BILL BELEW IS A CONTENT MARKETING EXPERT BASED IN THE BAY AREA OF SILICON VALLEY. YOU FOUND HIM; HE CAN TEACH YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS HOW TO BE FOUND. CONTACT HIM BY USING THE COMMENT FORM BELOW.
In the world of B2B online marketing and social media marketing, content and media have been used in a variety of forms to educate and persuade customers across long buying cycles with great success. Over the past few years I have heard from many B2B marketers that prospects are leading themselves through much of the initial phases of awareness, interest and consideration by consuming useful content discovered through social channels and published by the brand.
The result of smarter content and social engagement is a more qualified and educated consumer by the time they get to sales discussions which can mean a shorter sales cycle and even an impact on order volume referrals.
Content Marketing on the social web is a hot topic in many areas from SEO to public Relations.Local SEO marketing gets content out to audience within a company’s local networks. They post blogs with blog titles that stand out so that the content can be easily disseminated. Despite growing popularity, many marketers think “More content of information designed for a particular audience and specific outcomes as an individual object and as part of an overall strategy.
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Content is educational and a tool of persuasion that can guide prospective customers in the journey from awareness to advocacy, across the entire customer life cycle.
For a more qualitative approach to content, here are tips on how to make the most out of your content marketing efforts on the social web:
While experimenting with social media marketing applications and platforms is a practical first step many B2B marketers seem to think that it’s a strategy. Goals, audience, and approach can allow for social experimentation but also provide companies with some structure and accountability toward achieving business outcomes with social content.
Social content plans don’t need to be set in stone. In fact, with social media content, its important for such plans to be adaptable and capable of analytical input and iterative improvements as data increase through growing network participation. A Plan will help marketers better evaluate and scale their social medial initiatives as well.
Companies that view social media platforms simply as a distribution channel for self-promotion, while often fail to create value for the very customers they are trying to reach.
People don’t typically use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn; Youtube, look for blogging topics and blog titles, Pinterest, and other social applications for keeping tabs on corporate press releases, product announcements, and promotions. Reasons for social media usage are most often personal. According to a pew research center study, “Two thirds of social media users say that staying in touch with current friends and family members is major reason they use these sites”. This calls for increased local SEO marketing. With engaging on personal networks, consumers certainly connect with the brands they like, but contrary to how many brands behave with social content publishing; those connections are part of the social web experience, not the reason for it.
B2B marketers can achieve much better success with social content by empathizing with customer needs, interests, goals, and pain across the buying cycle. Local SEO marketing would be a great way for consumers to share content with prospective consumers and in turn give feedback to the companies.Seeing things from the prospects point of view will help B2B marketers develop a content and social media approach that serves as a solution or facilitator to creating the kind of social content that resonates, engages, and gets shared. As prospect centric social content gets shared, many of those who engage will refer or become customers.
Give to Get
Along with self-promotion, B2B marketers have a tendency to expect social communities to behave the way the brand wants them to. The guideline I like to share with B2B marketers that want to foster community and engagement is “Give to get”. That doesn’t mean give a sales pitch to get a sale.
Instead, provide something of value before expecting anything in return. In fact, its smart to find out more specifically what consumers and those who influence them find valuable as inspiration for a social content plan. B2B marketers can therefore use social media marketing to get feedback from their consumers. Deliver useful information, listen to how audiences respond, and make adjustments. Then repeat.
A lot of B2B marketing budgets have invested in creating content for companies, but many purists feel that great content should be left to attract attention based purely on the quality of the information. Although marketers may use blog titles to attract audience to their blogs. There’s feeling that if content is really good, it will attract traffic and engagement all on its own. That native perspective, especially in a competitive category and it also makes some strong assumptions about whether there is a preexisting community for the brand or not.
With a hub a spoke publishing mode, themed content is published into a repository that represents a go to resource for topics that the brand wants to be known for. At the same time that content can be promoted through spokes or social channels among communities that are interested. People often rely on content promotion to discover what new. Promotion can attract traffic, social shares, and links which can all serve as useful signals to search engines and improves standard and social engine visibility.
Promotion works best with content that deserves to be shared. Some of this content can be found in blog titles and illustrations. That kind of content makes a promise to social networks that it’s good. If a B2B brand can consistently create, optimize socialize and promote great content the community will respond with shares, referrals, engagement, links and even sales.
Analyses and Optimize
As they mature in their social current journey, B2B companies develop social profiles, publish descriptions, and contribute at various intervals, using social media marketing as their social media participation. They may even actively optimize social content with search keywords and social topics as a way to empathize with what consumes are looking for and talking about on the social web.
A missing piece of this puzzle is the importance of ongoing monitoring and analysis. There process I call the cycle of search and social improvement that involves creating and optimizing social content. As useful content is created and promoted its gets shared and attracts friends, followers and subscribers.
As the community grows, local SEO marketing is surpassed and even more sharing of links and traffic is involved with brand content. The increase in engagement, search visibility, and social sharing provides a rich set of data with which the brand can improve content creation. It’s a cycle of hypothesis, implementation, and analysis that can improve how effectively a brand is able to refine social content effectiveness at inspiring business outcomes.