Many look at social media advertising and content marketing as if they were two separate concepts and approach them differently as well. The truth however, is that social media advertising wouldn't exist without content.
There is a good reason why many use the phrase content is king. Without content, you wouldn't have anything to share or comment on and your social media pages would be absolutely dull without it as well. In a study conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, it was found that around
In the end, it all boils down to whether you are using content to successfully drive growth, or if you are just creating content for the sake of creating it. Content is the backbone of any good social media advertising strategy, and although it may take some effort at first to create the kind of content that can get picked up by your audience, you will get there eventually.
Use Your Audience To Gather Content
If you are active on your social media networks, you probably also have a large following. Believe it or not, your audience is the best resource for you to gather content. You can pose questions on your social media network, or start discussions about topics that might interest your audience.
Many brands use their Facebook pages to ask their audiences for opinions for a new product launch - similar to this Kellogg's Pop Tarts page. The company ran a Fan Favorite poll, and asked customers to choose their favorite flavor.
There is a wide array of ideas for your advertising strategy that you can gain from these online discussions and comments. This is also a good way to stay on top of current trends and to get to know the kind of content that your audience enjoys reading.
Content Curation Tools
Sometimes, if you are managing multiple social media accounts, creating content from scratch can be a tough task. In these situations, content curation tools can be life-saviors. Now, you are probably not new to the idea of using tools for content curation. But there are a few tools that can really make your life simple, and help you publish content that strikes a chord with your audience.
DrumUp 2is an awesome content discovery tool that helps discover content that is relevant to your business. All you need to do is put in keywords, and the application will start pushing out fresh content recommendations from all over the web. If you want to hit two birds with one stone, you can even modify the posts and schedule them for publishing to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. The user-interface is really easy to work with, and you will be able to access all your social media accounts on one clutter-free dashboard.
Another cool tool to use for content curation is Instapaper - a read-it-later bookmarking tool that can do a whole lot more than just bookmarking. While browsing the web, you have probably come across dozens of interesting stories that you wish you could read if you had more time. You can now save all those links with Instapaper, and go back to them later, when you have more time on your hands. The tool also allows you to highlight parts of the article or add comments to an article, for easier retrieval at a later time.
Lastly, let's take a look at Storify. This tool is great for people who are constantly on the look out for breaking news, and news about live events or campaigns. It lets you organize the chaotic world wide web, so that you can get engaging stories. Brands now use Storify to post live updates of events like product launches, Q&As and more. The application allows users to discover stories, and also to create and edit them.
Testing Out Your Content
Before you start to roll out your content - be it blogs, articles, short posts etc., it is important to carry out some A/B testing on your content. By just publishing post after post on your social media pages, you can't hope to gain a strong following. It is also important to get an idea of whether your audience actually likes your posts, and if it is responding to your posts as per your expectations.
To test out content, you can play around with a variety of content on a variety of social media networks to see what type of content and which network gets you the best responses from your audience. Post written content along with images, infographics and videos that are relevant to your product/service, keep an eye on the comments, shares and likes that you receive on the posts.
Tailor Your Posts
Almost everyone has multiple social media accounts nowadays, and if you are one of them, you will have to create content that is specific to the platform you will be posting the content on. Each of the social media networks have a different personality and a particular type of audience. You will have to customize your content to suit the needs of your audience and ensure that the content you produce, appeals to your audience on that network.
With the character limit on Twitter, your content has to be powerful such that it draws attention even if it is just 140 characters long. On Facebook, you have room to play around more with your content as the network is much more flexible. Just remember to add an image or a video to get those much-needed eyeballs. If you are posting on LinkedIn, make sure your posts are professional, and valuable to others. Here's a look at Jet Blue Airways post on LinkedIn and Twitter. The brand posts informative content on LinkedIn regarding careers etc., and uses Twitter to interact with its customer base and to post quirky content.
Although social media advertising can be largely inexpensive, it is a good idea to invest in paid promotion. It is not enough to just create content anymore. You have to promote it to ensure that it is reaching a wider audience. Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all offer content promotion opportunities that you can take advantage of and boost your social media advertising efforts.
With Facebook's Sponsored Stories option, you can promote your blog posts and other content to drive more traffic to your blog or website. You can also promote your tweets on Twitter using their Promoted Tweets option. Other than Promoted Tweets, you can also buy retweets - not a very ethical option - but can definitely work wonders.
When it comes to social media advertising, content acts like oxygen. You won't go too far in your marketing efforts without good quality content - whether it is created or curated content. Quality content has the potential to drive more sales, and help your brand engage with your audience.
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* Lead image adapted from ashley.adcox