The author of The Content Code, Mark W. Schaefer (@markwschaefer), gave a presentation entitled Content Ignition: 10 Ways to Get More Economic Value from Your Social Media Content, and I want to share some observations and tips we can all benefit from as small business entrepreneurs.
Basically in order to know where we are going in social media marketing we need to first know where we have been. When the internet first developed there was a period where the most important thing in marketing for small business was to make sure you had established a presence on the web. Then once everyone had their business listed on the internet the focus became search. Google exploded and Search Engine Optimization was the marketing technique necessary to excel in most industries, beating your competitor to the top of the best keywords and phrases.
Today the key is utility, being helpful and adding value. While websites and keywords are still relevant they are less important due to social media, mobile, and content. As we advance online, marketing a small business becomes even more challenging.
Mark W. Schaefer mentioned a study that said that in the next five years the amount of information on the web is going to increase by 500%. So if you thought it was difficult to get your information noticed now, just think how it will be in 5 years. He talks about an idea called ‘Content Shock’, which references this overwhelming volume of content combined with limited attention spans.
How does content shock affect small business?
Let’s take one very important example. Facebook had until recently been a great way to get your message out for a very low cost. You just used a little creativity and some time to post some valuable content on Facebook and you could get some traction on the Facebook feed. Facebook realized that this deluge of information was not serving their customer so they changed the way it worked the feed. Now Facebook will only show a post you add to about 6% of your followers and paid ads on Facebook are needed to truly get your message out.
While Facebook did this partly to generate more revenue from its ad platform, you can’t overlook the content shock factor and how it is or will affect other social media outlets in a similar way. Remember their goal is to best serve individuals who are their clients and not small businesses.
“The economic value of our content is exactly zero if people don’t see it and share it.”
Adjust your marketing for ‘Content Ignition’
You need to develop a new competency around understanding the transmission of online content. How do you get your prospects to see it and more importantly share it with their network?
Mark also mentions research done in 2013 by the New York Times. “It showed that 85% of the people who are reading our content say it helps them understand us. Through the act of sharing the content, they are becoming advocates for our businesses and our content. This is really important, because 70% of the people in the same resource study said that their purchasing decision is influenced by what they see being transmitted in these social media updates.”
He also notes that Millennials in the next few years are going to represent half of the consumers, half of our employees; a generation that doesn’t trust anybody except themselves. They’ll trust content shared by a stranger before they’ll trust you and your advertising.
Getting content to move though shares and people’s personal networks creates advocacy and has a large effect in influencing their purchasing decisions. Brand power, company power, your power, isn’t coming from just writing and posting content. It’s coming from content that moves. It’s content that’s transmitted by friends.
@MarkWSchaefer also reviewed some important strategy from his book The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business, especially on how small business can succeed with social media marketing. My goal is to review his book in more detail and share some of those ideas and how they relate to small business as part of future blog articles and social media posts.
Please let me know your thoughts on what I have shared so far and how you plan on applying these ideas to your small business marketing.