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The Ten Commandments of Leveraging Social Media for Content Marketing

Most of us don’t leverage social media enough, or in the right way for content marketing, leaving money on the table. It’s time to fix that. Ineffective strategies, such as using social merely as a way to “spray and pray” your content on to new channels for communication, are a waste of time and yield little or nothing. With your competitors creating more and more content, it is imperative to leverage social media marketing for ultimate competitive advantage. The potent duo of an optimized content marketing strategy and a well-planned and implemented tactical social media approach will maximize your content marketing ROI.

Using this knowledge in your content marketing strategy enables you to be successful in your implementation, and to identify the tremendous opportunities social media marketing can provide your brand and business as a whole.

The big question is: How can you best leverage social media as part of your content marketing platform? The answer revolves around one simple rule: Social media represents the convergence of information and communication. Social media users are therefore consuming more content and are hungry for your information. If you don’t provide it to them, they will consume your competitor’s content.

Based on my own experience with clients as well as for my personal brand, I have defined the following ten commandments. If you internalize and follow these you’ll get the best results from your social media marketing efforts.

The ten commandments of social media marketing

You don’t have to be a religious person. But try to remember to internalize these ten commandments as best as possible. Once you do, all of this will come naturally to you over time.

One: I Will Only Post to Relevant Social Networks

There are many benefits to every social media platform. It is in social media where you can find your target audience, and this is where your connections begin. Having said that, I do not advise spreading your resources on each of the available social media channels, especially when some are more relevant to your business than others.

Only post appropriate content to appropriate social networks. This sounds easy enough. But too many companies simply try to amplify all of their content on all of their social media platforms. It’s a waste of time. Get into the mindset of only posting relevant content on relevant social networks.

I do A/B testing to find the right social channels to invest time in with my clients. I advise you to do the same.

Two: I Will Optimize My Content for Each Social Network

When posting content, always optimize it for that social network. Consider it an exercise in repurposing your content for social.

When optimizing your content for each social network, remember that each site is like its own country. It has its own community, its own way of doing things, and its own way of communicating. Follow the famous directive “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and your social media marketing efforts will be all the more successful.

Three: I Will Always Use an Image When I Post to Social Media

Content posted on social media should always include an image. People are easily distracted whenever they’re on social media, so visual stimuli are crucial to catch your audience’s attention. Social media platforms are cluttered. Your content will go down the drain absent a high-quality image on your post to catch their eye in the newsfeed.

Numerous studies have confirmed that visuals get the most engagement in social media. Make sure to use eye-popping images in all of your posts—even if your brand is not visual.


Four: I Will Always Tag the Author When Posting

Always tag authors and contributors to your content in your social media marketing postings. This practice gives your post authority, especially if the author or contributor are well-known entities in the industry. It also notifies the author about your post, increasing the chances that they will share the content with their own network.

This is especially important when you curate others’ content, as I mention in the sixth commandment below.

Five: I Will Repeatedly Post Content

You should repeatedly post content in social media to maximize exposure, especially content that gets a lot of engagement. Identify which of your content gets a lot of traction with your audience. This is a strong indicator that you have valuable content. Then follow through—repurpose it for your other social media channels, and even for new and upcoming campaigns.

With a ‘post once and you’re done’ attitude, you miss out on the 99 percent of social media users who probably never see a given social media posting on a given day. However, it should go without saying: only repeatedly post content that is evergreen and still relevant.

Six: I Will Become Better at Content Curation

If you curate and share content representing similar topics, you expand the community around your own topic. This also increases the chances that social media users engage with your content. It works especially well if you curate influencers’ content. If they then share your content it can spark the beginning of a relationship that you can leverage in the tenth commandment below.

Sending out 100 percent self-promotional content as social media marketing today simply doesn’t work. Even consumer brands aren’t creating content for some social channels like Instagram. Instead they’re leveraging user-generated content. Content is a commodity. Once you learn to leverage others’ content for your own social media program, it will positively impact your own content marketing in social.
If you want to better understand content curation, check out Curata’s awesome Definitive Guide to Content Curation.

Seven: I Will Leverage Paid Social for Strategic Content to Meet Objectives

Unfortunately, high quality content is not enough to turn your social media audience into customers. Like it or not, organic reach continues to diminish. Someday it will be all but declared dead. Marketers who want to be successful should now look at wholeheartedly investing in paid social.

One advantage of using paid social is the accompanying privilege of micro-targeting. This ensures you only pay for the most potentially lucrative audience seeing your content. Paid social ensures that your brand—and content—are seen by your target audience.

I don’t recommend boosting every social media post. But the most strategic posts, that have a direct ROI KPI attached to them—these are both the easiest to boost and worth the expense.

Eight: I Will Religiously Analyze and Optimize

Always look at your social analytics in addition to your content marketing metrics for hints of how to gain more traction for your social content. What to post more; what to post less, and where. This can save you a lot of resources and help increase clicks and reach.

Make sure you have the right social media tools in place to measure and provide insight into the suggested timing, frequency, and content for each social network.

Nine: I Will Create Content Based on Social Media Audience Needs

Use social media marketing as a way to create content. Always analyze which content is popular in your industry or subject category, and make sure you have content that speaks to that subject. Start by finding topics that are practically useful to your audience and to the industry as a whole. These topics are also typically most discussed in and around the industry on various social media channels.

Check how others approached such topics and the kind of content they produce. Using the information you obtained, create something unique that speaks to your audience’s specific needs.

Ten: I Will Create New Content FROM Social Media

Generate new content from your social media marketing by engaging with influencers, followers, and fans. Ask for their input on a subject you’re writing about. People in social media consume information that is relevant to them. So ask your audience about the topics for your next piece of strategic content. It’s a win-win!

Influencers are called influencers for a reason. They know what makes an audience tick. Identify the influencers in your industry, follow them, and start communicating with them. Influencers can provide you with secrets of the trade that can help you create your content.


The success of your content marketing will be in some way proportional to the effort you invest in social media marketing. It is true that every great social strategy starts with great content. But today, learning how to use social media is equally important. Especially if you are investing a lot of your time, money, and effort into creating content for marketing objectives.

The social media landscape is full of opportunities as long as you understand how to harness them. Use these Ten Commandments to help you make the most of your content’s potential in social media marketing. And given how integral curation is to your social media efforts, make sure to download the Curata eBook, Curate Content Like a Boss: The Hands on Guide to help smash your social goals out of the park.

Neal Schaffer

A Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer two years in a row, a Forbes Top 5 Social Sales Influencer, and creator of the leading social media for business blog Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a global social media speaker who has spoken on three continents and also teaches as part of the Rutgers University Business School Mini Social Media MBA Program. As an author, Neal is best known for his definitive book on social media strategy creation, implementation, and optimization “Maximize Your Social: A One-Stop Guide to Building a Social Media Strategy for Marketing and Business Success” (Wiley) but has also published two other award-winning and critically acclaimed social media books: ”Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing” and “Windmill Networking: Maximizing LinkedIn.”

Curata Content Analytics

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