It is difficult to ignore the impact of social media. The previous trend was branding, but now we are seeing it mature and begin to be measured and integrated into marketing campaigns universally. This should be no surprise, all things in this universe progress over time and become more sophisticated. Regardless of how sophisticated something is though, if it does not conform to the environment around it, it will eventually go the way of dinosaurs. Another powerful practice being utilized these days is content marketing.
Content marketing is a great way to build a community online around a specific topic or niche. By providing high value, relevant information on a specific subject or interest, people interested in that topic will naturally gravitate toward the content. They will also share and promote the content for free, which is an added SEO bonus.
So which one is better? Neither, they are both some of the most powerful and free tools current day to drive traffic to your website. Apples and Oranges really. The simple fact is that both tools work together like peanut butter and jelly, they were practically made for each other.
How can content marketing and social media work together? First, let’s look at how content marketing works, then we will take a look at how social media works, and then we’ll put all the pieces together into a composite whole.
Here are the benefits of content marketing:
- Content consists of text in the form of blog posts, engaging stories of success, and white papers to explain how something works. Content engages human interest by providing valuable information that can benefit the site visitor.
- Content profiles the company and in the process creates a brand image of the values of the company. It influences how people think about the products and services offered by the company. It shapes their opinion.
Here are the benefits of social media:
- It traditionally engages the target audience of a company when done correctly and offers an opportunity for a two-way discussion which in turn builds trust. A successful social media campaign can turn customers into brand advocates who then promote and share your brand with others.
- It is built on the virtues of egalitarianism and allowing everyone to honestly share their opinions. This is why it is so valuable. It’s a real people talking about what is important to them on a public platform like Facebook, twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, or YouTube. You can get a level of understanding for how people feel about a brand by the way people talk about them on these popular social networking websites. You can then use that understanding to find areas of improvement, or opportunities like new potential customers.
When you put the two together, you provide content on popular platforms, as well as share popular social information on your own website. This synergy between the two marketing tools creates a wider field of interaction and engagement with the target audience than either one alone.
Here are some ideas on how to find content ideas that will engage those who frequent popular social platforms:
- Keep track of conversations in your industry. When you can keep your finger on the pulse of what is engaging the interest of your target audience, you will be able to more easily come up with relevant and timely ideas. There are many ways to do this: for instance, noting hash tags on twitter, visiting authority industry blogs, and joining groups in Facebook and linked in related to your industry.
- Sign up for the leading newsletters in your industry. Instead of hunting down the latest news, let it come to you.
- Follow the news that is broadcasted on the major media outlets to catch any possible associations between what is happening nationally or internationally with what is occurring in your industry.
- Use social search tools in combination with Google Adwords Tool and Google Insights to get a better picture of how your blog content will perform based on the topic and keyword selections. Social search is your lens into what the most popular topics of interest are in any given industry, as well as the most popular people.
How to use Popular Social Listening Tools to Get Ideas For Content
Anyone who has written for and maintained a blog knows the power of keyword research. If you don’t, you are truly missing out. What a lot of professional bloggers don’t realize is there are other tools besides Google Adwords Tool and Google Insight. There is an abundance of social search data being shared on popular social media websites like Twitter and Facebook that can be mined for valuable content marketing ideas. Just like you can use the Google Adwords tool to identify topics that will garner traffic, you can use social search tools like the ones below to find trending topics within a specific niche or industry. The following are two of my favorite social search tools at the moment:
This social search and analysis engine works by aggregating user-created content into a single information stream. You can keep track of what is happening in real time about a variety of topics streaming across the social media world. Social Mention monitors over 100 social media platforms, including the major ones like Google, Facebook, twitter, YouTube, and Digg. This is one of my favorite free social search tools currently.
This social search engine combs images, videos, blog posts and news sites. It keeps pace with the hottest topics by searching the most admired providers of popular content. It allows the user to personalize the search and to decide how to browse the news.
Social Search and the open graph combined with Search Marketing tools and lazer focused ccontent marketing is basically the holy grail of marketing. There, I said it. Never has their been an ability to find people in their need states and provide such a level of targeted, relevant advertising. If you are not utilizing these kinds of tools in your marketing mix, you are truly missing out.