Content Marketing and Social Media Communities

Content marketing is a strategic marketing method to develop valuable and relevant brand content to a target audience. It is not about pushing products but about relating and sharing stories to build relationships and connect with specific consumers.

Content marketing has been used for years. There are many examples of specially targeted publications that were and are used to build brand awareness but in the digital age, it has become even more prevalent and effective with the expansion of new channels; blogs, podcasts, digital magazines, social media, YouTube, Instagram, etc. There are now so many more ways to reach your customers and potential customers through content marketing. One of those areas is in social media where brands create social media content communities.

In this blog we are highlighting an academic study of content marketing and social media. In her paper C. Du Plessis (2017) explores content marketing’s role in social media communities. As part of her literature review, she cites many studies including  Laroche et al. (2012) that indicates “consumers join brand communities for various reasons which could benefit the brand in the long term. Consumers not only identify themselves with the brand, they also depict how they want to be identified by others in the same community. Being part of a community also enhances feelings of community which increases brand loyalty. In addition, some consumers search for content, opinions, and advice while others do surveillance and want to exchange information”. 

The author performed a content analysis using QDA Miner of 51 full-text copies of documents serving as best practice illustrations for digital marketing agencies’ content marketing services. The results in the paper are of interest to marketers who are looking for ways to engage a target audience through social media.

Three main categories emerged from the data, building content communities, creating platform specific content and understanding content distribution. All three are important and need to be linked together. Create the communities with targeted, compelling content on the appropriate platforms to engage the audience and create electronic word of mouth to build the communities. Some of the best content was found to be stories that are non-promotional and focussed on consumers needs not specifically on the brand.  Other ways to think about it is that content marketing is about the audience and what they need or want to know and not about specifically about the product. You can download the complete paper online.


Du Plessis, C. (2017). The role of content marketing in social media content communities. South African Journal of Information Management19(1), 1-7.

Laroche, Michel & Habibi, Mohammad Reza & Richard, Marie-Odile & Sankaranarayanan, Ramesh. (2012). The effects of social media based brand communities on brand community markers, value creation practices, brand trust and brand loyalty. Computers in Human Behavior. 28. 1755–1767.