Very few businesses today rely on push marketing alone as their strategy to ultimately produce sales. Although the larger picture of inbound marketing is proving itself effective, marketers continue to debate the relative value of content marketing vs. social media marketing. But here’s the spoiler: You need them both.
A decade ago, content marketing may have been perceived as a passing fad. But those days are long gone. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 92 percent of content marketers say their organization views content as an asset.
In this article, the term content doesn’t refer to ad copy that overtly encourages audiences to buy their products and services. Although that content is perfectly relevant in the latter stages of the buyer’s journey, we’re focusing on content that engages, educates, and even entertains prospective customers.
Marketers often say that content is king. Indeed, the prominence of content as an essential element of your marketing strategy can’t be overemphasized.
The term content marketing is often used to refer to long-form educational content, and that is accurate. However, long-form content should also be repurposed in shorter bites and distributed via social media channels. Content marketing isn’t an either/or proposition. Long-form and social media marketing each provide benefits unique to their format.
Let’s look at how each one can help your marketing efforts.
How content marketing can benefit your business
The benefits of content marketing are wide-ranging and both tangible and intangible. It’s also important to remember that it takes time for content marketing to show results. Too often, businesses give up on their content marketing efforts before realizing an ROI. Even when campaigns do show tangible results, it’s too easy to overlook the intangible benefits that may not be measurable in terms of performance metrics. Rest assured, though, content marketing efforts are worth the time and effort, and produce myriad benefits, such as:
Increased web traffic
One of the major elements of content marketing is search engine optimization (SEO). When quality content is backed with a solid SEO strategy, it can help businesses score higher in search engine rankings. This gives a brand maximum exposure to its relevant target audiences and compels engagement with potential customers. Design agencies that work on logos can attract audiences with insightful content on sports, cartoons, and gaming logos, whereas a fashion website can optimize its content based on new trends and styles for greater visibility. In short, brands don’t need to be direct in their approach to attracting people.
Boost brand authority
Another benefit of having increased web traffic and making your way to the top of a search engine is that it boosts brand authority. Often, even before someone reads the content, just the fact that a brand’s website has made its way to the top of a popular search engine like Google indicates its authority on the subject matter.
Exposure in the digital realm engages the audience, connects them with your brand, and shows them that you have expert knowledge of your products and services.
‘95 percent of B2B customers view content as a marker of trust when evaluating a business.’
Consistently speaking from a position of authority builds trust in a brand’s expertise. To be a leader in your field, you must not just sell but also teach.
Higher conversion rates
Instead of making a sales pitch, content marketing provides a good opportunity to first engage potential customers with interesting content, and then make a call to action. Establishing authority in your specific field of expertise makes it easier to earn a higher conversion rate.
‘For as much as 71 percent of B2B industry professionals, purchasing decisions are influenced by reading a corporate blog at some point.’
Keeping in mind the efficacy of email marketing, brands must remember that content marketing is possibly the best long-term strategy for list-building. This would be the same list that feeds direct marketing, such as email, paid ads, and other outbound marketing strategies; a list built from content marketing is self-qualified as market-ready.
Many brands don’t have the kind of budget that allows them to compete with the marketing efforts of big companies. Content marketing can be the great equalizer, providing an opportunity for startups to gain exposure.
Moreover, because long-form content can help create meaningful conversations and engage audiences at length, the medium works perfectly for boosting brand awareness. What does your brand stand for? What is its mission? How does it aim to provide a solution? These questions don’t have simple answers; long-form content marketing is the natural platform to tell your company’s story.
How social media marketing can benefit your business
Search any prominent company on the internet; there’s no way you won’t find them on popular social media platforms. Marketing without leveraging social media is like having a key to the doors of success yet searching for hand tools to break in. Integrating social media in your marketing mix is a must.
Even in B2B marketing, brands must remember that their potential clients are still people. As such, they’re going to be using multiple online platforms to engage content. There are times when people are less keen on consuming long-form articles and more inclined to use social media. Marketing on these platforms can allow brands to connect with audiences on a more personal level.
It’s unlikely that a user would visit your website every day. However, by having a social media presence, a brand can garner multiple touchpoints in a relatively brief period. Most of all, social media provides the means for community building. Failure to build lasting relationships with current clients does nothing to encourage repeat business—the holy grail of marketing.
A robust social media presence provides certain customers with a quick way of reaching out for queries and complaints. This builds confidence that your support team is just a few clicks away when needed. Responding in a timely and responsible manner helps your brand build its credibility organically. Potential customers are often heavily influenced by the experiences of a brand’s existing customers, so positively replying to feedback goes a long way not only in gaining new customers but also in retaining existing ones.
In some instances, a potential sale can be spoiled by negative reviews on the internet. Failing to address and resolve customer issues can work like slow poison for your business. Conversely, underestimating the power of positive customer feedback on social media can be analogous to leaving money on the table.
Cost-effective and measurable marketing
Targeted ads on social media allow businesses to reach their most relevant audiences. Moreover, social media marketing allows a brand to measure the success of a marketing campaign by presenting a set of unique KPIs that are simply impossible to measure with nondigital marketing. For instance, YouTube analytics tell marketers how long users have watched their video ads. In case there’s a decline in the viewership based on a specific location, marketers can use the insight to research why the decline has occurred.
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