Businesses in virtually every industry have to use online marketing to promote their products or services. This can be a challenge because many company owners aren’t trained in advertising, so they might not know how to get started. Two of the best strategies are content marketing and social media marketing. But how do they differ, and which one is better? In the “content marketing vs social media marketing” debate, both sides make good arguments.
Generally, a strategy based on social media is more interactive, so you can build up a stronger connection with your audience. On the other hand, content marketing is great for businesses with a complex product or service because it allows them to educate their target audience in greater depth. Read on to find out more about these two strategies and to determine which one you should use to promote your business.
Does Social Media Count as Content Marketing?
Social media marketing is usually considered different from content marketing. It involves setting up a profile on sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or TikTok to promote a business. You might post updates about your company, snippets of information about your industry, appealing photos or videos, and more. However, a big part of social media marketing is the interactions with other users.
When someone likes your posts or comments on them, you can return the favor or reply. That way, you can build up a positive relationship with others in your community. In contrast, content marketing is all about providing information for your customers, for instance on a blog or your website. This is much less interactional, and it’s more about educating people instead of building up relationships with them.
When Content Marketing and Social Media Overlap
Sometimes, content is marketed on social media, so these two strategies aren’t completely separate. For example, many people put a link to their blog or website on their social media pages, and users can click through to find out more. Additionally, small snippets of information can be shared with followers in a post or a photo. In this way, social media is a way of attracting people and getting them interested in you, which makes content marketing easier.
Content Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: Which One Is Better?
It’s almost impossible to decide which of these strategies is better because they can both be extremely valuable to businesses. What’s more, it all depends on what you are hoping to achieve. If you’re looking to build up connections with your customers and your field isn’t very technical, social media is a better fit. However, service-based businesses often do well with content marketing because this allows them to show off the owners’ and employees’ skill sets.
For instance, a personal injury law firm can post regular articles about what to do after an accident and how to maximize compensation. If this information is helpful to customers, they might be tempted to reach out and book an initial consultation. On the other hand, a bakery business might do better on social media because they can post appetizing pictures of their products and take orders directly from the platforms.
Advantages of Social Media Marketing
Almost every company uses at least one social media platform to promote itself. However, it’s hard and time-consuming to build up a comprehensive strategy, which is why most people don’t get a lot of direct sales from social media. This is a shame because platforms like Twitter and Instagram are great for businesses. Setting up a profile and posting is free, and you can potentially reach millions of people without spending much money.
What’s more, the fact that posts are so short and often include photos or videos makes it easy for you to be creative. By putting together engaging, funny, or inspiring posts, you can gain a following quickly because people will enjoy your content and share it with their own network. It’s also possible to run paid advertisements on most social media pages, so you can reach an even wider audience.
Advantages of Content Marketing
The idea behind content marketing is that you offer your customers something of value for free. You could produce a blog post about a topic related to your business, record a how-to video, or even write a small e-book. If people find your information helpful, they will gain a positive impression of you, and they will automatically turn to you the next time they have a question or problem.
The more trust you build, the greater the chance that people will buy from you and become loyal customers. What’s more, websites that are engaging are more likely to rank highly on search engines because they are frequently visited and because people linger on them.
How to Use the Strategies in Combination
It isn’t usually a matter of “content marketing vs social media marketing” but of using the strategies in combination. Although some businesses might favor one method over the other, most companies can benefit from both. You can start by setting up an appealing website and creating a few pieces of content to go on it. Then, you can register on two or three social media sites and start promoting your product or service.
With online marketing, it’s important to be consistent, especially if your goal is to build up long-term relationships with customers and grow your business. You’ll need to post regularly, create new content at least once a month, and interact with your followers. If this sounds daunting, you might need the help of a digital marketing professional who can handle both the setup and the ongoing maintenance of your social media profiles and your website.
Setting Up a Good Website
Almost every business can increase sales with a good website. You’ll need a place to send your social media followers so they can find out more about your business and contact you. Additionally, you’ll need a place to display your content if you’re planning on offering free advice and assistance. Your website doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it does need to be well-designed.
Make sure that all your pages are easily accessible, so users don’t have to search for the information they need. While it’s a good idea to make your page unique, don’t go overboard with graphics and animations. Clean and simple is almost always better because it makes your site easier to navigate.
Setting up Your Social Media Accounts
There are dozens of social media sites available, but you won’t have to set up an account with each one. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, it’s best to stick to two or three that suit your company well. If your product is very visual, for example if it is food-related or meant as a gift, Instagram and Pinterest could be good options because they are all about images.
A business based around words or ideas, such as a law firm or a bookshop, could do very well on Twitter because this platform makes it easy to share ideas. You could also opt for one of the video-based platforms like TikTok and YouTube and share interviews or talks on there. Both these social media platforms attract millions of users every day.
You won’t be successful on social media if you don’t post at least a few times a week, if not every day. Content becomes old very quickly on these platforms, and a photo, video, or text that was relevant a week ago might not interest people today. What’s more, the algorithms favor newer content, so your posts will no longer be displayed to people after a few days.
The same goes for content, although you might not have to post quite so regularly. A blog or vlog should be updated two to four times a month, although you might be able to get away with one monthly post if your content is very long and detailed.
Interacting with Others
As discussed, the main difference between social media and content marketing is that the former is based on interaction, whereas the latter is based on information. You can’t simply post new things on social media and expect people to start liking and sharing them. Instead, you have to interact with potential customers by answering their questions, acknowledging their comments, and visiting their pages or liking their posts.
The content you create has to be excellent if you want to stand out. Make sure that everything you post is well-researched, written in an engaging manner, and easy to read or watch by the target audience. You don’t want to overwhelm people with technical details, but you also don’t want to bore them with things they already know.
If you don’t know how to create great content, ask your marketing experts for help. They can come up with a list of excellent topics that will be helpful to your target audience.
Content marketing vs social media marketing: which one is better? The answer is that it depends on your business, but many of the most successful strategies combine the two. You can use social media to attract customers, who might be interested in learning more about your company and industry by browsing your content. Call us at Anthem Software to speak to a marketing expert, who can devise a comprehensive strategy for your business.