Content marketing and social media marketing are technically separate strategies, but they’re used for many of the same purposes. They both increase brand visibility and awareness, build audiences through trust and loyalty and can even improve your search engine ranks.
It’s natural to use both strategies in harmony with one another while preserving each one’s own form and function. But too many business owners and marketers keep these strategies wholly separate, with no single strategy connecting them.
If you have different team members working on your content and social media strategies, or if your strategies are separated by any other means, don’t worry. Now is your chance to unite them. Follow these steps, and before you know it, your content and social strategies will be two complementary sides of a unified, singular vision.
1. Make Sure You Have a Consistent Brand Voice
Your first job is to make sure you have a single, consistent brand voice operating across all your platforms (e.g. company website, social media accounts, etc.). If you have different people working on your content and social media programs, it’s easy for two distinct voices to develop, even if you started with one unified vision.
Offering a consistent brand voice across both platforms will ensure that all your readers and followers recognize and become familiar with your brand no matter where they experience it. It’s a way of creating a seamless cross-platform experience while strengthening the overall power of your brand.
Take inventory of your current content and social efforts, then compare them against the brand standards you’ve already set. Identify your target audience(s) across both platforms, establish a consistent tone and personality for your brand voice and work on tactics to incorporate those characteristics into both platforms more consistently moving forward.
This may prove difficult, as social media tends to have shorter, less detailed posts, but do your best to create a recognizable experience for your readers and followers as they jump across platforms.
2. Enable—and Encourage—Social Sharing for All Your Content
Next, make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your content via social media. There are several ways to do this. To start, be sure to include social sharing icons on all of your blog posts, which are those social media and RSS icons you see at the bottom of most professional blog pages. You can also include a “number of times shared” feature to encourage even more people to participate.
If you’re posting off-site on other blogs and forums, make sure that your author bio or byline includes links to your social media profiles. Most outside sources will have their own social share icons, but if they don’t, feel free to call out your own request for readers to share your piece at the end of your article. The end goal here is getting more readers to visit you on social media.
3. Push All New Content Through Your Social Channels
Whenever you publish a new piece of content, regardless of whether it’s on your site or an off-site source, push it out through all your social media channels. Don’t just post the link or a link and a headline—really sell your piece by telling people what they’re going to get out of it. Inject your presentation with personality, and be sure to vary your message across platforms.
A Facebook user might prefer a paragraph-long description while a Twitter user might prefer a snappy one-liner. Plus, you’ll avoid turning away anybody who follows you on multiple platforms by using the same phrasing over and over.
Publishing your content immediately on social media will draw instant new visibility to your content campaign. It’s a way of helping your audience see that all your efforts are connected.
4. Create an Ongoing Syndication Schedule to Rejuvenate Old Posts
Just because you’ve published a piece and shared it doesn’t mean there isn’t more you can do for that piece. Assuming that the piece is evergreen (i.e. full of information a person can use year-round), consider that piece a new addition to an ever-increasing archive of material. Develop a rotating syndication schedule where you re-post and re-present older articles on a recurring basis.
Generally, once a month is acceptable, though you may want to decrease your re-posting frequency as you add more content to your archive. Also, be sure to use new phrasing to reintroduce your content. This will keep your social news feeds updated and full, and will keep a steady stream of visitors going to all the old and new posts on your site.
You might also consider getting your content featured on platforms outside of your own content network.
5. Make Ongoing Tweaks to Rebalance and Connect Your Platforms
As you learn more intricacies about how your content and social media campaigns work together, you can layer in new strategies and make adjustments to ensure the highest possible readership for both platforms.
For example, you could introduce an email campaign that sends your subscribers the latest content from your blog, and use both your content and social media feeds to sign people up. You could even dabble in some paid advertising to attract new people to your blog, possibly leveraging one of your social media campaigns. The combinations are endless, and the more you use these platforms together, the better results your efforts will yield.
Content consumers and social media followers aren’t identical, so it’s still a good idea to plan for each of these strategies separately. Anything you can do to keep them connected in some way, however, will help you improve both ends of your audience. The more interconnected your digital strategies are, the greater results you’ll see across the board, and the more potential your online brand will realize.