With each passing day, more and more companies are waking up to the strong correlation between content marketing and business growth. But creating quality online content that is relevant to one’s target audience is only half the battle- it must be easily found in places where they will most likely consume it. According to a new report by Paul Verna, senior analyst at eMarketer, many Internet users are turning to social media in general-and Facebook and Twitter specifically-as their main source of news and information. As Verna notes, “Users are learning that the more they share, the more they discover…and the more they discover, the more likely they are to turn first to Facebook for content they used to get elsewhere.”¹
Increasingly, Facebook and Twitter are taking steps to become publishing platforms for news, video, photos and entertainment content. Since late 2011, Facebook has been gradually rolling out its Timeline interface, which puts greater focus on media activity and content. According to a report from Simply Measured, as of February, worldwide content engagement on Facebook has gone up by 46% compared with before Timeline. Twitter’s addition of the Discover tab to its navigation menu was also designed to encourage interaction among users and published stories.¹
“Whether through the efforts of media companies or the unprompted sharing activity of users, more media content is making its way across the social web. This trend has put Facebook and Twitter at the center of the media ecosystem and turned their users into active participants in the content loop,” said Verna.¹
According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 39% of Twitter users, and 34% of Facebook users said most of the news they got on Twitter in January 2012 was not material they would have read elsewhere.
The eMarketer report’s key takeaway is summed up by Verna, “Marketers who are savvy about how to use Facebook are focusing … on the site’s strength as a content portal, its viral power and its ability to deliver qualitative and quantitative feedback on brand campaigns.”¹
These findings are especially significant when you set them against the latest data on global social media reach publish by Forrester. An update of Forrester's Global Social Media Adoption In 2011 study, originally published in January 2012, finds that more than 86% of online US adults and 79% of European online adults engage with social media; in BRIC countries, some 93% of online users use social tools.²
In the face of these trends, a study by InSites Consulting found that, despite the widespread use of social networks among US companies, only 11% have fully integrated social media into existing business programs. Moreover, only 47% of the companies surveyed are aware of the opportunities that various social channels offer for distributing content, and only 39% have a content strategy in place.³
The majority of businesses have a lot of work to do. They need to not only accept the importance of content marketing, but recognize the potential of social media as an effective content distribution channel. Why? Because that’s where their prospects are consuming and sharing news and information (i.e. content).
As the Millennials come of age, this trend is likely to quicken. Realizing this, companies are starting to incorporate inbound marketing best practices, which are largely dependent on the creation of quality content and its distribution through social media channels.
By doing so, they are positioning themselves for efficient business growth.
¹ eMarketer, “Facebook, Twitter Help Publishers Find Their Audience”
² Marketing Profs, “At Least 8 in 10 Online Users Engage in Social Media Globally”
³ Marketing Profs, “Brands Failing to Tap Potential of Social Media”
Info-Graphic Courtesy of eMarketer