The lines of Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing were already well on their way of becoming increasingly blurred when Google’s Hummingbird change in 2013 increased the impact that social media assets have in determining search engine rankings.

As a refresher (or maybe primer), let’s provide a distinction between Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing.  Distilled from a 2012 post by Toby Murdock on the Content Marketing Institute’s website, the main difference is that:

Social Media Marketing is about how you get the message across to your audience.  It’s a highly specialized content vector – and a fragmented one at that.

Content Marketing is about your site’s content and driving engagement and building awareness on your own site.

Based on the description above, social media is a means to an end of content marketing and content consumption.  Again, since this was penned in 2012, these definitions and distinctions have been and continue to be on a blended path.  At the end of the day, the common currency is the content – whether it’s tailored to specific social networks or a particular brand’s website.

Because there is such a high focus and demand for content, it’s with no surprise that there is an over-abundant supply of it.  The challenge here is not to equate your content as a commodity.  This brings us to a recently coined term in the world of content marketing: “Content Shock.”

It’s an interesting term born from an economist’s perspective on the supply and demand of content on the web.  As coined and defined from a post by marketing consultant Mark Schaefer:

Content Shock: The emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.

In essence, the increasing cost to you, the marketer, is to keep your audience consuming your content.

 Content Shock
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Now that we have an idea of what Content Shock is, how do we work within these economic constraints and get the most optimal efficiencies out of our content marketing strategy?  There are several tactics you can use to improve your social media efforts and, in suit, your content marketing strategy.

A recent post from the Content Marketing Institute on this very topic has some very good tactical information on how to “…Optimize Your Social Media Content to Combat Content Shock,” with these five paraphrased recommendations:

  1. Make your content shareable and be proactive in asking for engagement.
  2. Make your content personable. Don’t create content that comes from a multi-billion dollar brand; create content that comes from a person.
  3. Actively engage with influencers and advocates.
  4. Recycle and reuse content when applicable and relevant.
  5. Make your content unique/different/interesting – of course!

The above tactical recommendations are easier said than done.  One element that’s critical to the success of executing on the above is having the right information and data to quantitatively improve your chances for success.  For instance, identifying and knowing who your influencers and advocates are is instrumental in maximizing the return from tactic No. 3 listed above.  Similarly, identifying and knowing what content is actively resonating with your audience is critical to managing content that performs highly with respect to all five of these tactics!

Originally posted at

Thomas Kim
Thomas Kim
Product Manager, Social Technologies