Content marketing is an approach that has basically become omnipresent.
You can think of it as an umbrella that encompasses a wide array of mediums, including blog posts, videos, slideshows, eBooks, and so on.
However, social media is arguably the most integral medium of all to content marketing. When you think about it, any time you post content on social media, whether it’s original or curated from external sources, you’re essentially performing content marketing.
In other words, you’re posting content on social media in order to build your brand equity, generate leads, and make conversions.
Due to the outrageously high conversion rates that content marketers experience (conversions are 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters), more and more time and money are going toward content marketing. In fact, “39 percent of marketing budget is spent on content marketing by the most effective B2B marketers.”
In my opinion, social media and content marketing are basically the same thing. You can’t do social media marketing without doing content marketing.
It’s important to recognize that your social media strategy is inseparable from your content marketing strategy. Viewing the two as working together is the way to make both of them more powerful. They take on a level of power that is greater than the sum of their parts.
Here are some specific techniques you can use to accomplish this.
Select the Right Channels
There are an abundance of social networks to choose from these days, and it seems as if new networks are popping up all the time.
So success with your content marketing is largely contingent upon choosing the right combination of channels that enable you to effectively reach your demographic and post content that’s easy for them to digest.
Here are a couple of graphs that break down the number of platforms that brands are using as well as the specific networks they’re active on:
Here you can see that B2B companies use six networks on average, with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook being the most popular.
It makes sense that LinkedIn is number one considering it’s ideal for professional networking and making industry connections.
This graph shows us that B2C companies on average are active on one more network than B2C companies. And unsurprisingly, the usual suspects, Facebook and Twitter, are at the top.
I suggest using this data as a template when deciding which networks to use in your campaign.
While you don’t necessarily want to follow these graphs to the tee, they can show you which networks you’re likely to have the most success with.
This also proves the importance of distributing your content across a variety of networks and not just pigeonholing yourself on just one or two.
Distribute All Content across Social Platforms
The amazing thing about social media is that it provides you the means to take a piece of content that may receive only marginal exposure on its own and increase its exposure exponentially.
Say you just wrote a new blog post. If you simply click “Publish” and leave it at that, your loyal blog readers will see it, but the overall impact will probably be marginal unless you’re a huge name like Tim Ferriss or Seth Godin.
But if you distribute that post across all your networks, you could easily double, triple, or even quadruple your exposure with hardly any added effort.
The more platforms you’re on and the bigger your follower count, the more exposure you’re going to get. Here’s a great example:
I simply took a recent post that I published on Crazy Egg and tweeted it. With less than a minute of extra work, I boosted the exposure of this post dramatically. As you can see, it received 40 retweets and 51 likes.
Organize Your Campaign with a Content Calendar
One thing I’ve learned about running a robust content marketing / social media campaign is that things can get chaotic in a hurry. Without a formal game plan, you can quickly find yourself completely overwhelmed, and that’s likely to diminish your effectiveness.
So how do you keep the chaos at bay?
I’ve found a content calendar to be tremendously helpful and an excellent way to merge social media with content marketing strategy.
Not only will this keep you organized, it can contribute to the overall impact of your campaign. That’s because it holds you accountable, and you can visually see what needs to be posted to which network and when.
It also ensures that you don’t go overboard with posting on one network while neglecting another one (e.g., posting seven times a week on Facebook and only once on Pinterest).
In other words, it helps you stay balanced.
In terms of effectiveness, “60 percent of those who have a documented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness, compared with 32 percent of those who have a verbal strategy.”
This goes to show that creating a content calendar can nearly double your effectiveness.
So how exactly do you create a content calendar?
I’ve found that simply using a spreadsheet via either Excel or Google Sheets is usually sufficient, especially if you’re just starting out and keeping it fairly basic. Here’s an example:
There are also a lot of free apps that work well for this. Some of my favorites are Google Calendar, Trello, and Wunderlist. All three are easy to use and will keep you on track. They can also be used to streamline collaboration with the rest of your team.
I would also recommend checking out this post from Buffer because it discusses the nuts and bolts of creating a content calendar and includes templates and other tools.
Schedule Your Posts
One reason I’m able to run my social media / content marketing campaign with such ruthless efficiency is I schedule my content ahead of time.
I’ve found that “chunking tasks” is a way to accomplish more in less time and ensure that all my social profiles are consistently populated with quality content.
For example, I would recommend spending one block of time scheduling posts for Facebook, another for Twitter, another for LinkedIn, and so forth. I’ve found this to be much better than trying to tackle everything at once.
This way you can make sure your accounts are good to go several weeks in advance and nothing is neglected.
Two of my favorite tools for scheduling social content are HootSuite and Buffer. Both are awesome social media management platforms that allow you to schedule and publish your content from a single, user-friendly dashboard.
An added benefit is that there are several other features that will help you optimize your overall social media marketing.
For example, you can:
- Monitor engagement
- Track the success of your posts
- Perform social listening
- Collaborate with other members of your marketing team
Utilize Social Share Buttons
Maybe this is obvious, but I’ve noticed there are still plenty of brands that aren’t taking advantage of social share buttons.
If you’re not familiar with them, these are simply the little icons you see on websites that allow you to share content with your social followers.
Here’s an example from Quick Sprout:
By setting up social share buttons, you can maximize the circulation of the content you publish on your website and blog. It’s basically like having your audience promote your content on social media for you.
It’s fairly easy to install social share buttons, and it takes only a few minutes.
If you’re a WordPress user, you can find a lot of free social share buttons by simply typing “social shares” into the “Add Plugins” search box from your dashboard.
From there, you’ll see a list of the top social share plugins along with each one’s total number of installs and star rating.
Just find one that looks good to you and is compatible with your version of WordPress.
Use WordPress Social Optimization Plugins
WordPress is pretty much a one-stop-shop for digital business owners, and it can simplify your life in many ways.
Besides allowing you to install social share buttons, there are several different WordPress plugins that are designed to optimize your posts for social media.
For example, WordPress Social Sharing Optimization (WPSSO) allows you to:
- Generate social meta tags
- Configure title and description lengths
- Configure social accounts for schema markup
And there is a robust list of features that will make your life easier, while increasing the impact of your social media and content marketing.
I also suggest checking out this post from Social Media Examiner. It features six other WordPress plugins that will make your posts look good when they’re shared on social media.
In order to get the most from your social media and content marketing strategy, it’s important that you first stop thinking of them as two separate entities.
When you see how they overlap and how they’re interconnected, you can tweak your efforts to bridge the gap and maximize their potential.
Once you implement the right tactics, you can effectively merge social media and content marketing to create a unified whole. Over time, this should translate into more exposure for your content, a larger social following, more leads, and increased profitability.
Do you have any suggestions for using your blog to improve your social media strategy?
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