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Published July 12th 2016

7 Ways to Use Social Media for Content Marketing Research

Using social data for your content marketing research means you can produce highly relevant, engaging content specifically targeted at your audience.

In an age where consumers are empowered with choice, traditional advertising that interrupts has become less effective. Instead, content marketing provides information that customers want, while getting the brand message across.

Content has become an integral part of the marketing mix, meaning there is no shortage of competition when trying to attract readers. WordPress alone sees over 58 million new posts published every month.

Most content marketing strategies include harnessing social media to promote content and get it in front of the intended audience.

Social discovery in general, and the rise of influencer marketing, has helped content spread in a more organic way.

Content wooden blocks

However, this isn’t the only role social media can play in your content strategy.

Using social media for content marketing research purposes can help you offer more compelling content that better aligns with the interests of your audience.

Traditional content marketing research

How do you decide what to write about? How do you ensure that your content is successful? The difficulty lies in the different motivations for content between creator and consumer.

A business wants to create content about itself and its products, and often consumers don’t want to read about that. People are looking for content that helps, informs, inspires, entertains: in short, something that offers them value.

The key is to offer a mix, relevant to your company but with value for the reader, and without the hard sell. There is an element of trial and error with content creation. Looking at your past successes and failures should be part of your strategy.

If you are creating SEO content, you will be driven by primarily by keyword research.

This can involve several techniques and tools, but while it will have a focus on certain keywords, it still needs to resonate with the audience to stand a chance of success.

In order to know what your audience wants to read, you have to understand the makeup of your audience and what subjects they talk about.

There are a few techniques you can use in order to understand the content your audience are currently consuming. While you cannot discover how many people have read a particular piece of content, there are other ways of seeing what has resonated with an audience.

  • Looking at what the top websites in your vertical are publishing
  • Sign up to relevant newsletters to keep an eye on latest trends
  • Looking at what is being shared on social media
  • Looking at the content with the most backlinks
  • Looking at the keyword search estimates in Google AdWords
  • Looking at what questions in your industry are already being asked – try Quora or LinkedIn groups
  • Use social listening to discover the relevant, popular topics being talked about.

Mining social conversations for content marketing research

Listening to online conversations about your industry, or your brand, products and services can help you uncover how people are already talking, the topics they are most interested in, and the language being used.

Using a listening platform in this way means you’re able to uncover natural conversations about products or brands in real-time.

This will include the specific language they use, the questions they are asking and the key conversation drivers. This can all help to inform choice of topics and keywords, both for organic search, PPC, and content planning.

Topic clouds will show you the frequency with which these terms are used, and can be looked into to find the particular stories that are driving that topic.

Content marketing topics through Brandwatch Analytics

Discover trending content

Content based on a trending topic has the opportunity to drive large amounts of traffic and gain a lot of social media engagement.

The key is discovering a trending topic quickly, and then producing content fast enough to lead the conversation.

Listening to real-time conversations around a specific industry, product or topic allows businesses to react quickly to emerging trends with relevant fresh content.

This is particularly useful for SEO, as Google has confirmed that specific searches will strongly favor content that is fresh.

For trend alerts, social listening is far more responsive than keyword tools, which are slow to update.

This makes social listening a powerful tool for trend hijacking. With Brandwatch you can set up Signals, automatic intelligent alerts that will notify you of trending topics.

This automation gives you the best chance of catching a trend as early as possible, leading the conversation rather than following behind.

Understand your audience

A better understanding of who the people are that discuss your brand or products online can provide the means to tailor content messaging to a specific audience.

Social listening tools like Brandwatch can uncover audience insights on locality, profession, interest, and gender to help you identify the different groups within your total customer base.

Customers in different markets or regions may have different interests and motivations. There may be niche interests or country specific opportunities to create content around.

Audiences, our new audience analytics platform, allows marketers to instantly surface insights which help them plan highly targeted campaigns and discover real-time marketing opportunities specific to their target customer segments.

Content marketing research using Brandwatch Audiences

Research a defined audience

You can track the social outputs of a core group of individuals or accounts to mimic the way that some market research panels operate.

The same 1000 or so people can be tracked on an ongoing basis, monitoring the content they share and the conversations they have.

A good social media analytics tool will make it easy to define a target audience group in any number of ways. Insights gained from analyzing the social media activity of these tightly defined audience segments can prove very valuable when it comes to helping to shape or create a marketing strategy.

Identifying successful content

Social engagement helps content creators understand what is resonating best with an audience.

Additionally, by examining the content created by both your brand and competitors, you can gain insight on what content interests your shared audience – that feedback can then inform the direction of future content.

You can discover how much social engagement a particular post has by using a tool like BuzzSumo.

This is useful for discovering the most popular content of your competitors. Brandwatch Audiences will show you the trending content within a particular audience, allowing you to know if the content was popular with a specific target audience.


Identifying topics away from your brand

According to our research, brands only feature in 3.6% of online conversation. Great content marketing research should identify topics outside your brand and possibly industry.

Discovering what else your audience are interested in can be a great way to create relevant content.

To find out what relevant people talk about the rest of the time, you can identify a group and set up a search that monitors just that audience. There may be stories that allow you to show some of the culture and personality around your brand, to provide some balance to your content.

Identify influencers to boost the content

Influencer marketing is now part of marketing strategy for many companies.

While you may have regular influencers that you work with, there may be other influencers that are relevant only to a particular piece of content.

Discovering and engaging these influencers can give your content a boost, putting it in front of that influencers highly relevant group of followers.

Whether your content is aimed at social or search, amplification by social media is important. With SEO content, getting your content shared and in front of people may increase ranking points through social signals. It will get people reading it, and quite possibly linking to it, which is SEO gold.

Adding insights from social media to your content marketing research can really flesh out your understanding of your audience, ensuring you deliver the content they are interested in.

Leading the conversation with relevant content gives the best chance of your message reaching the people you are aiming for.

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