Social media: the heartbeat of every small business content marketing strategy

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social media the heartbeat of every small business content marketing strategy

As the importance of content marketing grows, more and more small businesses are investing time and money into developing different types of content for their customers. However, many are forgetting two simple words: social media.

The content marketing-social media relationship

While we’re going to discuss the value of social media and the role it plays in content marketing in much more detail throughout this article, let’s be clear about one thing from the start:


Content marketing and social media marketing are two distinct aspects of an overall digital marketing strategy, but there’s a considerable amount of overlap between the two. Think of it like a Venn diagram. On one side you have content marketing and on the other there’s social media. However, there’s a shared portion in the middle where the two converge. 

While this shared portion is important for organizations of every shape and size, it’s exponentially more valuable to small businesses that are forced to maximize their resources and remain as efficient as possible. According to Cathy McPhillips, VP of Marketing at the Content Marketing Institute:

“The easiest way to think about their relationship is that content is needed to drive social media, while social media is most essential during two key content marketing processes.”

These processes include listening to your audience in order to determine the type of content they find engaging and relevant, and distributing content.

4 helpful tips for small businesses

The sooner you – as a small business owner – recognize the importance of social media development, the faster you’ll be able to make your content marketing efforts count. Let’s take a look at some best practices and tips you can use to fully master content marketing and social media in the months and years to come.

1. Think about social when developing headlines

When it comes to successfully sharing content on social media, the headline you select matters more than anything else. It’s quite possibly the only interaction you’ll have with a user and you can’t take this exchange for granted.

According to research from CoSchedule and Buffer, 89% of content is shared less than 100 times on social media. Only 1% gets more than 1,000 shares. What’s the differentiating factor? In most cases, it’s the headline.

social media buffer coschedule research

The same research found that list posts – i.e. those with numbers in the headline – account for nearly 12% of all posts with more than 100 shares. Other words and phrases common in highly-shared articles include you/your, free/giveaway, how to, and DIY.

There are plenty of other schools of thought – and feel free to do more audience-specific research – but the moral of the story is that you need to think about social media headline creation as a significant content marketing process.

2. Build an active community

Social media requires patience. It’s not something you can launch and then force to work. It takes months and years to develop a strong following, especially for small businesses that don’t have the luxury of widespread brand awareness.

Understanding this, you should work hard to build an active community with a stable foundation. Really invest in these communities knowing that, one day, you’ll be able to use them to further your content marketing strategy.

lee odden quote scoopit

“When content centric brands build active communities on social networks, they create an invaluable channel of distribution for content promotion, engagement and influencer activation,” says marketing expert Lee Odden.

“Content isn’t great until people find and consume it. Social networks can provide excellent content amplification so that great content gets the exposure it deserves.”

3. Follow the 70-20-10 model

In marketing, it helps to follow frameworks and models. One such rule that can be applied to both content marketing and social media is the 70-20-10 model.

In terms of content marketing, the 70-20-10 model states that 70% of the content you produce should be the content that supports your brand-building efforts and will resonate with your audience. Roughly 20% of content should be “premier content” which comes with higher risks and higher rewards. The remaining 10% should be experimental content.

The same model can be applied to social media, albeit a little differently. The 70-20-10 rule in social media says that 70% of posts should add value and build the brand, 20% should be content curated from other sources, and 10% should be promotional in nature.

When you use these models to guide your approach to marketing, you’ll find that the content you produce and share is much more balanced and relevant. As a result, you’re able to establish more trust with your audience.

4. Write quality content

The fourth tip is to simply write good content. If you write high quality content, everything else will eventually fall into place.

“Take your time when crafting your blog posts,” says Forbes contributor Mike Templeman. “Simply putting words on a page isn’t enough — you have to ensure that your content is engaging, interesting, unique and entertaining. It has to teach readers something that they didn’t already know, make them laugh or otherwise keep them entertained.”

When your followers come to expect quality content, two things happen. First, they’re more apt to keep an eye out for your content and share it. Second, they’re more likely to visit your website and learn more about your brand.

Bottom line? Don’t ignore social media

social media

Social media can’t be ignored.

While massive brands with sizeable followings may be able to get away with launching a content marketing strategy independent of social media, small businesses don’t have the same luxury. Social media must be leveraged in order to maximize the value of content and reach as many people as possible.


Thankfully, there’s a convenient overlap between these two all-important components of digital marketing. Identifying and taking advantage of these convergences will allow you to thrive in a noisy and crowded marketplace. Meet with your team as soon as possible to discuss how you can begin taking actionable steps towards merging these two marketing aspects.

If you want to get 30 effective techniques to master content marketing along with valuable insights from 10+ influencers like Mark Schaefer, Rebecca Lieb, Lee Odden, Jason Miller or Ian Cleary, download our free eBook now!

Image by Surian Soosay

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About the Author

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. A graduate of Des Moines University, he still lives in Iowa as a full-time freelance writer and avid news hound. Currently, Larry writes for,,, and among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing.
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