There are several people who will disagree with me, but I believe you can categorize social media as a content marketing tactic. Yes, social media marketing has a life and space of its own, but what are you going to Tweet, post to Facebook or pin on Pinterest if there’s no content? Why would you join, listen to or create a conversation if you didn’t have relevant, interesting or useful insights?
Your content marketing strategy as a whole has to be unified, whether your overall goal is brand awareness, driving website traffic, increasing sales, expanding partnerships or anything else. All of your approaches, media channels and tactics have to be on the same page. When communicating on social networks, you want your customers to receive consistent messages that support your overall goals. These messages need to be in line with your website, blogs, emails, publications or anything else considered part of your content marketing strategy.
Naysayers may point out that in social media marketers create content within Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and in that aspect, they are correct. But if you think of the content that gets distributed among those forums, and then the content generated after it’s posted, doesn’t that affect SEO? If you release a new product and post it on your social media networks with a link to where to purchase, and then it starts trending, won’t people see that result in search engines, increasing your site ranking? The interactivity of social media generates interest and increases your relevance, driving traffic to your website.
Regardless of what content lives within social media platforms, such as Facebook and Pinterest, versus the content that lives on your actual website, think about how people connect the two. If you want people to read your blog, download a white paper, or see a new tool you’ve created, social media is the way to publicize that. Duplicating information is a big no-no in SEO, so you need to make a decision of where to host that information, and then the best way to inform people.
After that, use your other channels, including social media, to drive people to the original information. You want people to share it, pin it, re-tweet it, but that doesn’t happen unless your content was good to begin with.
With all that said, what can you do in social media to help your content marketing strategy? Here are some ideas:
- Make sure all your platforms are branded and have consistent messaging
- Respond to customer inquiries within social media platforms
- Share a photo or video of an event your company or customers attended
- Spark dialogue about current events related to your field or industry
- Offer timely information and insights
- Create or join interest groups relevant to your industry and post relevant information for them
- Let people know about new products, services or discounts you’re offering
- Listen to what your customers like and dislike, and join the conversation when you have something to offer
- Reveal your corporate culture – company history, mission statement, industry highlights, employee recognition, etc.
So, while you may have content within your social media networks, they’re also a major driving force and vehicle for communication and content marketing. One of the elements of my content marketing definition was, “distributed via multiple media channels.” Social media is exactly that.
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