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Content marketing and social media marketing work hand-in-hand, but here are 5 rationales that explain why they are not the same.


If you think content marketing and social media marketing are just some sort of lingo, you’d be in for a good surprise.

Businesses are increasingly choosing to go online. And it’s easy to see why: most people spend more time with their devices than they do with people.

To emphasize that statement, here are a few basic questions:

  • Have you purchased items online before?
  • Have you made dinner reservations through a mobile app before?
  • Do you conduct search (maps, search engines, etc.) on your phone almost daily?
  • Are you personally on any social media channels?
  • Do you browse your social media account at least thrice per week?

If you say yes to at least three of them, congratulations! You get what we mean.

Statistic shows that by the end of 2016, 2.8 billion people were using social media. Smart organizations realized that’s where their targeted prospects are.

With surging numbers like that, businesses need innovative marketing ideas and strategies. That’s why content marketing and social media marketing are here to stay.

Social media marketing: the strategic marketing activities conducted on social media platforms with the goal to engage and interact with the organization’s targeted customers and existing customers.

When done right, your business can benefit from it never before imagined.

Harsh truth: a business going on social media platform(s) doesn’t translate into getting ahead of the curve.

Not to make things worse, but up till now, 65 million businesses use Facebook Pages.

So how can you ensure your social media marketing efforts can benefit your overall marketing goals (e.g. increase online revenue by 20%, generate leads by 15% for a particular campaign etc.)?

Our answer? Build social media marketing into your content marketing plan.

Aren’t they the same thing?

Absolutely not.

We list out five ways content marketing is not social media marketing.

#1 Content marketing attracts potential customers. Social media marketing gathers these potential customers.

Did you know 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep, according to the 2016 Content Preferences Survey conducted by Demand Gen Report?

Now the key here is buyers — those who’re probably in their late stages of the purchasing journey e.g. comparing prices between companies or considering the different services or products provided by your company.

What about those site visitors who are still considering?

With the advancement of technology, human behaviours are shifting, which mean people’s buying behaviours are changing too. The research-before-purchase process can easily take longer than just 3-5 pieces of content.

And here’s where your social media platforms can come into great use. If these visitors are truly interested, they’d most probably pop by your social networks and be one of your follower.

The game doesn’t end here. You could be just one of the legions of brands they follow on a particular social network.

Your entire social media page should reinforce the story behind your brand, let targeted audiences find resonance in your brand and keep them coming back for more.

A properly planned content strategy for your social media platforms is what changes the game.

Putting social media fails that will render irreversible damage to your brand aside, pages with content-scattered and mundane posts are equally harmful because you’re giving visitors more chance to distrust you as an expert advisor.

With more people on your page, it inherently nurtures a community with like-minded people. Activities like regular comments, post shares, reviews etc. let these visitors know that other people who share similarities with them, are also involved in your brand and that can help boosts their confidence in your brand.

#2 Content marketing is sustainable. Social media marketing is immediate.

Here, we’re talking about the content strategy for each marketing method.

For instance, after thorough research and reliable data you decide to use Facebook as your business’s main social network. Surely you can use each post to talk about how awesome your product or service is. But why would your audiences be interested in that?

Creating good, high-quality social media posts is not an easy feat. It needs to be rich in content and context. Of course external factors are to be considered too, such as the limitation of characters for optimal engagement.

You need to make sure what you post is not just engaging, but promises them something even more rewarding.

A study show that people are more likely to engage with a Facebook post linked to a longer article. So if you have good information that answers queries of your targeted prospects, leave it for your long-form content like a blog, ebook or white paper. Then direct visitors to your long-form content from your social media platforms.

The time taken for content consumption on social media networks is fast, making them excellent channels for content distribution and promotion. However, value-packed content is still the fundamental material that influences the activity and results of your social media marketing efforts.

Results from each marketing method are correlative to one another. Content marketing requires social media marketing for broadcast purposes while the latter needs the former as a foundation.

Each post is precious. Treat every post with dignity, don’t use it to fill up the void just because.

#3 Content marketing creates more intimate moments with prospects.

Social media posts are fleeting moments of publications, which means they have less opportunity of connecting emotionally with your audiences.

To develop that sweet rapport with your prospects, you need long-form content that’s useful, relevant and personal. For prospects who really need help, they’d turn to long-form content that will address their problems. When prospects resonate with the central idea of your long-form content, they’ll be willing to explore further. Even consider purchasing your product. And that is the start of a beautiful relationship one can only dream of.

Don’t waste the chance to communicate on your social networks. It’s the smart way to increase the odds of them visiting your long-form content. But you have to take care in doing so. Using social media posts to convert is not easy.

If done wrong, social media marketing can feel like traditional advertising — shoving messages down the throats of your audiences.

They don’t like it? Then can just hide your future posts or unfollow you with just a couple of taps or clicks.

Let’s talk about the lifespan of social media posts. Facebook, for example. If you’ve just posted something on your page, after 1 hour and 50 minutes, it would have reached 75% of its potential reach. Meaning each post has about 3 hours before it gets buried among the proliferation of Facebook posts. And we’ve not yet even mentioned that 85% of adults are probably distracted when they consume your content on social networks.

We always emphasize on writing for your targeted prospects, and that extends to creating content for your Facebook fans too. Blindly tossing out content hardly ever work. Always create social media posts that your prospects will enjoy — engaging, exciting and educational.

#4 Content marketing helps your brand or business earn long-term value.

What really is the ultimate objective of being on social media?

Monetizing your fans? Build brand awareness? To double the platform as a customer support centre? Share about the awesomeness of your products or services?

All the above points back to one thing: building your brand.

Each post that you publish is an opportunity to let people know your brand on a personal level.

Which means you have to create an entertaining and educational post that also convey the message of what you do, how you do it, why you do it, how the things you do benefit your customers, your brand’s vision, mission, social responsibility etc.

Sounds challenging? You bet.

Furthermore, people on social media are getting smarter and pickier.

While social media marketing strengthens your online presence, content marketing instill trust and faith in your brand.

So how can you strengthen your social presence and make sure users keep coming back to your page?

If you answered content marketing, you’re correct.

Valuable content improves your brand’s authority and encourage prospects to come back to your brand, and serves as a directable source to your social media posts.

The next time any of your interested prospects return to your social media page, they know they’ll be rewarded with content that will address their problems or questions. Eventually, they’ll head straight to your brand’s content for elaborated information that they need.

#5 Social media marketing is A PART OF content marketing

Understanding human behaviour relating to content consumption that leads to purchasing is a long-standing skill of marketers and business owners.

When we say content marketing, it’s about forming bonds between your business and customers using communication.

So where does the interaction comes in?

That’s right. Social media.

By building social media into your content marketing strategy, you’re inviting your customers into the interaction real-time.

We’ve exhaustively mentioned in this article how content marketing and social media marketing supports one another. Additionally, the results of your social networks (shares, plus ones, Likes, retweets, and comments) now plays a key factor in contributing to search engine rankings.


Before you launch your business online, ask yourself two questions: “why should the target audiences read my long-form content?” and “why should target audiences follow my social media platform?”

Both content marketing and social media marketing have their own merits; the takeaway is striking a perfect balance between these two.

Don’t underestimate the power when these two combines. If you want your business to survive in this cruel and saturated world of brands, social media marketing is excellent to talk with your customer base while content marketing helps people trust your brand more in the long run.


Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash


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