Is social media content marketing? A simple answer

In Articles by Josh Robbs0 Comments

egg sandwichI love egg sandwiches. They’re my favorite summertime food. 2 eggs, mayo, provolone cheese, and a fat slice of fresh tomato (yellow if possible). Culinary heaven!

But my daughter wouldn’t let me have them for dinner.

She’s a bright and (VERY) opinionated 4 year old. At that age, kids have trouble giving things more than 1 label.

It’s takes time for kids to understand that things can be in multiple groups or have multiple relationships (like I am both her father and her grandmother’s son).

For a long time, my daughter “understood” that eggs were for breakfast. That was the only label she had for them.

She had to be taught that we’re allowed to have “breakfast” for dinner. Bribing her with pancakes helped.

Are you having social media for content marketing?

There are no dumb questions, but there are incorrect questions. “Is social media content marketing?” is 1 of them.

Let’s start with social media. Just like breakfast is defined by when you eat it, social media is defined by where it is. If you put an image on Instagram, it’s social media. If it’s on your site, it’s not.

And content marketing, regardless of the content marketing definition you prefer (here’s my definition), has a business goal. Content marketing is defined by why.

140 characters about egg sandwiches on Twitter is just a tweet. 140 characters about egg sandwiches on Twitter that includes a link to this post is content marketing. That’s a bit simplistic, but you get the idea.

Is social media content marketing? Are egg sandwiches dinner?

Egg sandwiches are egg sandwiches and they’re dinner when you eat them at dinner time.

Social media is social media and it’s content marketing when it’s used for content marketing.

When is social media content marketing?

Social media is content marketing when you’re “distribut[ing] valuable information or entertainment products, at no or low cost, with the goal of getting people to know, like, and trust you/your brand so that they ultimately become customers.” (That’s from my definition.)

  • Are you advancing business goals?
  • Are you trying to drive traffic to your site?
  • Are you trying to drive traffic to an email-signup?

When is social media NOT content marketing?

Well, it’s not content marketing if you’re not marketing content.

  • Are you screwing around?
  • Are you chatting with your friends?
  • Are you there consuming content from other people?

The gray area

It would be nice if it was always that clearly defined. But it isn’t.

  • What about building your social audience? Is that content marketing, social media marketing, or something else?
  • What about interacting with your social audience to get them more engaged?
  • How about paid ads on social media that promote your content?

Is any of that content marketing?

Does it matter?

Social media audience building probably isn’t content marketing, but it has to be done if you want to do content marketing on social media. The same can be said about building engagement on your social media channels.

And paid advertising clearly isn’t content marketing, but it’s 1 of the best ways to jump start a content marketing campaign.

The point is…

For all of these things – social media audience building, social sharing, paid advertising – plus any other marketing strategy, tactic, or channel, you have to understand your why.

Why are you on this social channel? Why are you spending your time doing this or that? Why did you spend this money? What is the goal? What are you trying to accomplish?

That’s how you create a successful marketing campaign. That’s how you build your business.

It’s okay to use social media socially or recreationally, but don’t get upset that your non-business activities aren’t getting you business results.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

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About the Author

Josh Robbs

Josh is the founder and cynic-in-chief at Rust Belt Webworks. When he's not testing marketing strategy and tactics, he's spending time with his family or playing guitar (poorly).

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