For a time, social media and content marketing may have seemed interchangeable, but they are actually quite different. Though there can be quite a bit of overlap, the easiest way to think about their relationship is that content is needed to drive social media, while social media is most essential during two key content marketing processes:
Listening to your audience to understand what they care about, so you can create content that they will find engaging and relevant
Distributing content (from your business, as well as from others — i.e., Andrew Davis’s 4-1-1 approach)
In short, you really can’t have one without the other.
In this fourth installment of our Back to Basics series, I’ll outline the basics of developing a content plan for social media, and will also share key elements of CMI’s plan as a working example.
Successful social media starts with solid content marketing processes
While any organization can use social media to listen — and there is no downside to that — before you actively set up your social media presence, you need some things in place:
- A content hub: Your blog or website should be a key component of your content marketing strategy (as well as your social media strategy), as this is where you would direct followers to forge a deeper relationship on a media platform that you own. As Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose have discussed on their podcast, This Old Marketing, you need to stop building your content on rented land.
- Adequate resources to keep up a consistent presence: Having an outdated presence on a social platform looks far worse that not having a presence there at all. Before committing to a platform, make sure you have the resources you need to consistently update your content there.
- A content plan: You need to understand why you are communicating on a given platform, and what you will deliver there. More details on the key elements of the plan are below.