To start, you should watch the video above.
Contrary to what Garry Vaynerchuk says, “micro content” or “microcontent” is a term coined in 1998 by a man by the name of Jakob Nielse to describe content such as headlines that could be skimmed quickly to get the intent of the long-form content.
It was defined a second time in 2002 by Anil Dash and here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry if you’re interested in reading more on it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcontent
In 2017, the term “micro content” can be used to describe just about all content on social media (with exception of platforms like Medium).
Odds are you found this article through a piece of micro content either through Twitter, Facebook or by looking at the short excerpts on our website. I don’t think there’s a great modern definition of the term micro content now, but the term can apply to any content that can be consumed quickly and easily.
Think about when you tweet, post a picture or write a Facebook status. These are all examples of micro content that can be viewed and digested quickly.
As a business, chances are that you’re not posting pictures of your lunch, but micro content is an extremely useful strategy to connect with your audience. This applies to all businesses and organizations that actively involve people outside the company. So really, that means any business or organization that sells a product or service.
Just to be clear, you won’t sell products or services from micro content. Certain types of micro content may be good for creating calls to action (CTA) that bring users onto your webpage, but for the most part micro content is best for branding and name recognition.
Grant Cardone has a great philosophy which states that the biggest problem facing your organization is obscurity, and I fully believe it. If you really think about it, if everyone on Earth knew about your company, you’d probably be doing a lot more business than you are today.
Micro content is a tool that allows you to connect with your audience in a non-threatening way to boost your brand awareness and build trust with your potential customers.
In the above video, Garry Vaynerchuk mentions his book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”. The concept behind this book is extremely simple but it’s one that many businesses get wrong.
The idea is to warm your audience up before you go in for the sale. By producing content that introduces your audience to your brand and shows them what you’re all about, you’re creating a community of people who could be buying your product. When you finally go in for the sale, you’ll be able to convert a much higher rate of people in this warmer audience to customers than you would if they were just cold traffic.
When you look at your content strategy, most companies these days have a blogging or posting strategy that encompasses articles on their websites and social media or newsletters as distribution methods. These blogs are usually self-promotional and designed to explain a product or service with the goal of directly converting the reader to a customer as quickly as possible.
This is also one of the reasons that Facebook is still the most popular platform for businesses to advertise on. Facebook allows you to create long-form content and disguise it as micro content by hiding the content behind a “read more” button. Advertising through Facebook lets businesses go in for the direct conversion, or “right hook”, as quickly as possible.
And while this is great, if you’re familiar with boxing you know you can’t go through the whole fight only throwing hooks. Eventually, the person you’re facing off with is going to start seeing the punches before they come and you’re going to get clobbered.
I don’t think I’ve become a repeat customer for a single company that has converted me directly off a Facebook ad. You can see it coming and eventually, you tune it out as noise. Now if you start promoting micro content to engage your audience instead of just sales offers, you’ll start to create an interest from your audience and those who aren’t ready to purchase yet will become engaged.
That community which you’re building through this content will become prime leads for your business and over time will become much easier to convert when you do go in for the sale.
Micro content is what platforms like Twitter and Instagram are built on. Absolutely no one follows a business’s Instagram page just to be sold; they follow the page to see the content that comes up. But at the end of the day, if I follow your business’s page and see cool pictures of people who use your products or services every other day, chances are I’m going to think of you first when I go to make a purchasing decision. Or, if I already know that I want your product one day and you post a killer offer, I would probably convert right away because I already know who you are and trust your brand.
With a content strategy like this, you start to build a social currency surrounding your brand and your customers will begin to show themselves off with your product or service in addition to your self-promotion. When this sort of thing happens, your sales will grow organically and continue to grow even if you stop advertising.
This is how companies find viral success over social media.
How can I best make use of micro content to bring more sales into my organization?
The trouble with this question is it’s different for every organization. For consumer businesses I’ll use a company like Lush, for example. If you look at their Instagram page, you won’t find a single mention of sales offers. What you will find is a lot of great pictures that show off both their products and the people who use them. As a consequence of their social currency, customers always tell their friends whenever they buy products from Lush.
The post above clearly shows you that they’re publishing content that their community will enjoy, not content designed to make a sale right this second.
If you have a B2B service like us, your job is unfortunately a lot harder. You need to know who your audience is, what content appeals to them and ultimately, how they interact with the content.
In our business, we do all our customer acquisitions over the phone, by email or in person. The likelihood that I will ever convert a new customer from an article I’ve written or from a post I’ve made is slim to none. However, I know it’s important to put the investment into building our online presence because it reflects on us as a company. When I phone an association or an advertiser, it’s important that they can find a digital history that illustrates our skills and core values.
In our case, our strategy is “right hook, jab, jab, jab, right hook”. A phone call to initiate the deal, they look online and find mountains of content showing our expertise during their due diligence, and then we close the deal. Hopefully, at a certain point they’ll be turned on to the content we push out and our audience will grow organically from there.
If you have an accounting firm or a similar B2B business, then chances are your strategy might look like ours as well.
The micro content that will work best for our long-term growth is quick posts on social media linking to these blog articles as well as pictures or text that show the world our ongoing activities.
- Your content doesn’t have to be long or elaborate. A quick picture or status is still valuable if your audience values the content you put out.
- Don’t ask for the sale right away. You’d wine and dine your date, so do the same for your customer.
- Micro content is fleeting. Post as often as you can but remember to stick with your core social channels.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to share!