First: Some Social Media Survey Results
According to the “Social Media Marketing Survey 2016” from Clutch, 78% of enterprises surveyed say social media is the most important tactic for marketing success compared to other marketing strategies.
96% of the medium and large enterprises surveyed by Clutch ranked Facebook as the most popular social media channel they use, followed by Twitter (71%) and YouTube (61%). Rounding out the top five social media channels are LinkedIn at 60% and Instagram at 55%.
For many, it’s no surprise that platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are considered the top social media channels for marketers. Facebook boasts nearly 2 billion monthly active users, with 1.57 billion of them on mobile. Twitter and Instagram are nowhere close to Facebook’s numbers. Their respective 310 million and 400 million monthly active user counts, however, are still very impressive.
The bigger surprise for some marketers may be YouTube taking second spot, beating other big players like LinkedIn and Instagram. But for some, this makes total sense given YouTube is the second largest search engine and has over a billion users. And since YouTube is owned by Google, it can help enhance a brand’s SEO and content strategy.
With shorter attention spans and changing consumer media consumption habits, many brands are realizing video’s effectiveness in engaging, educating and entertaining consumers. In fact, according to the Clutch survey, 23% of enterprises reported that video content outperforms images, offers and promotions, articles and infographics on social media.
So what’s the key takeaway for marketers here? Should you focus all your marketing efforts and resources on social media then? Social media content will help you generate the most leads and revenue, right?
Social Media Is Not Your Content Marketing Destination
My perspective is that this is all wrong. Brands need to first develop their own digital content platforms. Only then should they look at social as a means of distribution.
Every day, brands are producing new content – everything from marketing content to sales, product, event and campaign content. It’s not enough to just create and share quality content anymore. If every marketer out there is pumping out valuable, relevant content just like you, how do you know if your target customers will actually engage with your content and not your competitors’ content?
The lifespan of social content is also extremely short. According to Spredfast’s in-depth analysis, the average median engagement of a tweet is around 30 minutes, and less than an hour for an Instagram post before they die.
Another study found that the half-life – which is the amount of time it takes to get half of your average engagement – of a Facebook post is about 3 hours. Keep in mind that your content won’t organically show up in the news feed of all your fans. With 2016’s big change to Facebook’s news feed algorithm, you’re looking at less than 10% of your fans.
What these stats tell us is that marketers can’t rely solely on social media for their content marketing success. Social media is only a component of your overall marketing strategy, so it can’t be the only thing you’re doing.
And instead of trying to buy an audience on someone else’s platform, you want to build your own content destination to attract your target audience to this brand-owned platform.
How To Build Your Own Content Marketing Hub
Many people confuse content with content marketing. But content is not content marketing. Content is everywhere. Content marketing, on the other hand, is about building and attracting an audience to the branded content destination you own to help you better reach, engage and convert new customers for your brand.
A successful content hub is one that your target audience will want go to regularly for information, insights and solutions to their toughest challenges and problems.
Once you’ve built your content destination, you can use social media to help distribute and amplify your content to drive more customers to your brand-owned platform.
So how do you go about building your content marketing hub? Here are 5 tips to help you get started:
1. Craft Your Content Marketing Mission Statement
Who is your target audience? What content topics are they most interested in? What value can you provide to your customers, knowing their needs, pain points, interests and business challenges?
You need to put your customers at the center when determining your content marketing mission statement, while making sure that it also supports your overall brand mission. This step is crucial! Your content marketing mission statement is the foundation of your content marketing efforts.
2. Determine How Branded Your Content Destination Will Be
For an on-domain destination, you will want to make sure that your creative direction supports your corporate brand to some extent. The content experience should be completely on-brand and consistent with other touch points and interactions with your brand.
For an off-domain destination, you have a bit more creative freedom. Ultimately though, it should focus on establishing your content marketing hub as the go-to destination for your given topic and industry.
3. Think Like A Publisher
When you act as a publisher, it means creating and publishing the content your audience wants. But it also means so much more than that.
On any publisher site, you will find that they typically cover a variety of topics, with content coming from different authors.Publishers also make it easy for their readers to find the content they want to read, such as adding clear categories to show the topics their content destination covers.
You’ll also include a clear call-to-action or offer for your readers, and provide a way for them to reach your brand directly. And don’t forget to include social-sharing options to make it easy for your readers to help promote your content.
A great publisher is always thinking about growing their owned audience on their branded platform. Subscriptions are excellent indicators of your reach, engagement and conversion. And they help you to track what content resonates with your audience. So make sure you always include calls to subscribe to your updates. Then use this data to help optimize your content marketing efforts.
4. Publish Regularly And Consistently
Readers visit and return to a publisher site for a reason. They know there is new content published regularly on the topics they’re interested in. So establish a regular content cadence and commit to maintaining it.
When starting out, try publishing at least once a week. If you’re covering two topics, you’ll want to publish at least twice a week. If you have the resources, I would even suggest publishing new content every day on the topics that will help drive the right audience to your content marketing hub.
5. Determine How You Measure Success
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. But one of the biggest challenges content marketers face is determining what to measure since there are so many metrics you can track.
My advice is to start small. Start measuring metrics like:
- The number of new and returning visitors
- Page views
- Social shares
- Average time spent on site
- Submission forms
- Also track asset downloads if you offer ebooks and whitepapers, for example.
By tracking these areas, you can more effectively measure and optimize your content marketing efforts and demonstrate your ROI.