A decade ago, who could’ve predicted how much we expose of ourselves to people all around the world through social networks? Social media isn’t just a way to reconnect with friends from middle school. It is informational and engaging, and today is a platform driving relevant content for many businesses and brands. It is also one integral component of a content strategy.

The bulk of social networking is just as the name implies, a way to build relationships and community. Where else can a soccer mom, CEO, and celebrity all have a relatively equal playing field as long as the content is good? From a content standpoint, investing in social media is not optional; it’s a necessity one cannot afford to ignore.

Statistica ranks the top 15 social networks worldwide by the number of active users as:

Facebook
WhatsApp
YouTube
Facebook Messenger
WeChat
QQ
Instagram
QZone
Tumblr
Twitter
Sina Weibo
Baidu Tieba
Snapchat
Skype
Viber
With different sites offering different reasons for use, there is no universal social media strategy when it comes to content. Market leader Facebook was the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts, so one might argue that all content should be tailored for that platform, since it has the widest reach. But for many businesses, the 10th-ranked microblogging network, Twitter (with 313 million monthly active accounts), was the best use of their social media content’s time. While those numbers are helpful, above all, content must fit within each platform’s context and it is imperative for it to make sense for your brand.

Hootsuite reports that by June of 2014, nearly 80% of U.S. marketers were using promoted Tweets. And in 2016, total promoted tweet engagements were up 91% year-over-year — much higher than traditional banner ads. While Brandwatch notes that only 20 Fortune 500 companies actually engage with their customers on Facebook, but 83% have a presence on Twitter.

Digital advertising has reached a new frontier in social networks. The end road is about influential content. In other words, not advertising for advertising’s sake. And within those ads, whether it’s branded content, sponsored content, or native advertising, the content has to include compelling storytelling. To achieve this, social media advertisers must not only hit their audience where they are, but with something that resonates with their life. Well-crafted content that’s relevant is the best way to gain the most impact — no matter the platform.

 Social media users continue to use a relatively diverse array of platforms. More than half of online adults (56%) use more than one of the five social media platforms measured in this survey, a share that is statistically unchanged from the 52% who did so in 2014. — Pew Research Center

According to GlobalWebIndex, internet users have an average of 5.54 social media accounts. So a strong content strategy must include the use of several social media platforms. Active accounts with engaging content custom to each audience and channel is a great way to grow your content audience. But choose your platform wisely, as data suggests that content spreads depending on the platform. In an article titled “13 Lessons from Upworthy & BuzzFeed: Viral Content’s Secret Sauce,” key audiences are at play. Whether it’s those bored at work looking for entertainment, or content that pulls at emotional triggers, there is a psychology to what content works and why.

15 years ago the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item, and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost six touch-points with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. — Marketing Week

MediaScience research measured consumers’ emotional responses to mobile video ads among four social media platforms — Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat — and found that Snapchat video ads delivered a significantly higher emotional response than Facebook and Instagram. And that’s not something to be overlooked. Mediakix reports that Snapchat now boasts over 10 billion video views per day, surpassing rival Facebook’s 8 billion daily video view.

Not only is there a science to what platform you use and why, but also the right frequency between posts. Social media is different across industries, from healthcare to travel and hospitality to marketing and retail. All must find their voice and fill with relevant content to boost their brand.

Some raw data findings relating to links posted on social media prove interesting: Times articles earned an average of 39 retweets on Twitter and 445 shares on Facebook, while Guardian articles saw an average of 50 retweets and 190 Facebook shares. — Neiman Lab

In her book “Clout,” Content Science CEO Colleen Jones wrote, “Social networking compensates for the many drawbacks of portals,” (like Yahoo! used to be). “When someone’s friends and colleagues share content, it’s more likely to be relevant.” With that theory in mind, this particularly relates to news stories. When a friend shares a news story, one might be more inclined to read it. Social media is no doubt shaping journalism. Even the second royal baby birth was first announced on Twitter.

Social media has made celebrities out of everyday people. It’s also grown brands through excellent content in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. While social media can generate leads, grow your audience, introduce your brand — its content must be done right because one wrong misstep and you could be virally shamed.

The stakes are high in this space known for its shareability, and all social media content can’t fit into a one-size-fits-all package. Choosing the right channel that fits your overall content goals is important.

The Author

Content Science is a growing content strategy and intelligence company and the publisher of Content Science Review. We empower digital enterprises for the content era by taking their content approach to the next level. Customers of our professional services and one-of-a-kind products (such as ContentWRX and Content Science Academy) include the Fortune 50, the world’s largest nonprofits, and the most trusted government agencies.

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