Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing (Part 3): Use Social Media
In Part 2, you began to create content you felt proud of. If you’re not already promoting your content on social media, or if you haven’t yet developed a social media strategy, start on that now. Your content marketing strategy, no matter how solid and creative, will lose power if you’re ignoring social media.
Social media is crucial to your overall success because it gives your content maximum exposure. It has the leverage to add followers to your content—subscribers who would’ve otherwise remained outside of your reach. This larger audience could translate into more leads and more customers for your business.
Essentially, just writing excellent content isn’t enough. You must ensure that people see and interact with that content.
If you need help getting started with or improving your social media, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Social Media. Here, we’ll give you four tips on how to best include social media in your content marketing strategy.
1. Keep your social media and content marketing strategies separate.
Social media can become addictive, even in business. It might even begin to crowd out other areas of your content marketing or take over your content marketing strategy entirely.
Remember: content marketing and social media are not the same thing. Social media is the electronic equivalent of word of mouth and tends to be very interactional—think Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Content marketing, on the other hand, includes newsletters, blogs, and other forms of content that live on your website, such as a white paper or a guide to a local area.
If you confuse your social media and content marketing strategies, you could begin to overlook the fundamental differences between the two. Then, you’d begin to approach other content, like your blog, with an ineffective strategy.
Social media should leverage all of your content while still maintaining its own strategy, geared towards interaction. Short, specific pieces of content can be created to stand on their own in various social media channels—but don’t let them absorb all your attention.
2. Stay diligent and connected on social media.
“Active” on social media means being consistent with checking and using your profiles. A sporadic presence on social media won’t build an audience of dedicated followers who want to view your content.
You might become inconsistent if you see social media primarily as a way to sell your service or product. Remember that social media is not a marketplace. You’re there to be part of a discussion, not an advertisement.
With that in mind, create content for social media that is genuine and conversational. Rather than selling things, it should build a personality, or image, for your business. The sales aspect of your message needs to be subtle. If your content seems too much like advertising, you’ll end up lacking personality and missing a great opportunity to connect with customers.
If this one-on-one interaction intimidates you, don’t feel discouraged. Anyone who is confident dealing with customers should be able to use social media. It’s a different medium, but you’re building on skills you probably already have.
In any case, social media is an essential part of your content strategy. Apprehension shouldn’t be a factor that determines how often you promote your content. Even after doing research and analysis, it’s impossible to know 100% beforehand whether your content will succeed. The key is to keep trying out ideas until you discover what resonates with your audience.
3. Be inclusive.
You might remember from Part 2 that “your customers should always be your focal point.” On social media, this general rule applies to anyone who interacts with you. If you receive comments from viewers who aren’t part of your target audience in strict marketing terms, you should still engage with them.
This openness is especially important if those visitors show interest in your business. Even if you doubt whether they will actually become customers, they may have friends or relatives who are in your target market. That’s the point of social media—you broaden your audience through social contact.
There are two exceptions to this general rule. First, you can ignore spam. Unless you have an exceptionally witty response that might make others laugh, interaction with spam really isn’t necessary.
Second, if you receive an irrelevant comment from an obvious Internet troll, you can let it go. Interaction will only feed the troll. However, if the comment is a complaint about your service/location/etc., act professional and try to get them to accept a resolution offline.
Resolving negative online comments can be difficult, especially when you’re new to social media, but it’s also a great opportunity. Just like everyday customer service, you can build a positive image of your business through the way you respond.
In the end, each interaction—whether prompted by a positive or negative comment—allows you to reach your audience a little more. Your target audience (and others) can see your responses, and, if they like the “personality” of your business, they might browse your content and start following you.
The interconnection between social media and content marketing is clear. Although you should continue to develop your content marketing strategy on its own, keep an eye (and a voice) on your social media, too.
For more information, contact your Client Services Representative or info@GetG5.com