After asking the B2B experts the difference between social media and content marketing, I asked them if they thought content marketing would ever replace social media.
This question was part of my original line of thinking. As more B2B marketers talk about content marketing instead of social media, it causes their social activities to be less siloed, less special. Content marketing feels more like marketing, and not an outsider art or mystical endeavor. With this in mind, I wondered if this change would shift the balance between the two. Read on to see if the experts think content marketing will replace social media. Share your own thoughts below in the comments.
The more likely scenario is that “content marketing” just becomes “marketing.”
In terms of a business activity, I think content marketing as a discipline will continue to rise and marketing budgets are definitely streaming in that direction. Some of that budget is being drawn from social media too.
Will marketing budgets towards content-focused marketing initiatives potentially exceed those for social media marketing? I think that’s entirely possible, especially for organizations that see social networks and media sites more as content distribution and engagement channels than purely as communities.
But with companies that operate socially across departments (marketing, sales, customer service, public relations, HR talent acquisition, legal, operations, etc) both internally and externally, overall social media investment could easily dwarf anything spent on content marketing.
In no way will content marketing overtake social media in any corner of the universe with the possible exception of professional marketers. Social media is the new telephone. Content marketing is the new brochure. That doesn’t make it unimportant – hell, I just published a best-selling book about doing content right. Keep in mind that my mom uses social media every day. My mom could care less about content marketing, although she of course consumes content routinely. Social media envelops us like air. Content marketing is a place we (mostly marketers) can go visit, like a sparkling lake stocked with trout.
Content marketing is being leveraged by companies everywhere to fuel their social media content. For the companies that allow content marketing to take over social media, they’ll ultimately have less return than those who don’t. Pumping content without the social element — engaging, responding, interacting — is hollow. We have that today. It’s called regular media. The social behavior, valuing your consumers, caring for them … that will always be the kicker that takes good content marketing efforts into the realm of noticeable outstanding marketing.
Joe Chernov (@jchernov)
VP of Marketing at Kinvey
Newly Acquired VP of Content at Hubspot
I too have seen that same shift beginning to occur, and frankly we’re not the only ones. Venture capitalists are increasingly investing in content marketing startups. Within marketing tech, content is absolutely the hot sector. I think the two — content and social — will remain separate for the next few years. Content platforms are just so new that the space will need to shake out a bit more. But in time, I can see a convergence. Content marketing solutions will converge with either demand generation systems or social media management systems, depending on where content finds its “center of gravity” in large organizations.
Content marketing will not replace social media by any means; they are and will continue to be two very different things with two very different functions. Social media channels are the tentacles from which your content extends its reach while opening up a direct line of communication with your customers and prospects. In addition, what were once known as “social media vanity metrics” (shares, plus ones, Likes, retweets, and comments) are now playing a much bigger role in how your content ranks within search engines and the social platforms themselves. At the end of the day, content and social will be broken out of their respective silos and pulled together as an essential part of an overall integrated marketing strategy.
I see lots of social media experts and agencies furiously rebranding themselves as content marketing experts and agencies. I don’t see many content marketing experts and agencies going the other way.
I don’t think content marketing will replace social media marketing because they’re very different things. But I do think it will become more important, more central and more strategic than social media marketing — because it is!
But content marketing will one day dissolve into marketing, too. (Try to imagine ‘content-free marketing’). And the next hot term will come along and replace it.
The discipline won’t go away – it’s just way too fundamental to what good marketing is – but the term and its attendant buzzwords will.
Content marketing will never take the place of social media and probably will never outrank the term. Everyone is using social media. A few actually get it right. Being smart with the content you’re producing will help grow your business. Then you actually have something worth sharing.
The irony of it all is that content marketing allows us to be more successful with web, email and social media.
No, I think they are a natural partners when it comes to online marketing, and especially in B2B, depth of information is critical in social media marketing as we know information is crucial right throughout the decision making process. The long term question for me is more whether marketing inately becomes more content and socially focused, effectively rendering both specialities obsolete.
This is not possible, because they are interrelated, symbiotic concepts. Social media refers to websites and internet-based applications that are used for social networking between users of these websites or applications. Content marketing uses content in the form of dialogue or information – shared within social media – to drive effective networking between users. This networking allows B2B marketers to use social media to activate relationships, build brand, grow demand and generate leads. Wherever personal brand and person-to-person relationships are key (e.g. in social selling), content – and its use for marketing purposes – serves as the lifeblood of B2B marketers.
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