In the ephemeral world of social media, Tweets are gobbled up, Facebook posts forgotten, Instagram photos fade, but your followers keep growing and your reach and brand becomes more powerful.
Nevertheless, the death (or imminent death) of promising media platforms like Vine, Google Plus, and Friendster underscore that nothing lasts forever. Not even your carefully managed social media communities.
So let’s take a look at how you can develop a strong public relations and content marketing strategy, without putting all your eggs in one digital basket.
Develop a following that will last.
As I just touched upon, the major problem with relying on external platforms to build your communities is that you have no control over how long they last. Followings of over ten million fans, gone with one swift pull of a plug.
The best social media and content marketers out there have big communities on all the major platforms, but their real strengths lie in the quality of their content output on their own blogs and websites.
Check out First Round Capital’s blog. It’s unexpectedly brilliant -- the advice is on point and the takeaways for readers are invaluable. Bplans, too, has a great blog focusing on a number of useful business topics, from SaaS business resources all the way to venture capital advice.
Hubspot is probably my favorite and is a also a fantastic example of a company with a regular stream of top notch social media and marketing advice. The company has earned a massive following as a result.
Of course, there are plenty of other examples, but the point is that if any of the social platforms they used for content distribution went under, their respective communities could still find their ways back to the sources of their favorite content.
Don’t spend all your time thinking of witty tweets, funny videos, or clever memes. Instead, invest your efforts in producing really valuable advice, consistent content and resources for your target audience -- and then put it somewhere you know will be there tomorrow. Once you’ve done that, then you can get back to those hilarious social posts.
Think beyond social media to make a huge impact.
We love social media because it gives us immediate feedback. Our content is under our own control, and we can adjust our message easily. Even though great social media management is tough to pull off, the barrier to entry is extremely low and really, any company with an internet connection can get on board. And while great company blogs are perfect for branding and community building, there’s nothing like coverage in the mainstream media to really boost your company’s profile.
Related: Sorry, But I'm Glad Vine Is Dead
It’s much tougher to do, though. You need to pitch to journalists and find realistic opportunities to get coverage.
Thankfully, there are a number of useful resources you can use to do this. HARO - or Help a Reporter Out -- is, for example, a key tool for reporters and entrepreneurs alike. Journalists use the service to ask questions, which industry insiders and experts can then respond to.
Sign up for the service in order to pitch your insights to reports. It takes a lot of the work out of securing press coverage: journalists tell you what they need, and if you’re a good fit, all you need to do is get in touch. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be interviewed each time you pitch, of course, but stick with it and your time will come.
Another related tip is to monitor the Twitter hashtags #journorequest, #sourcerequest, and #helpareporter. Every now and then you’ll see a question that pertains to your expertise, and you may well earn some coverage if you can offer value to the reporter in question.
Journalists also monitor super popular and up-to-the-minute sites like Hacker News. The social news site is run by Y Combinator and accepts most things related to entrepreneurship and tech.
Likewise, posting to similar sites like Product Hunt or Growth Hackers can give you a boost and make you stand out to the media, giving you more chance that a journalist or blogger will reach out to you in order to cover your startup story or new release.
Diversify your skills.
As the demise of Vine shows us, it’s better to have medium-sized followings on several platforms, than it is to have a huge fan base on just one. Being a “Jack of all trades” is generally considered a bad thing, but as the digital space moves so quickly, you don’t really have much choice. Just imagine being a MySpace guru today.
Related: Twitter Is Shutting Down Vine
Tools like Hootsuite are, frankly, amazing, and give us a great way to schedule posts and monitor several social platforms at once. Obviously, that’s not to say you should just duplicate content over all your networks.
The reality is, each platform has its own "language." This means people interact with and consume different types of content on each platform. Being on Snapchat, for example, won't make any sense if you have no target audience there, or you don't "speak" the language of the community.
So that’s your starting point; content should be designed and crafted for each channel in order to meet your objectives for each community you manage.
When it comes to social advertising, you’ll need to learn to each platform’s advertising toolset. You’ll be measuring CTR, impressions, conversions, reach and engagement across a whole series of social sites, but at least you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you are adaptable and won’t be pushed out of existence by the changing digital landscape.
Vine might be haunting our (very short and repetitive) dreams, but they don’t have to be nightmares. If we can create excellent content, it will attract excellent communities -- and great writing, production and ideas will outlast any fleetingly popular platform we choose to visit.