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November 9, 2022 (Updated: March 8, 2023)
If you want to get your content out to and circulating with your audience, social media is a great approach to make that happen. Whether you’re appealing to business decision-makers or everyday consumers, there’s a platform perfect for you to reach them. But to get the most out of any content marketing strategy, you have to understand the best way to adapt it to your business and audience. Today, we’re looking at social media content distribution and how to make this easy-access, wide-reaching tactic work for your brand:
Social media content distribution is the process of sharing and promoting your brand content on various social platforms. You can share content created specifically for social media, like posts, graphics, or videos. You can also share links, excerpts, or previews of content from other channels, such as blurbs or links from a blog post.
Most marketing teams create social media content distribution strategies, which help them plan where, when, and how to share content on each channel. Creating this type of plan helps your team make the best decisions for spreading content around the internet in a way that reaches and resonates with your audience.
Related: Your Guide to B2B Content Distribution
If you want people to know your company and your content exists (and we know you do), put your brand out there. Being out there means sharing your content on the internet where people can find it. And where do people spend most of their time online? On search engines and social media platforms.
Think of social media content distribution in terms of dating. Anyone who’s been single for more than a few months has likely heard the well-meaning but annoying advice to “get out and meet people.” If you never leave your house, no matter how great of a person you are, someone won’t walk up to your front door and ask for a date.
The same rules apply to content development and distribution. You can create the best content people in your industry have ever seen. But if it lives permanently on your website or blog, and you never share it elsewhere, the chances of your audience finding it on their own are unlikely. Your team creates content for a reason: to meet your brand goals. If your audience can’t find it, then the entire development process was a waste of time. Other benefits of using social media for content distribution include:
Social media content distribution isn’t without its challenges. Here are some arguments why others say you shouldn’t engage in social media content distribution, and the reasons these challenges shouldn’t stop you from using the strategy:
People use social media for everything these days. From news outlets to photo and video storage, content floods everyone’s feeds. But the same thing that makes social media a great place to share your content makes it more difficult. Yes, you have a space where everyone spends time, but you’re not just competing with other companies and brands in your industry. You’re vying for space with everyone and everything that comes across a social media user’s feed. So what’s going to make them click on your content?
Don’t let the information overload stop you from trying social media content distribution. Users can curate their feeds to see the things they want to see without all the clutter. If you can prove to them that your content is worth their time, you have a better chance of earning your way into the group of accounts they follow and explore regularly.
Just like search engines, social media platforms use algorithms to determine which content should show to which users, and when to let that content appear. Organic reach on social media doesn’t hold the weight it once did. No longer can you start at the top of your feed and scroll down to view everything from the people and accounts you follow posted in chronological order. Now, the platforms curate feeds for their users based on demographics, self-responses, and paid content.
From a business perspective, this method makes sense. The more ads each platform pushes, the more money the service makes. From a marketer’s perspective, the entire algorithm system is annoying. But unless you have the time and money to create your own social platform and source users, you’re stuck with what already exists. Instead of SEO, it’s time to try social media optimization (SMO). By learning the tricks of algorithm updates the same way you do for Google and other search engines, you can unlock the key to getting better organic traffic for your social media content.
Image via iStock by Worawut Prasuwan
Content distribution is the last step in the content development process. It doesn’t matter where you plan to share your pieces, on social media or otherwise. This step is always your last move before the audience engages with your pieces. Here are a few things you need to know and do before you distribute your content on social media to prepare for that last step:
This step sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? You have to create content to share before you can share it. But if you want people to find your content valuable, interesting, and share-worthy, provide the best quality content possible. Content that tells a story, entertains, or educates your audience usually provides the most value to any segment of your audience. When creating content, think about what your audience wants to see and what goals you want to achieve from each campaign. If you’re not satisfying either area, your content can be better.
Related: The Big Question: When Creating Content You Should…?
No brand is going to satisfy every person in the world with its content. That’s not possible. Even brands as universal as McDonald’s or Coca-Cola can’t appeal to everyone. There’s always going to be someone who prefers Wendy’s and Pepsi. Just like Coca-Cola isn’t wasting its time targeting hardcore Pepsi fans, your brand needs to know who its target audience is and where they spend their time on social media.
The more data and information you have about your best leads, the better your company gets at choosing the right social media channels and content distribution strategies. Some of the best ways to understand what your audience wants and how your brand can meet their needs include:
Related: Target Market and Target Audience: What’s the Difference?
Each social media platform attracts a specific audience. LinkedIn caters to working professionals and job seekers. TikTok is for dancers and thrill seekers. Certain channels also only support certain types of content. For example, Instagram is best for photos and videos, but it’s not as easy to share links to off-platform content in posts.
Every channel isn’t right for every brand, audience, or distribution strategy. Knowing which channels already perform best for your brand and which ones your audience spends the most time on helps you create a better, more effective distribution strategy. Start by learning which of your channels already gets the most traffic and engagement. Then research content distribution strategies for those channels and implement them first.
The “why” of content distribution is typically straightforward. If someone asks you why you share content on social media, you’d likely say because you want your audience to see it. With content distribution, a better guiding question for your goals is, “what do you want your audience to know or do after they see your content?” This question helps you make your distribution decisions.
One of the biggest goals of content marketing is brand awareness at the top of your marketing funnel. But you don’t want your leads to stay there forever. Now that you’ve got them hooked, what do you want them to do next? Setting goals like increasing your website traffic or your conversions are logical benchmarks that you can track for campaign success.
When doing any kind of content distribution, you need to know what pieces you’re sharing, where, and when. Coordinating a content calendar for all your distribution activities allows you to see how you’re spreading your brand message across various channels. Syncing shares of similar content, or themed content, creates a more cohesive campaign. Content calendars also let you track how often you distribute content to each channel. This information helps inform your analytics for future projects.
Related: How To Build a B2B Content Calendar in 3 Steps
Use these strategies to distribute content on social media to encourage engagement from your audience:
Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and other social media platforms take advantage of grouping features. No matter what they’re called, these segments of the platforms allow like-minded people a space to talk about specific topics. Within groups or forums, people ask and answer questions, share resources, and discuss topics in-depth with other people who know—or want to know—a lot about them.
Joining niche channels related to your industry is a classic social media content distribution tactic. When you’re active in these groups, you’re engaging with an audience that cares about your industry, content, expertise, products, or services. When joining a niche channel, be sure to read and understand any rules for participating in group discussions. Some groups don’t allow for sales pitches within channels. There may also be content or topics forbidden from discussions. If you want to stay active in these communities, play by the moderator’s rules.
It’s also important to remember the intent behind engagement with your audience on these channels. Similar to search intent, train your team to understand post intent. What does the individual or the group want to get out of this discussion? If you can pick up on the intent, you have a better chance of sharing welcomed, relevant content and increasing engagement with your audience.
Though celebrity endorsements have been around for years, the practice’s cousin, the influencer, came from social media. Influencers gain their online clout in many ways, either for their knowledge and expertise, looks, or personality. With so many influential people out there on social media, you have a good chance of finding one that’s the right fit as a partner for your brand.
The influencer movement has made endorsement and partnerships more easily accessible for smaller businesses. Rather than paying a star like Lizzo a large sum of money for a five-second cameo in a video, companies can work with “regular people” who have social media status without breaking the bank.
Influencer marketing works for both B2B and B2C companies if you put in the time and effort to create the right partnerships. Choosing the right influencers helps you target a specific audience niche and gives your company and content an additional stamp of approval from someone your audience already trusts.
Related: How To Find Influencers and Create Your First Campaign
Is talking with your audience in the comments of social media posts really a way to distribute your content? It can be. A Lyfe Marketing study from 2018 (the most recent statistics on the topic), found that 71% of social media users who have a positive experience with a brand on a platform are more likely to recommend that brand to others. Do you know where people are most likely to have positive interactions with your brand on social media? When they engage with your representatives in comments or through direct messages.
The easiest way to distribute content through social media comments is by answering questions and directing people to content that helps solve their problems. For example, if you post a video about your latest product or service and people ask questions in the comments, share links to your FAQs, additional videos, or other content to provide answers and more context.
You’re not limited to engaging with your audience on your own channels or profiles, either. Doing social listening helps you track brand or industry mentions across the platforms. You can swoop into other discussions to answer questions and share valuable content.
Content distribution isn’t strictly organic. Paid social media distribution methods are another way to reach your audience, and even new leads, through algorithm appearance on people’s feeds. Paid social ads and post boosting help position your content in the best places for your audience to find it. Most platforms allow you to tailor your boosting campaigns by audience demographics, search type, post type, and other relevant factors.
When engaging in paid social media content distribution, your goals are more important than ever. Understand what you plan to get out of boosting your posts, like more engagement, web traffic, or conversions. When choosing which posts to boost, the ones that already perform well organically or include time-sensitive content are usually your best choices. Consider boosting different types of posts, like written content, videos, or images, to reach a wider variety of audience members.
No matter what type of content you create and share, the key to success is establishing an effective content strategy. To learn more about how creating the right content strategy helps you outrank your competition and achieve brand goals, join the CopyPress and Search Engine Journal webinar How To Analyze Your Content & Craft a Winning Strategy in 2023.
During this live event, you’ll learn how to analyze your current content to develop a better strategy. You’ll also discover the dos and don’ts of adjusting your content strategies going into the new year. If you can’t join our VP of Partner Development, Sabrina Hipps, and Director of Content Marketing Analysis, Jeremy Rivera, for the live session, all registrants get a link to watch a recording on demand.