Social media, both as a marketing tool and as a communications platform, is nothing if not powerful. Never before have you had the opportunity to expose your message to billions of people around the world with just a few quick clicks. Because of that, it can be easy to think of things in terms of “your next big hit.” If anything, your post has the potential to become the next viral sensation, it’s easy to get stuck in the endless loop of chasing that particular dragon in your social media strategy.
But you probably shouldn’t.
Experts can’t even agree about what the term “going viral” even means. How many views does it take? How long do you have to get there? What type of response constitutes a “viral message”? These are questions that don’t have easy answers. So in an era where there are literally five billion pieces of content being posted a day on Facebook and 500 million tweets on Twitter, it’s probably best to just ignore them.
Instead of pouring all of your energy into a single piece of content in the hopes that it goes viral (and less than 1 percent of content actually achieves that status, remember) you need to think in terms of the bigger picture. You need to be able to take a bird’s eye view of what you’re doing, seeing how each piece stands alone but how one feeds directly into the next, building to something more powerful than any one piece of content could be on its own. Your social media strategy needs to align with your overall content marketing strategy.
This, of course, is going to require you to keep a few key things in mind.
First, a matter of perspective. When people talk about how you need to create a content strategy, they’re not talking exclusively about social media. These are two different concepts and to achieve your objectives, you need to treat them as such.
Having said that, there are a number of elements that apply to both areas of what you’re doing. These are:
That first part – the objectives – is where your social media strategy and content marketing strategy overlap the most. Content created for social media needs to properly align with your larger content strategy, and both need to align with the larger business outcomes you’re trying to unlock.
Success in terms of social media strategy is about more than just creating a piece of content and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. It needs to be content created for that medium, with those users and with those objectives in mind.
For the sake of example, let’s say your larger objective is to prepare your audience for an impending product launch – and, if you can, expand into a new segment along the way. In terms of your larger marketing efforts, this means that you need to show people why your product is the solution to all of the problems they’ve been having in their life up to this point.
In terms of content marketing, this means creating long-form content that informs, educates and entertains your audience. You’d probably sit down with presentation software and outline your product from front to back. You might even use a timeline maker to better detail your release schedule, letting people know when they can make the purchase that you’re getting them excited about.
Over on social media, your goals are essentially the same – but the execution is very different. You might take the same information contained in that presentation, but you’d likely want to re-frame it as a video that you get out into the world via a service like Uscreen. The message remains the same, but the approach must be different because the medium is unique in and of itself.
Your social media strategy needs to be about more than just creating a single piece of content and hoping it works equally well on your website’s blog and on your Facebook page. It’s also not about chasing the myth of going viral, either. It’s about the bigger picture approach – you need to be able to see exactly what you’re trying to do and how each piece of social media content moves you closer to that goal at any given time.
Make no mistake, this is something that you’re only going to be able to do if you have that larger strategy in place to begin with.
The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.