Let’s face it. Content development can be a complicated, time-consuming, and expensive proposition! So I started thinking about this in the context of my friends and small business customers who simply can’t afford that kind of effort. It led to this idea: micro-content, or creating small bits of marketing content when you don’t have time to blog, create videos or spend all day on Facebook.
Let’s examine ideas about using micro-content for your social media strategy, assuming you are testing the water and only have 15 minutes a day to devote to this activity. Hey, I’m up for a challenge!
Like any marketing initiative, you must have a firm idea of your strategy, selling points, and target audience. Spend time thinking through a set of keywords that represent your business and your customer needs. You’ll need to weave these keywords into your micro-content initiative. Once you have a firm idea of “your story,” here are some content marketing options that work in just 15 minutes a day:
Even the most content-starved companies have PowerPoint slides! Upload your best public presentations to Slideshare for a very quick and effective way to begin populating the social web with meaningful content. Slideshare is highly indexed by the search engines and you can assign key words to every presentation. Make sure your last slide directs a viewer back to your website. The time to upload an existing presentation? Less than 10 minutes.
2) LinkedIn forums
LinkedIn is a goldmine of opportunity to create micro-content!
There are about 750,000 LinkedIn Groups covering every imaginable business interest. Go to the “search” function at the top of the page, highlight “groups” and look for a few that have like-minded people who might be interested in you. If you are in a very specialized field, you may even consider starting your own interest group.
Now, look through the Q&A forums and get involved. Simply answering questions is providing meaningful content that can attract attention to you and your website. I’ve made some fantastic connections this way and acquired two great customers just by answering questions in LinkedIn Group Forums.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and helpful so people can learn about you when they “click” on you! Depending on your industry, spending 15 minutes a day participating in relevant LinkedIn forums can be very profitable.
3) Networking on Twitter
This is the ultimate site for making connections through micro-content. In this separate post, I’ve provided some helpful ideas on building a targeted audience through Twitter. It makes no sense to work on micro-content on Twitter if you have nobody listening! Here is a suggested micro-content regimen if you’re just starting to tweet.
1) Create a habit of sharing — Today, every article, post and video has a “tweet” button. When you read something that interests you, share it on Twitter. It takes but a moment.
2) Leverage your network — If you’ve surrounded yourself with interesting people, they’re providing a stream of relevant content. When you find something great, re-tweet it! You don’t have to generate everything yourself. “Re-purposing” other people’s content takes almost no time all.
3) Try following the “3 x 3 x 3 rule” — If you’re new and trying to figure what to do, tweet three times a day, at three different times of the day, on three different subjects: a) interesting non-work-related information you saw, heard or read; b) news related to your business, market or industry (use keywords), and c) your opinion on an item in the news or something funny.
Remember that micro-content is still supposed to do the job of big content — drive people to action on your website. Of course you need to include your website in your profile and use your keywords in your bio.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the wall of noise on Twitter. Use lists to focus on your most important contacts so your 15 minutes of daily networking are well-spent.
4) Connecting Through Comments
Spending 15 minutes a day commenting on relevant blog posts, videos, and Facebook pages is a quick and easy way to deliver micro-content that packs a punch. Here are some examples:
A small business owner I advised commented on a magazine’s Facebook site and was invited to send her product to the editor for coverage.
Adding your comment to relevant YouTube viral videos can create impressions with thousands of people who are interested in a related topic.
My comment on a popular blog post contained a link to my website which is still receiving hits nine months later. That’s not unusual since posts on popular topics can have a long “shelf life.”
Comments on my blog have resulted in new business partnerships, guest blogs, and freelance assignments for my readers.
I find that comments can carry even more impact when they’re “micro.” People will read a few sentences, but probably just scan a few paragraphs. Are there blogs that your customers enjoy? Why not contribute to this rich content with your own comments?
Videos are just so hot right now but you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars and precious hours in the editing booth to create great content.
I carry my $150 Kodak HD video camera with me everywhere I go. Recently, I gave a speech at an innovative new center for entrepreneurship in Chicago. I whipped out my camera and did a four-minute interview with the director. After I uploaded it to YouTube (for free), I embedded it on my blog (the embed code is under the “share” button on every YouTube video).
Voila! With 15 literally minutes worth of work, I had interesting content for my blog — which fed my Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, G+ stream, and LinkedIn status.
6) Micro-content and blogging
There are so many great benefits to blogging but this is usually the place time-starved marketers stumble. Think about re-purposing micro-content on your website as a blog, even if it only happens once a month:
Cut and paste answers you’ve already provided on LinkedIn and blog comments as new, unique posts.
Start a blog post with, “I found this interesting article through a link on Twitter …” and share the great content from one of your tweets.
Embed a pre-existing company video or a Slideshare presentation as an original blog post.
Share a relevant article, video or blog post from a trade publication and simply write a few sentences commenting on it.
A blog post does not have to be a PhD thesis. Using some of these techniques, you can literally create blog posts in 15 minutes.
In summary …
These are just a few of the ways you can effectively network on the social web with a “sprinkle” of content instead of a flood. Obviously there are hundreds of other ideas, but this is at least a start — even if you only have 15 minutes a day.
How you are using small nuggets of content to support your time-starved marketing strategy?
About the Author:
Executive Director Mark Schaefer has 28 years of global sales and marketing experience and advanced degrees in business and applied behavioral sciences. He is an award-winning business writer, university lecturer and innovator, receiving seven international patents for new product ideas with Fortune 100 companies. He teaches at Pellissippi State College in Knoxville and serves as an adjunct professor of marketing at Rutgers University. http://www.businessesgrow.com