Using social media to jump-start your content marketing strategy

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Content marketing and social media seem like they were made for each other. There are currently over 2 billion social media users worldwide. Quality content is what makes social media tick. Unfortunately, most brands have a social media voice that is mostly detached from their content marketing strategy.

If content marketing is a high priority for you, squeezing the last drop out of social media is critical. Ultimately, the goal is to get your content in front of as many eyes as possible, and for that, social media is perhaps the best way to expand your reach and generate more traffic.

That said, it’s much more than just a tool to help gain exposure. Along with a myriad of business benefits, it serves as a direct channel for your brand where you can incorporate offers, live updates and customer service.

The key to using social media to boost awareness for your website is by engaging viewers with useful, relevant material — when they need it, as opposed to when you create it. This task is a lot harder than it seems.

Keep in mind, the stream of information on social media moves very, very quickly. The last thing you want is for your message to get buried and lost before anyone has had a chance to see it.

Let’s take a look at how you can take your content marketing efforts to the next level.

Social monitoring leads to better content

The best social media marketers don’t start by posting. They start by listening. Social monitoring (or listening) is a great way to gauge how your target audience feels about a particular subject or industry.

Did you know that Facebook users collectively generate around 3.2 billion likes and comments every day? Monitoring what people are liking and commenting on is crucial to finding out what’s currently trending.

Sure, manually checking up on your industry across all the social media platforms can be tedious. Luckily, plenty of tools are out there that enable you to track what the masses are saying so that you can learn about their interests, perceptions and concerns.

Brandwatch is one that will give you data-driven insights as to what your customers and influencers in your industry are talking about — including the competition. Identifying the most pressing questions or concerns can help gear your messaging to popular demand.

With that knowledge, you can create content that provides true value to your target audience. For instance, if you run an industry blog, you can use these social insights to determine relevant topics to write about and to create catchy headlines to draw in visitors.

BuzzFeed is the quintessential example of this. Their casual, yet informative platform is constantly producing high-quality content that touches on an array of relevant topics in the field of news, entertainment and general interest. As of this writing, they’ve had over 550 million global visits in the last 30 days.

To use social monitoring to find topics to gear your content toward, you’ll want to brainstorm a list of key terms and phrases relevant to your brand and industry. This will work to pinpoint the interests of your target community so you can design content to fit their needs.

Content built around these terms can then go to multiple channels in multiple formats and eventually be routed back to social media for sharing.

While your usual social media management tools like Hootsuite and Twitter’s own TweetDeck offer good collaboration opportunities for the purpose of posting and scheduling, companies with cross-channel marketing departments can look toward objective-focused task management tools. WorkZone or Brightpod, for instance, can help you manage interdepartmental communications or track the effectiveness of integrated marketing campaigns.

Social sharing means more eyeballs

The ultimate purpose of content creation is to get it in front of as many eyes as possible. The beauty of social media is that once your content is out there, there are few limits to where it can reach.

Encouraging users to share content can be done in many ways. First off, the overall look of a piece matters a lot. As a general rule of thumb, think visually with each post. Visual content gets more views, clicks, shares and likes than text-based material. For instance, on Facebook and Twitter, photos get 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more click-throughs.

If you produce blog content, you need to go beyond just placing “easy-to-find” social share buttons all over your page. Try things like Click to Tweet in your next article. Choose the tweet the way you’d choose a headline; embed things like interesting quotes, facts or images within your content in a compelling way so the reader is inclined to post it.

Content is meant to be shared. Social media is the perfect vehicle to get your material noticed with a chance to go viral.

Make influencers your workhorses

Finding the perfect influencer on social media can be a game-changer that skyrockets your content marketing efforts. The right influencer can generate more than double the sales of paid advertising and increase client retention.

A simple retweet or share by an individual with a large social following can do wonders for your content as it is exposed to a vastly wider audience than usual. Why do you think companies pay celebrities tons of money to tweet about brands or products? The math goes beyond just how many followers they have. It’s about the level of engagement they have with their fans.

One of my favorite influencer marketing campaigns was Adidas’s #MyNeoShoot, where they recruited Selena Gomez to promote their Neo line. Gomez invited users to take pictures of themselves and apply to be the next Adidas model. By the time the campaign ended, Adidas had gained 12,000 entries, 71,000 brand mentions and 41,000 new Instagram followers.

Locating influencers on social media can take a bit of digging. Look into your industry and identify the key figures. This could be anyone like a blogger, a journalist, a political figure, or even another business owner.

Tools like Klout allow you to measure influencer scores to determine the best ones to pursue in your field. While you shouldn’t take such scores by their face value, they offer a good place to start your identification and outreach process.

Forming a relationship with a good influencer could be the best business move you ever make.

Conclusion

Social media should be a cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. Chances are, you’re already spending hours of your time researching and crafting awesome content. All of your hard work deserves to get as much attention as possible.

Tweaking your social media presence with a purpose is the key to effectively distributing your content and increasing the reach of your brand messaging.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.




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