Should I be on Facebook or Twitter?
Good news. It doesn’t matter.
What matters is what comes first. The first step in any successful online marketing is content strategy.
Now let’s back up and figure out why.
Social media is simply content that begs to be shared. It’s any type of article, video or audio that is able to be shared online.
Social networks are the channels used to share that content. Channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube.
Another way of saying it is that your content is the brains of your operation. Your arms and legs may carry out the operation like the social networks but it all starts at the brain.
However, most people get it completely backwards.
They start with Facebook or another social network and try to build their strategy around something they have no control over!
Facebook has changed so many times in the past two years. Remember when a majority of the people subscribed to your Fan Page actually READ the posts you shared?
Now you have to pay to promote your posts to get those same results.
The fact is that Facebook can change on you at any moment and there is nothing you can do about it. You need to be on a channel that you actually have control of such as a self hosted website (eg. WordPress.org).
Another reason your blog needs to be the center of your content strategy is that is needs to fit into your customer lifecycle.
What if you met a great person at a networking mixer that had the product or service you’ve been looking for forever? So you try to schedule a follow up with them but the only time they’re available is in public at other events. I know that sounds a little ridiculous but that’s how I feel when the only way I can communicate with a brand online is through a Facebook Page or Twitter account.
Starting with a smart content strategy allows you to plan out each step of the customer lifecycle online and offline to intentionally move prospects through the buying process. Pinterest or a Youtube video may be good for someone who’s just browsing but when prospects are comparing you to your competitors before they call you, they need great in-depth content.
The last and one of the most important reasons to start with a blog as the foundation of your content strategy is to train your customers. Don’t worry, I’ll explain.
In order for you to be successful throughout your sales cycle online, you need to train your customers to click your calls to action.
They need to click on the link in Facebook to read your blog post.
Then they need to click on the link in your blog to sign up for your email list.
Then they need to click on the link in your email to redeem the offer you send them.
Are you starting to see the pattern?
If you always give your prospects what they want at the beginning, you’ll never have a chance to actually educate them and sell them.
Look at the example above. What if I just offered the coupon through Facebook instead of email? The prospect would most likely judge the offer based on the price, rather than the features and benefits you laid out in the blog post. It’s like walking into a sales presentation and slamming your contract down on the table with a pen and saying, “Sign Here!”
Hopefully you are as convinced as I am that your content strategy should always come before you social media strategy. Even though every content strategy is different, this is the one thing all successful online businesses have in common.
Joel Widmer is the Founder & CEO of Fluxe Digital Marketing—a content marketing shop that helps smart businesses create, produce and promote their content through a unique one-on-one interview process. When he’s not working, Joel can be found trying new restaurants with his wife and son.