Guest Post by Sarah Malcolm, Chief Digital Strategist of The News Funnel
We have all spent years focused on growing our social network following. Workshops taught how to organically increase the number of followers on Twitter, gain business page likes on Facebook, and grow LinkedIn networks. Panel discussions cropped up across conferences nationwide debating the merits of a smaller, involved audience over empty followers.
Last year, the rules changed. Now we have to pay to play to reach out to the audience we all worked so hard to grow. Facebook is the perfect example. The Internet’s largest social platform changed its news feed algorithm last June to favor content posted by a user’s family and friends. Posts from businesses and organizations would display less frequently, reducing their traffic and engagement. Popular video platform Youtube may have changed its settings, too. Internet sensation PewDiePie accused the video platform of changing its algorithms without notifying users, resulting in a loss of traffic and revenue to his channel. Youtube declined any confirmation of algorithm changes.
Real or not, it’s clear content marketers should expect more changes to how social networks prioritize displayed content. The focus now should be teaching social media followers to go to your owned media, which is your website. The best way to achieve this is pushing content consistently. How can you accomplish this?
Create a content calendar. An editorial schedule ensures a continuous flow of ideas and content with set deadlines that keep marketers accountable. Consistently published content develops audience trust and encourages regular traffic.
Track your audience. Know when they are most likely to visit and engage with your company on a social network. Publish your most relevant content during this time to encourage traffic flow.
Increase value in website content. Offer your followers something they can receive only on your website like a free downloadable ebook. Advertise the offer on social platforms, but drive the users to your website to complete the transaction.
Create content variety. Blogs are excellent drivers of traffic and search ranking. However, search engines are now optimizing for other forms of content like video. Expand the types of content users can find on your website. In addition to a regular blog and video content, create infographics, publish podcasts, or design downloadable PDFs like checklists and guides.
Encourage subscribers. Once a visitor converts from your social media accounts to your website, promote a sign-up. Offer a regular e-newsletter, promises of special product updates, or alerts to the latest blog posts.
Use your website to develop a long-term relationship with your clients. A well designed website consistently publishing helpful, engaging content is the best resource to attract and convert customers. View social media as a content distribution channel to drive the audience back to your website and not the other way around.