Ever wonder where content marketing originated? While not quite as old as the stars themselves, the concept is certainly not a new technique. Historians generally regard a Philadelphia printer as the first successful content marketer—three hundred years ago! That’s right. Well before the American Revolution took place, a young Benjamin Franklin set out to market his fledgling business with Poor Richard’s Almanack. The booklet served as a practical help to the masses, with items of interest like a calendar, weather forecasts, household advice, poems, and puzzles—all designed to capture the attention of consumers.

It worked. Colonists scooped up 10,000 copies annually (a large readership given the time), and Franklin’s print shop gained worldwide fame. Other brands quickly followed suit. John Deere produced The Furrow in the 1800s, still in publication today. Michelin Tire published free driving guides in the 1900s, sharing reliable information on garages, hotels, gas stations, and more with readers. More recently, L’Oreal relaunched makeup.com as a content platform, and “The LEGO Movie” debuted as a feature film while doubling as branded content marketing.

Whatever the era, good content marketing reflects what Benjamin Franklin understood so clearly back in 1732: Consumers want information that helps them live better. Perhaps a product or service is the ultimate answer, but content marketing doesn’t focus on what a brand is selling. The focus is on relationship—deepening the connection between brand and customer by providing interesting, valuable content.

Of course, the rise of the Internet allows modern brands to optimize content and employ digital assets, like social media, for richer, faster results. Check out these five insanely awesome facts about today’s social content marketing scene.

1. Hiring a K-Pop expert pays off!

Give the people what they want, says Forbes Director of Social Media Shauna Gleason. Forbes is primarily known for original articles on finance and business, but a few pieces on Korean Pop “produced startlingly good numbers on Forbes Twitter.” The magazine responded, by hiring a contributing writer to specialize on the topic. Why? Because like Franklin and his almanac, Forbes understands social content marketing isn’t a sales pitch. It is an outreach of information designed to draw consumers in.

Brands taking the time to analyze social content will ultimately maximize resources and impact. Now, not every audience is clawing for an insider look at K-Pop bands, but your followers want something. Find out what matters to them, and provide meaningful content to suit.

2. Everyone is talking behind your back.

Don’t get too paranoid, but according to Brandwatch, 96% of people discussing brands online don’t even “follow” the official brand accounts. This means marketing teams need to go beyond the front door to get a better picture of brand health. Fortunately, some social aggregation platforms like Twine allow companies to use search and display tools to monitor the public conversation and respond as needed. Some choose to use the service internally, while others incorporate user-generated-content into a larger marketing strategy. (Start a free trial today.)

3. Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared online.

Unfortunately, Ben Franklin’s text-heavy almanac might not get much traction today. More than 3 billion people use social media—a new one joining about every 15 seconds—and two-thirds of all new posts are heavily visual. In such a competitive environment, publishing rich content is a must for brand managers.

Scientists have found the human brain processes images 60,000 faster than text. Don’t get lost in the social media scroll. Make your brand pop with lively content!

4. Content does not need to be brand-generated to work. In fact, it’s better if it’s not.

Some companies launch blogs and email lists. Nearly all have a social media presence, too. But not all brands have caught on to a surprising fact: consumers respond better to peer influence. Earned media is five times more likely to get conversions, and Neilson reports a whopping 92 percent of people trust personal recommendations over anything else. Moral of the story? Don’t break your back (or your bank) producing only “official” material.

Eighty percent of material posted online is from consumers, so for electrifying results, consider aggregating existing social content relevant to your brand. Pull in that UGC, turn on Twine’s content permission module to gain publishing rights, and enjoy the party. Weaving organic UGC—using reviews or consumer images—into websites, advertisements, digital catalogs, and virtually any marketing tool adds authenticity to brand messaging. Remember, consumers are your best influencers.

5. It takes eight “touches” before a prospect will make a purchase, and there are more than 5,000 martech tools available to help brands close that gap.

Seven years ago, just 150 marketing technologies existed. With such tremendous growth in the industry, it can be daunting to find the best solution. Our advice? Find a service that equips marketing managers to monitor the brand’s digital presence and build trust through consistent engagement. To provide more context and value to followers, you’ll also want to integrate UGC (as the most powerful form of “advertising”) like Maaco Collision Repair did with their “Uh-Oh Moments” campaign. Want to make industry history? Join the most innovative brand leaders who are embedding owned media throughout the entire e-commerce discovery-to-checkout process. We call it social shopping.

Ben Franklin once said, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today”—a stunning endorsement of TwineSocial’s free trial and complimentary consultation—so we invite you to be like Ben. Give social content marketing a try today. We’re here to help.

For more ideas on how to promote shared enthusiasm around an idea, product, or community, check out our solutions gallery. Then, kick off your own success story with a free 30-day trial of TwineSocial. Let us know how we can help!