Earlier this year, I was working with a client (a mid-sized East Coast university) that had a deep and high wall between its content marketing program and its social media efforts. The content marketing piece, managed by the enrollment division, focused strategically on building awareness and engagement for key majors. Their social media effort, managed by external affairs, focused on pithy “quotes of the day” and photos of students doing whacky things on campus.
Unfortunately, due to campus politics, this wall turned out to be impenetrable. My protestations about “brand damage” and “wasted opportunities” fell on deaf ears.
Tear down the wall between your content marketing team and your social team
In the best of all possible marketing worlds, content marketing and social media marketing all serve the greater master of strategic content. It really comes down to using relevant and engaging content with the intent of producing some kind of action. Looking at social media through the lens of strategic content, social media platforms give us an ideal distribution platform. They open doors to highly targeted audiences who are looking for reasons to engage with us. For this reason, if nothing else, social media efforts deserve the same kind of careful planning, implementation, and tracking that content marketing programs require. In fact, both should work in tandem as part of your Strategic Content Plan.
Here’s what Helle Tyllesen, Head of Customer Strategy, for the Danish social media marketing firm Falcon Social has to say:
“When content is created on an ad-hoc basis, you risk communicating content that’s off brand, or off target for your long-term objectives. Planned content promotes regular posting, and allows for a consistent workflow to maintain the quality of content that you create.”
Strategic content planning includes social media
So what should be the goal of a social media marketing program? Diehard social media folks might say “building a community.” Of course, community building is great, but to what end? For prospects who are well along in their enrollment journey, creating a sense of belonging is key to matriculation. Community building, however, cannot be the sole strategic direction of your social media marketing plan. Social media marketing can, and should, play a much greater role in your strategic content plan.
Social media marketing can support the objectives of your strategic content plan and give you the opportunity to measure and build…
- …awareness. Social media gives you a shorthand way to build and support a narrative around your brand and, ultimately, create brand preference. This awareness should, if managed properly, lead to traffic to your website.
- …conversions. Much like paid media, social media platforms give you the opportunity to target prospects at various stages of the decision-making process. Use them to offer larger pieces of content, such as e-books, event signups, even blog subscriptions, by driving prospects to a landing page on your website.
- …insight. Listening to feedback, gauging engagement, and even “likes” can give you valuable input on the types of content your audiences want, and even how your prospects are viewing your brand. (Try promoting “dark” Facebook posts to targeted audience segments to see how your content performs before you go live!)
For more tips on how to make your content more social, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me in our Albany office at 518-591-4640.
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