To be effective on social media today is to be able to deliver traffic to your site. To be really successful is to deliver conversions, consumers who are ready to buy from you! To do that, though, you have to create content that interests them. That means breaking away from traditional advertising and marketing messaging of the past and begin offering content that actually attracts potential customers.
Most businesses create content that looks inward. That is, it focuses on the organization and promotes its products or services. In today’s online world, this is actually an anachronism, left over from the height of the print, radio and TV advertising era.
At one time, those traditional media forms were the only ones available to brands. Because of their limited space or time, advertisers were forced to get right to the promotional message. We all grew up hearing those short, sales-driven ads on radio and TV and tend to default to that style of presentation when put into the position of creating marketing content. But it is not the most effective form for attracting online consumers.
Cocktail Party Rule
Inward looking content can actually drive potential customers away. I realize this seems a bit counter-intuitive since we’ve all experienced this style of advertising for decades.
But consumers don’t want to be inundated with self-promotional content. It does not come off as authentic. Consider this example: Imagine yourself at a cocktail party where you are chatting with a person who won’t stop talking about how great he is. Do you really want to stand there and listen to this person all night? Or would you rather talk with another who asks questions about what you like and makes helpful suggestions?
Obviously, most of us would rather speak to the second person. This desire to interact with a person who is interested in us and wants to help applies to when we are online, as well.
Fortunately, the internet provides brands with the opportunity to communicate in this way without the limits imposed by traditional advertising. Brands can win consumers over with content that actually resonates and helps them.
The Who Cares Rule
The first step in creating content that attracts is to get people interested in the content on your site. To do that, you have to consider the Who Cares Rule.
The first part of the Who Cares Rule is very simple but very hard for some to accept. It states that no matter how great you think your product or service is nobody else cares.
It’s special to you because you are involved with it and understand intimately all of the benefits. To everyone else, though, you are another business touting your wares and getting in the way of their online activity. It’s tough to accept this reality, but once you do, it is the first step toward being more effective online.
Of course like any rule, there are exceptions. Larger brands such as Apple or Nike have loyalists who love whatever new product is released. But for most small- and medium-sized companies, this rule holds true.
The answer to over coming the Who Cares rule is very simple. Before you post any content, whether it is a blog, photo, video, podcast or social post, ask yourself this question: “Will anyone really care about this content?” If you are writing a social media post about the new mulch outside of your office door, or the most recent office party, the answer is probably “No.”
Content That Attracts
Getting consumers to care about your content is actually easier than you think. First, you must have a clear understanding of your target audience. Once you understand who they are you will be better prepared to create content that is useful to them.
The best place to develop that content is on your blog. After all, you want to attract members of your target audience to your website with the goal of converting them to customers. So you will need to develop strong blog topics that resonate with your audience.
A good example of this type of content would be a lawn mower dealer who creates blogs about lawn care or landscaping tips. The topics have nothing to do with the sale he is running this weekend. But they do resonate with his target audience who are probably homeowners who want to keep their yards beautiful. It is content that is relatable and something they care about. Thus, they are attracted to it.
When you can deliver this type of content, the answer to the Who Cares Rule should be a definite, “Yes!”
Creating content that attracts is a trial and error process. But it has huge benefits to your business. When you’ve created a blog post, you can promote it across your social media channels with a link back to your website. Then your attractive content will begin moving traffic from social media to your website.
Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio.