Content marketing and social media are a match made in heaven. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship – while each one is strong individually, they can create a powerhouse together.

Toby Murdock summarizes the two individual marketing styles nicely in a piece written for the Content Marketing Institute. In it, he notes that social media marketing deals with brand awareness and engagement, and allows brands to get on level with their target audiences. Social has been around for a bit now, and businesses are finally starting to grasp how to use it to engage with customers – current and potential – and build their brands.

Content marketing, on the other hand, creates the resources and materials that ideally pull business in. It’s also instrumental in nurturing leads and moving them through the sales funnel. Brands have been creating content for customer consumption and marketing it for years – they just never gave it a name. Content marketing as a term, however, is relatively new.

As Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute says, content marketing gets businesses thinking like publishers. This means creating valuable and high-quality website content that will attract potential customers and clients.

While social media is important, it’s a much weaker link without content marketing. Social is the way you disseminate the information you have and the content you create. It’s the way you enter into a dialogue with current and potential customers and care for your community.

So how do you bring it together?

When you’re creating a content strategy, social media should absolutely be a top factor. After all, how will you share your content? How will others share it?

C.C. Chapman, co-author of Content Rules, says in an interview with Social Media Examiner‘s Michael Stelzner that the neat thing about social media is that you can build a relationship with somebody even if you’re a massive company. When someone interacts with your content, they feel like they have a little bit of a relationship with you, so leverage that and use social to amplify your content marketing. As C.C. says, “That little bit of relationship goes a long way to actually get that person to go from thinking about buying your product to actually buying it.”

In short, without content marketing, social media would just be noise. Without social media, content silos would form and so much good information would never be shared.

As Jeff Bullas notes, content marketing is the foundation of social because good content begs to be shared. Social provides that medium.

Though each is great separately, together they are a powerhouse for your marketing strategy.

How do you balance the relationship between content and social? What brands do you think do this the best? Let us know in the comments!