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  • 22 September 2015
  • Dr. Billy M.

Going viral: The story behind good social content

Have you ever wondered what takes a piece of content from "just interesting" to full-on viral? The name of the game is shareability: a quality that pushes the audience to not only view or read it, but also pass it on.

Why create a strong social content strategy?
As a business owner, how active are you on social media? Put another way, is your business having an impact on social network discussions? When virtually every customer is liking, tweeting, pinning, and generally sharing, you have to position your business to leverage the influence of these social media platforms as they guide prospects through the sales funnel. A significant population of shoppers, especially online users, turn to these platforms when making purchasing decisions.

There are two key factors currently driving social media: the increasing amount of people accessing the Internet via mobile devices, and older user adoption.

People aged 45 and older are, in fact, the fastest-growing demographic across social networks.

Social content shows the human side of your business. It allows users to find your company while simultaneously strengthening your brand, boosting your sales, and allowing you to share expertise and knowledge — all while interacting and receiving valuable customer feedback. The last point is important because it affords you free advertising; satisfied customers are likely to talk about your company, giving you word-of-mouth referrals. This leads to better relationship-building opportunities with current and potential customers.

Other benefits to having authentic and constantly updated content include increased traffic to your website, enhanced visibility in search engines, and getting that much-needed social proof in your product or service.

Relevance and quality: The pillars of good social content
Although your growth objectives, the size of your business, budget, and marketing angle will affect your content-development tactics, one fact that cannot be denied is that content quality and relevance is what matters. Today's buyer is a social customer; he or she interacts with different forms of media and is inundated by several marketing messages throughout the shopping experience. His or her task is to filter out the noise — and yours is to ensure your brand message is relevant.

Here are some reasons you should get into the social media game:

  • Value. If your social content is relevant, it adds value to the conversation. Tailor each message to effectively appeal to your target audience by considering the platform where the conversation is happening, whether it is your website, blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Pay particular attention to the nature of the conversation so you know whether to express a sentiment or discuss a product's characteristics and usefulness. For instance, if several users on Twitter praise your product or service, you can thank them, then engage them by retweeting their content, following them, or adding them to your Twitter list. If users ask general questions about your product or brand, you can add value to the conversation by simply responding with a link to the product page. These little acts not only add value, but can potentially create customer advocacy.
  • Trust. Consumers want to see relevant messaging, not sales propaganda, on your company's owned media channels. By developing and sharing quality content, you build an immense amount of trust with customers. They see that your brand shares things they care about and thereby regard your company as one they can relate to and believe in. Here is the rub: Your content speaks about your company. What you choose to push out is what you have specifically chosen to share. People will automatically trust your brand on a level commensurate with the quality of this shared content.
  • Reliability. Customers prefer a brand they can rely on. By consistently generating high-quality content that is also interesting, relevant, and cutting edge, customers will be more likely to come straight to you when seeking pertinent information since they know you are a safe brand.

Although the final predictor for social content's success is each story's relevance and quality, how you make contact with your audience will influence the way your business attracts and retains customers. Good social content relies on effective delivery to reach and appeal to a wide audience. You must have a robust content delivery strategy that optimizes your channels of communication, including your website, social networks, newsletters, and advertisement forums. When evaluating your best option for distributing content, consider the buyers and their digital environment.

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