If there’s one major flaw with the way that many businesses use automation tools, it’s that they’re not able to properly control the flow of content from its longest form down to it’s shortest form. This is unfortunate because using RSS feeds to post to Facebook and Twitter from a blog, for example, doesn’t save much time at all but minimizes the effectiveness of the networks.
It’s all about flow. It’s about taking advantage of the strengths of the various networks will not falling into the traps that each allows.
Let’s take a look at an example of content flow. In this case, we’re going to work it down from a standard piece of website content rather than a blog post or YouTube video. Those are easier. If you can master the creative elements of promoting standard website content, the other types of content will be a piece of cake.
This is where it all starts. Here, we see a sales special. It’s not the type of content that any social media pro in his or her right mind would ever consider promoting through social media. They wouldn’t want to be accused of spamming. They wouldn’t want to turn of their fans. They would believe in most cases that this is the type of content that had no chance of resonating with a social media audience.
They would be wrong.
There is tons of content on a business website that has absolutely no chance of seeing the light of day on social media, but there are other types of content that simply need a little bit of playfulness, cleverness, and creativity to tweak them into an appropriate position. Take a look at that special. Do you see anything that you would be able to latch onto if you were trying to promote it on social media?
Put it on Facebook and Google+
If you were to say something to the effect of, “Take a look at our amazing specials – Honda Civic is only $8 a day,” you would watch your posts get reported, blocked, and hidden into oblivion. You would actually do algorithmic damage to your posts and your profile in general.
If, however, you made it clever and worded it in a way that people would be able to relate to, you could still get the message out with a reduced risk of negative sentiment. In the case above, the post had a modest 16 likes and the link was clicked 32 times. It’s not a home run compared to some other examples out there, but it’s a realistic expectation that a local business could achieve with the right techniques.
Be creative. Branch out. Put a little bit of effort into it. It doesn’t take a lot – this particular campaign took about 2 minutes to craft and post. It’s worth the time spent.
Put it on Twitter and Pinterest
This is both the easiest and hardest part. It’s the easiest because it’s only 140 characters. It’s the hardest because you have to take full advantage of those 140 characters and craft it in the most appropriate way possible.
On both Twitter and Pinterest, getting people’s attention is the key. The firehose on both networks has such a wide stream today that there’s a good chance the majority of your messages are being seen by very few people. This is where hashtags come into play and it’s the main reason that automating Tweets for anything important is one of the silliest activities out there.
A Tweet takes seconds, literally. Is it worth making something almost completely ineffective for the sake of saving seconds?
In the example above, the post was highlighted with a couple of different hashtags. The first is relatively worthless other than getting people’s attention from within their feed. The mind is trained to look for things unconsciously that are important to that person, so if someone is looking for a car and is considering a Honda Civic, they don’t have to read it consciously for it to catch their eye.
The second is one of the hooks. As Twitter search and hashtag use continue to grow exponentially (much faster than the site itself), it’s important to have at least one keyword that can attract your targets. In this case, the Tweet is targeting the local state. It could have as easily been a city, a lifestyle (#green, #economical), or even something slightly off topic (#coffee).
The most important part about Twitter (but not Pinterest) is that you can take a message and repost it over time. It’s good to come up with a couple of different variations, but for the most part as long as you’re spreading out the repetition of the message, you can reach more people without spamming them.
* * *
Applying proper content flow strategies allows you to get the most out of the content that you produce as well as the content that’s already on your website. Crafting the messages around the mediums is harder than just putting them into a feed machine, but the results can be exponentially improved as a result. That’s not to say that nothing should be automated. It’s just that important things should not be.
”Flow” image courtesy of Shutterstock.