The Difference Between Social Media and Social Media Channels

You hear social media…You think… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest…Yep, I know it all.

Social Media Isn’t All About The Channels

Well guess what, social media is actually a whole array of things, from social media channels (the above mentioned), blog marketing, foring (yes, it’s actually a term meaning to have live forums), SEO, public relations, client attention, social bookmarking (which are platforms that allow the segmentation and sharing of content) and, finally, monitorization is all part of social media.

Why Social Media?

The purpose of social media is to SHARE and generate ENGAGEMENT, whether it’s with your business or your personal life, or both.

So, what’s the difference between social media and the channels?

Social media is all about outcomes: changes, benefits and learnings for our company that occur as we measure results.

Social media channels provide us with outputs: which are direct products of our interaction with customers.

Social media isn’t all about posting pictures of your latest holiday. On LinkedIn, you establish your professional achievements and capabilities, on About.me you can create a digital resume, scientists can access ResearchGate.net for jobs, or you HR.com you can post your CV/resume in specific job sectors. Artists choose Dribble, Flickr, Tumblr or Behance and gastronomy professionals, wedding planners or interior/fashion designers prefer Pinterest or Instagram to show off who they really are and what they are capable of.

Types of Social Media Channels

Microblogging: Twitter and Tumblr are typical examples where users post short messages and usually attach a video/image/location/link.

Geolocalization: this type of channel allows you to show the location of a person, place or building. Foursquare is a good example

Bookmarking: these are channels which clarify content and segment it. Bloggers and companies usually share links on these websites as they promote themselves. Many forget about social bookmarking websites, but these are a perfect opportunity to expand to a wider audience, who are interested in the same things as you or your business. It’s like attending a social networking event and leaving your business card to everyone you meet, especially to people with who you hit it off well when exchanging opinions on similar subjects. Try Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Indosocialise among many…

Sharing: 

A) Photos: Flickr, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram. I do wonder what the millennials will come up with next.

B) Videos: YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion.

C) Documents: Slideshare, Prezi

D) Music: Spotify, Apple Music

Theme Specific: 

Social Movements: where there is social unrest, many turn to the likes of Change.org to sign petitions or have their voices raised. Go Fund Me is another strong online platform used to raise money for special cases such as natural disasters, illnesses, special causes…

Travel: sharing opinions of places, locations. services, accommodation, restaurants, TripAdvisor, Minube, Booking.com

Languages: head to Duolingo or Busuu and learn new languages alongside native speakers. There are so many online forums like Linguee where you can post questions about culture/language/countries/customs and which would be answered by natives.

So now you’ve seen the umbrella term of social media and what it really is. It’s much more than just the basic social media channels we are familiar with and can’t live without. It’s about making some noise online about things that matter to you or that you are interested in, and connecting with people all over the world who share your interests. Engage, share and distribute. But we all have a responsibility to do so respectfully and truthfully. 🙂

 

 

How to Define Distribution Channels

Let’s just jump right in! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest. These are all on your devices, right? Read on to find out how to choose and distribute content across digital channels. If you have the energy to scroll further, you’ll find out how to determine KPIs and how to know if your digital content is promoted to the right people, at the right time, in the right way. 🙂

Top tip: (If you don’t take anything from this article, at least read this first VITAL part!)

You shouldn’t publish the same content across all content distribution channels. 

This is the biggest mistake which most advertisers make today. Imagine you go to www.the-coolest-highlighters-in-the-world.com (completely made up), and you see one content blog on Facebook, then you check their Instagram – the same blog – hmmm…maybe Twitter…SAME BLOG! You know what? I’m wasting my time and you are not giving me valuable information about highlighters. I leave. Boom – bounce rates go up and you are sad.

The Distribution Channels

  1. Your website.
  2. Social Media (FB, IG, TW, P, G+, LI, YT)
  3. You can offer to write a guest blog on someone’s else’s website and get recognition for it (don’t forget to get a juicy backlink back to your website). Your name will be revealed to all the connections of the person for whom you guest blog.
  4. SEO. Have a look at what SEO tools (Seoquake, Moz, Ahrefs) are suggesting. Check out backlinko.com for super cool SEO advice and more tools to explore. Make sure your SERP is descriptive and enticing and that search engines like you.

All these distribution channels are in abundance and exist to be exploited. It just takes time. No pain, no gain. So generate lots of content and vary it across as many distribution channels as possible to enhance your viewer reach.

Promotion Plan

Content Calendar

Get into the habit of creating a content plan where you include the following details:

  1. Content
  2. Assignees
  3. Distribution Channel
  4. Creation and distribution dates
  5. KPIs
  6. Objectives of each day

Defining KPIs and Metrics

How do you know if your campaigns have been successful? It’s pretty self explanatory. Ask yourself:

  1. Am I increasing sales or revenue?
  2. Am I reducing company costs?
  3. Am I satisfying customers?

Choose the correct CMS

From WordPress, to Drupal, to Joomla, these systems are tools which allow you to establish the structure of a website, including screens, aspect, themes, visuals, formats and styles. You can add plugins or extensions, create and edit content without much technical knowledge and much more. Choose one which suits the needs of, and best represents, your business.

Fun Fact: ever wonder what WYSWYG meant? I always did. Well it means ‘what you see is what you get. Cool, right? No? Let’s move on.

 

Digital Content Strategy

How Do You Even Begin A Digital Content Strategy?

Digital content, eh? But what about strategy? Sure, it’s easy for anyone to sit down and splurge out their creative ideas. Any four year-ol can finger paint and think it a masterpiece. In fact for their age, it is. (*Me @ 3 years old, admiring my own masterpiece. )

digital content strategy

But not every four year-old knows about the 4 fundamental elements of a content strategy. These elements will be the purpose of what you are reading today…or hopefully you haven’t become too scared of a super-hyper, mega-creative, rebellious, four year-old mini Carolina. 

The Elements…

  1. Substance: what content do I need or do my users need?
  2. Structure: how do I organize the content for my users?
  3. Flow: How do I maintain and implement the content?
  4. Governance: How do I control content to reach my objectives? 

Substance & Structure 

What are the users’ needs? These days, it is the THEY who decide which content is key and we must respect what they want in order to grab their attention. hey are the most important. The table below shows some of the main points to take into account when trying to devise a genius ‘substance’ plan of the content you want to promote. Imagine the viewers journey as they flick through online content, their objectives, the scenarios they are in, their tasks and the complimentary content suited to each step. 

Content Map 

Target Objective Scenario Task  Content Type
Who are going to be your content viewers? Buy a pair of shoes online Explore Search Photo/video
Consults various websites/blogs/forums/trends/magazines. Interest Read Reports, eBooks, case studies
Customer Testimonies Evaluate/Decision Buy Product details, what we do, Social testimonies
Buys shoes, looks for further discounts/offers/loyalty schemes Enjoyment Use Tips and advice

The content map also helps to connect your business KPIs combined with the users’ needs and desires for content.

  1. People are always enticed by objectives. 
  2. Objectives are very varied (to live better, to relax, to impact their job, fast ROI, savings, information, enjoyment, feelings of security). 
  3. To complete their objectives, the people go through various scenarios and complete corresponding tasks
  4. Content types need to be identified to assist the user to execute tasks or scenarios. 

Try to position your target in the appropriate place along the content map to really find your content opportunity for them. 

Flow & Governance 

content flow and content control, content governance

The movement of content also needs a strategy. In what order do the viewers like to consume content? What tools can you use to organize the flow of content?

Try to answer a few of these questions before you can figure out a content flow: 

  1. What resources do we have to hand to manage content?
  2. What tools do can you use to publish, organize and analyze content and its performance?
  3. When should content be generated and how often? What is the chain of content to be delivered?
  4. How do you design each chain of content flow?

We already know that we must focus more on the client rather than your business’ own benefits and services. We must know what the viewers like to read or what their expectations are to generate content that will interest them…duh. But the content must be in line with our own business brand. The distribution of content is just as important. 

Content Voice and Tone

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The voice and tone of content should definitely bring out what defines your company and what your values you have. Sit up and think, what is the best I can offer?

The perception clients and users have of you will determine how likely they are to develop a relationship with you. Let’s say my finger painting teacher didn’t like me so much as I didn’t deliver finger painting content that was suited to her desires. Content has to be tailored to the state of a client, but that also aligns with your business’ KPIs. 

Make sure you audit the type of content which clients are consuming. shaking-hands-1016734_640.jpgContent can be created inhouse, by native industry professionals, or by the general users. It is vital to curate content and to make sure that content is in line with your company’s brand. While it is difficult to remain in control of your content, especially when anyone can publish anything anywhere about your business, always monitor, monitor and monitor again. How are customers engaging? What are they saying? Listen to complaints or queries as they are good indicators of how you can improve your products/services. Even if there are bad comments, you can turn these in your favor by answering as professionally as possible, and therefore proving your excellent customer service skills. 

How to organize your content…

Content precedes design. We are no longer in the stone age era where the design of a website was conducted first and then content was used to fill it up. Today, create the content first and then structure the design of the website is the best practice. Once you have your content, you can add data and metadata for SEO purposes, to collect resources from organizational tools and to generate new content creatively. 

Can You COPE With This? – Create Once, Publish Everywhere. 

There are so many social bookmarking sites where you can publish your content. digg.com, indosocialise.com, reddit.com, scoop.it, stumbleupon.com. These are just a few of the websites. Google will tell you the top 10, top 100, or even top 1000 PBNs where you can sprawl your content. It’s free! Why not? (Well, most are free, anyway.)

Key Content Marketing Strategies:

Have you considered them?

Business KPIs

Know your Viewers

Determine Content on Offer

Determine Clear Objective of the Campaign

Recognize brand

Who are they?

Focus on Long Tail Keywords

Consistent objectives

Obtain leads

What do we want them to do?

Find Niche that has the potential to grow.

Same audience, what we will offer them, what benefit will they get? 

Increase ARPU of clients

Relevant Content

Look at competitors and find loopholes. 

What do I want them to do after consuming my content?

Loyalty of clients

About them, not us

Educate your audience. 

How will you align KPIs with what viewers truly need and want?

In conclusion, technology is at our fingertips today and digital tools help us to distribute content to virtually anyone. Those who can successfully balance between abiding by business KPIs and delivering what viewers want and like, will succeed with digital content.