Here’s a familiar scenario: you spend days looking forward to writing a great blog post. It’s a topic you’re excited about. The content is right in your wheelhouse, and you just know people are going to love it. Having spent hours conducting research and poring over the metrics, you then agonize over finding the perfect cat-riding-on-a-Roomba GIF(s) to nest in the text breaks.
This choice, for example, took over 36 hours and led to several heated arguments. Friendships were broken, along with several chairs.
Finally, you finish writing and bask in the glow of a job well done. And on one bright, sunny afternoon, the scheduled piece is published to your site. Then, nothing. No comments. Just the clicking of the refresh button and the sinking feeling that you might have chosen the wrong GIF after all.
We’ve all been there.
First, however, never question your gif decisions. Second, don’t be discouraged. There’s light at the end of this disappointing tunnel, a bottom to that pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, and a stop button on the frankly alarming number of times you’ve listened to Adele’s “Hello.”
Rather than focusing solely on your number of blog comments (or lack thereof), consider how the nature of interacting with content has changed. Blog comments are satisfying, but you might be overlooking more actionable customer engagements on other channels.
As the use of social media has increased globally, the grounds of brand and client engagement have also shifted. On Twitter alone, there are 320 million active monthly users. Instagram has 400 million. On Facebook, the total is a staggering 1.5 billion. More people are commenting on, sharing, reacting to, and discovering content than ever before through these social media platforms. That content may also include your posts. If it doesn’t yet, you can improve your outreach with a few simple steps.
Be a Sharer
Publishing consistently helpful and insightful material to your website is an essential practice, but unless you’ve already got a large or dedicated following, the reach of your website alone is limited. To extend your visibility and court interaction with your buyer personas, you need to be actively sharing your content on social media.
Per leading marketing and technology research firm Forrester, “Social media does many things, including impacting brand perception.” Customers will post about their own interactions (good and bad) with companies, share content and offers, and perform research on businesses with social media.
Whenever you put up a new blog post, be sure to share it via your company profile and through pertinent user groups according to each platform's best practices. While you might share something just once to a LinkedIn group, you can share the same post repeatedly over the coming days and months on Twitter without becoming redundant. By using these social platforms, you give readers the chance to learn about your unique value by making it easy to find and digest what you’re providing.
You can also encourage sharing by keeping social buttons visible on your site as well. Make it simple for visitors to share your content via popular social platforms, from individual blog posts to landing pages for your content offers. Make it easy for them to find you on their favorite social platforms so they can further explore your brand. The more they get to know you, the more they’ll trust your industry knowledge, services, and reputation.
Monitor the Conversation
People will share information they find valuable, whether it’s educational or entertaining. It’s often an invitation to their followers, colleagues, and friends to add their own opinions and create a discussion. Many conversations have moved away from blog post comment sections to social media because rather than talking directly to companies in a one-to-one exchange, readers want a broader debate with other individuals.
You can use an inbound marketing platform or a tracking software to discover where your content is getting the best traction. Often, specific types of content (like infographics, checklists, or guides) perform better on specific social media platforms. Using a social monitoring tool like HubSpot's, you can observe what people are saying to and about your company. By determining what content does best on particular channels, you can begin to refine your strategy—including what topics to include in your upcoming blog schedule.
Meanwhile, you may find that in lieu of leaving feedback in blog comments, people are liking, sharing, or responding much more often on social media. Rather than communicating to you directly about the blog post, they may be encouraging discourse with their own friends and followers—spreading your content for you—which creates opportunities for even more engagement.
Once you know where these important conversations are occurring for your buyer personas, you can work on those channels to further improve their perception of your brand and foster trust. Be sure that questions and comments receive timely, helpful, and professional responses that showcase your company’s particular style and culture. When you find a relevant conversation to which you can contribute organically, whether through a mention or even a relevant hashtag search, do so. Don't be afraid to share your content when it directly applies and will be genuinely helpful; people will appreciate it.
According to Hubspot’s recent study on the social media lifecycle, the majority of social media users expect brands to be on Twitter and Facebook especially. The same study found that 73% of social media users are more likely to buy from a brand that responds on social media. What does this indicate? Simply put, your customers, both current and potential, expect to be able to engage with you on the platforms they use themselves (whether or not they’re actually following you on them). To find out what platforms these are, make sure to flesh out your buyer personas.
You may not always get the blog comments you want, but if you change your perceptions about where to find customer interaction, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you’re getting more engagement on social media instead. The better you are about adapting and optimizing your content for sharing, the more successful you’ll be at spurring conversation. Soon, your posts will be receiving the attention they deserve and the only time you’ll need Adele’s husky powerhouse vocals will be when you’re serenading joggers at the park again.
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