20 Dec 2022 How to

What’s the difference between content marketing and social media?

Black notebook next to a yellow pencil and a gold crown on a yellow background.

In the world of marketing, it’s pretty common for content marketing and social media content to be used interchangeably and while social media content is a vital component of content marketing, they do have separate meanings.

Content marketing can be defined as a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.

However, I would argue that it also includes the creation of materials for offline marketing such as flyers, brochures, and step repeats as content exists far beyond the online spaces we inhabit each day. I see both online and offline content marketing as equally important and work to include both in the portfolio of work we do for our clients.

Whereas social media content is pretty much anything you share on social media, whether it’s a text update, a photo, graphic, video, link, etc. The point I want to drive across today, though, is that while nearly anything can be social media content, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything should be.

Social media is a part of content marketing

While social media can form a valuable part of a content marketing strategy, content marketing is so much more than just social media as it also includes website content, blogs, writing, email and newsletters. It’s important to bear this in mind when considering your marketing strategy and to think about the kinds of content that it would be worth creating to target your ideal and actual audiences.

For example, did you know that 47% of B2B buyers read 3-5 blog posts or content pieces prior to talking with a salesperson? This is one of the reasons why a well-rounded content marketing strategy is the key to achieving your marketing goals.

Each piece of content that you create should be a door that a potential customer can peek through on their journey towards building a lasting relationship with you. Content needs to be interesting, helpful and trustworthy. It’s not enough to simply create content and throw it out into the social media void anymore; you need to create specific and well-thought-out content that tackles your audiences’ questions at each stage of their journey with you. The good news is we also have a blog post on that.

Social media marketing is great, but it’s not always ideal to place all your eggs into one basket and there’s no guarantee that it can support you in meeting your overall marketing goals. We also see this being the case when major changes to social media platforms take place, like Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri wanting to focus more on video content or Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the subsequent panic about whether it will come to a slow and painful end with many users already jumping ship. In fact, records show that Twitter may have lost more than a million users since Elon Musk took over. Food for thought right?

In January 2022, there were 4.62 billion social media users around the world, according to Data Portal, so there is a good chance that your audience is too. Even with all the changes taking place in the social media universe, it’s still worth setting up shop online.

The benefits of a multi-channel approach

It’s worth saying that there are so many benefits to a multi-channel approach when it comes to marketing. Think of it this way: you’re unlikely to spend your time on just one social media platform, or just in your email inbox. The reality is that, to capture the attention of your audiences when you need to, you need to maximise the opportunities of them to come across your brand or business.

This doesn’t mean putting yourself everywhere, like starting a podcast just because you think some of your audiences are there. The research to find where your audience spends their time online needs to be completed but there’s definite value in being in multiple online spaces. This is where a well-rounded content marketing strategy can support you in achieving your overall marketing goals such as X many new customers or Y engagement rate on social media. 

One of the best ways to mitigate marketing challenges is by having an effective strategy in place, one that’s backed by research, out-of-the-box thinking, and a little prior experience – luckily this is something we have experience in.

Daydreaming about outsourcing your content marketing

The trick is selecting the best platform, not just in terms of where your online audience typically hangs out but also in relation to the kind of content you can create and post on a regular basis. One of the best ways to kickstart this process is by establishing exactly who your customer is. Start by designing a customer persona in. In doing so, you can create a handy visual image of who your audience are including their age, hometown and even their hobbies. Visualising your target audience means you’ll also ‘talk’ to them when you create the copy.

Just a friendly reminder that the team at LikeMind Media can support you with all elements of your content marketing from podcasts and videos to social media and consultancy. Want to learn more? Get in touch with us today. We can support you in your content marketing during the cost-of-living crisis.

Further reading

It’s safe to say that marketing in times of crisis is a challenge, if you’re interested in learning mor about how to adapt accordingly, we have a blog post on that.

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