The Content Marketing Institute found that 91% of organizations in the B2B sphere use content marketing for outreach and retaining a well-defined audience. But they also found that of the B2B respondents who had greater year-over-year success, 78% attributed it to simply creating higher quality content opposed to just 50% for knowing where and how to target and distribute B2B content.
Content marketing for B2B can be a difficult nut to crack because while the goals can actually be clearer than B2C, getting engagement in the B2B sphere is perceived as harder to accomplish since there’s often less “street cred” deployed there unlike a B2C Instagram or YouTube channel. In addition, B2B prospects simply have less time and propensity to engage than consumers in general.Creating good B2B content and putting it out there isn’t enough: What about finding the right people to engage with and the right social channels?
Creating good B2B content and putting it out there isn’t enough: What about finding the right people to engage with and the right social channels? Tweet This!
No One Likes the Feeling of Being Sold To
After all, that’s why content consistently gets results where advertising and cold calling just don’t. Especially when it comes to B2B outreach: Business prospects hate the feeling someone is vaguely or overtly trying to sell them something in yet another dull and unimaginative cold email. Got a blog post full of useful statistics, or a whitepaper that answers burning questions yet leaves enough unanswered that they must give your firm a call? Far more likely to yield results.
But one of the challenges, aside from trying not to come off as sales-y or the content not sounding trustworthy and authoritative enough, is getting the content on the right channels and with the right sets of eyeballs on them. Just like how putting content out there isn’t enough, it’s also not enough to just have Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and make posts. It’s definitely a start—but that pernicious feeling of being sold to happens once again when you’re sharing content but not making an effort to engage people.
It’s Called Social Media, After All
Ironically enough, people forget about the social functions of social media. While automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are there to make social media managers’ lives easier, there also needs to be some real-time posting and engagement. Jumping on hashtags alone isn’t sufficient because while there are many people and bots that will just retweet them, people browsing your feed want to see more than just jumbles of hashtags and your own Buffer links. How about looking up hashtags or keywords and seeing about directing prospects to your content? It’s not a dating site: You don’t need to wait for someone to respond to your posts and profile first.
What problems need to be solved? How can you tell people that you can solve them and use those social media replies as a tool for not just effective outreach, but also demonstrate how your brand faces the public?
There are B2C brands that are infamous for having fun with their user bases like the Moon Pie and Steak-Umm Twitter accounts. While it’s probably not a good idea to fully copy what they’re doing, just because you’re a B2B brand doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun like the food brands and parodies like Nihilist Arby’s tend to have. Coming off as fun and approachable while delivering valuable content and actively demonstrating that your brand is looking to solve problems is an excellent way to build up social engagement. It’s also far more effective than just jumping on hashtags or rapidly following the people you’re trying to market to.
Social strategy for B2B doesn’t need to be as stiff and formal as it seems to be at first blush. To create quality content and have equally strong social content to go with it, it has to be more than just empty hashtags and shares.
Rachel P is an indie game developer, writer, and consultant. She is also a content strategist here at Writer Access and would be happy to help you with keyword maps, customer journey maps, and buyer personas in addition to writing for you. If you would to like to hire Rachel to devise a content strategy for you, please contact your account manager or send a direct message.