How to integrate social media into your content marketing strategy

16th Aug 2016

Inexperienced marketers tend to talk about social media and content marketing as if they are two completely different processes. Content marketing and social media marketing are definitely not the same, but they are both ways of helping your customers make smart decisions about your products. The goals of content marketing could be described as both helping and informing your customers, while social media is about helping and humanizing your business.

How does a company incorporate a successful social media strategy into its content marketing plan?

Create a publishing calendar

The number one advice to bloggers is to create a publishing calendar, which will help you keep track of how many posts you’ve published, what topics you’ve covered, and what you’ve had to say. This is a great strategy for social media as well. Publishing at regular times helps your customers know what to expect from you and when, which helps you get the likes and shares that help your content reach a broader audience.

There are many tools that will help you create a publishing calendar. You can use your smartphone’s calendar tool, a pen and paper organizer, or a specialized website plug-in that allows you to draft and create posts as you plan them out.

There are also tools that allow you to automate upcoming social media posts, but use these sparingly. Too many posts will come across as spammy, both to your customers and to the algorithms that dictate what your followers see. On Facebook recently, page owners have noticed that if they post too many items too quickly, they get put in “Facebook jail,” and aren’t allowed to post anything else until a certain amount of time has lapsed.

Start with a clear plan and goals

If you signed up for social media for personal use, you probably had some sort of purpose in mind, even if it was only to see what all the fuss was about while reconnecting with people you hadn’t spoken to since high school. When you sign your business up for any social media plan, you should have a more clearly articulated set of goals and engagement strategies. What will your business do on social media? Are your customers other businesses or individuals? What will you do on your social media accounts?

In general, the purpose of your social media should be to drive customers to the platform that you own – your blog. You will do this by sharing the content that’s on your platform, having conversations, sharing industry news, and boosting the signal for different programs and processes. Social media and apps are great, but you should also try to contact your potential customers directly through text messaging or email. Email and text messaging campaigns have a lot of potential for small business marketing. Don’t overlook these two forgotten strategies!

Determine the right platforms

Different businesses and different customers tend to congregate on different platforms. Social justice and writing tends to happen on Twitter; many visual artists and performers spend time on Instagram. Facebook is the Grand Central Station of social media. It isn’t always the most useful or productive place to spend your time, but everyone still looks for businesses to have a Facebook page, sometimes even more than a website.

If you’re not sure which platforms you should be on, look to others in your industry or field. Figure out where they spend their time, and start by creating accounts and following them.

Be authentic

It’s not quite honest to tell business owners that they should be themselves on social media; depending on your audience, your personality might be more than your customers need or want to know. However, you should always be an authentic version of yourself on social media. After all, if you’re speaking about things you believe in, you won’t have to remember what you said later, and are less likely to end up contradicting yourself.

Remember that other people on social media are people, and the Golden Rule applies. You should treat others on social media how you want to be treated – especially your customers – but you should also watch out for bullying or harassment in the comments sections of your website or social media accounts. Fair or not, your brand will suffer from people treating people badly in areas of the Internet that you manage.

Running a successful social media profile can help your business achieve the next level of success, or make sure that you have the necessary platform to secure that crucial round of funding. But to be successful on social media, you need to approach the process of content creation in a professional way, just like you would with any other facet of your business.

When you’re not sure how to get started, see how other businesses are doing it, and follow their lead. Model your accounts on other accounts that you would like to follow as a personal social media user, and you’ll probably be off to a good start.

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