facebook.

They do not want to spend any of their ad budget on Facebook.

3

They lift one paragraph from the blog posts for an update or two. All other updates are from curated content

About 3-10 minutes per update

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. They queue these updates up once a week

LinkedIn

Very good results. They get clients from LinkedIn. Site traffic from LinkedIn is okay (10%) but at least once a month they get a new client. They participant in groups and also announce their new blog posts to those groups

6

Each blog post gets an announcement. Everything else is curated content.

About 3-5 minutes per update

Every morning at 7am, except Sunday

Twitter

Okay results. They have gotten a client or two from Twitter, and they get 5% of site traffic from it.

3

A sentence or two from the blog post makes for a few updates. All the others are curated content.

About 1-3 minutes per tweet

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.

SlideShare

Very good results. About 20% of site traffic is from SlideShare.

.5

Their blog posts, reformatted

About an hour or two

They post a SlideShare that’s a Powerpoint version of a blog post twice a month

Email Update

Significant traffic – about 30% of site traffic comes from the email, and it actually sells furniture directly sometimes

1

Whichever content has gotten the most engagement over the last week. Their own blog post is at the top, in the featured spot. Sometimes everything else is curated.

About 60 minutes per email.

Tuesday afternoons

 

Comments about this plan

Ted’s biggest problem is extricating himself from social media chores and not getting as much exposure for his blog posts as he’d like. That can be addressed somewhat by buying advertising, but he might do better to find one or two industry forums where he or his accountant/social media manager could promote his blog posts.

Ted might also want to consider writing a couple of guest posts. That would help position him as an authority and showcase his expertise, but it might also help build his email list, and warm up the reception for his book. It also might help to get him more speaking engagements. He also might want to try writing a case study or two, either in blog post format or as a separate piece of content.

If he really wanted to save time, Ted might want to get ruthless and cut Facebook and Twitter. That’s an unusual call because those are considered two of the biggest social media platforms. But Ted is just not seeing much results from either of those platforms. He is getting a steady stream of real business from LinkedIn, though, so maybe the time now being spent on Facebook and Twitter might be better spent nurturing more business on LinkedIn.

 

Conclusion

Those are just two approaches for how to promote content based on an underlying content strategy that is based on ROI. Being able to know which content is driving results is critical. After that, the next most important thing is to be able to schedule it ahead of time. Using curated content saves both these businesses several hours each week.

What does your content promotion plan look like? Would you make any changes to these content promotion plans? Tell us about what you’d change in the comments.

 

If you want to get 30 effective techniques to master content marketing along with valuable insights from 10+ influencers like Mark Schaefer, Rebecca Lieb, Lee Odden, Jason Miller or Ian Cleary, download our free eBook now!

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Image by mkhmarketing

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About the Author

Pam Neely
Pam Neely has been marketing online for 17 years. She's a serial entrepreneur and an avid email and content marketing enthusiast with a background in publishing and journalism, including a New York Press Award. Her book "50 Ways to Build Your Email Marketing List" is available on Amazon.com. Pam holds a Master's Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University. Follow her on Twitter @pamellaneely.
  • Elizabeth

    I would ivide writing and marketing. As for me, it`s hard to do both thing at the same time. When I just started writing, I always asked Essay Penguins for editing my articles and my friend to explain me on how to post it, I am dummy in this. I needed a half-year for learning to combine these processes.

  • http://www.assignmentmountain.com/ John

    Thanks, great tips, step-by-step it’s really useful. I always have problems with writing and analytical data. Thus, when I had to make a research for my blog I used assignment writing service to create great content. So, I guess, the second variant suits me best.

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