At the Crossroads: Where Content Marketing and Social Media Come Together

May 20, 2019 | 5 minute read
Peter Daisyme
Co-founder of Palo Alto
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Digital marketing efforts are connected in many ways, aligning across audience segments, messaging, and intended results. However, some marketing tactics cross paths in different ways, leading to synergies that can be leveraged to advance a brand’s overall marketing efforts.

One important intersection straddles both content marketing and social media. Two seemingly disparate areas, these efforts both involve using stories and personality to engage consumers and get them invested in a brand. Using them in tandem — and building one off the other — can result in big wins in terms of both cost savings and audience impact.

The Content Marketing Path

Let’s start on the first pathway to marketing success: content marketing. This strategy involves developing and sharing the most relevant information in a way that’s designed to engage with a specific audience. Rather than “sell” customers, content marketing aims to inform them, pushing them down the sales funnel in an organic and conversational way.

It’s a process that involves more than just creating content — the development and sharing components require careful planning, research, and execution. Plus, content marketing requires distributing content across multiple channels and using different formats. While brand elements like tone and viewpoint may stay consistent, the forms the content takes on — from blog posts to white papers — can change significantly.  

Social Media Routes

There are other ways to marketing success, and one is social media. Within this category of marketing tactics, you’ll find a number of channels from which to engage followers, prospects, and customers. In bite-sized increments, companies can provide imagery, text, or insights that pull people in while just giving them a taste of the fuller story. Social also provides shareable platforms, meaning consumers can bring their own network into the fold.

Social media efforts require studying which audience members use which social media channels, as well as when and why. Brands also have to pinpoint what interests them in terms of information and formats on each of those channels. What works on one — time of day to post, a joking style or a more serious tone — won’t necessarily work on another.

Meeting at the Corner of Content Marketing and Social Media

While content marketing and social media offer parallel paths, there are points where they can intersect and produce additional value.

Align Objectives

Because content and social media have similar functions within marketing, this intersection can be addressed through marketing objectives. Both efforts aim to engage and entertain, illustrate differentiation and thought leadership, provide value, and inspire purchases.

Both content and social media should also help achieve the bigger-picture objectives found in your overall business strategy. This includes building awareness and brand equity, attracting and retaining customers, and growing sales. Look for areas where there are inconsistencies in the approach your company is taking toward its business objectives and its marketing objectives.

Create Matching Personas

Regardless of which tactics you deploy via your marketing, it’s critical to know your audience segments — including what they look like, how they behave online, what their biggest concerns and issues are, and what motivates their purchases.

Having this detailed information about each audience segment will guide content creation and dictate when, where, and what you post on social media. It also ensures that your distribution matches your personas — too many brands find themselves creating content for one audience, like moms, and publishing it at an outlet frequented by another audience, such as technology executives.

Define Value Proposition and Messaging

In understanding your buyer personas, you’ll be able to understand how to shape the content around their desires. It will also spur accompanying content that addresses those desires, which could be monetary (discount-specific), rational or emotional (editorial-specific or product-/service-specific), or emotional (event-specific).

Your content plan should address both short-term and long-term audience needs. For example, an audience may be focused on more efficient processes overall, which will lead to cost savings and environmentally friendly practices. In the short term, that audience segment may want to first find a SaaS product that can simplify and streamline its processes. You can build content to address both that short-term need and the long-term goal.

Develop an Editorial Strategy

From there, you’ll develop topics and content ideas that match your objectives and audience personas. It’s important to build variety into your editorial strategy. Customers will lose interest after a month of only  listicles or video interviews after all.

But mixed together — along with blog posts, op-eds, visual ads, and more — audiences will get a bigger sense of your brand’s goals and perspective. Better yet, maintaining interest over a longer period will ingrain your brand in customers’ minds, keeping it top of mind at opportune moments.

Further Fuel Intersections and Actions

There are other ways that content marketing and social media intersect. A prime example is using engagement and feedback from social media to direct content development. This includes looking at customer questions and feedback from social media channels, as well as what these customers post on their own social media channels, who they follow, and what they like and share.

Although you may have a content calendar and a social media calendar, consider a merged version of the two calendars so you can see how social messaging and overall content messaging can be aligned for greater amplification.

Because you also likely have separate content and social media teams, find ways to enable them to collaborate and share what they’re working on. They’ll see how projects can be leveraged to achieve their objectives together.

Also, create and manage a content hub. This is where ideas, existing evergreen and campaign content, and calendars reside. This allows everyone to see what’s been done and tap into these resources when it makes strategic sense.

Developing Social Media Content from the Intersection

There are many approaches to content writing for social media that have proven to be engaging for a wide range of audience segments. Writing in a human way that transmits authenticity, connection, and empathy provides a way to immediately start building trust with an audience and further solidifying that bond over time. For example, in B2B environments, an entrepreneur can share her own experiences with her entrepreneurial audience. This approach includes offering tips and information to solve common issues directly related to questions or comments raised.  

Next, provide uplifting content about success and winning. These feel-good moments are important to audiences seeking positive information that can motivate and inspire them to achieve the same success. For an organization, this can be content that involves any social good efforts or community assistance. It can capture inspirational quotes that align with your brand’s values.

Try open-ended content that leaves the door open to continue an ongoing conversation with your audience — or to encourage one. It’s an approach that serves as a testing ground for what works with an audience and what doesn’t.

Examples include Q&A sessions and surveys where you can come back later and present content bolstered by those previous content interactions. Another example is a contest, where part of the open-ended content comes from the audience.

When you’re in a car at an intersection, there’s a lot of negotiation and a need to proceed cautiously. While that’s somewhat true of the intersection of content marketing and social media, there’s also more to be leveraged by bringing them together.

                                                                                                                               

Content is the life’s blood of any marketing campaign. Find out how to “Do More with “Content Marketing” to ensure that you creating content that speaks more directly to your audience and better connects with them.

 

 

 

Peter Daisyme

Co-founder of Palo Alto

Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt, specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life. Previously he was the co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, that was acquired in 2012.


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