A social media strategy is vital to effective content marketing

It’s not just what you say in your content, but where you say it that matters – social media is crucial to widening attention and reaching and engaging new audiences

Actively promoting content is a critical component of any successful content marketing strategy and social media was the top platform for distribution in 2021, according to marketing software expert HubSpot. Promotion is needed because even the most comprehensive and insightful articles, podcasts or videos will not magically find an audience without help – traffic needs driving to them. This doesn’t arrive by accident – sustained effort, care and attention are needed to amplify content beyond the website or platform where it is hosted, and ensure it reaches as many eyes and audiences as possible.

The best social platforms to use are likely to vary according to the nature of your company, the type of product or service offered and where your target audience lives online. But research by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found LinkedIn is used by 93 per cent of B2B content marketers, followed by Facebook, which is used by 80 per cent, and Twitter at 71 per cent. Regardless of your chosen platform, however, success is not as simple as just choosing where you want to concentrate your efforts and build an audience. Strategy, formats, post presentation and tone all play an important role in standing out from the crowd and pushing out the right message in the right way which will hopefully generate the desired attention.

To dig deeper into what makes good social media posts, we carried out some research into how 10 major European banks present themselves when they promote their content online. We looked primarily at LinkedIn – which the CMI also found produced the best organic (or non-paid) results – and examined each bank’s posts over a three-month period to see what – intentionally or otherwise – they divulge about its strategies and priorities, as well as the company’s standing in the financial and wider world.

News you can use

From this, we drew up some key takeaways based on things every company can do, today, to maximise the reach of their content. We’ve summarised some key highlights below, and there is a link to download the full report at the end of this article.

  1. Strategy matters – deciding the key messages and themes you want to shout about on social, and the best pieces of content that will help you do this, is a key first step. It doesn’t mean you are limited to these topics, but does provide a framework on which to hang future posts and plans, and help colleagues work out where their ideas might fit in.
  2. Take a longer-term view – talking about projects you are involved in today and current priorities is important, but so is the company’s vision for the future – what the CEO or board wants to achieve, how they will meet the increasing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns to stakeholders including consumers and investors and why it is well-placed to survive – and thrive – amid business disruption.
  3. Dive into the detail – the big picture and long-term goals have a clear place in any strategy, but it is the detail of these initiatives, or how the company is working towards the shorter-term targets that are stepping stones to the ultimate goal, which will increase understanding among your audience and engage them. So make sure you talk about them.
  4. Get your star power involved – engaging and educational content programmes need constant feeding – and so do the social media accounts which are used to promote them. Sharing the load between your top team and subject matter experts as well as marketing provides diversity of voices and helps you curate an interesting and varied social media feed, with different content types for differing interests and appetites.
  5. There is such a thing as too much… a solid block of text linking to a blog or other content element can be off-putting and counterproductive. A clear headline explaining why viewers should be interested, a snippet of text to entice further and a clear call to action at the end is all that is needed. The only goal of a social media post is to get the viewer to click – the full detail or insights can be revealed when they do.
  6. Branding matters – standing out is the name of the game and anything you can do to make your post on any platform rise above a sea of others – think putting ++ around headlines to make them ‘pop’ or using consistent branding colours or a logo on all your images – is likely to pay dividends.

Finding the audience who will be most interested in what you have produced can also take many other forms, but whoever this audience is and wherever they live online, promoting content on social media will remain a crucial element. Following these tips and hints will help inspire you to elevate your posts above those of your competitors and super-charge your content distribution strategy. This, in turn, will help fulfil the full potential of every piece of content you produce – and achieve the goals behind creating it in the first place.