“Yes, we do social media! Several years ago, I set up our blog posts to automatically publish on Twitter. We’re all set.”
Do either of these statements sound familiar? I often see B2B marketers ignoring social media or relying heavily on automation, which is sometimes worse than ignoring it entirely.
In our B2B Content Marketing 101 series, we’re walking through the basics of B2B content marketing. We’ve shared tips for blogging (which we see as the hub for any good B2B content strategy). We talked about lead generation — how to attract new leads through helpful content.
Now, let’s think about how social media fits into the B2B content marketing landscape.
Why Social Media Matters for B2B
A B2B content marketing strategy isn’t complete without social media. As social media has grown up over the past decade, many social platforms have become effective vehicles for reaching B2B buyers.
Here are two reasons you should keep social media on your priority list.
- Social media boosts SEO.
SEO can be a hazy, confusing concept for marketers. Google often changes the rules, and it can be hard to figure out exactly which steps you should take to improve your website’s search ranking. Even if you aren’t plugged in to every Google update and SEO best practice, know this: Quality content matters most. But social matters, too. (And social media is content.)
If you’re already publishing new, interesting blog content about core topics that are relevant to your business every week, you’re on the path to good SEO. Social media is another tool that will further boost your SEO.
While it’s a little unclear whether posting your content on social media gives search engines direct “social signals” that boost your website’s SEO, creating active social profiles for your business gives it more real estate on the Web. If you have a website (but no social profiles), you’re only giving search engines one place to find you. But if you have a website, an active Twitter profile, a robust Facebook page and a Google+ profile, you’re giving search engines (and searchers!) four places to find you. That translates to better search results for your brand.
Keep reading: Learn more about social media’s impact on SEO on the Hootsuite blog.
- Social helps you get your content in front of your audience.
Beyond its SEO value, social media is a primary way to get all the great content you’re creating in front of your audience — both the people who already know about your brand and new people who haven’t discovered it yet.
If your marketing team publishes three blog posts a week, but you don’t promote them or push them out to your audience, you’re unlikely to get many readers. Social media is a great way to flag new content for your fans — and get new prospects to take notice.
How to Create a Content-Driven Social Media Strategy
Once you’ve decided social media is worth the investment for your business, consider how you’ll use it to achieve your marketing goals.
- Decide which social channels are best for your business.
Social media marketing does take time and resources, so start small to make sure you can successfully manage any social profiles you set up. Not every business needs to be on every single social media channel. Consider your clients and prospects: What social channels do they use?
If you’re targeting C-level executives in conservative industries, you’ll probably have more success on LinkedIn than on Tumblr. Choose the channels that are right for your audience and focus your energy there. It’s better to have one or two active, closely monitored social profiles than 10 ignored, sparsely updated ones.
- Beware over-automating.
This is my personal marketing pet peeve. I think the No. 1 mistake businesses make on social media is over-automating.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of extremely useful social tools and technology solutions that make social media management a lot easier. At Rep Cap, we use (and love) Hootsuite to schedule tweets and monitor replies. But there’s a difference between scheduling and automating — turning your account over to robots.
Other marketers might disagree with me, but I think a human needs to write every social media post. As a B2B buyer and active social media user, I can quickly spot Twitter accounts and Facebook pages that are fully automated. Social media is about people connecting. If you can’t put people-time into sharing content on social, chances are you aren’t going to form any personal connections.
- Don’t just share your own content.
Be helpful. It’s a tenant of inbound and content marketing — and the rule applies to social media. Instead of just promoting your own blog posts, e-books, events and products, think about how you can share information and resources that will be helpful to your audience.
Read an interesting article about your industry? Learn something new on Twitter? Share it. Sharing other people’s content helps you position yourself as an expert — a go-to source for helpful reads and answers about your industry. It also boosts your brand’s authenticity because it shows you’re not pretending to be the only game in town or the one with all the best ideas.
- Find ways to connect.
The most successful B2B social media marketing isn’t a one-way stream of information; it’s a conversation. Look for ways to connect with industry experts, other businesses in your industry and your buyers. Actively monitor your social profiles and respond to people when they reach out. Experiment and look for new ways to build connections on social media.
Our team likes participating in Twitter chats a few times a month. We take turns joining chats about content marketing, writing and editing. We always connect with interesting new people and come away with new ideas. Remember to keep the “social” in social media.
Social media is an important tool in any B2B content marketing strategy. To keep reading our B2B content tips, follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Looking for help with your B2B content marketing? Contact us.