How to combine social media and content marketing

Over 3 billion people worldwide use social media, and that’s an important statistic to consider. Social media is one of the leading ways that people connect today — with each other and with businesses. 

At the same time, content marketing has risen to become one of the most popular tactics businesses use to reach and engage customers. According to HubSpot, “70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing.” 

While social media and content marketing are in every marketer’s digital arsenal, there’s a key difference between them. Content marketing is the production and distribution of content to help a business reach its growth goals. Social media is a distribution channel for that content — you have to promote it to the right audiences at the right time to get the best results. 

Integrating content marketing with social media is critical to leveraging the power of both, whether it be for brand awareness, customer engagement, conversions, or retention. Here are a few simple steps that marketers can take to boost their content marketing success with the help of social media platforms. 

Integrate your editorial calendar with your social media activities

Forty-four percent of marketers say that content creation is their biggest challenge. That’s where an editorial calendar can come to the rescue. 

A content calendar is a detailed map outlining all content that you intend to create and promote in the months ahead. It’s not a static document, though. It’s important to fine-tune it and make adjustments to it regularly as marketing activities shift according to market conditions and customer demand. 

By integrating the social media schedule with the editorial calendar, marketers can build in social campaigns to distribute and promote content in a timely and organized manner. In addition, if the content schedule is laid out in one place — alongside social marketing efforts — marketers can more effectively monitor the overall strategy and identify campaigns or content that might be a good fit for a particular social media channel. You can integrate both schedules in one calendar with a simple Excel sheet or calendar template. 

Focus on optimizing content for social media platforms

One of the challenges of social media marketing is dealing with the varying content guidelines and specs for each platform. For example, posts on Facebook have a character limit of 63,206, but studies have shown that the ideal post length for engagement is between 40 and 80 characters. 

It gets even more complicated for Facebook ads. Different ad styles have varying character limits, and each element of the ad — like ad headings and ad copy — has its own limits, too. 

And that’s just for Facebook. Other social media channels — like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn — have their own specifications.

In order to post successfully on various platforms, you need content that’s optimized to meet a complex range of guidelines and best practices. 

If you’re promoting a blog on Twitter, a sharp lead-in with a shortened URL to save character space is your best bet. On LinkedIn, you can go into more depth for the intro, but it’s still wise to keep it compact and clickable. 

Content marketing on social media is all about context, so make sure the content fits the channel and audience where it appears.

Include social share buttons 

In a world connected by social media, social proof is one of the most powerful marketing tactics. In 2019, 53 percent of Facebook users in the U.S. shared content every week. What’s more, 70 percent of people say that they often trust recommendations online from people they don’t know. Sharing online — even among strangers — is enough to inspire confidence that a brand or business is worth engaging with. 

Businesses should make it easy for people to share their content with social networks, as this is a key way to boost organic reach and grow an audience. Every piece of content — whether a blog post, landing page, poll, or survey — should include share buttons for all social platforms the business is active on. 

You can even create social campaigns to encourage content sharing. For instance, some brands promote a special offer to customers if they like and share a social media post or leave a comment. This is a great way to nurture social proof and increase awareness and engagement rates.

Track and monitor performance

Like all digital marketing activities, content marketing on social media requires tracking, monitoring, and optimization over time. Tracking content performance on social media shows marketers what content gets the most engagement, and helps them identify patterns and trends. For example, if a video campaign achieves better metrics than a written post with an image, the marketer knows that it’s worth investing in video content for future campaigns.

Analysis of content performance on social media is also critical to maintaining a healthy, effective editorial calendar. Social media metrics can show more than just the number of followers, impressions, and clicks. For example, this information can help marketers determine the best time of day to post as well as find the optimal number of posts per day to get the most exposure and engagement. 

There are loads of social media tracking tools available. They are critical to combining social media and content marketing effectively and efficiently.

The ultimate content channel

Creating content is one thing. Promoting it and getting it seen by your target audience on social media platforms is quite another. Yet there is no separating content marketing and social media. In a content-driven digital world, marketers must combine their content marketing and social media strategies to create an active marketing funnel that drives leads and conversions.

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