Social media and content marketing are often used interchangeably, so what’s the difference for marketers and why should they care?
At its core social media is about engaging and building relationships that form a community where the greater good is more important than the needs of any one individual.
Social media is dependent on content marketing because distributing content and encouraging conversation about the information conveyed is at the heart of the community. Often these translate to stories. These interactions are important to marketers since social media enables marketers to associate with prospects, customers and fans in a non-purchase environment.
By contrast, content marketing is about creating engaging information that results in positive brand recognition while encouraging prospects and customers to become familiar with products and services free of promotional messages. Marketers create content to persuade prospects, support purchase and enhance product usage. In the process, content can become currency for social media interactions while supporting search.
To help you understand the differences between social media and content marketing, here’s a chart laying out how each is used across a range of categories.
Social Media Versus Content Marketing
|Type of marketing||Mainly B2C, B2B, Not-for-profit, Solopreneur||Mainly B2B, B2C, Not-for-profit, Solopreneur|
|Business goals||Build brand awareness, Attract new prospects, Create relationships, Provide post purchase support, Engage fans||Build brand awareness, Attract new prospects, Help close sales, Provide post purchase support, Engage fans, Support SEO|
|Marketing objective||Support search optimization, Help purchase process||Feed social media, Support search optimization, Help purchase process|
|Target audience||Prospects, Customers, Public||Prospects, Customers, Public, Investors, Regulators|
|Media platform||Mainly social media, Owned media – blog & reviews||Owned media -Website, email & blog, Social media, Third party media|
|Branding||Logo, Colors, Images including photos, Voice, Language, Presentation||Logo, Colors, Images including photos, Voice, Language, Presentation, Context|
|Format||Micro-content, Images including photographs, Videos, Podcast, Posts (blogs), Presentations (Slideshare), Live events (meetups)||Micro-content, Images including photographs, Videos, Podcast/audio, Posts (blogs), Conferences (slideshare), Live events (non-conference), Ebooks/white papers, Website/microsites, Webinars/webcast, Newsletters (email & print), Magazines (including custom), Infographics, Mobile app|
|Distribution||Social media networks, Social sharing||None|
|Longevity||Limited time||Longer time|
|Creators||Participants: Customers, Business Marketing, Customer service||Marketing: PR/Communications, Agency, Customers|
|Resources required||Content creation, Community management, Monitoring||Content creation, Technical support|
|Main metrics||Shares/earned impressions, Time/engagement, Brand impact/mentions, Sales, Expenses||Visitors/leads generated, Time/engagement, Brand impact, Actions, Sales, Expenses|
©2012 Heidi Cohen – Riverside Marketing Strategies – All rights reserved
As a marketer, you need to integrate both social media and content marketing into your overall plans and strategies to ensure that you reach your target audience and close the sale. Monitor the social media ecosystem to ensure that you’re engaged where necessary and can respond quickly to any issues that may arise. Further, don’t forget to incorporate relevant call-to-action and tracking to help close the deal.
Is there anything else that you’d add to this list? If so, what would you include and why?
Here are some related articles you may find of interest.
- Must-have content marketing checklist
- Social media friendly content (Examples)
- 56 Ways to extend your content marketing
On other blogs:
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/5461233647/
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