Your Social Media Marketing Is Only as Good as Your Content

Opinion: Content is the critical piece in the social media puzzle

It’s super easy to get caught up in the fanfare of social media and lose sight of what really matters. While pay-per-click ads, profile designs and strategies for amassing thousands of followers are certainly relevant, they aren’t everything. At the end of the day, your ability to profit from social media will only go as far as your content takes you.

Why content matters

Have you ever thought about what exists at the core of social networking? When you trim away those extra features—likes, games, profile bylines, advertisements, etc.—what are you left with? Essentially, you have individual users accessing a website in the hopes of communicating with one another. And what do you find at the heart of online communication? Content.

If social media is a marketplace, content is your currency. You can use it to buy likes, followers, website traffic, conversions and even brand loyalty.

Greek mathematician Archimedes once famously said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” While clearly hyperbole, his point was that anything is possible if you have the right tools.

In digital marketing, you can move the world—drive conversions, build brand loyalty, etc.—so long as you have the right content for your audience.

In essence, content is the critical piece in the social media puzzle. If you can nail the content aspect of the equation, then you’ll be successful.

Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done. If creating stellar content that thrives on social media were easy, every brand with a Facebook profile would be raking in the success.

4 ways to create content that stands out

The issue you need to consider is how to create content that stands out. Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest are noisy. You have to do more than just share a blog post or two. You need to really get serious about creating stellar content. Here are a few tips and ideas:

  • Stay in school: Social media and content marketing are constantly evolving. If you want to understand what it looks like to create and share great content, you have to stay updated and educated on what’s happening in these fields. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with the right resources. This list from Consultants 500 ranks some of the top content marketing blogs on the internet. Bookmark a few of these sites and spend a couple of hours per week perusing them. It’ll help you stay informed and provide some good inspiration.
  • Quality over quantity: The old adage of quality over quantity rings true when it comes to sharing content on social media. Today, search engines take social signals into account when determining page rankings. In other words, things such as likes, shares and perhaps even impressions matter. If you’re sharing a bunch of low-quality content, then you probably aren’t getting much traction in this area. However, if the content you do share is high in quality, likes and shares will come naturally.
  • Invest in organic content: Social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk said, “No amount of paid media is going to turn bad creative into good content.” His point is that you can’t buy your way to the top: Social media just doesn’t work that way. Even the world’s largest brands—those that are recognizable and have built up massive audiences over the years—have to invest in organic content in order to thrive on social media. Think about all the money you’re spending on paid media (or the money you have earmarked to spend in the future) and then imagine how much organic content you could create by reallocating that portion of your marketing budget. Paid media may give you momentary satisfaction and quick results, but they go away as soon as you stop paying. Organic content, on the other hand, sticks around and provides value for months (and sometimes years) to come.
  • Go visual: Visual content is obviously the answer in 2017 and beyond. The more you can invest in video, interactive content and other multimedia content formats, the better your chances are of standing out amid the noise. You need content that grabs a user’s attention as they’re quickly swiping through their news feeds. A traditional blog post won’t do that. An eye-popping, auto-play video most likely will.

Make content your focus

Stop spending your precious time and energy dealing with the things that don’t matter. Sure, an attractive Facebook cover photo is great, but it’s not going to mean the difference between converting a follower into a customer. The content you publish and share could, though.

Treat content like your currency and it’ll fundamentally change the way you approach social media.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Image courtesy of Chaliya/iStock.