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Effective content marketing via social media

Within digital marketing, content creation, social media activity, Internet advertising and other branding and marketing tools are becoming more synchronized. Businesses' lead generation strategies are increasingly using different platforms symbiotically to reach prospective clients. For example, companies use LinkedIn to share their white papers and blogs to direct readers to visit the organization website or share a post on social networks.

A greater emphasis on content, social
According to "B2B Content Marketing 2014: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America" from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, 93 percent of B2B marketing professionals surveyed said they're using content marketing and 73 percent reported generating more content than they did last year. Additionally, the report pointed out among marketers surveyed, those whose organizations had a documented content strategy and increased production during the past year were most likely to deem their strategies effective in boosting brand awareness, lead generation, customer acquisition, thought leadership and engagement, among other goals.

Interest in social media is also increasing among B2B marketers. According to eMarketer, separate research found that 64 percent of B2B marketers surveyed by BtoB Magazine said their companies are at least moderately involved with social media. That portion is expected to swell to 81 percent in 2014. These findings reflect those listed in the MarketingProf and CMI report, which stated social media is the most popular platform B2B marketing professionals use to share content. Eighty-seven percent of marketers surveyed said they use networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as content marketing tactics, and on average, respondents use 6 social media platforms, up from 5 last year.

Among networks, LinkedIn proved to be the most heavily used, with 91 percent of respondents stating the site plays a role in their company's content distribution. Eighty-five percent said they use Twitter, 81 percent reported utilizing Facebook and 73 percent rely on YouTube.

3 tips for successful content marketing on social media
As businesses intertwine content creation and dissemination and social media marketing, having a well-thought out strategy is key to using the time and resource devoted to these endeavors efficiently and effectively. While creating high-quality content is key to establishing a business as an industry expert, the way information and media are spread can determine whether they will clicked on or even viewed by prospective clients. Here are three tips on crafting content for social media and ensuring it gets the attention and reaction it deserves.

  1. Know what works best on each platform: Prospects are more likely to engage with rich, in-depth white papers, case studies and research reports than unoriginal or dry blog posts and articles, but long-form content can be difficult to promote on social media. It's important to understand common behavioral patterns for each social network's user demographic.

    "58 Social Media Tips for Content Marketing" from the CMI provides insight into how content should be tailored or promoted on diverse platforms. For example, on LinkedIn, the quality of the company's profile is a major determinant in the success of its content sharing activity. Additionally, CMI recommends utilizing user-generated content as well as accommodating followers' questions and requests when developing new post or sharable articles. Meanwhile, Twitter is best used to promote events and cover real-time news or shed light on industry trends by tweet bold, concise information, like statistics or facts.

  2. Create a social media content calendar: Content marketing through social media requires extensive planning and organization. Without a blueprint for upcoming month or quarter, businesses may fall behind in sharing content frequently, responding to client interactions and delivering timely information. After establishing which platforms the organization's target audience uses most and how content should be shared on each, map out a content sharing plan. Include important dates like product or service launches, relevant regulatory changes and other events marketers want to cover. From there, it's a good idea to ensure a variety of media types – articles, how-to's, news round ups, videos and images – is being shared regularly.

    While planning ahead ensures content generation isn't rushed or carried out haphazardly, it's also important to maintain flexibility to be able to address current events or client questions or requests.

  3. Avoid too much self-promotion: While social media is a great outlet to spread awareness about brand offerings, businesses should concentrate more on sharing fresh, high-quality information. A company that boasts its products or services too frequently will likely see its follower numbers decline. Content marketing via social media should be used primarily to court potential clients, not to close sales. Just as with any initial in-person contact, overwhelming prospects on LinkedIn with information solely about offerings will turn them away from the brand's profile and posts. Instead, focus on attracting potential buyers with thought-provoking information and interacting with clients with comments, likes and shares.
Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.