What I learned about lean content marketing with social media from starting with no audience to grow to thousands of fans of my Encourager Mom brand:
- Discover your purpose and your passion. Why is it important for you to reach others? How important is it to you? This will set the tone of your work and enable to persevere through any hardships to get your message delivered to the right people. It will make you keep trying until you succeed at reaching those you feel are most important.
- Find one social media platform to start with and GO! No need trying to spend weeks or months deciding on a “business plan”. Your business plan will fall into place as you discover what your target audience is looking for, where they are and how you can help them.
- Get ready to fail quickly. I learned fast that generic “You can do it” quote images or popular images shared from other sites did not work for my audience. They wanted to hear specifically about God and God’s love. When I posted unpopular images or text, I learned not to repeat but to create more of what my audience liked. No sense in getting down about failed content or spending a lot of time analyzing it, just move on.
- You can not grow your audience unless you know your audience. And you have to keep getting to know them over time, not only studying analytics regularly but conversing with your audience as much as possible. Get their feedback by asking for it. I invited my fans to submit prayer requests to let me know what was going on in their lives. This helped me realize the struggles my Page viewers were struggling with.
- Use the lean concept of a minimum viable product to choose what content to share initially. In a software startup, the minimum viable product may be a software still in beta testing (or worse). When applied to content marketing and social media, it means beginning to post easy-to-create content, usually based on the tools and personal skills you have available or resources that are readily available to you. This allows you to quickly and frequently post content so that response can be monitored and changes can quickly be made. For example, instead of spending weeks to have professionally produced videos made that may not catch the attention of your target market, quickly produce video content using off-the-shelf technology and test the initial response before moving forward. In the lean conceptualization of the content creating process, this causes a focus on maximum value for the consumer by developing wanted, desired goods in the least amount of time to reach the target most efficiently.
- Use the lean concept of pivoting to refine your content marketing and social media strategy. A pivot is a course correction that may be needed as you develop your business concept. I initially viewed my project as a blog. I had been a blogger for years and enjoyed some success in that platform. So my social media efforts were just a beginning along my primary goal of an Encourager Mom blog. So after my social media success, I started the blog. Very few people came. (So much for “If we build it, they will come.) My blog posts that I shared on the Encourager Mom Facebook Page almost never got shared despite having the same content. Yes, I tested this. I could not get blog visitors to comment or share posts. it was distracting for me to create and maintain the blog though I did outsource part of this. I had to re-assess my goal of turning Encourager Mom into a blog destination and determine a new course. I shut down the blog and started a simple, template-based website where I hosted articles, videos and printable prayers as well as prominent links to the Encourager Mom social media content. I then continued to put most of my emphasis on growing my social media platform and email list via those platforms.
- Iterative changes in content marketing and social media. Edit your content to better reach your audience’s needs. These will be smaller changes than pivoting, quickly put before the audience for testing, For example, you may find that long-form content performs better than short form for your audience. Examine the topics that seem to most resonate with your fans and work to incorporate more of that in your content.
With a lean outlook in content marketing and social media, you too can have success in your small business starting with very little.