Last week, my marketing team returned from HubSpot's annual INBOUND conference where they not only got to see Anna Kendrick, Trevor Noah, and Alec Baldwin, but they also got to learn more about content marketing (equally exciting, I know).

And one of the major content marketing trends we're paying close attention to is distribution and engagement in online algorithms -- so, needless to say, my team spent a lot of time in sessions about improving content distribution and engagement. One speaker, Rachel Happe, discussed "constant content" and how just writing exceptional content alone won't guarantee your audience will find it from all the other content out there.

Finding ways to create engaging content and get that content in front of the right eyes are important objectives for any business. So I thought I would share a few tips, tricks, and ideas that my team and I use to make sure our content is seen by the right people at the right time. Here are five social media hacks to increase your distribution:

1. Take stock of what's in your toolbox. I'm honestly blown away by the number of leaders I speak with who can't tell me what platforms their teams use to track website traffic, analytics, or manage social media. We use HubSpot and our own custom software, ICo Core, to help us with a lot of what we do; those are the tools that work best for us (and our clients), but there are plenty of options to fill your team's software toolbox.

For example, there are content distribution tools to help you get the most of your content and free social media tools to manage your online community -- you and your team just need to find (and actually use) the right ones. I recommend taking stock of what's out there first, playing around with a few to narrow down your list, and moving on the options that work best for you specifically.

2. There's power in numbers. More than 38,000 people want to know what I'm up to on Twitter these days. Growing my followers to what it is now took a lot of strategy and relevant content, and I'm proud to have built the following I have. The thing is, I'm only one person, and my company is made up of more faces than mine.

There is power in numbers -- not just in one person's number of followers, but also in the collective followings of all your employees. Those team members are some of your biggest brand advocates, and they each have their own networks that can extend the reach of your content pretty substantially. Work with them to maximize your content distribution and engage with more audiences than just your personal ones.

3. Hashtags are your friends. Hashtags aren't some strange way Millennials communicate with each other online -- they're incredibly useful, and I've come to appreciate them. Searching hashtags helps you organize content on social, filter results, and discover influencers and brands that talk about the same topics you do -- which makes finding the right industry influencers and leaders easier than ever.

Take it a step further by actually using hashtags that make you more visible to those same influencers and audience members looking for the content you're sharing. Twitter is basically handing you the info to reach key audience members and distribute your content -- don't miss that opportunity.

4. Put a pin in it. A quick and easy way to ensure constant exposure for a certain post is to pin it on Twitter to the top of your feed. You've probably seen companies do this to encourage registration for an upcoming event or to direct users' attention to specific pieces of content. Pinning a post to the top of your Twitter feed keeps it from getting buried by later updates and signals that it's important, which can help you cut through the noise on the platform.

5. When in doubt, get verification. Getting verified on Twitter isn't the easiest thing to do, but if you can swing it, I highly recommend it. If you've built up a pretty solid following and want to set yourself apart from other influencers and handles with similar names or service offerings, look into verification. Not only does it add to your credibility and assure your audience that you are who you say you are, but it can also help boost your followers and gain access to more contacts.

These tactics alone won't save your social media presence, and they won't guarantee your content is always delivered to the right audience, but they will certainly help. When you use these tips with other tactics, like influencer marketing and guest posting articles to industry publications, you can truly improve your distribution -- and your content marketing ROI.

Published on: Nov 20, 2016
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