How Healthy is Your Social Media & Content Marketing Strategy?
Creating a healthy strategy around social media can be challenging, not just for publishers like Healthy Kansas City magazine, but for businesses across a wide spectrum. While it’s easy to link a sale to revenue, it’s difficult to tie a “retweet” or “like” to the bottom line. Social media interactions are multipurpose making them difficult to quantify and even more challenging to build a meaningful strategy around.
To overcome this, it’s critical to set specific goals. Reaching a certain number of likes on Facebook or followers on Instagram is not the right kind of goal. Healthy Kansas City magazine approached Woodsmall Marketing Group, an Olathe based boutique social media and content marketing firm to ask for guidance and direction. They wanted to make sure they were being strategic in their efforts and targeting the right audience.
“When we took a closer look at Healthy Kansas City readers, we saw that they fell into two distinct groups. The medical and wellness community and the people of Kansas City who are interested in a healthy lifestyle and quality medical care and advice,” said Cheri Woodsmall, CEO of Woodsmall Marketing Group. “After we did the preliminary research, we discovered that the top four social networks Healthy Kansas City needed to focus their efforts on were Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Readers usually don’t hop on Facebook to “do business.” Rather, they log on to connect with the people and brands in ways that complement their “personal, private” lives.” Healthy Kansas City couldn’t ignore this behemoth – with 1.19 billion registered users, Facebook has become one of the go-to social media platforms for brands and publishers alike in the past few years, especially those who focus on B2C.
With Instagram, Woodsmall recommended they take a deeper, more emotional approach. “Instagram is a great platform for storytelling, if done right. More importantly, the engagement with Instagram is tremendous. Instagram is now the king of social engagement, delivering 29% more engagement than Facebook and 60% more than Twitter. For best results on Instagram, it’s extremely important to choose the right category for your posts. Get this wrong and potential viewers and customers will overlook you. This is where good keywords come in handy. Do some research to find the best keywords before choosing an Instagram category. And when folded into a smart content marketing strategy, the results are significant.”
CONTENT MARKETING – Taking It To Heart
Many business owners don’t understand that while content marketing is a new term, the foundation of the strategy has always existed. Content marketing brings a certain value to an organization that doesn’t always correlate with website page views or form submissions. To understand the real value of content marketing, adjust your perceptions and think long term. To communicate the value to your team, you must be able to explain the advantages in a way they understand.
Content marketing involves the process of creating and curating, and then distributing content to a targeted, specific audience. Content marketing is usually combined with other marketing techniques as part of an overall social media marketing plan for the purpose of lead generation and client acquisition. The following statistics reveal the growing influence and positive effects of content marketing:
- Seventy-three percent of B2B marketers are producing more content than they did a year ago (CMI, 2014).
- The average organization spends 30 percent of their marketing budget on content (CMI, 2014).
- Fifty percent of consumer time online is spent engaging with custom content (HubSpot, 2013).
- Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads (Demand Metric).
- Brand awareness is a content marketing goal for 82 percent of organizations (CMI, 2014).
The percentage of businesses experiencing success from their content marketing strategies has increased dramatically over the past couple of years. Content marketing will help your business achieve positive results in the following ways:
1. Brand Awareness
A sound digital marketing strategy, with quality content and a documented plan, helps businesses gain exposure allowing them the opportunity to introduce themselves and their solutions. Having a blog on your website is one of the best ways for raising brand awareness, as long as you keep Google’s ever-changing algorithms in mind when publishing blog posts. If you are creating content that appeals to your audience, this content will also appeal to the search engines.
2. Lead Generation
An important thing business owners and marketers should remember about lead generation is that building strong relationships with potential customers is a key factor of sales. Content marketing helps businesses attract potential customers and build relationships. The more your audience perceives your content as valuable and informative, the better they feel about engaging with your business.
3. Thought Leadership
Through the use of content marketing, you are giving consumers the media they want and you are increasing your chances of being discovered. By frequently publishing news, blogs or articles that relate to developments pertinent to your products and services, readers understand that your company is an industry expert. The goal of course is to give customers a reason to come back.
Business owners who focus on their audiences’ interests often experience positive results from their content marketing efforts. A study from The Content Council asked consumers how they prefer to find business information online and it was shown that information presented in the form of branded articles ranked high. Consumers are drawn to branded articles that take on the same form and qualities of a publisher’s original content. Sponsored Content is an excellent and affordable option of similar content and CMI, owner of Healthy Kansas City and Kansas City Homes & Style, realizes this and offers their clients sponsored content to go along with their content marketing efforts.
ROI is a huge priority for every business owner. You know how an effective marketing strategy contributes directly to successful project bids. Digital marketing helps businesses reach and capture online leads, which makes having a content marketing strategy in place important. Keep in mind that, ultimately, your sales success depends on how you handle the factors covered in the points above.
One of the biggest struggles with measuring the success of social media and content marketing is the time frame in which you evaluate it. Keep in mind – it is a long-term process. With a strategy that calls for consistent posting month after month, you will eventually build up an arsenal of quality content that you can continue to bring traffic to your site for years to come. This content will drive consumers to consider you a valuable resource of information. With planning, team buy-in and proper execution, a great social media and content marketing strategy can efficiently grow your business.