The Difference Between Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing

To put these topics in appropriate relationship to each other, it’s best to begin with a definition of content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as ‘the creation and distribution of educational or compelling content in multiple formats used to acquire and retain customers.”

What do we mean by “content”? Content can be as short as 140-character tidbits to share on Twitter or it can be long-form white papers, articles, videos, etc. To be valued, the content has to be informational and topic-focused rather than the traditional product focused marketing of the past.

Think of social media marketing as one of the ways to distribute content.  In addition to the Twitter example above, Facebook distribution could include contests, polls, quizzes, or games – smaller bits of content that can be useful or entertaining and will help position your product/ brand as a solution provider. The customer interaction is taking place on the various social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and for educators – at specific online professional communities like edWeb, TeachAde or We are Teachers.

We now live in a world where attraction marketing is the order of the day. We meet and engage our customers and prospects wherever they are – on social media, at trade shows and conferences, in discussion forums, or at our own websites. But the center of the orbit for content marketing is the brand website.

Social media marketing engages folks on social media platforms and through useful and compelling content attracts them back to the brand website for more comprehensive information and deeper engagement. It is through the escalating levels of content sharing that we deepen the relationship with customers and prospects. The tone and tenor of this relationship is focused on helping people solve their problems. Little bits of content help small problems and larger pieces of content solve bigger problems.

The ultimate goal of content marketing is not merely a transaction. It is a long-lasting relationship that delivers rewards for both parties.

How are you helping your prospects solve problems by sharing unique and useful content?

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