In his seminal blog post about social media marketing, Neil Patel writes that "social media marketing is the process of creating content that is tailored to the context of each individual social media platform, in order to drive user engagement and sharing." He goes on to say that while it's important to create content that works, it also has to make users want to share it.

What better way to do that than by delivering the content people want to see, via the channel they want to use, at the time they want to see it?

Understanding the basics of contextual marketing will help you accomplish that feat.

What is contextual marketing?

Contextual marketing involves getting the right message to the right person at the right time. It uses content that starts a conversation and engages customers to create a meaningful and lasting experience.

That content has to be visually pleasing and written well, of course, but it's vitally important to know what to deliver in the first place—and also when.

Find the Right Person and Where They Are (the "Who" and "Where" Parts of the Equation)

First, you have to know your customer to be able to connect on their level. Complete your buyer persona or audience persona research, and do the due diligence associated with timing your campaigns.

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Alla Bogdan is head content marketer for PromoRepublic, the new "Calendar of Content Ideas" based on holidays, trends, events, and more. She's the lead writer of the Content Hacker's Blog, a source of hacks and trends for freelancers and social media professionals.

LinkedIn: Alla Bogdan

Twitter: AllaBogdan