Social engagement is not a goal as such; it’s a means to an end. However, this doesn’t make it less critical. On the contrary: social engagement has become an imperative for all marketers—one of many reasons: content discovery. Attention is essential in how people consume and discover content.
There are several causes why the social engagement dimension of content is becoming more critical. In this blog post, I look at content discovery from the customer and even from the Internet company/service perspective.
Why? Because social engagement gets tracked, measured and used by all such platforms, from search engines and social networks to email clients and more.
Online platforms co-define content discovery and relevance
While some people find the words, engagement and relevance too vague and too difficult to measure, here, it is a simple fact: the big online players reckon them, ultimately your content marketing strategy and overall digital marketing success depend on how they consider the results into their algorithms and models, starting with online content discovery.
All these online firms have the same goal as you (should) have: increasing their users’ relevance and thus your prospects and customers get “served” when they search
So, if you want to be relevant for your target audiences, you need to understand what Google and others are doing. In the end, they co-define how your content will be delivered/consumed/shared/discovered.
And there’s more since content discovery is just part of the equation. Content discovery and content sharing is the beginning of a long process that works with and towards persuasion and conversions. Then what is the main element in that process? Indeed: the relevance of your content, interactions, solutions, etc. throughout the individual journey and intent of your target audiences.
Why social signals, engagement and relevance are essential for content discovery
There is much business- and –technology-related reasons, that are strongly related to how your customers find content and information. Among them:
- The role of social signals is growing tremendously to improve organic search results. Social movements are not enough for content discovery, which in the end, is what search is all about, and cannot be the reason for readily available content on the contrary. It’s a myth that content nowadays needs to be ‘short’; it all depends on your target audience. However, social signals are essential in the content discovery equation search engines to define. Finally, social movements are not just about social interaction but also the social graph (of authors and people sharing content). In other words: the social activity and engagement regarding content, as a social object, define the importance and ranking of content in organic search results. Relevance is now a matter of reciprocity, social graphs and social engagement too in search.
- The changing buying journey and overall customer lifecycle in which multichannel and social are becoming more critical. The rise of the social B2B buyer and the connected consumer is well-known. However, even to reach decision-makers relying on ‘traditional methods’ to find content helping them in their buying journey, social plays a huge role. A (B2B) buying decision is not the work of one person. Furthermore, search engines play a predominant role when buyers seek information, and as just mentioned, social signals matter a lot in search engine results. While search engines and SEO are only part of the content marketing equation, we can’t ignore the facts: the B2B buyer is searching for content during his purchasing journey. Search engines in the trip are still the number one source.
- Social content’s role is to engage audiences of audiences to create ripple effects and increase impact based on reciprocity of connected networks. Social sharing and content discovery multiply the number of potential touchpoints with target audiences. That reach dimension is not enough as such but – here as well – it’s essential. Targeting and identification, feeding back interaction data into the core marketing/sales operations are equally important.
- The influencers of your buyers use a mix of search and social. B2B buying decision is a group decision. In most cases, it involves different internal stakeholders and content sources. But it also includes external influencers such as industry analysts, bloggers and media professionals. They are among the first and most important social platforms users and almost always should be involved in both a B2B social media and content marketing strategy. All people belonging to the trusted circle of advisors in a buying process should be. And the ultimate dream is to become part of it as well. This is where content marketers have a crucial task: become a social source – in the real sense – of reliable information in the middle of the traditional funnel stages. Reach and having content discovered is straightforward. Keeping that social interaction and engagement, powered with the right content, is somewhat more challenging – and often overlooked – part.
- By now, it’s clear that content ‘fuels’ social media marketing. Content creation/production is the core task – in practice – of most social media teams (together with content curation, responding, listening, etc.). Should content creation play such a crucial role in social media marketing? As always, it depends on the context and business goals. Social media marketing, just as content marketing, is an umbrella term. However, it’s clear that without content, you won’t get far; that’s why it is always recommended to hire the content marketing agency that specialises in only creating content and other related. The critical thing is that social media content should serve concrete purposes and be relevant to your target audience and these objectives.
Holding this in mind, for the sake of it, will help you concentrate and escape the trap of making content.