Remember the days before social media? When Pew Research started tracking social media use back in 2005, only 5% of American adults used at least one platform.
How things have changed! Today, 72% of the population uses social media--and there are more platforms to choose from. As a marketer, it can be difficult to decide where--and how--to focus your marketing efforts and resources.
Social Media vs Content Marketing
If you're trying to tame the social media marketing beast, a good place to start is to understand how social media and content marketing fit together. Often we talk to companies that are approaching this as an "either-or" proposition: they see these two components as separate, non-related items that can be pursued and managed separately.
While you certainly can use only one or the other, social media and content marketing work best in tandem. They can enhance each other in ways that lead to increased conversions, better leads, and ultimately more sales.
Content Marketing Gives You Material for Social Media
For the sake of this article, we'll consider content marketing to include the use of long-form content, e.g., blog articles, white papers, case studies, and the like. All these items are terrific for SEO and lead generation. But just as importantly, they give you high-quality material to post on social media. After all, why share links to a third-party source, when you could send people directly to your website for high-quality content?
Social Media Amplifies Your Reach
Likewise, a robust content marketing strategy benefits from social media. Posting your content on social media amplifies your reach, inviting people who are already engaged with your brand to come back to your website. This active outreach is a great complement to the visitors you get through organic traffic.
Furthermore, social media makes it easier for your followers to share your content with their own social network. With a few clicks, they can pass it along to their peers. In the context of B2B marketing, this feature can be particularly valuable; people's LinkedIn networks tend to be skewed to include people who have the same or similar backgrounds, industry experience, and roles.
How to Use Social Media for Content Marketing
The first rule of effective social media marketing is to maintain a positive connection with your followers. Narrowing down the product or service that is being marketed is important, but ensuring a positive following on social media has the biggest impact on increasing the benefits of using the two strategies together. This can be done by following a few simple steps:
- Understand the Different Social Media Platforms
The first rule to ensure success is to understand the difference between all social media platforms so that information can be shared effectively across each one. For example, Twitter's character count is an obstacle that must be overcome. With only so many characters available, businesses who want to incorporate social media into their marketing strategies must make their message loud and to the point. Another thing to consider is the different demographics that come with each social media platform. Typically, the older generation is more active on Facebook while the younger generation leans more towards Twitter and Instagram to engage with information. Certain times of day and the day that is chosen also have an impact on generating the right business flow and should be considered on the different platforms.
- Define and Maintain a Brand Voice
Much like stores have their signature brand, defining a brand voice on social media can be helpful in delivering information to an audience. This provides consistency and attracts certain audiences. For example, if the brand voice is that of a mom with kids, it will attract that kind of audience. Choosing words that spark conversation, as well as appropriate references to the demographics being targeted, is important. Lastly, If the voice of the brand were to change, ensure that the voice changes through both the content being marketed as well as the voice in the social media presence.
- Keep an Eye on the Competition
Social media is an easy way to check on your competition. Since business profiles are open to public viewing, it's easy to understand what works and what doesn't by simply browsing through the competitor's social media. Reproduce what is successful from your competitors but keep it original.
- Don't Repeat Past Mistakes
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You can't expect new results using old methods. If something didn't work in the past, it probably won't work in the future. If an old post didn't get many reactions, don't recycle that material. Remain relevant by creating new content and delivering it in different methods.
- Create Shareable, Informative Content
There are many ways to share content. Article pages, blog posts, videos, and so many other ways to share information. Informative website content allows you to rank highly on search engine result pages for important keywords. Do keyword research, include videos, and use long-tail keywords (niche words that are used by customers who already know what they are after).
- Create a Social Media Calendar
Creating a schedule ensures that the social media presence remains strong and consistent. Therefore, posts need to be sent out daily. Scheduling posts on a daily basis, with new or recycled material, ensure customers remain engaged and find the content relevant and accessible.
As one can see, the integration of social media with content marketing can be a powerful tool when done correctly. With the majority of the population already on multiple social media platforms, it can be easy to reach a wide audience in seconds. With a few simple rules that can be used to properly and efficiently integrate social media with content marketing, generating leads and growing brand awareness can be done with the touch of a “share” button.
Ready to take a more strategic approach to your content marketing? Check out our free inbound marketing checklist.