How many of you have heard a manager or a marketer try to shoulder someone without a blog or Facebook account with the job of creating content for the organization’s website and/or it’s social media platforms?
How often do you think this happens? Rarely? Regularly?
I encountered it again recently when I was consulting for a business improvement district here in Oakland. But it occurs in education, government, and, I’m finding, especially among small business owners. It’s no wonder with limited funding and, often, a small staff.
“We’ve held several classes for the district’s business owners,” the director explained on a phone call. Ten or 12 business owners attended and learned about Facebook, Yelp, and Twitter. We told them how important it was to have a website. It didn’t make a difference. We’re thinking of holding some more classes.”
Don’t waste time
Two weeks in, I heard the same story from two more directors. Wait! Stop! Don’t do it! I hate to be the one to tell you. But you’re wasting your time. Why?
1) For starters, content marketing (which is what we’re talking about when we refer to website and social media marketing) isn’t about instant conversions. It’s not about cutting out a coupon and showing up at the door.
It’s about building trust that will put your business at the forefront of someone’s mind when they need the service your provide
2) For better or worse, content marketing takes effort, time, creativity, and, to be good at it, some training. Not an hour-long forum.
3) If someone hasn’t established a website and social media channels, a quick how-to course isn’t going to open the door. It’s more likely to confuse them.
Best case scenario
The comparable that comes to mind is networking. What do you do at a networking event? You shake hands, exchange business cards, talk about the challenges of what your new acquaintance does. You don’t expect your acquaintance to go back to the office and buy something from your website the next day. The best case scenario is that they’ll remember you when they need the service or good you offer or, perhaps, when they’re hiring for a position that fits your skill set.
If you threw someone into an event like that unprepared, they might just stand in the corner. Setting someone up with a website and social media channels who doesn’t know how to use them isn’t going to achieve the results they expect. They’ll be deflated and retrench to their past approach.
Find popular content
My advice? Look to who has an active website and social media channels. Start with the low-hanging fruit. Work with those active posters to build a nexus between, say the businesses district and area business, by cross posting events, images, and sales information. Assuming they already have a large readership, you’re organization’s website will benefit from the wider exposure. The businesses will benefit for the same reason.
With four, five, or eight businesses in the district posting, the ones with the most active online presence, of course, regular cross posting will drive the biggest gain with the least effort. You’ll have converts to evangelize the cause to others. Plus, you’ll be able to show improved web and social media traffic because you tracked the analytics.
What about you? Leave a comment, and tell me what content tip or life hack has helped you?