Social Media Content: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices
Aside from your company website, social media content may be one of the most visible forms of content marketing that a brand can produce. When potential customers are seeking out information about your industry and your brand, they are most likely first visiting your website, then checking out your social channels.
Content on social media allows you to open up a direct line of communication with customers, prospects and industry leaders in way that traditional media placements simply do not. Carefully crafted and curated social content can tell a customer what your brand is about, what kind of services you offer and even what kind of people work for your company.
Consumers are coming to expect social content. Long gone are the days when social media channels can be ignored. Content marketing on social has become commonplace. Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report says that 92% of marketers have indicated that social media is important to their business. These marketers should be utilizing social media content to reach audiences specific to individual social media platforms as part of their overall content marketing strategy.
Content that you develop specifically for your social media audiences on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere can have significant impact on your business when implemented thoughtfully and strategically.
Social Media Content Pros:
- Social content can be shared more than once. Re-sharing a post to your blog just looks funny, but re-sharing content on social media is practically expected. You can repurpose with different images, different copy, and for multiple timezones.
- Comments left on Facebook, LinkedIn or retweets with questions can be responded to directly by a member of your team. This allows direct brand interaction with consumers.
- Social messages can be targeted to different audiences.
- Social content is sharable from consumer-to-consumer and grows organically from one trusted friend to another.
- Even in the most technical, dry b2b selling environment, social content allows you to humanize your brand.
Social Media Content Cons:
- Additional reach costs money. Whether you’re boosting a Facebook post or sending out a promoted Tweet, social media sites have the edge up on reaching beyond your audience. Beyond organic sharing of content, only one rule applies: If you want more, you’ll have to pay.
- Measurable data from social content referrals often requires the creation of tracking URLs for individual campaigns.
- Monitoring. Likely, this is the first internal objection to any social content campaign: “Who’s going to watch for Facebook comments?”
- Social content marketing only works if you have a strong content hub to which you are directing consumers from social channels. As Joe Pulizzi at Content Marketing Institutelikes to say, “don’t build your content on rented land.”
What Marketers are Saying:
“The consumer will become the marketer’s most effective tool … To earn this unwritten title, they would have already bought in to the brand due to the sharing of content, buying a product, or joining the company’s social media community. Brands will build communities where these brand ambassadors can access content and share it with others.”
“The list of emerging social media networks and apps grows every day … Businesses also need to consider and watch emerging networks. Some brands have already found success marketing on Snapchat and Vine. Anonymous (and more niche) networks like Ello and Social X also need to be on marketers’ radars.”
Social Media Content Examples:
Perhaps the most recognizable example of social media content in the past year has been theALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As social media users, our feeds were filled with short videos of friends and family members dumping ice water on their heads — and challenging others to do the same — all for a great cause. Social media was truly used as a driver in this campaign, even rallying support from celebrities and dignitaries.
Companies like FedEx are leaving consumers with great pictures and short videos on Instagram. You might not think of your shipping company as a source of entertainment on Instagram, but the photos are beautiful and some of the behind-the-scenes videos are fascinating.
‘Adweek’ named GoPro’s Facebook page the best brand page of 2014, and for good reason. The page’s 8 million + followers not only see examples of GoPro cameras catching amazing imagery, but many of the brand’s fans upload their own photos and video as well. Companies like GoPro are able to bring participation marketing to major heights without even having to ask for contributions.
Good social media content marketing should already be a part of any serious brand’s marketing mix. In the smallest of roles, social media should be used to amplify existing content on a brand’s website or blog. To step up your social media content beyond the bare minimum, you should:
- Be as human as possible. Even when your brand is in a serious, technically-robust industry.
- Don’t be afraid to back up your successful organic campaigns with a paid boost. Whether that is on Facebook, Twitter or an ad elsewhere, a paid campaign can help get your content beyond your existing audience.
- Take advantage of current events. We all know the Oreo story. Social media is ripe for newsjacking (jumping on current news topics to promote your brand), so be prepared to take advantage of major events if it fits your brand’s image.
- Always be thinking of quality. Almost every brand is on social media. Most of your competitors are, and they’re trying to get in front of your customers. Quality content will help you stand out. Just because social media posts sometimes have a short shelf life, doesn’t mean the content should be thrown together last minute.
Social media content marketing has come a long way in the last few years. Brands have figured out how and when to find their audiences on social and they have built teams or hired agencies to help them engage with customers. While social media sites continually go the publisher route and make brands pay for targeted engagement, they simply can’t be ignored. Your content presence on social media is your way to put your best face forward and engage current and potential customers.
Have you been successful using social media content in your marketing mix? What are your tips and tricks?
For more content marketing best practices, see our full list of content marketing tactics with links to in-depth articles on each tactic just like this one.