Written by Matt Carter
SEO Specialist, MGX Copy
It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone! As marketers and business developers, the end of the year is an excellent opportunity for us to examine what worked and what didn’t, while looking ahead for ways to improve in the coming year.
For those looking to find more success with online marketing, here are two common mistakes you should avoid in the New Year.
Mistake #1: Focusing too much on your Social Media “Likes and Followers”
I tend to view ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ on social media as “vanity metrics”, measurements that don’t correlate directly to numbers that actually matter to you…like sales or customers. If you’re focusing only on acquiring new likes and followers, you’re looking at social media the wrong way. While it’s important to have an audience to talk to, how you communicate with that audience is more important.
Social media is often viewed as the online channel where companies are equipped with a megaphone. Unfortunately, yelling the loudest won’t get you noticed. Instead, focus on engagement.
Engagement starts by posting and sharing quality content that your audience will find interesting and valuable. This is the vehicle for acquiring engagement and opening dialogue with your audience, which helps you strengthen relationships and develop advocates. If there’s nothing for people on social media to react to, you won’t find any engagement.
Start conditioning yourself to look closely at the engagement on your social channels. Look for metrics that indicate that your audience has taken an “action” on your content; that they’ve paused their web browsing to focus on you. These include: comments, clicks, likes, and favorites. Insights like these tell a much more complete story of how valuable your content is perceived to be.
Remember to play around with the kinds of content you produce, and where you go to acquire traffic, in order to build engagement. Try to find out what content people find valuable, and the questions they have. You’ll notice that ‘engaging content’ and ‘new likes’ will start to go hand-in-hand.
Mistake #2: Wasting time on hard-to-produce content
As online marketers, we often spend too much time producing content! Many of us have blogs we don’t post to as often as we’d like because it either takes too long or we fuss about making it perfect. That’s what I call ‘heavyweight’ content.
Instead, I’d recommend you produce what I consider ‘lightweight’ content. This is quick, low-stress, top-of-your-head type ideas that you can produce efficiently and regularly. Examples include micro blog posts (like Tumblr), content curation/sharing, simple visual content (Instagram), casual webinars, and podcasts.
Benefits of lightweight content include:
- React quicker: More frequent posts means you’ll get more feedback in less time. This will help you explore new strategies, topics, styles and channels.
- Lower risk: Since you’ll spend less time per piece of content, it isn’t catastrophic if a piece doesn’t work well.
- Become more effective: The more you experiment with lightweight content, the better at it you become. You’ll also begin to notice the type of content that works for your audience, helping make you a better online marketer.
Developing lightweight content doesn’t necessarily require you to sit behind a computer spending hours pounding on a keyboard. Lightweight content comes in many flavors!
First, let’s highlight the idea behind visual content. A great example is photos that you can snap on your phone and post directly to social media. How simple is that?
Next, let’s discuss content curation. Many of us are already reading news (like marketing, technology, design and business) which your audience may also find interesting. Sharing (and curating) this content through social media adds easy, new content for your subscribers to engage with.
Lastly, don’t forget that much of the Internet depends on linking to other content. By producing lightweight content, you put yourself out there for customers to engage with, online audiences to link to, and search engines to list.
The world of online marketing is sure to be busy in 2015, but these are just a few of the many ways you can take your content marketing efforts further. For anyone looking to learn more about online marketing and how you can use content to develop your online presence, I highly recommend Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi.
Best of luck in the New Year!
Matt Carter is an SEO Specialist at MGX Copy, an online printing service in San Diego. Follow Matt on Twitter to discuss online marketing and social media topics at @mcartertweets. You can also follow MGX Copy’s blog/newsletter: MGX Mindshare. This complimentary newsletter offers a variety of pragmatic perspectives about the quickly changing world of modern marketing technologies; both online and offline.