Content marketing has become the here-and-now of the marketing world in order to better engage and interact with consumers. But what exactly is it?
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” – Content Marketing Institute
Social media represents an avenue for marketing professionals to connect and engage with their consumers in a way that is both highly efficient and cost effective. However, there is a degree of uncertainty on how to integrate social media into content marketing. So where does it fit?
Ben Harper, the co-founder of Datify, believes that the role of social media is threefold:
- Social should play a key role in informing content strategy
- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on are all valid platforms that should be used as part of your content strategy
- Social media (particularly Facebook) has a unique ability to amplify your content placed on other channels fold.
Social data should be the fountain from which the rest of your company’s content strategy flows. Tools like followerwonk, unmetric and twtrland help companies determine what to post, the weight of their posts (or where to target them), and should drive every content marketing decision. Imagine that engaging with every customer is like a first date. Without social data you’re going in blind; you don’t know their interests, where they’re from, or what jokes are appropriate. The date’s going okay, you’ve had a pretty decent conversation, but the first prolonged awkward silence is upon you. Instead of being tactful, because you know enough about them to talk about their interests more, you start talking as much as possible to cover the silence. By the end of the night you’re sweaty, out of breath and… alone, sitting at the restaurant table and have just realized that your date left an hour ago. You don’t want to be that guy in real life, and you certainly don’t want your company to thrown to the curb either. Instead, imagine social data as a cheat sheet that can help you navigate the treacherous seas of consumer interaction. With it, you’ll know when to post, who your demographic is, and what information is relevant to the consumer.
Which Social Network Should I Use to Best Connect with Consumers?
The answer: all of them. Different people have different social networking preferences. Some people love Facebook and hate Twitter and vice versa. You don’t want to limit yourself to just one platform, because you’ll be ignoring those consumers that prefer other social media sites. When you have a presence on all forms of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, GooglePlus, Circle, etc.), you have better access to ALL of your clientele, not just a portion of them. It is okay to focus on a platform that gets you the most user engagement, but it’s still necessary to reach out to the more obscure regions of the social media world.
Amplification is Key
Content marketing without social media is about as good as an electric guitar without the amp. You could be Jimi Hendrix, but without the amp nobody beyond the people in the front row are going to be able to hear you. Social media allows companies to bolster the content they create on other channels by giving consumers relevant information that inspires them to engage. With the social media amp hooked up, you can reach multiple levels of the consumer-filled concert hall, thereby reaching new audiences and creating a buzz around your company.