A recent Econsultancy blog post by Steve Davies, for example, suggested that advertising and social media are like oil and water – two substances that should never be mixed.
At Castleford Media, we take a slightly different approach. Yes, advertising and social media are two very different things and no, they don't always go hand in hand 100 per cent of the time, but we think social media still has an important role to play in your overall content strategy.
Social media is a social medium
Sometimes, it's easy to get so caught up in the idea of getting likes on Facebook or new followers on Twitter that the purpose of social media gets diluted. It is important to remember that the heart of social media lies in making connections with your target audience, sharing information and engaging in dialogue.
As soon as social media marketing becomes less about fostering a relationship and more about plugging a product or service, customers are likely to switch off. But if you can keep this conversation relevant and inclusive, you can make sure they hang around for the long haul.
Social media allows your customer to learn more about your brand
Social media has given many brands an unprecedented opportunity to attach a "voice" to their products or services – and to provide your customers with exceptional resources and communication.
This can take many forms – for example, you can share a how-to list or video tutorial to answer frequently-asked questions, or you could invite customers to enter a contest or share feedback about a new product. The important thing is to not lose sight of the social aspect of social media – there is a fine line between what customers find useful and engaging and what makes them tune out.
Social media is about quality
One excellent point Davies makes is that when it comes to social media strategy, quality is much more important than quantity. This is especially true when it comes to retaining fans and followers – Facebook and Twitter users can switch off with a click of the mouse if they feel they are overwhelmed or bombarded with irrelevant posts.
Fresh content is a great way to keep social media fans and followers engaged. From blog posts to how-to lists, news articles and even infographics, if you can come up with a mix of high-quality content, you'll be able to keep your customers coming back for more!