To me this sums up content marketing so that almost anyone can understand it.
“Your audience don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their problems. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your audience is passionate about, so they seek you out and actually pay attention to what you have to say.”
Now in essence that is also what social media marketing is all about, if done correctly. However the main point of difference between the two is that content marketing is normally carried out on your website. This means that the website you paid that designer for, (funny how he never answers your calls now) should be a hub of activity, not only acting as means to promote your business but also as a valuable resource for your customers.
Social media marketing is however based on the actual social media platform you are using and not on your website. This means that you have less control and in many cases none, for instance let’s suppose you use Facebook for your business, you are extremely active posting content and then out of the blue, the rules change. The content you were sharing so actively is now only being shared with one person in ten who actually likes your page and wants to see it. Think that couldn’t happen, it already has and did you know that over ninety percent (have seen this quoted as high as 99.5%) of the posts you make to Facebook are a complete waste of time, as you will be the only person to ever see it, no matter how many likes / followers you have.
We’ll talk about LinkedIn publishing platform in a minute, however another major issue with social media marketing is the amount of space you have to post articles, they all restrict you somewhat and most social media posts have developed therefore to either be short and engaging or to link back to a website so that the full article can be read.
With a website that you own and control you have no limits to what you can post and what length it can be, although I wouldn’t recommend it, if you wanted to post a ten thousand word article you could.
Websites if they are designed correctly should allow you to meet the needs of your target audience by the use of content marketing, whilst also meeting the business aims of your organization by incorporating strong calls to action. These strong calls to action are sadly missing in the social media marketing space, although you can build up a strong enough bond to generate those visitors to your website.
Social Media Marketing is therefore in my opinion better suited to actually promoting the information your content marketing generates, rather than acting as a standalone marketing solution. Indeed I have heard people mention, do I need a website if I am on Facebook and answer of course is yes, you control and own the website, you don’t own or control Facebook and you will never maximize the benefits of social media marketing without a website doing its parts.
For those that have used the Internet for a while, Twitter is the best of the social media platforms for quick and simple communication, I liken it to a global telephone directory in that I am able to contact anyone on Twitter, I don’t need them to like a page, I don’t need them to follow me… I can easily and quickly contact anyone. I push a lot of my content out to Twitter, every thirty minutes or so all of my followers will receive a tweet from me, these are generally article titles and links to the articles I have written. My followers find these content rich articles interesting and engaging, so much so that I know have over 200,000 followers, I receive over ten million impressions and 10 thousand click on links each month, this is what content marketing and social media marketing working hand in hand generates, at least for me… and I have successfully replicated my system for clients over the years.
Now I haven’t touched on LinkedIn, prior to the addition of the LinkedIn Publishing platform, LinkedIn worked pretty much the same as the others, you would produce your content, and feature it on your website and then you would push this out to LinkedIn, which would take the title, a picture and an excerpt and allow you to publish this, linking back to your full article. This worked well, as everyone that you are connected to, could in theory read the excerpt and decide if it engaged them enough to visit your website. The results I experience using LinkedIn in this matter were okay and as my content is more business orientated the results were much better than Facebook, however they paled to insignificance when compared to Twitter.
Enter the LinkedIn Publishing platform, this has really change the way LinkedIn works and it is now the single most important place after your website to publish your content marketing generated content. Over the last few month , I have published over 200 old blog posts on this new LinkedIn Publishing platform and the results have been tremendous, not for visitors to my website but by simply including a good strong call to action and then by using good content marketing strategies I am now generating leads from LinkedIn almost daily. I am so impressed with the results I am generating now, that I have taken to using LinkedIn, Twitter and my website as my main marketing channels. This new LinkedIn Publishing platform can therefore be classed as a true independent marketing channel as it allows you to publish full articles, however it’s not your website which you own, so I would advise people to use it as I do.
Update … LinkedIn changed the reach of long form publishing so much so that I no longer really use it, the returns on investment just aren’t there… I now push my own content from my website on to LinkedIn, multiple times per day… along with this I share one motivational type image per day. This strategy is working great and generating lots of website visitors.
I have also started to really push Facebook… my likes are now growing at between sixty and one hundred per week from simply doing things in an organic way… with website visitors and even leads now coming from Facebook as well.
I feel as if I have wondered a little in this article, however I love some of the information snippets I am sharing here and hopefully I have shown you some of the differences between content marketing and social media marketing.