Social Media and Content Marketing: What Is The Difference?

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There has been a lot of talk lately about social media and content marketing. In fact, almost every conceivable form of business is engaged in either one or both aspects of marketing. Many people have the misconstrued belief that they are both the same and as such do not realize that one without the other seriously affects the true potential of marketing campaigns. You could consider one of them as being your soul and heart while the other as you expressing your soul and heart. You may now be wondering which is which. As you read this article, you will see the answer to that question and also why they both need each other to be effective.

Social media has pretty much been a waste of time for many businesses over the years until recently when things started to change. More effective ways of making social media work for you have been developed, one of which is content marketing. That is why there is a push by marketers to make 2015 the year that content marketing makes a big impact on social media. Like I said at the beginning, content marketing is a hot topic that everyone is talking about now. As we delve further and further into the digital age, businesses are being forced to not only define who they are but to also express themselves in writing. Those that refuse to do so will inevitably get left behind and their competitors will push ahead and become profitable.

There are two simple notions that you can adopt that will make your social media and content marketing efforts work together to keep your business alive now and on into the future:

  1. The soul and heart of your marketing and branding strategy is content marketing. In other words, it is your fundamental utility.
  2. The avenue that you use to create an awareness of your brand and engage people is social media. It is the means by which you express your soul and heart.

Based on those notions, it is plain to see that content marketing is different from social media and that content marketing precedes social media; it has to come first. Too many people are doing it the other way around, which is obviously a waste of time. They are not thinking about their content deeply enough and focusing too much time and energy on social media. Mind you, many people are able to use social media to their advantage while others fail at this. Despite learning to use all the latest tools and tricks in social media, most people get no further than that because their content marketing plan of action is missing.

Keep in mind the first notion mentioned above: content marketing is your fundamental utility. With that in mind, you need to dedicate more of your resources towards creating your content marketing plan of action and design it in a way that those who consume your content will benefit in the best way possible. You cannot tell an engaging story before you write it. Likewise, you have to write your content before you will be able to make it sound engaging to your audience. Once you have done that, don’t leave your audience hanging by simply giving them your content. You need to interact with them. Make them feel like they are a part of the whole strategy. Give them the opportunity to express themselves. That will help to make your content marketing strategy a success.

Stan Smith, a well-known blogger, says that “content marketing has become the top marketing idea since branding.” He believes that the three concepts holding up content marketing are

  1. customers are fair, smart, and interesting
  2. companies are sometimes fair, smart, and interesting
  3. content is a fair way to associate consumers with the mission of a company, it is smart, and it is interesting.

So, all in all, content marketing has to be expressed in a fair, smart, and interesting manner that is well put together, has good support, and ends up being an engaging story that benefits your audience. That is the only way your content will be effective.

When you take on the challenge of content marketing, you cannot simply make assumptions that what you are producing will be accepted by your audience. Does anyone really care about my business? Why does my business even exist in the first place? You need to ask yourself those questions when deciding what to include in your content. Never assume that the content you have will interest everyone. Ponder on how you can tailor your content to make it worth being read, how to make it connect with people who care about the mission of your business.

Here is an example that will help you to understand what is being said a little more:

A service-oriented organization that you work for just finished putting together a plan on how to strategically move forward. You send out tweets about the plan and link it a report that has 30 pages on a site. The tweet you send out is written in story form to make your audience feel more engaged in the planning process.

There are 3 scenarios presented in the tweet:

  1. a messy senior citizen who is confined to a wheelchair
  2. a single parent who has a young child that is ill
  3. a person who has no home, is hungry, and wearing torn clothing

The audience is then asked which person they would assist if they had an hour to do so.

The story could even include a short paragraph that explains how these individuals ended up in your office. You would then state how limited your resources are and what may occur if each person did not receive assistance from you that same day.

Next comes along the executive and board members, the so-called “saviors,” who devise a plan to acquire additional resources to help these people. In the end, you show your audience how they too can become “saviors” and aid in the successful execution of the plan.

As a part of the finishing touches, you add a couple of photos or a short video, add a link to the story from your tweet, and then tweet it. In addition, you use Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to spread your story. As a part of the strategy, you may also add links to photos and videos of the board members sharing their thoughts about the importance of the mission.

Based on that example, I am sure that you realize how important a well put together strategy for content marketing is.

Finally, create a blog if you do not yet have one. If you already have one, it must be your content marketing strategy’s focal point, or heart. All the stories that you can come up with can be posted on your blog and disseminated to the world via social media. Help is out there for you to get this aspect of content marketing off the ground. As soon as you begin blogging, you will find that it becomes much easier to get your content marketed on social media.

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