Do you have social media and content marketing synergy?
Marketers understand that in today’s digital environment, social media is a must-have for reaching customers. It’s where they spend an increasing amount of time. In fact, roughly one in every five minutes (about 19%) of all media time is spent on social sites and apps.
But despite their promotional efforts on social, many marketers aren’t harvesting the desired results. Why not?
It’s most likely that they’re missing a critical element – synergy. There must be a constructive synergy between your content and your social that’s rooted in the strategy that serves your brand.
Many marketers create separate strategies for each channel, losing the opportunity for the channels to build on each other, creating energy and momentum. Social and content are powerful on their own, yes, but their power is exponentially multiplied with when they are used to echo and amplify each other.
If you like the idea of creating more synergy among your scattered channels, here are five places to start.
1. Start with company goals and objectives.
Creating synergy with social and content marketing starts with defining clear company goals and objectives. These goals must allow the two types of marketing to play off each other to achieve a common purpose. Before creating or promoting content, consider these questions: What do we hope to achieve? What does success look like? Here are two examples – one weak and one strong.
Weak. John’s in charge of social marketing for the Good Company. His goal is to generate 10% more followers on Twitter this quarter, and his plan is to create and promote the content that will make that happen. He’s thinking about Twitter cards and memes.
While increasing traffic is good, a strong strategy can do much better than simply generate followers. Check out this next example.
Strong. Jane’s in charge of social marketing for the Better Company. Her company’s goal is to generate 10% more leads this quarter. The strategy is to use gated content to get qualified names into their nurture marketing program. Her content marketing counterpart is creating a guide that will address a major pain point of their company’s target audience. Jane’s plan is to use social to promote the content with the goal of driving people to the landing page where they can fill out a lead form to get the content. The two channels will work together to achieve the goal.
Key takeaway: Before creating any new piece of content, map out the company’s goals and objectives. Then decide how the content and social can play off each other to achieve that common goal.
2. Flip the process … let social drive content creation.
Most marketers create content first, then turn to social to promote it. This process can be successful, but there is a lesser-used strategy that can generate excellent results. Use social listening to drive the direction of your content.
For example, a majority of your audience spends time on Twitter. Check out the conversations that are happening right now on Twitter. What are people talking about? Are there common themes or pain points that seem to be coming up multiple times? If so, creating content based on this information will make your social promotion more effective. The conversation is already happening and you know people are interested in this topic – now you just need to create synergy by producing the content to promote. And this content doesn’t need to be a lengthy eBook, white paper or even blog post. It can be something simple.
For example, Charmin turned to social to learn what their audience was talking about. They wanted to discover the largest pain points in the context of the brand. The company soon discovered that the audience was unanimously frustrated with people not replacing the toilet paper roll. They created a quick and effective visual to engage their target audience.
GoPro is a another great example. This brand consistently solicits and receives user-generated content. Customers use their action cameras to take videos, often of extreme sports. They share their amazing footage with the company, which in turn posts the videos on social media.
Users drive the content, which means it’s a seamless fit with social marketing. The content creators share their footage, and people are especially receptive to content created by their peers.
Here’s an example: a GoPro user created this video of their day in Alaska, using the device to capture breathtaking footage. The company pinned the video to its Twitter profile.
Key takeaway: Producing your own content is great, but leveraging user-generated content is an untapped opportunity for most marketers. Share your customers’ stories and content, and promote them through social.
3. Select social media channels strategically.
The Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America identifies the channels B2B content marketers use most to promote their content. LinkedIn leads the social platforms, with 89% of marketers using it.
One of the largest mistakes content marketers make is failing to match the right content to the right channel. According to the CMI study, the average marketer is using six different channels to distribute their content. Depending on the size of your team, being effective on that many social channels could be difficult. It’s best to focus on just the number you can be great at. Find out where your audience spends the majority of their time, then focus your strategy on those specific channels.
How can you determine which channel is best for your audience? Here are a few questions to ask.
- Where are your target buyers spending their time? Ask your current customers where they spend theirs, and/or do surveys to get the answers.
- Which channels are successful competitors using, and are they getting results through these channels? You can use various social tools to get this information. For example, Fanpage Karma allows you to analyze your competitors’ accounts across various social media channels. Twitonomy allows you to see the analysis for your Twitter account, as well as those of your major competitors.
- Are there geographic considerations that need to be considered with each channel?
Social Sprout recommends getting started by taking a deep dive into the demographics of each channel. After you better understand the pertinent demographics, you can decide which channel best fits your content and social strategy. Here’s a quick guide for each of the major social channels based on the Pew Research Center Demographics of Key Social Networking Study.
Key takeaway: Social media is about quality – not quantity. Select a few social channels to promote your content based on the demographics and habits of the target audience that you want to reach.
4. Create the right tone for social accounts.
Content marketers often think about tone when writing pieces of content. Should the content be professional, approachable, humorous or friendly? Much depends on your brand voice, but individual channels might influence that, and of course the content of the piece itself. Once you understand the purpose of the content, who it will reach and what social channel will help accomplish that goal, you need to make sure the content matches the tone of the channel. Here are a few examples.
Twitter. The most successful company Twitter accounts have a few things in common, according Justyn Howard at Social Sprout. He finds that successful companies do more than amuse or entertain; they provide true value to their audience. They share high-value information and insider details, or offer up special deals.
Facebook. With Facebook, your tone should be friendly. It should engage fans with content that is easy to share and that includes multimedia. In fact, posts that include images or videos produce up to 96 percent higher engagement on Facebook business pages. Share photos from recent company events and give the audience an insider’s view of your company.
LinkedIn. This medium is all about thought leadership in your niche. With other channels, you can be playful and fun – but with this one, keep it professional. However, professional shouldn’t cross the line into boring; keep content interesting as well.
5. Use proven types of content in your integrated strategy.
When creating an integrated, synergistic content and social strategy, it’s important to consider the types of content that will perform well on social, because if the content performs well, it will bring you closer to your goal, whether it’s driving engagement, generating leads, or increasing brand awareness. Here are several types of content proven to deliver more shares.
- Infographics are proven to generate more views, likes, and shares. In fact, one study discovered that infographics were liked and given hearts on social media at up to three times the rate of other types of content.
- This type of content is great for infusing a little (or a lot of) personality into your selected social media outlets (think Facebook or Twitter). Use a meme to quickly jump on a topic or trend that is happening right now in your industry. Memes are easy to create quickly, and you can push them out before the trend passes. They tend to be funny, and are often tongue-in-cheek. Dos Equis scored very big with the Most Interesting Man in the World.
- Videos capture large amounts of attention on social media. For example, this video produced by Crazy Egg brings in $21K in revenue every month.
Upload your video to YouTube and Vimeo and share links through the desired social media platforms. But remember, videos (in this context) shouldn’t be long. A few minutes is usually enough.
Lists. We are wired to love list posts. In fact, according to Buzzsumo research we found on OKDork, list posts are second only to infographics in receiving more average shares than all other types of content.
Key takeaway: If you aren’t sure where to start, select a proven content type on the social media channels where your target audience members are spending the most time.
In short: Social media is powerful … especially when it’s synergized with your other content
Social media is a powerful tool for reaching more people in your target audience. But it can’t work alone. The content that you create and the social channels you select must work in harmony.
Each type of content, whether it’s a blog post, white paper, guide or video, requires numerous hours and resources to produce. But with a strategic goal, each hour will have a much higher return, because achieving this synergy will maximize the impact of each piece of content that you create.
How do you use social media to promote your content? Please share your best practices and what gets results.