Content marketing has been a buzzword among advertisers this year. We’ve looked at some successful examples of the trend, and there are plenty more companies making innovative decisions on how to use content as a means to an end. Whether that end is more sales, stronger brand recognition, or promoting a cause, content marketing should be closely linked to your company’s social media program.

Content and social are two logical marketing partners. Both seek to bolster traditional approaches to advertising by appealing directly to your audience — but without the glaring sales pitch. Content and social media marketing offer your customers and fans a way to get to know more about your brand as an entity. These strategies promise added value to the customer, along with any implied sales pitch.

These are all great theories, of course, but how can you combine content marketing and social media strategies into practice? Here are some suggestions to consider.

Match Your Content to the Right Channels

Before trying to unite your company’s strategies for content and social media marketing, make sure your team does some research into the people you are trying to reach. To communicate with your desired demographic, you need to know where to find them. Do they mostly use Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest? Target your content to the networks where the most receptive audience will be.

Beyond knowing where your audience is, also consider which social platform is the best fit for your content. If you are mostly focused on videos, make sure you actively curate and participate in YouTube or Vimeo. For sharing links to a blog or other outside properties, your best bet might be the rapid-fire nature of Twitter. This preparatory planning will give your projects a better success rate.

Think Both Timely and Evergreen

Content marketing should walk a fine line in terms of timeliness. Your brand should be attuned to whatever is current in the news and in pop culture, as well as in your specific industry. Whether or not to address those hot-button topics in your content marketing is a choice you can make on a case-by-case basis. Time-sensitive material can also be company related. Develop content to support your brand’s major deals, contests, or projects.

But at the same time, you need to have evergreen content available to your fans to fill the gaps and keep their interest in your brand. Focusing all of your content on a single timely topic may not diversify your social presence enough to maintain strong brand engagement. Be willing to show your company’s depth and breadth in both your content marketing and social media strategies. Again, your evergreen material can be focused inside or outside your business. Create content about your brand ethos or about the causes your brand supports.

Work With Other Marketing Programs

Ideally, your marketing department is juggling several ventures, including ones not necessarily focused on social media. Make sure your social team is alert to all those other campaigns.

Even if the social and content marketing programs are not closely related to the other promotional projects, it’s important for everybody working toward the same goals to know the other balls in the air. Either that will ensure the content marketing prong stays unique in regard to the other content, or it will make sure that your social media voice continues to match the tone set by other programs.

Use Data and Analytics

No matter what types of content you create, you need a system for measuring how it performs with your audience. You should already have tools at hand for assessing your social media accounts, but you’ll want to be sure that you can analyze your content marketing materials as well.

Look at how many of your fans are engaging with your content by platform, by type, and by time. If you know the network and medium that your demographics respond to the best, you can continue to deliver that material.

Be Ready to Adapt

Once you have extensive data at your fingertips, the key is being able to incorporate that information into your marketing strategy. Flexibility is often the name of the game in social. Trends change on a dime, so your marketing programs need to be able to respond accordingly.

Willingness to try new approaches and to react based on what your data reveals is an essential trait among brands with successful content marketing and social media strategies. It means your company is better able to stay current in offering fans informative, valuable, or entertaining content.

Got any other tips for integrating content marketing with social media strategies? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credits: LollyKnit, JmaworkKevin Hale, Mike Peel, Jamie Cox, Matthew Ragan]