When it comes to content marketing, there’s a lot to know and a lot of hats to wear.
In order to be successful, you need a solid content marketing strategy. You need to write great content. You need to create interesting and eye catching visuals. You also need to do the right promotion and distribution of the content. The list seems never ending.
But, content marketing – like most marketing – doesn’t live in a vacuum.
No single channel lives on its own. So, in addition to all of the work it takes to create content and generate results, you need to think about how to integrate those efforts with other strategies and tie them together.
One of the most important ways you can integrate your marketing is to focus on how content marketing and social media can work together.
We all know that social media can be a powerful platform for promoting content and driving traffic to the blog or website.
Let’s go beyond that.
Strategies for social media and content marketing
Our agency has worked with a number of different clients and agency partners on all kinds of different content marketing strategies, for different business goals, metrics, and audiences. In our experience, we’ve found a number of strategies that work time and time again.
Today, I’m going to share three specific strategies that we use to integrate our content marketing efforts with social media marketing, to drive more results and create a framework for growth.
Framework #1: Targeted, warm customer acquisition
There are many stories out there about SaaS and tech companies that have built their business on the back of content. It’s a great way to scale traffic, user growth, and revenue because it compounds over time.
Most people don’t realize that it takes more than just publishing great content to achieve these results.
We spend a lot of time, money, and energy creating content that generates traffic to a website. But, the reality is that for every 100 people who land on your website and read your content, only some small percentage – maybe 1 or 2% – will actually convert on that visit.
Some people may also opt-in to an email list, but the other traffic – say 95 out of 100 visitors – will vanish. There’s a good chance you’ll never see them again.
That’s why retargeting is so powerful.
You can reach the people who have already been to your website and have some familiarity with your brand (warm audience) with messages about your product or service.
We take this a step further by using the specific content that visitors are reading to create powerful, targeted messages that speak directly to the traffic that’s coming to the site.
This framework uses retargeting and segmented audiences to create powerful, targeted messages that speak directly to the traffic that’s coming to your website and moves them toward purchase, free trial, or sign up.
Using Facebook, we create separate audiences for people have read specific blog posts:
Based on the content they read, we can infer some things about them and their interests.
Then, we create a campaign to micro-target these visitors with a direct response offer based on the content they read on the site.
For example, if someone read an article about survival gear, then we could target them with a message about the benefits of our product or service for people interested in survivalist lifestyle.
To take this even a step further, you can use hyper-targeted top-of-the-funnel content to bring in traffic that is qualified within a specific segment.
Look at this post from Contently:
They’ve done a brilliant job of creating some entertaining and relatable content for people who work from home. And, the people who click this link have a high likelihood to work from home or work remotely. So, they can use this targeted content to build a segmented audience, which they can retarget later in order to drive sales or sign ups.
Run a campaign that fills the top of the funnel and populates your retargeting audience. Then, you will have a warm audience that you can retarget.
Framework #2: Advanced B2B sales and lead generation
Similar to the above scenario, many B2B companies have the same problem. But their product or service isn’t simple enough to sell after a single touch. Instead, it’s a slow progression as the prospect moves from the top of the funnel down through the decision and action stage of the buying process.
We’ll use targeted content assets, retargeting, and precise audience segments to nurture a prospect/lead from the top of the funnel all the way through the buying process.
Here’s how it works in practice:
- Begin by targeting cold audiences with top-of-funnel content similar to the content used in Framework #1
- Cold prospect clicks link for “Awareness” content, they are added to the “Awareness” stage audience
- “Awareness” stage audience targeted with “Interest” stage content, which gives them more information on the product/service and moves them toward a buying decision
- When a prospect clicks a link for “Interest” stage content, then they are moved from “Awareness” stage to “Interest” stage audience, indicating they have shown more interest. Then, they are targeted with “Decision” stage content
- Repeat this process for the final stage of the process, where the prospects will be shown direct response offers for a product, trial, or consultation
So, in order to execute here, you’ll need need just 4 pieces of content and 4 unique retargeting audiences.
As you feed prospects into the top of the funnel, they will automatically, over time, move through the process and toward the purchase decision.
Set your audience windows to be fairly short, so that way, people will fall out of the funnel if they aren’t progressing.
Framework #3: Community building
This framework is designed for organizations that are mostly interested in fostering a community of potential buyers and may not have a clear sales funnel. Or, it can be used have a product/service that is purchased multiple times, such as NPOs and consumer brands.
Because there’s no single conversion point, our goal is to generate as much engagement as possible.
This revolves around three main touchpoints: Social, content, and email.
Using content marketing and social media, we want to drive qualified, segmented traffic to our site. Some percentage of these people will (hopefully) convert into email subscribers. The remaining pool, we will use retargeting to continuously engage them with relevant content.
The key is to focus on the top of the funnel and the content that you are using to attract clicks and drive traffic. Focus on creating content that will help your target and segment your audience, touching on key triggers that are relevant to the identity of the people you’re trying to reach.
As an example, here’s a piece of targeted content from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):
Similar to the Contently article referenced above, you can see how this particular piece is used to identify people who support LGBTQ issues. This pool of people can later be retargeted during a big fundraising campaign or to sign a petition around this cause that they have shown interest in.
Once you’ve started to drive traffic, you will want to create as many touch points as possible to build trust and grow your community. Use custom audiences/segments and targeting to drive traffic back and forth between content, social, and email.
As your audience grows, you can develop even more sophisticated audience segments. This will allow you to hyper-target your community based on specific interests or overlapping actions.
Let’s wrap up
Taken together, these three approaches give you a lot of opportunities to reach, engage, and target your audience using a combination of social media and content marketing.
It’s important to remember that although both content and social are important, they are ultimately best used as a way to compliment one another. A strong social media strategy can vastly improve the performance of your content marketing. And creating great content makes it much easier for you to build an audience through social media.
Each of these works together – if you know how to integrate them.