This guide to content marketing fundamentals is designed to help you understand the most important building blocks of any great content marketing strategy. View all chapters in this guide.
If marketing were a concert, content would be a Grammy Award-winning artist and social media would be its boisterous hype man singing content’s praises everywhere it goes. Social media tells the audience how awesome content is and makes sure every single person around knows it.
In other words, social media is content’s biggest champion. Every content marketing strategy should utilize social media channels to elevate quality content and help it accomplish greater marketing goals. Because of that, it’s essential to understand the unique relationship between content marketing and social media.
In this chapter, we’re going to guide you through the relationship between content marketing and social media and also offer a strategy you can implement to make your best content shine on any social media platform.
How Content Marketing and Social Media Work Together
There are a few key ways content marketing and social media work together to drive better results for individual marketing campaigns and overarching business goals. Social media can:
- Be used to promote content
- Help increase brand awareness through content
- Strengthen brand affinity through content
- Be used as a feedback tool for content
Promote content. The most obvious way content marketing and social media work together is by using social media as a promotional tool for content. If you have a great blog post, for example, you can share it on a social network that your audience commonly uses (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn) to gain more exposure and website traffic.
Increase brand awareness. That increased exposure can also translate into heightened brand awareness: the level at which people recognize your brand. The more times your company’s name pops up on social channels, or is shared by your audience, the more people outside of your immediate audience will see it. Whether you use poignant tweets or informative infographics extracted from your content, there are plenty of ways to use increased brand awareness to grow your brand affinity over time.
Increase brand affinity. You can use social media influencers or partnerships with other brands to establish even greater brand affinity, which essentially refers to customers who have a strong connection with your brand. Influencers have pre-existing relationships with their audience, and leveraging those relationships can be extremely valuable regardless of whether you’re a small business or a large one. It can also be a fantastic way to expose your content to new audiences that haven’t historically purchased your product or service.
Receive feedback. Perhaps slightly less obvious is the ability to use social media to get feedback on your content marketing efforts. Social media allows you to have a direct line of communication with your target audience — existing customers and potential ones. When you share a piece of content through a social platform, you can also ask your target audience questions to better understand their needs.
Equipped with this important feedback, you can create better content that directly addresses audience inquiries. This is why it’s critical to engage with social media users — you want to have a clear understanding of the specific type of content they want to see in the future. It’s essentially allowing your audience to serve as a content curation device.
Social Media Sites for Content Marketing
There are several different social media sites that companies utilize for their content marketing efforts. Listed below are some of the big players you should consider, and determine if your audience and potential customers are active on these sites.
How to Market Your Content on Social Media
There are certain steps you have to take to make your content successful on social media. You need an ongoing social media content strategy that you can apply — and we’re here to guide you through the steps of a strategy you can use for your business.
Choose Your Social Media Platforms
Based on the knowledge of your buyer personas, choose the platform you think will be best to promote your content through and measure it regularly to see how it’s performing. If engagement is high on a particular platform, for example, you can invest more into that platform or even try paid initiatives.
But before you jump in and pick a social media platform, there are some interesting stats to consider. A Pew Research Center survey found that Americans in the 18-24 age range are especially active users of Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. This is in contrast with Facebook, which is used by nearly 70% of Americans between 50 and 75. Based on age data from your buyer personas, you can choose the social media platform that fits those demographics.
Alexa’s Content Exploration tool shows what sites and articles are generating engagement through Twitter and Reddit, as well as top-performing posts based on total and average article engagement, as seen in the example below. You can use this capability to check out your site or competing sites in your industry to determine what content your audience is interested in on these social media sites.
Once you’ve carefully selected your social media platforms, you need to determine the frequency at which you’re going to post on each of them.
Create a Content Calendar for Social Media
Whenever you publish a new post on your blog or upload a new video to your YouTube channel, social media needs to be the first to know about it.
With that in mind, publishing randomly timed social media posts centered on content is not only difficult, but it looks sloppy. Instead, create a consistent content calendar so your audience knows when and where they can expect new content to appear regularly.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Google isn’t the only search engine out there. YouTube, for example, is the second-largest search engine, behind Google. Social media platforms also function as search engines and rank content as well. For that reason, you need to think about publishing content consistently, the same way you would to gain SEO traction on Google. A steady stream of social media posts that are properly optimized each time increases the likelihood of new and interested social media users finding them.
Social Media Scheduling Software
There’s plenty of great social media scheduling software on the market that can make your life easier. Here are some of the most popular solutions:
Optimize Your Social Media Posts
Find a unique angle to promote your content through social media. It could be anything from an impactful interview quote, a funny clip, or a surprising stat — something that will hook the user and make them want to see more. You should also add relevant industry hashtags to help increase the reach of your posts.
Lastly, make sure you pick a brand- and topic-appropriate image that’s the correct size for the social media platform you’re posting on. Choose an image that you think will grab a user’s interest.
The ultimate goal is to get a social media user to click the link to your piece of content and read, listen, or watch further. It’s the same reason you see your favorite YouTube creators engage in clickbait content. The problem with clickbaiting on social media, however, is that the creators don’t always deliver on the clickbait promise, which can negatively impact brand affinity. This is why it’s important to make sure whatever angle you choose accurately depicts what people can expect when they click your link.
Engage With Your Social Media Audience
Like we mentioned earlier: Don’t forget to interact with your audience to extract great content ideas. Your audience is the people consuming your content, so make sure you identify what they like by paying attention to which pieces of content are performing well and which ones people are talking about most.
Better yet, you can ask your audience directly what kinds of content they’d like to see by posing general questions or offering options through polls and surveys. You’re essentially engaging your audience in the content creation process and filling your content hub with ideas and topics that they’ve handpicked.
From a research perspective, it makes a content marketer’s job easier. From an audience member’s perspective, they’re getting exactly what they want. It’s a win-win.
A Step Ahead of the Competition
Using social media to promote your content and generate content ideas from your audience is great, but don’t forget to track your competitors, too. Alexa can help you see what kind of social media engagement your competitors are getting and even help you discover which competing websites are publishing highly engaging content in your industry. Try our free 14-day trial today to find out how.