While there is a lot of overlap between content marketing and social media marketing, it is wise to focus efforts on both instead of just one approach. Social media and content marketing have very distinctive traits and bring different assets to your marketing strategy.
Social Media Marketing
Essentially, social media marketing is the new word of mouth for consumers. It means maintaining a conversation with potential clients on the social media sites that fit the core demographic of your customer base. Depending on your demographic, you may think your customer isn't particularly social, but the Pew Research Internet Project found that 72 percent of American adults who are online use social networking sites, which means its highly likely your potential customer is among them.
You'll often find customers at different stages of the buying funnel on different sites. Social media marketing is great for generating brand awareness, interacting with your potential customers and increasing your reach (i.e., when your customers share or like your page). In an age when customers value others' reviews and the ability to interact with a brand, social media is a perfect open forum for engaging and responding to your customers' needs, concerns and opinions. Responding to comments, positive or negative, offers you an opportunity to improve potential customer satisfaction and retain existing customers.
Content marketing is the meatier marketing that comes from presenting your brand and related information and activities on your website, after social has led them there.
Content marketing allows customers you've met socially to visit you at home, where your content strategy marketing takes the form of longer-form, targeted content that offers substantial information, advice and brand uniqueness. By presenting engaging, relevant content and blogs, content marketing positions you as an expert customers can respect and trust. This trust guides them down the sales funnel toward lead generation and conversion.
Integrating your social and content campaigns with analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, and social analytics dashboards, such as Hootsuite, shows the connections between social searches and content-generated searches, like email marketing and SEO. This helps you identify which sites are generating the leads or conversions.
Social can provide an introduction; content lets your customer get to know you better. A joint effort on this front is a strategy that deserves a permanent home in your marketing toolbox.