As we move into 2016, it’s becoming clear that the terms “content marketing” and “social media marketing” are virtually synonymous. While content marketing certainly exists outside of social media, brands can no longer run effective content marketing campaigns without including popular networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Social Must be All-Encompassing
Before we dig into some platform-specific ideas, it’s important to remember that social media requires a full-fledged effort from content marketers. It can’t be something that you simply view in the context of the internet. If you’re going to grow your presence and maximize your content marketing strategy, you must focus on social in everything.
Whether it’s online or offline, you need to emphasize the importance of driving leads to these platforms. Give out business cards with QR codes to your social profiles. Tell people at networking events to add you on LinkedIn. Incorporate links into your email signature. Everything you do needs to revolve around driving people to your social platforms. Otherwise, your content marketing efforts won’t have an audience.
As Roxanne Somboonsiri, global business manager for Facebook APAC, mentions, social media has evolved from its humble beginnings. It’s no longer a place for simply connecting with friends. Social networking sites are living, breathing content sources.
“Facebook is a personalized newspaper,” Somboonsiri says. If you want to reach the modern consumer, you need to put your content in his newsfeed. While there’s certainly value to be extracted from content that’s distributed independently of Facebook, it’s becoming clear that Facebook shares provide a solid and sustainable foundation.
While Facebook doesn’t have the character limitations that Twitter does, you still don’t want to overwhelm users with long-form content. Posts with less than 250 characters see roughly 60 percent more engagement than those with more characters. It’s okay to link to longer blog posts, but keep the length of the content and calls-to-action you post to a minimum.
The key to successful content marketing on Twitter is sharing images. Images increase retweets by 150 percent and are much more effective at grabbing a user’s attention. In fact, it’s not uncommon for users to completely skip over a tweet if it doesn’t contain an image.
When pursuing a Twitter content marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to invest your time and resources into strong image selection. You don’t necessarily want to let images guide your content, but it would be unwise to look at these two aspects independently.
For content marketers, Instagram is perplexing. That’s because most content marketers aren’t super savvy at visual content marketing. This is about to change, though. The industry is clearly heading in the direction of more visual content and less text-based content, which means you need to study what successful brands are doing on Instagram and other similar social platforms.
Marketing consultant Brooke Ballard encourages content marketers to check out these five Instagram accounts. She says they do a great job of leveraging user-generated content, providing behind-the-scenes access, and avoiding cliché content like memes.
Ultimately, content marketing on Instagram is all about storytelling. How can you tell a story without using words? What images do you need to convey your message? It’s certainly an art form, but one that successful content marketers will need to hone in the coming months.
Social: The Heart of Content Marketing
At the very heart of content marketing is social media. If you want your strategies to be complete, focusing on effective distribution and traffic generation is a good place to start. These two aspects of content marketing can help you to maximize your returns and expose your brand to a larger market of consumers.