Weighing the value of content creation and management versus social media marketing is a bit like asking whether the chicken came before the egg.
Prior to the advent of social media in the early 2000s, businesses were obsessed with SEO and SEM for driving sales. In the early days of Icreon, we quickly strove to master the new tactics for attracting new business to our website.
Fast forward twelve years and Google is still a critical sales driver for ourselves and thousands of companies worldwide. However, keyword density and backlinks are no longer as highly valued as they once were (although they are still critical). With the introduction of social media as a more personable means of assessing a brand, new web-based strategies are needed to adapt to the change.
Today’s digital marketing efforts are closely linked to social media presence, engaging media, and website content; the idea is that social media notoriety will drive traffic to a website. Effective execution of a social media strategy depends on having a treasure trove of engaging media and content. Such web content works to establish market authority and thought leadership in online communities.
Although there are new tactics to implement, remember that many of the same tools that were critical to achieving success on Google are equally important for social media. Constant updates to websites, continuous publication of new content, and attention to quality are crucial to social media marketing that drives conversions, transactions, and exposure for brands. Rather than approaching social media marketing as a new beast entirely, remember the basics and adapt.
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The Tools of the Social Content Trade
CMS software(Content Management Systems) are more valuable than ever in today’s social sharing world. With the plethora of content needed to facilitate an active social media presence, brands need tools to help manage and execute the production of blogs, the updating of web pages, and the workflows necessary for content creation and dispersal. In the past, updating a company blog, posting a company video, or updating photo galleries required a technical webmaster. With a CMS, almost anyone with knowledge of a keyboard can update web pages and edit or post content.
Social media efforts that do not use fresh and informative content are not as impactful as those that do. This fact has been realized by brands and organizations who jump into the social media arena without fully contemplating the logistics, time, and tools that are necessary for success. Without a comprehensive CMS to enable constant updates and creation of new web content for the main site, the social presence will never launch off the ground (let alone help drive sales or customer loyalty).
Fresh Content For a Fresh Audience
Social media networks are increasingly becoming the middle men for content on the Internet. Whether it be YouTube videos, interesting news articles, or a close friend’s blog post, the social feed is the newest iteration of the information ticker. A recent Pew survey found that one in three Americans get news through Facebook. On top of that, Twitter has emerged as a viable emergency broadcast system, as evidenced during natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.
Regardless of personal affinity for social media networks, the fact is that these new mediums for communication are designed to harness massive audiences and a constant flow of content. As a business seeking exposure, engagement, and interactions with customers and markets, social is a surefire channel to do so.
Market Force recently conducted a survey that found 81 percent of respondents cited social media content as an integral factor when making purchases. However, reaching customers via social is more challenging without a CMS. Without a tool that allows pervasive content generation and updates from potentially all of the major decision makers and thought leaders in an organization, social media marketing efforts can be stymied.
While the constant flow and high volume of information on social networks is what makes them valuable, those same characteristics serve as the primary challenges for successful social media marketing. Messages can easily become lost and buried beneath trending hashtags and more popular shared updates. If a brand doesn’t share up-to-date and engaging content, from photos, videos, articles, or company blog posts, there will be no reason for potential customers to land on the main site and interact with the brand.
One of the best ways to achieve notoriety for a brand on social is through a consistent cycle of fresh website content. HubSpot found that 82 percent of marketers who blog on a daily basis acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57 percent of marketers who blog just once a month.
This is where a CMS can facilitate that constant flow of necessary information. By empowering decision makers and employees alike to create and distribute content on the company site, a brand’s website can provide substantial material to share. Of course, there will need to be administrative hierarchies to ensure consistent quality, but empowering multiple experts in an organization to create blog posts and articles will add fuel to the fire. Not only is a constant flow of expert insight via articles, blogs, and videos great for social, but search engines also prioritize websites that update their site with quality content on a consistent basis.
It Starts With a Share & Ends With a Conversion
When it comes to sharing content on social media, do not limit selection to articles, infographics, or blog posts. While they are obviously valuable forms of communication and marketing collateral, remember to use some of the tried and true digital marketing practices for social as well. Things like landing pages and microsites should be infused with social media marketing. By using a CMS to create custom landing pages for individual campaigns on social media, an organization can increase the likelihood of conversions.
With a CMS, a non-technical user can design and publish a webpage in relatively little time. Creating a custom landing page through a CMS for the purpose of increasing effectiveness of sponsored Tweets, LinkedIn updates, or Facebook statuses is a legitimate strategy. Because the primary objective of social media marketing is to garner visits and interactions on the main site, updates and paid promotions should incorporate strategic landing pages and microsites.
If a user clicks through a sponsored post mentioning a fall product line, don’t link them to a generic home page. Have them land on a specifically designed webpage that corresponds to the sponsored update. Brands can even align specific landing pages for parameters such as gender, age, income, and of course, location. Retail brands with a male and female holiday line can target sponsored Tweets or Facebook updates to each gender with specified custom landing pages that directly appeal to each. Whether the landing page focuses on a specific product line, or the microsite incorporates seasonal elements to engage with holiday shoppers, such pages can be instantly created. A CMS allows a company and its non-technical employees to update websites for the purpose of connecting with audiences.
Microsites can also pack a viral punch if a company can strike the right chord with their audience. By serving a single focused purpose, microsites can take on a life of their own. For an older yet prime example of the potential for microsites, look no further than NewEgg’s Ultimate Man Cave promotion. With a powerful CMS at the helm of a website’s content strategy, such viral exposure is certainly attainable.
Understanding the true purpose of a social media marketing strategy and how it aligns with the company website is crucial for success. With a CMS, a brand can ensure their site is constantly updated with fresh content, as well as create specified web pages to expound the success of social campaigns.
Realizing the direct symbiotic relationship between web content and an effective social media strategy is the first step towards maturing into a social business.