Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Content marketing has become one of the mainstays of most brands’ digital marketing strategies. Relevant, relatable content draws users in and persuades them to visit a website, download an eBook or share their personal details. Social media channels are among the most popular outlets for content marketing across the U.S. But is your brand maximizing the power of your social media pages?
The rise of social media marketing
Over the last two decades, social media channels have transformed from platforms designed purely for entertainment and personal connections to powerful marketing tools. According to Statista, more than 90% of marketers in United States-based companies with 100 or more employees use social media as part of their content marketing strategy.
While the platforms had been designed to connect people to others, marketers quickly realized they were the perfect places to connect people to brands. At this time, more than 80% of the entire population of the United States has at least one social media networking profile, and social media usage continues to grow. Worldwide, more than four billion people are using social media channels.
Related: 10 Social-Media Marketing Strategies for Companies
As a result, content marketers cannot afford to ignore social media channels. The importance of this outlet is reflected in the marketing spend associated with social media. In 2021, U.S. marketers were expected to spend $17 billion on social media marketing. This marks an increase of ten billion compared to 2014.
This increase is a clear indicator of the growing importance of social media marketing. However, these digital marketing channels are not without challenges. Judging the effectiveness of content marketing on social media pages remains a concern for brands.
What makes social media content marketing effective?
Whether on social media or other channels, high-quality content marketing works by drawing an audience toward a brand. Rather than interrupting potential customers, as an advert would, great pieces of content solve a problem, offer users information they were looking for in a search query, or are otherwise helpful and relevant.
What effective content marketing on social media means in practice can vary from brand to brand. A compelling piece of content helps the brand achieve the goals set out in its content marketing strategy. Goals could include growing the subscriber numbers for a YouTube channel, generating white paper downloads, or increasing website traffic. If a brand’s content marketing helps achieve these targets, it is effective.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Clearly defined, smart goals are a prerequisite of effective content marketing, but measuring effectiveness is equally important. For marketers, that means connecting pieces of content with outcomes and starting to isolate the factors that influence these outcomes.
Regarding social media marketing, many brands find that releasing content on specific days of the week or at set times influences their results. The reason is simple — consumers have preferred times for engaging with social media content. Without knowing what these times are, it is impossible to optimize campaigns for effectiveness. Measuring and reviewing the performance of each piece of content is critical.
How to improve the effectiveness of your social media content marketing
Timing content launches correctly is one aspect of improving the effectiveness of content marketing on social media. But there are several other factors that marketers can use to enhance the performance of their content marketing campaigns.
First and foremost, brands need to provide engaging content. Storytelling is one of the most effective ways of connecting with users and potential customers. Authentic stories touch their audience emotionally and build a deeper connection between brands and audiences than a simple list of facts can do. They also have the potential to inspire long-term customer loyalty.
The power of stories has been proven scientifically. By using storytelling to share a brand’s story, marketers are using one of humanity’s oldest traditions. Look closely, and it becomes obvious that the entire network of social media is built on the attraction between people and stories. Utilizing storytelling for content marketing is extremely useful to make a brand’s content marketing more effective.
Second, avoid focusing on your brand. This may sound wrong, but content marketing is not about what brand marketers try to promote. Instead, it is all about providing value for the audience. Marketers can provide value by sharing expertise or insights through their content. Focus on content only this brand can provide, and do not shy away from sharing opinions or viewpoints.
Related: 5 Steps to Creating a Killer Marketing Strategy
Third, it is important to be consistent in any content marketing efforts. When consumers or users choose to follow a brand, they are investing emotionally in that brand. With investment comes an expectation of a return on investment (ROI). Regular, relevant, helpful content that provides information not available anywhere else provides this kind of ROI.
Consistency applies to the regularity with which a brand publishes its content. Marketers must ensure their content creates a consistent image to establish a brand’s voice and values. Most brands have clearly defined brand values. The audiences of your content marketing should be able to recognize those principles through your content marketing on social media.
Fourth, remember that content includes more than words. Images, links, and videos are only three examples of media that can enrich a brand’s social media content marketing strategy and deliver stronger results.
Social media channels lend themselves to content marketing. These channels are excellent places to share brand stories, offer expertise and insights, and create a deeper connection with audiences. Measuring the effectiveness of existing social media content marketing is the first step toward increasing it through storytelling, focusing on the audience, being consistent, and enriching content.