Social Marketing and Consumers: 4 Distribution Strategies That Are Still Effective

Opinion: Does it mean you have to rethink your content distribution strategy?

While creating high-quality content is essential, it won’t do you any good if no one sees it. You have to get it to the right people—your target audience—to attract new customers.

When trying to reach new audiences, you have to keep in mind that the internet is growing fast, more and more marketers are creating content and the human attention span is trailing that of the goldfish. Plus, artificial intelligence has been introduced into the equation, and marketers are still trying to fit it into the chain.

Does it mean you have to rethink your content distribution strategy?

This post aims to answer that question for you. No, I’m not about to introduce “new hacks.” Rather, I’m going to tell you about four proven strategies that will still work in this fast-paced online environment to help attract and retain customers. They will work especially well when they are applied alongside modern systems.

Use of virtual communities

To reach new customers, you need to publish your content where your target audience and buyers are more likely to hang out. With recent research showing that more than one-half of the world’s population currently uses the internet, you can expect this target audience to be online.

But where on the Internet are they hanging out?

One of the most effective distribution strategies is online forums and communities. From Inbound.org to Quora and Reddit to Hacker News, these communities can prove very effective in growing your customer base. They consist of people who share similar interests, and if your content is valuable, you can expect an increase in user engagement and traffic.

Jonathan F. Marshall, a criminal defense lawyer in Monmouth County, N.J., said his firm got involved in discussions within digital communities, where victims of abuse and think tanks shared their stories and experiences. As a result, they were able to acquire new clients:

Because of our involvement in their conversations on these forums, they trusted us with their cases. To us, it didn’t start purely as a marketing strategy until we started seeing the results we got from it.

Start by identifying the right community for your business and assessing how active it is, and then begin engaging with the community. This will help improve your credibility and visibility in the industry, which will, in turn, grow your website traffic and customer base.

Influencer marketing

Using influencers to promote your products and services is no longer new, but it’s still effective. Marketers and business owners have used this tactic to grow their customer bases, and the trend continues to gain popularity. According to stats from Insight Pool, about 54 percent of female consumers are likely to purchase a product or service after seeing it in an influencer’s post.

Further, 88 percent of online consumers say they are likely to trust a product or service reviewed by strangers just as they would if it were recommended by a friend. We can’t deny that using influencers to distribute content is more effective than any other traditional marketing strategy.

In a time when YouTube users skip advertisements and many internet users use ad-block services, influencer marketing will help you reach your personas more effectively. It will provide more exposure and ensure that the message you want to convey is received by the right people keen to make a purchase.

Republishing content on other sites

Like engaging with virtual communities, publishing your content on other sites provides you with an opportunity to reach a wider audience. On your website, you probably already have subscribers and customers loyal to you. But how do you reach new people who might be interested in what you are offering?

You scan every platform available. Medium and LinkedIn Pulse are examples of platforms you can republish your content on while including links to your website. When a new audience reads your content, learning about your products or services, and relates to it, their next likely step is to visit your website for more information.

Metapress CEO Alex Jasin said this approach has been one of the most effective for growing the online publication from being relatively unknown two years ago to the powerhouse it is today:

By republishing our best-performing content on high-traffic websites, we’ve been able to attract many relevant visitors, which we then can convert into email subscribers. This has played a significant role in our marketing mix.

Since the two platforms are organized by topic categories, you can attract people of similar interests to your content more easily than when you publish on your social media streams.

They also offer an opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise and build credibility, all of which are valuable for any business looking to increase sales through acquiring new customers.

Advanced email marketing

This is not much different from the usual email marketing strategy where you send content to your subscribers. The difference is that you can now work with other people to reach a new audience. While sending targeted content to your current subscribers is critical, getting new ones will require you to go an extra mile.

You can approach this in two ways.

First, you can use tools such as BuzzSumo to track the most shared content and top influencers in your industry:

Using that information, build a list of influencer emails to whom you can send a targeted email with details of your products or services. Establish a connection and ask them if they’d endorse your product, sharing the endorsement with their audiences.

By doing this, you will have used both email marketing and influencer marketing to reach a new audience.

Second, you can partner with others in your industry or those with similar audiences to distribute content. They can add your posts when sending their email newsletters, and you can agree to do the same. It’s basically cross-promoting.

Dr Phone Fix & Repair chief marketing officer Modesto Ochoa said cross-promoting to partners’ audiences via email marketing has helped increase sales:

At first, the idea was to build stronger ties with other industry players. Then we saw the opportunity to tap into each other’s customer list for advanced market reach.

Conclusion

Do you know your target audience? Can you reach them? As technology advances and human behavior changes, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush and forget strategies that have been working for a long time.

With the coming of AI, things are bound to get even easier. It’s already affecting health care, manufacturing, transportation and many other industries. It’s even making advancements in the gaming industry, where algorithm-based software has defeated the world’s best Go player. There’s no reason why you can’t leverage this to make it even more effective to reach your audience.

The good news is that as you embrace AI, you can still rely on the tried-and-true strategies that will help you reach your audiences in this fast-paced, ever-changing world.

James Jorner is a content strategist and marketer at Effective Inbound Marketing. His company specializes in online branding and digital marketing for businesses.

Image of content marketing funnel courtesy of IvelinRadkov/iStock.

Recommended articles