If there’s one common theme in marketing over the last few years it’s that we’re in the middle of a revolution away from traditional advertising and towards authenticity. It’s more common for your target audience to be influenced by their friends and family than by marketing messages, as:

  • 63% of consumers are more likely to trust their peers; and,
  • 92% report that word-of-mouth motivates them to make purchases.

Looking at these gloomy statistics, it’s difficult to see how marketers can be effective when more people are listening to their friends and family. But there is an answer: Social media. Here’s some guidance on how to leverage social content to boost engagement – without shouting out your messages.

Getting Involved with the Conversation

If you want to use your social content to persuade and engage, it’s necessary to participate in the discussions your target audience is having online – and go the step further by actually initiating the conversations. According to Forrester, engagement from the perspective of the customer relates to the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence the person has with your brand over time.

Using social content in your marketing enables you to move your customers from the initial stages of involvement all the way through to becoming influential to their purchasing decisions. Becoming a trusted source doesn’t happen overnight: You cultivate it through conversations on social media.

Keeping the Discussion Organic and Creative

To have a meaningful impact on the conversations you’re initiating and participating in, you also need to be talking about the right things. You should be moving away from the sales-speak that’s typical of traditional marketing: It’s not authentic and it will label you right away as an outsider. The essential conversations you’re having with your target audience on social media must be organic and creative, so that you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Content marketing is all about giving your prospects what they want – and what they want is information on how to make their lives easier and solve their pain points. The assistance you provide moves you closer to being an influencer in their purchasing decisions.

Integrating Your Social Content Across Other Efforts

The social content you spend so much time creating and curating can help drive your other marketing efforts. Because it’s audience-driven, it carries with it the authenticity you need to earn the trust of your audience. These conversations can be a source of inspiration for a blog post or white paper. You get a feel for the interest level of your subject matter with social content, which lets you know what other content you need to be producing.

Taking a social approach for your content marketing efforts can lead to better engagement, more conversions and branding – not to mention improved ROI. Leverage your social strategy to inspire persuasive conversation and word-of-mouth discussions, and you will earn the trust of your target audience. Your marketing messages will soon work their way into being the source that 92% of consumers listen to when making purchases.