Social media marketing and advertising is an essential component of any omnichannel digital strategy. No matter your product, service, or industry, there’s a way to leverage social media to gain insights into what your clients really want, how and when they make purchasing decisions, and what they need to know as they move along the buyer's journey. This knowledge allows you to focus your digital content strategy and offer your audience content that is truly useful for their needs.
Revamping your digital content marketing using social media involves two steps: listening & sharing.
Social listening involves using social media channels to get a better understanding of what your target personas are really talking about. It provides insights into what kind of content will connect with them, as well as the pain points that motivate them to buy.
For popular consumer goods, social listening is as easy as reading through Facebook comments or searching a company/product name in the Twitter search toolbar.
If your industry doesn’t generate a lot of chatter online, social listening is still an essential part of your digital content marketing toolkit — you just need to be more creative about how you dig:
Following hashtags is the first step in any topic research. Clicking on industry-specific hashtags drops you into the conversations your potential customers are having.
Hashtags can lead you down a lot of dead end roads, though. Finding which hashtags will yield the best information is equal parts intuition and analytics. Using collected information from your existing social media fanbase — hashtags, profile keywords, shares, and more — gives you an idea of their interests, which can then be folded into your topic planning.
Several free tools are available in this space, such as Buzzsumo, which lend high level insight into what content on your blog or website generates the most shares on social media. More in-depth audience insights are available using tools like Affinio (see a hashtag screen capture below) and Sprout Social.
Using Groups to Identify Hot Topics
For years, message boards were the places where niche industry groups and hobbyists congregated online. These boards were scattered across the world wide web, and finding them was a unique challenge. Today, platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have (thankfully) made finding groups of like-minded enthusiasts and networking professionals relatively easy.
For marketers, social media groups present a valuable opportunity to see what conversations customers are having and what kind of questions they want to see answered. They offer a space to directly engage potential customers and address their pain points. Getting involved with groups requires some skill and considerable effort, but also offers substantial rewards, especially for companies in highly technical industries.
Groups offer marketers a truly immense opportunity to cultivate leads. LinkedIn connects more than 500 million professionals worldwide, and active groups on the platform are hotbeds for engagement and networking. Facebook hosts more than 620 million groups in total with a broad range of subjects, where marketers can engage with both professional audiences and direct consumers.
Companies with active social media followings have another valuable tool in their belts — free focus groups for products and ideas. Posting a Twitter poll to your followers gets them engaged, which gives marketers valuable insight into the kind of content they want or need.
Here is an example on Airbnb Twitter poll on what guests want to do in the Bay Area:
This isn’t just a cute way to maintain an active Twitter presence. Marketers at Airbnb can use this information to write content focused on the culinary side of the city, rather than traditional touristy activities like trolley rides.
If your social audience isn’t especially vocal, promoting a contest can help spread the word and get people more involved. Contests are great follower-generation tactics as well.
Like what you’re hearing so far?
Now that you have some great persona-aligned content ideas, it’s time to . . .
Share Your Findings
Let’s Get Visual. There’s so much more you can do with content on social media than just posting about your new blog or whitepaper. Little things — like including a social-optimized visual design asset with your link — can make a big difference when it comes to generating interest. This is especially true if you’re sharing video content, which is algorithmically positioned higher up in user feeds on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
We do this for clients who want to take a social-integrated approach to their content distribution, like our friends at Med School Tutors whose Facebook live Q&A events are supported by trailers.
Here’s an example of our Med School Tutors Facebook trailer:
... and a graphic for other social platforms.
USE Those User Groups. Rather than just releasing your content into the wild, go back into those Facebook and LinkedIn groups and join conversations on the topic. See if you can help someone address their pain points directly!
Pay to Play. When you have content you really want people to see, don’t be afraid to go big on social. We helped Catholic Central a faith-based educational YouTube show, promote their launch event by creating short video trailers. To help spread the word, we established their social profiles, garnered followers, upheld a regular communication calendar, then boosted trailers with a paid social campaign tied to their target audience. The result? Over 231k trailer views on Facebook, 391k impressions, and over 55.7k event RSVPs.
Tap Into Influencer Markets. Influencers are among the most valuable resources companies can take advantage of today. Working in concert, influencer marketing and social media strategies put content in front of the right audience better than traditional advertising methods.
The return on social media influencer marketing can be incredible. For one campaign, we selected four wedding and jewelry Instagram influencers who agreed to share details related to an event, along with an image and a link in their bios. Their combined audience reach? Over 214.2k interest-aligned Instagram users.
This campaign also allowed us to cultivate lasting relationships with popular users in the space for the client, who received day-of-event influencer coverage via Instagram video, which garnered over 3,000 views.
At Salted Stone, we’ve used influencer strategy to generate earned media for clients in the SaaS space. For companies looking to revamp their content marketing, earned media wins can put your name in front of your exact target audience.
User Generated Content. Smart marketers know how to get audiences even more involved than just reading or watching. User generated content strategies involve promoting content submitted by users themselves to generate interest in your product or event.
For the wedding event mentioned above, we asked six couples to contribute their bling and wedding day photographs. They allowed us to share their stories, and the results were impressive: repeat customers signing up for the event, likes and re-grams from the couples and their friends, and positive comments about the jewelry.
Revamping your content strategy using social media requires tools and expertise to generate insights that matter (through social listening) and disseminate them (through social sharing).
Hiring a digital agency with a background in growing social media strategies saves time and resources, no matter whether you’re starting at square one or just want to leverage outside expertise to bring action to your ideas.
Start socializing! Contact us today