Content marketing and social media have become the dynamic duo of marketing.

According to the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs’ 2014 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends reports, both B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) businesses increase the use of content marketing and social media every year.
  • 93% of B2B marketers and 90% of B2C marketers are now using content marketing.
  • Business social media use ranges from 71% to 91%. The top platforms are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, with most B2Bs using an average of five social channels.

Content Marketing Trends

Image: Content Marketing Institute

That puts an enormous amount of content and conversation on the Web, which is why brand awareness continues to be a top goal for most businesses. The average number of Google searches per day in 2013 was 5,922,000,000 (Statistic Brain), which makes getting noticed an ongoing challenge.

Answering Questions Will Empower Your Content Marketing

As a franchise, you want to make yourself stand out from the crowd and you can do this by providing the hands-down, best possible answers and information available about your industry, product or service.

People searching online are generally looking for answers to questions or solutions to problems, such as making product cost or benefits comparisons, or simply finding a local vendor.

Consider all the questions that have come up in your business from sales, customer service, and product experience and turn those answers into content.
  • Why are you the best company to solve a specific problem? (Even if it’s just being hungry.) 
  • What makes you unique/better than the competition? 
  • What are the benefits of your product or service? 
  • What needs are met—convenience, cost, personal attention, entertainment? 
Think outside the box and create content about topics of interest to your customers that relate to your business. For example:
  • Aamco, a transmission specialist – “Towing a trailer is much harder than it looks. Here are five smart tips for towing a trailer.” 
  • UPS Store, shipping/mailing – “Mail shouldn’t be complicated. We’ll help you sort it all out.” 
  • Liberty Tax Service – “Retiring soon? Year-end tax planning is critical.” 
Social Media Amplifies Your Content

Once you have your great content, it needs to be seen by the right people. Your blog or website is a given for hosting content, but you should also know your customers’ social media preferences and be there, posting regular, fresh content to all your social media accounts.

A strong social presence will:
  • Amplify content distribution and increase your digital finger print. 
  • Encourage follows, likes, retweets, etc. 
  • Implement real-time customer conversations and customer service. 
  • Enable customized content or discounts—time-sensitive offers or mobile-only users. 
  • Open up social listening opportunities to track what’s being said abo