Social media and content marketing are basically one and the same.
Social is content, right? Viewing the two as separate endeavors doesn’t really make sense from a marketing standpoint.
Consistency is one of the keys to any successful marketing initiative. Syncing social media marketing to blogging, guest posting, videos, events, and other forms of content marketing ensures that a consistent brand voice is maintained across all channels.
Recent statistics have provided some interesting insights into social media marketing, including that there’s a 100 percent higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing and that a call-to-action significantly increases engagement.
The majority of marketers have been focusing more on social media over the past six months. Of course, in order to harness those benefits, you’ll need to understand social media and how to perform it.
Here are the most popular social media and chat platforms worldwide.
While 1.5 billion people are using Facebook, other networks such as Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are still important to focus on, especially for B2B companies.
There are both similarities and differences in how marketers choose to focus social media efforts in B2B and B2C.
Take a look at how they line up.
Making sure you’re choosing the right social channel for your business model is the first step in aligning social with content marketing.
But what about the nuts and bolts? What methods or tactics need to be in play in order to make your social media and content marketing efforts sing in perfect harmony?
As mentioned, consistency is key between the two.
When executed correctly, social media will supplement digital and offline content, providing a full-orbed view of the brand.
I’ve provided a list of seven steps to get this started, but it’s by no means all-inclusive.
Every content marketing plan is different, and sustaining conversions through such initiatives takes consistent work and planning in key areas.
1. Create a content calendar.
One of the biggest problems faced by content marketers is producing a steady amount of engaging content.
We all know how time consuming and difficult it can be.
You want to post frequently enough to gain a readership, but not so much that you end up creating a spammy site that can’t pass search engine qualitative standards.
Here’s a breakdown of other challenges faced by content marketers. Notice that “producing engaging content” is the biggest piece of the pie.
A curated content calendar resolves many of these issues, creating a schedule in advance and allowing an overview of each month’s content.
Not only can a content calendar help organize content marketing efforts, it also provides direction to the social media department.
Holidays, sales, and promotional events can all be marked in advance on a content calendar to ensure that quality content is researched, designed, edited, and formatted in time to publish for maximum impact.
Even with a content calendar, it’s important to stay abreast of current events. DiGiorno, for example, created an Internet firestorm last year when the company hijacked the domestic violence awareness hashtag #WhyIStayed to sell frozen pizzas.
You want to increase brand awareness, but not at the risk of appearing tactless or insensitive.
2. Enable social media promotion on WordPress.
To get the most out of blog posts on social media, you’ll need to enable the ShareThis plugin (which is automatically included for WordPress.com and Jetpack users).
ShareThis allows you to enable social media sharing buttons on your WordPress posts so that once they’re published, they’re automatically promoted across various social media platforms.
After linking social media accounts in the “Publicize” section of WordPress settings, each individual post will automatically be posted in each connected social media feed.
This plug-in automatically bolsters social media as a function of content marketing and is essential to automating processes.
If multiple authors contribute to internal blogging efforts, each can individually add their accounts while the main company account is available to all posters. In doing this, you’ll spread your reach across multiple social media accounts.
A popular social media hack is to use automated bots (called sock accounts, in reference to them being used as sock puppets). Be aware of both white and black hat bot practices as you don’t want to end up having your account banned and losing all the time, money, and other resources you put into building a following.
3. Optimize images and descriptions for social media.
Yoast SEO is one of the best SEO-centric WordPress plug-ins on the market. Not only does it check posts for readability and other SEO factors (keyword usage, word count, spelling/grammar, etc.), but it also allows you to create SEO-optimized page descriptions.
When you edit the post snippet, social media sites are able to display more accurate and engaging teasers to entice people to click.
It’s also important to add both full-sized and thumbnail images. This ensures that anyone who shares your link shares a picture, which increases the likelihood of the post being viewed, read, and shared by others.
Both Netflix and Oreo experienced huge wins on social media with engaging visual content, according to AdWeek. Following their lead is a surefire way to inject life into a stale business.
Here are a few more visual marketing statistics to consider in 2016.
4. Schedule posts with Hootsuite or Buffer.
Once you have a content calendar filled out with a month’s worth of engaging content, it’s time to automate a few supplemental social media posts around the clickbait.
Marketing automation is one of the most effective ways to support customer acquisition and retention.
In fact, over 88 percent of marketers responding to a recent survey indicated that social media automation specifically plays a major role in streamlining social media efforts.
While a proprietary automation on the backend is ideal, not every organization can afford this. For the time being, Hootsuite and Buffer are some of the best social media automation tools on the market.
Using either platforms, you can schedule posts across multiple accounts on multiple social media platforms. This provides a one-stop shop to both monitor and post on social media.
As mentioned above, be sure to periodically check scheduled posts to ensure you’re not accidentally doing something inappropriate like promoting guns the morning after a mass shooting, which the NRA inadvertently did after a deadly school shooting.
Live-tweeting and otherwise celebrating live events on social media, however, is a fantastic way to sync social media with other content marketing efforts.
5. Coordinate real-time sessions.
Social media is an effective way of organizing live events. Whether it’s an in-person meetup or just a live video session, these events gather groups of people to participate in a branded event at one time.
- Here’s how to create a private or public event in Facebook.
- Click “Events” in the left menu of your News Feed.
- Click “Create” at the top right.
- Click “Create Private Event” to choose between a private or public event.
- Fill in the event name, details, location, and time.
- Click “Create.”
You’ll then be taken to your event where you can invite guests, upload photos, share posts, and edit event details. This is a great way to take a headcount and estimate the effectiveness of promotion efforts.
Social Media Examiner has a great list of other ways to promote events on social media.
6. Enable Facebook comments.
Enabling Facebook comments on your website allows readers to log in and verify themselves using their Facebook account. It also provides a checkbox to allow them to share comments (along with a backlink) on Facebook.
This is an invaluable tool in spreading the conversations being held in your blog’s comments sections throughout social media. People often have strong feelings, and by involving their social circles, they’re increasing post visibility.
Here’s a video tutorial on how to enable Facebook comments on your WordPress website.
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Facebook is far and wide the most populated social media platform. The company also owns WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and Oculus, which all have growing user bases as well.
Here are a few statistics to consider when integrating Facebook into your website.
Mainstream blogs like Huffington Post (the highest-traffic blog online) use Facebook logins and comments to great success. It’s a vital step toward merging social media with content marketing initiatives.
7. Hold regular meetings.
The only way to ensure that everyone remains on the same page is through regular team meetings. Your social people need to talk to your blog people who need to talk to your leadership people, and etc.
By gathering everyone for status reports and to bring up issues, you ensure that everyone agrees on a common goal, mission, and direction for the company.
I’m not a fan of holding meetings just for the sake of meetings. If there isn’t important information being discussed, it’s simply a waste of everyone’s time.
Here are a few tips for running an effective meeting. These tips apply brilliantly to your social media/content marketing coordination meetings.
With 25 million meetings taking place in corporate America every day, it’s important to be brief, concise, and direct, following up via email with written confirmation of any important points or responsibilities.
These meetings provide a time and place to address any concerns, brainstorm topic ideas, and discuss both wins and areas of opportunity for the business.
Social media is an essential component of a comprehensive content marketing initiative.
If you’re neglecting social, you’re basically neglecting a massive pipeline of brand virality and exposure for your brand. It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2C or B2B, social matters.
When you integrate social media into content marketing on both a technical and operational level, it becomes easier to maintain a consistent brand voice across all channels.
Automation tools help connect social media platforms to web properties while proactively researching, and planning content provides a solid foundation to scale marketing efforts.
When social media and content marketing work hand-in-hand, the overall ROI for the business increases exponentially as customers are satisfied, referring friends, and coming back to engage with the brand for more.
How have you integrated social media into your content marketing strategy?