Content and Social Marketing Blueprint
Mini Marketing Manual for Sprocket Portals
After years of building online/social marketing strategies, systems and companies, we’ve whittled down the massive amount of things one can do, to the basic things one should do.
That’s the outline of this “mini-course”. We wanted to make this as short and simple as possible so that anyone could follow these easy steps and get the results needed to help ensure the success of their venture.
A note on marketing seminars and courses that take hours, days or more of study: “These things” are packed full of everything they can cram in because “more” equals “more perceived value” to their customers, which means a higher price tag for you. Our point is, don’t get stuck in the “paralysis of analysis” by thinking that you need to learn it all before you take action.
We are a firm believer in “learning by doing”. It all starts with the basics.
Understanding The Plan
The overall plan is to get as much exposure and reach as humanly possible for your project, product, service or company – from the audience that is most likely to buy.
In order to accomplish this, you can either garner a large “pay-for” advertising budget for display ads, pay-per-click, and sponsorship advertising, or you can put a little elbow grease into a pretty simple plan of content driven social marketing that creates its own search engine optimization (SEO), which drives organic search traffic based on your content/social marketing strategy and efforts. (If you want to fuel this by paid advertising – all the better)
That may have sounded like a mouth-full, so let’s break this down a little – and don’t worry if you don’t know what all this means right now. You will come to understand this all pretty quickly.
Before we begin, a little disclaimer…
We are not here to sell you on anything, and we’re not here to tell you how this is all going to be simple and easy. It’s not difficult but, like anything else, this is going to take work and effort. The reason people fail at marketing and promoting their company products, services or securities is very similar to the reason a lot of people fail at business. They fail to do the core and basic things that are “required” to support that enterprise. So just like the “Raising Capital” portion of the Sprocket Blueprint™ is going to take effort and time, so is setting up, initiating and adhering to marketing and promotional protocols. The important thing to understand about this is, this is not a “suggestion”, rather a requirement….that is, if you intend on doing everything in your power to “do it right” and succeed the first time. Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time. Otherwise, it’s all a waste of everyone’s time.
If you agree to the above, let’s move forward and have some fun with this!
SOCIAL MARKETING STRATEGY
When you hear “social marketing”, what do you think? Does it conjure thoughts of posting blatant advertising messages on social timelines? Or spamming your message to all of your friends and followers on Facebook® and Twitter®? If so, please understand that this is “not” social marketing.
The “marketing” aspect of this is not about posting sales copy on social networks, rather it is about supplying interesting and engaging content that people want to consume and interact with.
Think of social marketing as “content marketing” made up of compelling and interesting info that engages people on social networks to comment, like, share and follow. That’s social marketing in a nutshell.
It all starts with content…
Ok, let’s talk content…and more specifically, the role that content, or content marketing, plays in our social marketing strategy.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. This is where you will make it, or break it in your social marketing and list building efforts. Ever heard the term “Content is King”? That’s the whole key to successful social marketing. The good news is, you don’t have to be an expert writer in order to compose compelling content.
If you can compose an email to a colleague explaining things about your company that you are excited or passionate about, then you can do content marketing.
In other words, the idea behind content marketing is to write articles, posts and blogs (more details on this below) that allow you to express all of the things about your company (or products, services, industry, securities, etc.) that really get you jazzed about what you are doing.
They don’t have to be long-winded posts, just compelling. And if you write about the things you are passionate about, it will come across in your message, creating that compelling content that gets likes, shares, comments and follows.
To take this just a little further, you are probably somewhat of an expert in your area of your business. This makes things simple. Write about what you know!
Content marketing is not about quantity, rather quality – and not about “everything”, rather specific points of interest in each piece that you publish. So instead of giving a general overview of your entire company, you may write about a new delivery process in your industry, or how your product more effectively solves a problem. Tell a little short story if you can.
As an exercise, you should sit down and scratch out a list of several “mini topics” that you can write about for your business. This will allow you to post ongoing and compelling content regularly in order to “initiate” the social marketing side of things.
How often do you need to post new content? At a bare minimum you should be posting (articles) once or twice per week…more if possible. How long should your piece be? They need to be not much more than a few paragraphs or so, but should be very compelling to the reader. So some thought will need to be put into each piece. Don’t be afraid to use humor. Humor is the one thing that people will share with others in mass form irrespective of the point being made in the content. Think about it, when you read something funny don’t you love to “pass it along”? Well, so will the readers to others…and others, and so on creating a firestorm of distribution.
So with that, let’s cover a little about how and where to post this content.
Posting Your Content
As part of your Sprocket Network™ Membership, our system supplies the content publishing platform for both article/content marketing and your “social list building” efforts.
In the left-hand menu of your Sprocket Portal’s Studio, there is a section under the Blueprint Workshop™ called “Social List Building”. There are two sub-menus called Sprocket Portals™ and Sprocket Blogs.™
Your articles will be posted to your own blog account that is managed, by you, from your Sprocket Portal™ under the sub-menu “Sprocket Blogs”.
This is where you begin your journey of content marketing. We’ll show you what to do once you have published your first post momentarily.
The second feature to your Social List Building system with the Sprocket Network™ is your Sprocket Portal Venture Page; your “social list building” and “call to action” page. Similar to a Kickstarter® or Indiegogo® page in function (but not design), this gives you the ability to present your company in a way that allows you to grow your supporter lists, and potential customers, partners and investors lists. This is the click-through “destination” from your content marketing articles and blogs.
In other words, you will use your content marketing efforts to drive traffic to your Sprocket Portal Venture Page™ for the “social list building” and “call to action” aspect of this initiative. And though you will have people liking, sharing, and commenting on your content, your final objective is to drive them to your Sprocket Portal Venture Page™ to act upon that “call to action”.
Your Sprocket Portal Venture Page™ allows people join your social list, captured from your marketing efforts, by way of clicking follow, like, share, or comment on the page. This allows them to stay updated as your campaign progresses..
Now, keep in mind, on top of you social list building, you will have a “call to action” for…say, a product launch or maybe a capital raise from a crowdfunding campaign. Your “call to action” will not only be getting those people on your list, but further having them to take action on whatever the offer or objective your Sprocket Portal Venture Page™ may present.
For example, if you are planning a near-future crowdfunding campaign (by following the steps in the “Raising Capital” section of the Sprocket Blueprint™), you can begin social list building for your investment prior to the actual raise – and do this during the time that you are working on the logistics of the raise.
As a matter of fact, you should begin your social list building campaign well before the raise so you already have a following (and success with your campaign) on day one of the raise – and not trying to start from ground zero when you actually pull the trigger on your capital raise.
It’s important to understand that “equity crowdfunding sites” are requiring you and your project to have a following before they will accept you as a client of their crowdfunding portal. With this system, you will be ahead of the game when it’s time to qualify for their acceptance in order to successfully pull the trigger on your capital raise.
Overall Social Branding and Positioning
Although this mini manual is not going to be the comprehensive course in all of the nuances of the different social platforms and how they function, it’s important to mention the base-foundation you’ll need to lay out for your company, as far as a social footprint is concerned.
You may already have a Linkedin® and Facebook® page, and maybe even a Twitter® account, but, without proper content marketing, you are probably not utilizing these and other similar resources in an effective manner for “social media marketing”.
You are a professional in your field. You have a business that you are passionate about (hopefully), and you have a message (through your content marketing posts) to share.
Now, let’s go target those people who will consume this content….
Thanks to the Internet of things, we have easy access to an almost infinite number of groups of people linked by specific topics, all engaged in social online communications around these topics.
What we are leading to here is that you are going to become a “part of the conversation”, and even influence the conversation as somewhat of an expert in your field. Again, you are a professional, and you have something to share. People in these target areas are eager to listen – and engage!
How do you find these groups?
They are everywhere, for every imaginable topic. You just have to look for them. Seek and you shall find!
Linkedin® is a great resource alone, and can easily allow you to gain followers for your content by engaging in target-specific-topic conversations. You can search groups related to almost any business topic, concern or thought. Right from the search bar at the top of the site, type in your related search terms of your top. Then find groups and conversations in the search results that match your area of interest, request to join the groups and jump into the conversations.
A note on posting in open forums and groups. Don’t paste blatant ads in conversational post areas such as timeline feeds, comments, or other “social” media posts. This is considered a “party foul” and you will quickly be ejected from the game (this is considered spam).
So how do you properly post your links in groups and forums?
There’s a couple of ways to go about this…
First, you can post partial articles “on” networks such as Linkedin® that are only the first paragraphs with a link that says “read the rest on my blog here”, and link to your full blog on Sprocket and/or the NewBusiness.network..
Oh, and for those who want to go the extra mile, you can post fresh (not copied from your blog) and full articles on platforms such as Linkedin® (and others listed below) with your links at the bottom pointing them to your Venture Page. This gives you more indexable search engine content that will be picked up by Google® and other search applications.
The next way you could post in forums and groups without coming across as spammy, is to “become a part of the conversation”.
Remember, you have something to say and a message to share that you are knowledgeable about. These groups have ongoing conversations that revolve around your topic of interest. You can always jump in and share your point of view. But just make sure this is a two way conversation and not a blatant post of your link with no real conversational value.
Here’s how you can seed in your link for your blog into the posts, timelines and blog “comment sections” conversational threads.
Let’s say that you are on Linkedin® and you find a group that is about video game business management. And you just so-happen to offer a product or service that caters to them. One of the users from that section posted a blog that has a comment stream at the bottom pertaining to something related to your posts, so you jump in and post something like:
“Actually, in my experience and professional opinion, you should always do it this way… (bla bla bla)… and for more information on this, or to connect with me directly, visit my blog here: http://yourblog.sprocket.network”
The point and key to conversational marketing is to position yourself in front of the right eyeballs…and lots of them.
By following the above steps for just 15 to 30 minutes a day, you can create a net of back-links to your blog, in all of the right places, that generates tons of exposure by those very people who are willing and eager to support a venture just like yours.
And keep in mind, unlike paid advertising, these links and that content remain always to be found by future visitors down the road. In other words, this type of content never goes away. It’s always there, producing a steady stream of traffic to your campaign. The exciting thing is, the more you do each day just compounds day after day, giving you a massive amount of reach and depth over time.
Note: Because content has a very long shelf life, it may be wise to make sure you keep to fundamental concepts and do not allow it to become inherently outdated. For instance, instead of discussing the lack of trust in “today’s” investor climate (today may not be the today of the future) consider a positive spin in a timeless concept, such as; historically (or in our experience) investors need to trust not only in your ability to perform but also they need to trust the integrity of your character before they’ll invest (not “cut a check” because checks may become a relic of the past).
This is how to build large lists.
Tip: Following blog posters in these groups that already have large followers and being among the first to post a comment on their new blog posts as they come out can help ensure you get tons of views from their followers. Just remember to keep it in the tone of a conversation and not a spam post.
Tip: Reply to comments on your comments, posts, pages and blogs immediately. Be respectful no matter what.
Tip: All it takes is minimum of 15 to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week to create a net for funneling targeted traffic to your campaigns.
Tip: When joining the social networks, just like on the Sprocket Network™, we highly suggest that you complete your Sprocket Profile™ to the best of your ability. A professional presence will help you assure success.
Tip: Get stumped or have questions or problems with any of this? 1. Google® is your friend. Use it to search solutions by asking the question to Google® (or any other search engine) for what you need help with and see what comes up. 2. Stay plugged into Sprocket Network™ for our weekly updates, trainings, tips and more. We are here to help support your venture for success!
Tip: Nothing ever happens on its own. You have to make it happen. You have to take action with what you have within your abilities now, not later. Don’t wait. Every day ask yourself: “What action can I take today to get results?”
Tip: CONTENT CREATION – We’ve mentioned that you need to write compelling content that’s not only interesting, but designed to engage the reader into some kind of action. So we want to emphasize here… Each piece you put out needs some careful thought put into the actual message being relayed. What I mean by this is, think of the piece that you are writing from how the reader will perceive the main point, title and overall message, and see if you can “organize” your thoughts into writing something that is noteworthy, or even “newsworthy”. Write your piece, read it and ask yourself “Is this newsworthy?”, “Does the title grab their attention?” and through this little exercise, you should better organize your content in a way that “engages” people. Also ask “How can I engage them?” when considering your piece. What compels you to press like or share, or even comment on social content? It obviously stood out. I hope this tip helps you work more carefully on producing better and more engaging content. (By the way, if you are not sure – publish it anyway. More is better than none. Just do your best!)
Tip: Print off your content and read it an hour or so after you create it. It’s amazing what a little time and hard copy perspective does for us when creating content.
A note on platforms to have a presence on…
A digital footprint online means more than having a website. For maximum exposure and traffic you need to have social accounts at important destinations for your customers, partners and peers.
Linking your professional network in this manner, along with your team, allows you to leverage this “asset” as a springboard for your launch in a way that will give you the important boost needed to grab that momentum that is necessary to drive your social presence and social marketing efforts.
This means a Linkedin® account for each of your team members, a Linkedin® page for your company, and from there, you have options. Do you create a Facebook® page for your company (depends on the kind of company, but most likely, yes), and a Twitter® or Youtube, Google+®?
Here’s a link to an article that is a couple of years old, but I think it’s very valuable in helping you decide what platforms best suite your type of business: https://goo.gl/8W2XHC
You can search popular posters on each of these platforms, build followers, publish content and basically lay the net of funneled backlinks to your campaigns. With some consistent daily effort (15 to 30 minutes a day) over time you can really build a substantial presence and flow of organic traffic on the web.
All of this without any technical or marketing degrees. 🙂
Follow my blog and join the Marketing and Promotion Group on NewBusiness.Network as we delve into all of the nuances of social marketing.