In many ways, social media is the glue that holds content marketing together on the whole.
- Creating content is the easy part – the difficult comes in promoting content to make sure that it reaches a wide audience.
- It’s here that social media becomes incredibly useful: the discussions that take place online are the perfect way to build up a large following and reach the people who will be so impressed by your content that they make a purchase.
There’s no single ‘best practice’ approach to using social media for content marketing.
While your social media efforts should supplement your content, there’s a million ways to go about posting online and developing your presence within online communities.
That said, there are certain techniques and approaches that can be used to build your following online as quickly as possible, thereby helping your content marketing efforts to thrive.
Here are some of the best ways to make sure you’re making the best possible use of social media to aid your content marketing strategy.
Don’t Just Post Links
Many marketers see social media as nothing more than a way to push people towards their content.
- They’ll dutifully post links to their website every day, trying to get followers to pay attention.
While this strategy has its uses, unless the groundwork is laid, nobody’s going to be paying much attention to the links that you post.
Instead, it’s important to build up your social media profile through providing engaging, interesting content that’s more than just links off-site.
- To attract followers, you need to give them something that they can’t get anywhere else.
- This can mean providing a closer look at your company, a place to engage in a community, and a way to contact your team directly with their questions about your products.
It’s best to think of your social media presence as content marketing posts in their own right.
- These posts might be a lot shorter and quicker to produce, but they should still be crafted carefully to draw in audiences and help people to learn more about your business and your services.
The best social media profiles are ones which supplement your content marketing, providing a space for further analysis of key ideas, and a place where readers can discuss the content that you’re producing and the products that you’re selling.
It’s important to remember that social media is a tool which supplements your larger content marketing strategy.
- As such, the way you use social media should take advantage of its unique opportunities.
- One of the most important elements of social media is the conversations that can form around your content.
While traditional media and marketing was a one-way communication from marketers to audiences, social media enables audiences to talk back and publicly discuss your content.
To make best use of your content marketing efforts, you’ll want to create thriving, positive discussions that help to keep your brand in the minds of audiences.
- These discussions will help to resolve concerns for potential customers as members of your community will help each other with their issues and questions.
- It’s easier to inspire long-lasting brand loyalty as the people who follow you on social media feel comfortable investing in their relationship with your company.
When social media is done right, you can inspire your audience to keep the discussion about your brand going even when you’re not actively participating in it.
What To Do
There are plenty of ways to get your audience talking about your products on social media.
The most important thing you can do is be part of the discussion yourself.
- Ask followers about their opinions of your products and content.
- Offer advice and guidance for those who are expressing questions online.
As your following grows and the discussions become larger, you won’t need to participate as much to keep things going, but at first, it’s important to be very available online and to play an active role in shaping the discussions that are happening about your products.
It can also help if you offer some form of incentive to get people talking.
- This can take the form of contests or giveaways where you reward regular participants for contributing to the discussion.
- Alternatively, simply making the discussions interesting and engaging can be enough incentive for some followers – ask questions they care about, or give an insider’s look behind the scenes of your company.
Create a Behind-The-Scenes Atmosphere
Your social media presence shouldn’t be a direct extension of your content marketing.
- Users expect a different tone and voice from social media – it’s typically more relaxed, informal, and friendly.
- This approach works when you’re trying to build discussions and make followers feel comfortable expressing their opinions.
- It also helps your audience to build a relationship with your brand, seeing you as trustworthy and helpful rather than as a large, faceless corporation.
It’s helpful to see your larger, more costly content as the main stage, and your social media efforts as VIP backstage experiences for your followers, giving them a chance to see the inner workings of your company, the people that make things work, and the way you do business.
Through social media, you can help your followers to feel like they’re part of the experience that produces your work.
- Show users cut content or materials that didn’t make it into final pieces in order to give them an insight into how you craft your work.
- Provide additional commentary and insight into content that you’ve produced which helps draw attention back to your content whilst generating debate.
All of this gives your followers the feeling that they’re involved with your work, and can help them to form attachments to the people that are involved in your team.
Achieving Celebrity Status
It can help to highlight and build up the profile of your team members – help social media followers to learn the faces and personalities of the people who work for your company.
- With the right push, your team can become minor celebrities to your audience, as your followers become invested in the camaraderie of your team.
It’s especially important to give the people posting content on social media the opportunity to lend their own voice to their posts.
- This helps to give your social media content a voice that doesn’t just feel like company talk, but actually feels like a person talking to their friends.
- With such an attitude, it’s easier to build genuine discussion and win support from your followers.
With more trust from your followers, you can use these informal opportunities to build up hype for content that’s in development and new products that you’re working to bring to the market.
All Aboard the Hype Train
As you use social media to share behind-the-scenes work from your various pieces of content, you can also tease future pieces that are currently in development.
- For multimedia content you can share images, footage, or other small pieces of the content to drum up interest for the upcoming release.
What’s more, you can use social media to begin priming your audience, bringing up the subjects you’ll be discussing in future content so that there’s already a discussion going of surrounding your content before you’ve even released it.
- This will make people all the more excited for your content, as they eagerly await its release.
- Once a piece of content is published, its existing fanbase will help to share it further as you’ve already gathered some of the people who will be most interested in seeing it.
What’s more, teasing future content gives your followers a reason to stay invested in your brand and to keep checking your social media presence regularly, thus keeping your company on their mind and increasing the chance that they’ll take action and make purchases.
All of this should be done with a clear focus on helping your numbers to increase, as this is what will help both your social media and your content marketing strategy as a whole to grow and develop.
Focus on Analytics
Social media is a wonderful tool.
It’s also, unfortunately, full of fantastic distractions.
Even if you’re able to avoid the lure of being distracted by other content, it’s not always easy to sort through social media and to implement a focused marketing plan because there are so many aspects to social media that are vying for your attention.
- Is making conversation and generating buzz about your brand the best focus?
- Should you be concentrating on answering questions and resolving concerns that customers are expressing online?
There’s no right answer for every brand as to the best way to deal with social media, but there is one indicator that’s true across the board:
- When it comes to social media, numbers don’t lie.
Focus on analytics figures to see which posts are doing well, and what kind of content your followers like to see shared on social media.
Keep a clear eye on:
- Social media interactions.
- Visits to your site.
These numbers will point you towards action that you might need to take to improve the way you’re presenting your company on social media.
- Look to see which posts get the most shares and likes, then aim to replicate these.
- Try to spot trends in wording or subject matter to give you an idea of what content performs best with your social media following.
As you improve the success of your social media posts by focusing on topics and post types that increase your reach, you’ll be in a better position to help followers take the actions you want them to perform.
Calls to Action Matter
Social media for marketing is all about using small, quick messages to get people to do things.
- You might be asking customers to make a purchase.
- Alternatively, you could be asking followers to visit your website to read an article or watch a video.
- It could be that you’re trying to encourage your audience to engage in a discussion and comment on your post, or share it with others to help your reach grow.
No matter what you’re doing with social media, ultimately you should be looking to push people to take action.
When posting, you should be as up-front and explicit as possible about what you want people to do.
- If there’s any ambiguity in your post, it’ll be more difficult for people to realize what they’re meant to do.
- Because social media posts are typically best when they’re fairly short, your call to action should stand out and be direct.
Use lots of active words, such as ‘read’, ‘watch’, ‘click’, and ‘comment’, to tell people exactly what they should be doing.
The more direct you are with calls to action, the more success you’ll see in encouraging your customers to act.
Vary Posting Times
Not everyone looks at social media at the same time.
This is unhelpful if your posts get buried under a mound of other content – there’s always new stuff online to distract your audience.
- It’s been proven that the ‘half-life’ of social media posts can be as little as a few hours, after which time nobody will ever see your post again.
For this reason, you should be posting often, and at different times of the day.
- For new content, post multiple links throughout the day to help catch your audience at different times as they check their social media.
Also, be sure to post about older content as well to make sure that your newer followers, as well as anyone who missed it the first time, will get a fresh chance to see your post.
Links to your content should be interspersed with other social media posts which generate discussion and invite comments.
These should also be spread out over the course of a day to help people participate whenever they’re free.
Like, Share, Subscribe
The key to good social media posts is generating discussion.
Use every tool available to get online communities discussing your content. The more people care, the further your content will travel, and the more successful your marketing strategy will prove to be.
How do you use social media in your content marketing strategy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.