Social business and an engaging social content strategy go hand in hand. The content you produce can incorporate a number of assets including checklists, images, videos, copy and social posts. Social media and the social content strategy approach have more in common with all other forms of content marketing than you might think. We know content marketing is on the rise for B2B businesses in 2013, but how is social media included in this number? As you develop your strategy, keep these three things in mind.
Talk Through Your Audience
It is easier to get your brand, content, and social posts in front of people who already connect with your business. What about the audience beyond your immediate fan base? B2B marketers, especially those on a budget, need to create ways to talk through their audience. The audience of your audience, and their audience, are potentially new customers for you. As you develop your social content strategy, consider the ways in which you can talk through your current audience to connect with new audiences.
- What do your customers want? Focus on the content that your customers want and what social networks are the best for sharing and promoting that type of content. For example, if you're targeting IT professionals, LinkedIn may be a better place to start than Pinterest.
- What do they want to experience? Consider the type of experience someone will have when they encounter or share your content. The experience, whether it's a phone conversation or the way in which they find information on your site, should be a consideration with everything you do.
For B2B buyers, their audience isn't family and friends for the way it is for B2C buyers. A significant number of B2B buyers (38%) involve more team members in buying decisions, and around 30% do more detailed ROI/cost analyses of solutions than they did in the past (2012 Demand Gen Report B2B Buyer Survey). This means, B2B marketers need to find a way to reach all the decision makers involved in the purchasing process.
Understand Content Strategies are Social by Nature
Business may be about the numbers, but marketing and sales are all about the chains and the paths customers take to reach the end of it. There are the sales and marketing funnel, buyer journey and more. "What the customer wants you to know" equals understanding what your audience and their audience want you and other vendors to know. The social B2B buyer and buyers in general are affected by the opinions of their peers. As mentioned, business buying is a group decision. While this conversation may be offline, it often begins or ends online.
- Reach out to leads who are in the research phase of the buying cycle with whitepapers, case studies and infographics that not only educate the buyer, build thought leadership but are also easily shared on social networks.
- If possible, share the demographics of who else is buying from your business. Your prospects may be interested in knowing who, in their area or industry, has found success with your products or services.
Nearly all B2B buyers (94%) view multiple pieces of content from the company they ultimately select (2012 Demand Gen Report B2B Buyer Survey). This is one indication that you need to be producing content that your audience will find relevant and useful in making a purchasing decision. The other key indicator in this passage that you should be focusing on is that of multiple pieces. For example, you can create calculators, webinars, case studies, eBooks and buyer guides. Each of these unique pieces of content helps elevate your business and brand.
Be Relevant to Address Needs
You may have been able to pick it up from the previous sections of this article or past blog posts, but the content your marketing and sales teams share needs to be relevant. What your customers and their audiences say should serve as inspiration for the content you create from a social perspective. Listening is the basis, while acting to drive action and sharing are the goals. Content is what brings these two together successfully.
- Start social listening, if you aren't already, to discover the pain points of your audience and their audience. Then use content and social media to solve these problems. Note: add example of how they should do this.
- Segment, target, and personalize your content to be as relevant as possible. Social media is not for amplification, it's for social conversations.
More than 37% of buyers say sellers fail to provide enough content tailored for their specific job roleor industry. Stand out from the crowd while nurturing a lead by providing relevant content that they'll find valuable. Nearly 63% of the respondents said that case-study examples were at the top of their research content lists. Industry case studies that address the pain points are a sure way to encourage your content gets shared.
Social media networks are important platforms for every business. It provides you with the opportunity to connect on a more personal level with your audience. Don't let the opportunity pass you by! Talk to and through your social audience by developing a content strategy that focuses on relevance and tailored content.