Social Media Is Not Your Content Marketing Hub

According to the “Social Media Marketing Survey 2016” from Clutch, 78% of enterprises surveyed say social media is the most important tactic for marketing success compared to other marketing strategies.

96% of the medium and large enterprises surveyed by Clutch ranked Facebook as the most popular social media channel they use, followed by Twitter (71%) and YouTube (61%). Rounding out the top five social media channels are LinkedIn at 60% and Instagram at 55%.

For many, it’s no surprise that platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are considered the top social media channels for marketers. Facebook boasts nearly 2 billion monthly active users, with 1.57 mobile monthly active users. While Twitter and Instagram are nowhere close to Facebook’s numbers, their respective 310 million and 400 million monthly active user counts are still very impressive.

The bigger surprise for some marketers may be YouTube taking the second spot, beating other big players like LinkedIn and Instagram. But for some, this makes total sense given YouTube is the second largest search engine and has over a billion users. And since YouTube is owned by Google, it can help enhance a brand’s SEO and content strategy.

With shorter attention spans and changing consumer media consumption habits, many brands are realizing video’s effectiveness in engaging, educating and entertaining consumers. In fact, according to the Clutch survey, 23% of enterprises reported that video content outperforms images, offers and promotions, articles and infographics on social media.

So what’s the key takeaway for marketers here? Should you focus all your marketing efforts and resources on social media then? Social media content will help you generate the most leads and revenue, right?

Social Media Is Not Your Content Marketing Destination

My perspective is that this is all wrong. Brands need to first develop their own digital content platforms, then look at social as a means of distribution.

Every day, brands are producing new content, everything from marketing content to sales, product, event and campaign content. It’s not enough to just create and share quality content anymore. If every marketer out there is pumping out valuable, relevant content just like you, how do you know if your target customers will actually engage with your content and not your competitors’ content?

The lifespan of social content is also extremely short. According to Spredfast’s in-depth analysis, the average median engagement of a tweet is around 30 minutes, and less than an hour for an Instagram post before they die.

Another study found that the half-life – which is the amount of time it takes to get half of your average engagement – of a Facebook post is about 3 hours. Keep in mind that your content won’t organically show up in the news feed of all your fans. With the recent change to Facebook’s news feed algorithm, you’re looking at less than 10% of your fans.

What these stats tell us is that marketers can’t rely solely on social media for their content marketing success. Social media is only a component of your overall marketing strategy, so it can’t be the only thing you’re doing.

And instead of trying to buy an audience on someone else’s platform, you want to build your own content destination to attract your target audience to this brand-owned platform.

How To Build Your Own Content Marketing Hub

Many people confuse content with content marketing. But content is not content marketing. Content is everywhere. Content marketing, on the other hand, is about building and attracting an audience to the branded content destination you own to help you better reach, engage and convert new customers for your brand.

A successful content hub is one that your target audience will want go to regularly for information, insights and solutions to their toughest challenges and problems.

Once you’ve built your content destination, you can use social media to help distribute and amplify your content to drive more customers to your brand-owned platform.

So how do you go about building your content marketing hub? Here are 5 tips to help you get started:

  1. Craft Your Content Marketing Mission Statement

Who is your target audience? What content topics are they most interested in? What value can you provide to your customers, knowing their needs, pain points, interests and business challenges?

You need to put your customers at the center when determining your content marketing mission statement, while making sure that it also supports your overall brand mission. This step is crucial as your content marketing mission statement is the foundation of your content marketing efforts.

  1. Determine How Branded Your Content Destination Will Be

Will your content marketing hub be a part of your brand’s domain, like Marketo’s CMO Nation, or will it be on a completely unbranded site, like Adobe’s or GE’s Txchnologist?content marketing hub

For an on-domain destination, you will want to make sure that your creative direction supports your corporate brand to some extent, so that the content experience is not completely off-brand and is consistent with other touch points and interactions with your brand.

For an off-domain destination, you have a bit more creative freedom, but ultimately it should support with establishing your content marketing hub as the go-to destination for your given topic and industry.

  1. Think Like A Publisher

When you act as a publisher, it means creating and publishing the content your audience wants, but it also means so much more than that.

On any publisher site, you will find that they typically cover a variety of topics, with content coming from different authors. Publishers also make it easy for their readers to find the content they want to read, such as adding clear categories to show the topics their content destination covers.content marketing hub

You’ll also include a clear call-to-action or offer for your readers, and provide a way for them to reach your brand directly. And don’t forget to include social-sharing options to make it easy for your readers to help promote your content.

A great publisher is always thinking about growing their owned audience on their branded platform. Subscriptions are excellent indicators of your reach, engagement and conversion, as well as tracking what content resonates with your audience. So make sure you always include calls to subscribe to your updates, and use this data to help optimize your content marketing efforts.

  1. Publish Regularly And Consistently

Readers visit and return to a publisher site for a reason. They know there is new content published regularly on the topics they’re interested in. So establish a regular content cadence and commit to maintaining it.

When starting out, try publishing at least once a week. If you’re covering two topics, you’ll want to publish at least twice a week. If you have the resources, I would even suggest publishing new content every day on the topics that will help drive the right audience to your content marketing hub.

  1. Determine How You Measure Success

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. But one of the biggest challenges content marketers face is determining what to measure since there are so many metrics you can track.

My advice is to start small. Start measuring metrics like the number of new and returning visitors, page views, social shares, comments, average time spent on site, subscribers, and submission forms, or asset downloads if you offer ebooks and whitepapers, for example.

By tracking these areas, you can more effectively measure and optimize your content marketing efforts and demonstrate your ROI.

I hope you’ll find these tips on building a successful content marketing destination helpful. If you have any other tips, please share them below!

Are you interested in engaging and converting new customers for your business? Contact me here and let’s talk about how we can help. Or follow me on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and if you like what you see, Subscribe here for regular updates.

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Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

4 thoughts on “Social Media Is Not Your Content Marketing Hub

  1. Good read Michael but this feels a tad 2014. Great read for stats but I fundamentally disagree that all your content needs to “live” in your owned content destination. It did a year, two years ago but that notion is dated. The brands that had a solid shot at starting an audience from scratch have. The competition is steep. For some it’s not appropriate or possible to “be a publisher.” Serving up all your content via your own hub (and reeling people in) serves only the brand and not the customer. Check your own consumption habits. For me, this post was found on linked in… And now I’m irritated that I’m commenting on your brand page vs where I found the post to begin with.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Elisa. I really do appreciate the different point of view. I would argue that building your hub on social is the dated concept. Allow me to explain:

      A few years ago, many brands built a presence on Facebook. They published content there, built massive followings, then Facebook shifted to a pay-to-play model. And the organic reach of a Facebook post is now worse than the CTR on a banner ad. This means that when a brand publishes an article ON Facebook, that post will be seen in the newsfeed by less then .06% of the FANS and likers of that brand. Very sad news for those brands.

      This has been followed by similar actions from Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and now Snapchat. These platforms are all becoming pay-to-play. They change their algorithms, and overnight, all the investment a brand makes in SOMEONE else’s platform produces zero return.

      As my good friend Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute has repeated many times, and recently reiterated that it is becoming even more important: “Why build your house on rented land?”

      For most brands, marketing is just a campaign. When the campaign budget dries up, the results move to zero. But content marketing means building an asset that has value that grows over time. Even if the budget is cut.

      Content marketing means “acting like a publisher” and doing the hard work of figuring out what customer-focused content (vs. ads) you can publish that will attract a unique audience. Because what’s the alternative? Campaigns and social ads that interrupt the content people want?

      I understand the notion that it’s hard to act like a publisher and to actually rank for search terms your customers are actually using by producing valuable customer-focused content (like a publisher). But in every case I’ve analyzed, the alternatives are all too costly and ineffective.

      So, as I said, I appreciate the alternative view you presented. I appreciate and respect your comment. It’s a view held by many marketers. But I’m glad that by using LinkedIn as a sharing platform and not the main platform, that I earned your visit, readership, and comment with an article and not an ad.

      I hope to earn it back!

  2. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. My area is YouTube however, which I believe, when relating to enterprises, sits between a content marketing platform and social media platform. I know of no other video platform that, when used properly, has the evergreen traction and potential for demand generation that YouTube has.

    1. Thanks Dane,

      YouTube is an interesting one. I feel the same way about Slideshare. My advice, based on the thoughts in this article, is that it is fine to build a presence on YouTube (or Slideshare), but why not also embed those great videos onto a website you own. Maybe add the transcript as article notes. That way, no matter what YouTube does, that traffic will always provide value to you.

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