Producing great content as a lead generation play is only part of the deal for most marketers. You also want and need to make certain that plenty of prospects eyeball, read, and share the content.
Smart marketers are turning to social media platforms as a way to create awareness about video, audio, and written content that teaches, demonstrates expertise and spreads the all important sales message in ways that can turn social media into a very effective lead generation tool.
There are many ways to go about using social media as a tool to amplify your content, but the best way is to develop and tinker with a systematic approach that you can kick into gear with each piece of content.
Here are the components of just such a system.
1) Before you write a word
I’ve often tweeted a kernel of a blog post out prior to writing just to gauge interest and maybe even solicit feedback and ideas. I’m always amazed at how valuable and accurate this can be at helping me with things like titles and resources.
I also tweet or update my status as I interview a guest for an upcoming podcast interview.
These kinds of practices can set the table and hopefully generate some interest and awareness of your content producing activities prior to amplifying the actual content.
2) On your turf
Make certain that it’s very easy for people to tweet, share, send or otherwise amplify content for you.
No matter what the format, add social media tools such as the Tweetmeme retweet button, Sociable plugin, AddToAny plugin or ClicktoTweet links that allow your readers to promote your content on Twitter or other social networks with just one click.
Use a plugin on your blog such as Related Posts to make it easy for blog visitors to find and share other relevant posts on your blog.
Another way to promote and amplify is to alter your content and repurpose it in vehicles such as an email newsletter, a short video abstract posted to Facebook, or a transcription of your podcast using CastingWords published as a printed article.
3) Social networks
When you write a blog post you should consider updating your status throughout a number of social networks that you participate in. The only hesitation is that you must consider your entire strategy here. If all you ever do is Tweet your new blog post, you may not find much engagement going on. I suggest that this be one of the ways you participate, but make sure you round this out with other useful updates as well.
While you can certainly overdo this, it’s been tested and proven that simply asking your Twitter follows to retweet by adding something like Please RT at the end of a Tweet does increase retweets.
Tools such at TweetDeck and Seesmic allow you to Tweet once and add your update to Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time. A Facebook App from Involver can bring you Twitter updates to your Fan Pages and Plugins such as Twitter Tools can even automate a Tweet each time you post to your blog.
A word of caution. While all this automation can sound like a blissful thing, you may find your amplification efforts more effective if you take the time to customize your updates and the way you refer to your content in slightly different ways for different networks. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but followers on Twitter react in different ways than friends on Facebook or connections on LinkedIn.
4) Social bookmarks
Spreading the word or sharing images, audio and video on sites such as YouTube, and Flickr is a great way to create new avenues to your content.
Taking a more active approach such as joining and participating in social bookmarking sites such as delicious, Digg, Reddit and Mixx can create powerful streams of traffic if you are willing to spend the time it takes to build connections and find people who want to amplify your content.
Darren Rowse of Problogger wrote a great piece that shows how he built fabulous traffic using a Flickr Group.
Lastly, seek out and find niche social bookmarking sites in your industry as these can be sources of very highly qualified traffic. Here’s a great list to get you started from Traffikd.
I use a small business focused bookmarking site called BizSugar to generate additional interest in many of my blog posts.
5) Related content
A final, and probably more advanced, method is to seek out content related to yours and participate in conversations that give you the opportunity to highlight your content in logical ways.
The most obvious is to find related content on blogs and post your comments. Simply adding links to your posts in comments is an easy way to become a spammer, so make certain that you are adding value and earn the right to point to something you’ve written that helps make the original post more useful to readers.
A blog comment plugin like Disqus also shows the other places that people who make comments on your blog also read and comment. This is great data for finding related bloggers to network with.
Image credit: kainet