For most of us, social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives — whether you’re a marketer or not. With over 3 billion users worldwide, social media is now an essential channel for communicating and connecting with friends, colleagues, and, most importantly, target audiences.
You may think only B2C companies are allowed to have social media creative fun — but wait! B2B companies can also find ways to build and spike their social media engagement too. The landscape of B2B social media has completely transformed in the past few years. B2B companies have begun to fully embrace their brand and social media content to engage, attract and inform their audiences.
So how can your B2B company successfully use one of the influential marketing channels? Let’s take a look!
4 B2B Social Media Strategies For You to Try
Work on Your Brand Tone
If your audience can recognize your company based on its logo, they should be able to do the same with your brand voice. When posting on social media, your tone should be identifiable and your own. Having this unique voice will make your brand stand out among your competitors while additionally helping with your brand awareness. Don’t forget to use those brand colors to encourage brand association!
Most importantly, this should reach beyond social and bleed into your other content as well (website, email, etc.) If you’re having trouble creating a brand voice, look back at blogs or landing pages and try to adapt the same tone to your social messaging.
Test Out Content and Posting
There’s only one way to see if alternate types of content will work — you have to test it out! Every audience is different, so it’s worth trying to experiment with what grabs their attention the most. While there are numerous social media experiments possible, here are a few to try on your channels:
Test out various hashtags for impressions
Adjust your posting schedule (more posts vs. fewer posts)
Place CTAs and links in different places in posts
Put a paid campaign behind alternate posts (image vs. text vs. video)
Test platform features to track views and clicks (polls, stories, etc.)
Change to smart content compares instead of everyday posts
Recognize Your Channels’ Audiences
Despite what social platforms you use, it’s important to realize that not every channel has the same audiences, which means you should be tailoring your content accordingly. The most important platform to note for B2B marketers is LinkedIn. As one of the world’s largest online professional networks, this channel is one of the best ways for B2B companies to reach targeted audiences and potential prospects.
With LinkedIn being a more professional setting, users join to find resources, connections, and knowledge within their career path or industry. As a B2B company, it’s important to use your LinkedIn account to establish your expertise and be a trusted thought leader within your industry to attract engagement and leads. With this in mind, LinkedIn social posts should be meaningful and educational, using content like blogs, webinars, whitepapers, case studies, videos, infographics, etc.
Let the Numbers do the Talking
Now that you’ve posted your social content, it’s time to analyze the metrics. However, you shouldn’t be focusing your attention on vanity measurements like likes and comments. Instead, look at metrics such as clicks, engagement, views, impressions. These numbers give a more accurate picture of how your post resonated with your followers and audience.
Using platforms like HubSpot, you can also track WHO is interacting with your social media post (website visits, landing page clicks, etc.) As a B2B company, this is super valuable as it enables you to follow more qualified leads.
While these are only a few strategies, it just goes to show that B2B companies can get in on the “social media action” too. Just remember: The more you work on your B2B social media strategies, the more you’ll be on your way to figuring out best practices.
Looking to implement a B2B social media campaign? Let’s talk!
Picture this: You’re scrolling through social media and see an ad from one of your favorite brands. It’s amusing and witty and, honestly, makes you chuckle out loud. You’re captivated by the cleverness as a consumer, but as a B2B marketer, it makes you feel down. Why do B2C companies get to have all the creative fun? As a B2B marketer, you should be able to apply fun and fresh ideas to your B2B content marketing as well. Here’s the good news: you can! And more importantly, you should.
The ways of B2B marketing are beginning to shift to allow more engagement with potential clients through content marketing. With new resources and technological developments available, marketers can now experiment and attempt new B2B content strategies to find ones that best fit their brand.
The Benefits of Mixing Up Your B2B Content Marketing
Your audience doesn’t get bored
Are you using the same content over and over again? As an audience member who gets unvarying content repeatedly, it can get stale and monotonous pretty quickly. Your largest missed opportunity results from being too cautious with your content. Being creative and bold with your B2B content marketing allows you to experiment with new avenues and find which content your audience connects with most.
Positions your company as innovative
As you explore more with new strategies, your content will begin to diversify. By not being basic or consistent, your audience will notice that. As a result, they will continue to look to you for more inventive ways to learn about your brand and products.
Makes content creation easy
If you are worried about not having enough substance to support your content, look no further than what you already have. By repurposing old content, you are still emphasizing any features or benefits about your company or products to your audience but just in new, exciting ways. That blog article you wrote? Make it a webinar. The social post you created? Convert it to paid media. Don’t give yourself more work than you have to.
Content to Try if You Haven’t Done So Already
Time to spice it up! Catch your audience’s attention with these different ideas:
According to Hubspot research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands more than any other type of content. This means if you aren’t already creating videos, you’re likely falling behind. Videos have become dominant in content strategy, especially when it comes to social media. Audiences look to video marketing as a new medium that provides information, entertainment, and education.
As podcasts have significantly increased in popularity over the past few years (U.S. weekly podcast listeners averaged seven podcasts a week in 2019), this is another new medium that your brand can experiment with. Like blogs or whitepapers, podcasts can help your brand establish an influential presence in your industry, positioning your team as experts and thought leaders.
Paid media can be a whole other strategy of its own, but it’s important to incorporate it into B2B content strategies. In the 2019 Content Marketing Institute research overview, they found that 71% of the most successful B2B content marketers use paid methods to distribute content. If you currently aren’t using paid media, you could be missing out on opportunities to engage with targeted audiences that might be interested in your products.
Any Creative Owned Media
This can vary based on your resources, but trying new initiatives like interactive PDFs, new social media features, or infographics (the fourth most used type of content marketing according to Hubspot) are bound to capture audience engagement.
If you’re STILL are running short on ideas to spice up your B2B content marketing, check out these examples done by other B2B companies.
The Power Behind Strategizing Your Content
Finally, produce content that your audience WANTS to see. Don’t create content just because you think your feed is a little dry. Creating an idea without any intentions or initiative is a waste of time and resources. Every piece of your B2B content marketing should be backed by strategy with an end goal, whether it’s capturing leads, ramping engagement, or establishing brand awareness. In this case, quality does come before quantity.
As B2B content marketing is continuously evolving, that means your content strategy should be doing the same. Use these pointers to start assessing what improvements can be made to your strategy, and you’ll be on your way to having content that your audience can’t help but engage with.
Don’t fret over running out of content. Let us help! We’re here to generate the perfect B2B content marketing strategy that best fits your brand.
The internet is a vast, infinite hole of everything you’ll ever need to know. What makes up just about everything on the internet from the B2B-centric articles that you read to the games you play is all content. In the modern age of internet jargon, we tend to think of articles or blogs when we hear the word “content,” but there’s so much more to it than that. Webinars? Content. Video posts? Content. Social media feeds? Content.
According to HubSpot, content is any piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise that you bring to your industry — which brings us to the topic of this particular piece of content: your B2B company’s content strategy.
Why you need a strategy
You don’t put anything out into the world without any purpose behind it, do you? (At least, from a business perspective, I’m not going to draw any conclusions about your personal Twitter feed.) So why would you release content willy-nilly, without thinking about your strategy for rolling it out? But where to start? First off, think about what role content plays in your company’s marketing strategy. What kinds of content marketing ideas do you have that not only fall seamlessly into your company’s strategic marketing process and maybe even enhance it?
When creating your content strategy template
It’s understandable to be intimidated by the idea of creating a bigger picture plan for content that you’re used to just creating when you get the chance. However, you’ll quickly realize that doing this allows you to have more purpose behind your work, and it might even begin performing better once it’s more tailored to your audience. Here at SmarkLabs, we have ten tenets in mind when brainstorming our content strategies:
Have you ever looked at a webpage and seen that the last thing they released was from 2017? Or even earlier? Did you stop and think that maybe they’re not even in business anymore? The key to any content strategy template is regular publishing — not only do you want to stay at the top of potential customers’ minds, but you don’t want them to write you off for inconsistency.
Content should provoke action or have a goal
With each piece of content that you create, make sure there’s a reason behind it. Maybe you’re not trying to make a sale with a specific blog post, but perhaps you’re trying to establish trust with your audience, position yourself as a thought leader, or inform people of your services. There might not always an action taken after consuming a blog or video of yours, but there should always be a goal behind it.
Content is relevant to the buyer’s journey
Nobody is going to read or watch something that doesn’t serve them in some way. Try to make sure your content reaches your potential customers at an appropriate time in their buyer’s journey and, hopefully, even moves them forward to their next step.
Clear documented production process
Chances are, you’re not the only one at your company producing content. Whether you’re working with a team of writers, videographers, and graphic designers, you’ll want everyone on the same page when it comes to the production of these items. If there are deadlines, everyone should be well aware of them and given ample time to produce their pieces.
Align content with the strengths of the brand
This is yet another opportunity to get your company in front of people who may not be familiar. You want it to emphasize your strengths, not your shortcomings. What do you want people to know you can do?
Prioritize original content
Sure, you might not break new ground with each blog post you write or video you create. But that doesn’t mean you should just regurgitate what’s already out there. Whatever you create, you want it to be on-brand for your company and add a little something new to the conversation.
Set a clear plan for promoting content
How active are you on social media? Do you regularly send out newsletters? How big is your reach, and how do you plan to grow it? These are things you should ask yourself when creating your content strategy template. Some things, like visual content, work better on social media, while written content might perform better in a newsletter.
What about SEO
For a while, there was a conversation about how important SEO really was in the world of high-quality content marketing. Needless to say, it’s still pretty important — it just takes more thought than it used to. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing. We’re talking about thorough keyword research and targeting now.
Think about tone and style
Your content is an extension of your brand, so it should seem like it. If the rest of your content marketing ideas are conversational and light, your videos shouldn’t be bland. If your marketing materials are strictly professional, you shouldn’t be using slang in your blogs.
Prioritize visual content
Humans are naturally drawn to visuals over blocks of text. If you’re writing about a topic that’s explained better with charts, have a graphic designer on your team put something together that will really enhance the piece. This is especially important if the piece is shared on highly visual mediums like Instagram.
When your company is launching a new product or service, or even just refreshing your brand messaging, you need to have a solid strategy backing you up. You might think, “well yeah, you shouldn’t unveil anything without having a strategy in mind.” However, “just a strategy” isn’t enough. What you need is a go-to-market strategy (GTM).
What’s a go-to-market strategy?
Your company’s go-to-market strategy is the plan to deliver your unique value proposition to customers, using both your inside and outside resources. While this might be easy to confuse with a marketing strategy, the most significant difference between the two is that a marketing strategy is for your brand. Your GTM strategy is unique to your latest launch and a subset of your overall marketing strategy.
The whys, whos, whens, and hows, are four significant differences that set your go-to-market strategy apart from your marketing strategy:
Why: The purpose of your marketing strategy is to create an approach to achieving a competitive advantage. But your GTM strategy’s objective is to make sure a specific product launch reaches the right audience.
Who:Typically, your B2B company’s marketing team works together on the brand’s marketing strategy. A smaller product marketing team usually runs GTMs.
When: Though your marketing strategy is ongoing and continuously changing, it always includes marketing for your brand as a whole. A GTM strategy typically has a fixed timeline and is focused on a new aspect of the business.
How:Communication is vital in both your marketing strategy and your go-to-market strategy. While your marketing strategy communicates the brand promise to your customers, your GTM is delivering the vision of the product. The brand itself takes more of a backseat.
Why a GTM strategy is necessary
Think back to your college days when you always seemed to have another paper due, alongside your other assignments. Chances are, you kept yourself organized by establishing an outline before diving into your paper. That’s a lot like working on your go-to-market strategy. You’re likely working on other marketing projects as well. Outlining your plan to stay on track is a great way to know what direction you’re headed in, ensuring you’re targeting the right people.
Establishing your go-to-market strategy
When building your GTM, you need to ask yourself a few essential questions beyond what new product you’re trying to promote. Getting clear-cut answers to these questions will help you target your marketing to the correct audience. It can also allow you to determine whether you’re on the right path. This is always good to know before you launch a full-on plan that may not even lead potential customers through the buying journey.
Who are you selling to? Is your target audience the same as your overall marketing strategy? Or are you looking to promote to a small subset of your audience?
What is your distribution strategy? How about the sources of marketing automation you’re going to use? What do you have experience with, and what will you try for the first time?
Will you also use indirect sales channels? If you choose to leverage partners, you need to understand and communicate why you made that choice.
Some other aspects to take into account are your industry competitors and similar products and services that are already available on the market. Are you offering something completely new? If not, establish how your product sets you apart from other options. What benefits do potential customers get from working with you instead of a competitor?
Building your go-to-market strategy
As you probably would guess, HubSpot is a great resource when it comes to making any marketing strategy — including your GTM. HubSpot’s even outlined seven steps to take to get it up and running:
Identify the buying center and personas
You didn’t think you’d be able to skip establishing your buyer personas, did you? The Harvard Business Review states that an average of 6.8 people are called upon to have a say in whether or not a company decides to use a B2B product. These seven roles may vary, with some people filling more than one. But most companies have the people in the following roles calling the shots. Which ones are you targeting?
The Initiator: Shows initial interest and spreads the word
User: The person who will spend the most time with your product
Influencer: The one convincing the rest of the team to get on board with your product
Decision maker: Makes the final call about whether or not to make the purchase
Buyer: The one with the company credit card
Approver: Final person who pushes the initiative along
Gatekeeper: The one who needs more convincing
Craft your value matrix and messaging
The value matrix is a breakdown of each buyer persona, their problems, and how your product can solve them. How will you tailor your message to each persona? As we’ve established time and time again, a little bit of personalization can go a long way.
Understanding your buyer’s journey
While each buyer persona might have a different reason for seeking our your new product or service, chances are, each buyer’s journey is essentially the same:
Realizing there’s a problem that needs solving > Looking for solutions > Researching which solutions work best for their specific needs and budget
There is no excuse for not having a full understanding of it! The first step is typically the top of the sales funnel, the second step has them heading toward the middle. Then, the bottom of the funnel is where you leverage the opportunity to show your potential customer that your product meets their needs the most.
Choose a sales strategy
Like go-to-markets, sales strategies aren’t one-size-fits-all. HubSpot suggests taking complexity, scale, and costs into account when determining your strategy. Will you pursue a self-service, inside sales, field sales, channel model, or a mix of more than one?
Depending on how large and established your B2B company is, generating interest in a new product or service can be the most challenging step in developing a GTM. Luckily, we have all the information you need about demand generation in the B2B world in the Smark Blog.
Content marketing is likely a mainstay in your marketing strategy, but don’t discount its effectiveness in your GTM strategy. Leveraging SEO and driving inbound traffic to your site is a great way to generate interest and inform potential customers of your upcoming launch.
You don’t only see commercials for products that haven’t come out yet. So why would you stop promoting your new service upon launch? Here is where optimizing comes in. As you watch how your content performs, you’ll see how many customers enter the sales funnel, and how many conversions you make. So you can determine how to best reach the people who need your product most.
Download our Buyer Persona Checklist!
Think about your selling strategy
I know, I know, it’s strategies upon strategies upon strategies. But that’s what marketers sign up for! You can build up plenty of hype around your new product or service, but your customers need to know that they’re getting a good deal — so your selling strategy is also tied in with your GTM.
Will you rely on your customers to take the leap and purchase your new product upfront? If you’re well-established with a good track record of product launches and a solid list of contacts, this may be a viable option. However, if you’re more of a newbie in the B2B world, you may want to set up a free trial offer for a new service or discounted system for a new product.
Another option for an up-and-comer in the B2B space is to use service-oriented channel partners to sell on your behalf. Otherwise, make sure to cover all of your bases. From warm emails and direct mail to your industry contacts to AdWords and other SEO campaigns, every little bit counts.
Just because you put this much work into establishing your GTM doesn’t mean that it can’t be fluid. It should be, like your overall marketing strategy. Once your product launches, you probably won’t have much of a choice but to adapt your GTM strategy to what you’ve learned about your buyer’s journey.
This plays into the “optimize” step that HubSpot laid out. The more you learn about your customers and how they respond to your products and services, the more effectively you’re able to market to them. If all goes according to plan (and you plan to keep this service around a while), your GTM strategy will eventually roll into your B2B company’s overall marketing strategy. Isn’t marketing wild?
One of the biggest bottlenecks in launching a marketing campaign is the review and approval process. Late approvals can keep content from going out on time, affecting the entire timeline of a campaign. This issue is something many marketers face, with one in five Content Marketing World attendees revealing that tangled review and approval processes regularly delayed their projects by over a week.
To help solve this, we put together a guide to help you review and approve content more efficiently. With these strategies, you’ll be prepared to submit constructive feedback and feel confident in your ability to determine whether a piece of content will perform well.
1. Set expectations
To ensure you’re satisfied with an article, it’s important to set expectations with the writer or marketing team you’re working with at the start. Always be sure to clarify who you want to target, what message you want to communicate, and what you’re hoping to achieve through the article. It’s also important to communicate specifics, such as the word count you want to reach and the number of images you want in the article.
2. Focus on the big picture
Rather than getting hung up on spelling and grammar mistakes, you should focus on the overall message of the article. Spelling and grammar are easy to fix, but changing the main message or theme of an article will require an entire rewrite. It’s unlikely that your audience is analyzing the article and reading it from start to finish, so keep that in mind when you’re editing and providing feedback.
3. Ask yourself questions
When reviewing an article, it helps to ask yourself questions. Here’s a list of some important ones to guide your review process:
Does this article address my audience’s pain point? Or, more importantly, does it address the pain point that your product/service provides a solution to? The best way to grab your audience’s attention is by addressing a common struggle they face.
Does it offer a solution or actionable advice? This question is to make sure that you’re providing your reader with value. If you begin with a problem, you should follow up with a solution that helps your audience, whether it’s expert advice or a product/service.
Does it connect back to my company’s value and mission? Every piece of content posted on your site should support the promotion of your product/service. Because of this, each article should always reiterate your company’s value offer and mission.
Does the information provide match my audience’s depth of knowledge on this topic? If your audience is well-versed in a topic, your article should demonstrate a similar knowledge. You want to be sure the article isn’t too high- or low-level that it doesn’t feel relevant to your audience.
Does it contain a keyword I want to rank for? Keywords are important because they help attract views to your site. Each piece of content created for your site should be focused around a specific keyword. If the keyword isn’t obvious, you likely aren’t following the best practices for SEO.
4. Look for flow & coherence
Every article should flow, moving smoothly from one topic to the next. This is accomplished by including transition words and using connecting ideas. It also helps to include subheads that organize the sections of your article and signal a change in topic. In addition, taking complex ideas and making them easier to understand is the mark of a good article. You’ll want to determine whether an article possesses this type of coherence by reading it aloud and listening to ensure everything makes sense and sounds consistent.
5. Check sources
Every article needs sources in order to be factual and credible. Any claim made in an article should be backed by data or statistics. This is what sets you apart as a trusted source. The article should include information from leading publications in your industry. In addition, it’s a good idea to conduct regular interviews with subject matter experts so you can ensure you’re up-to-date on the latest trends and innovations in your industry. In addition to outside sources, your article should include relevant internal links to your site.
6. Pay attention to CTAs
At the end of the article, you want to inspire your reader to take action. For this reason, it’s important to include a call to action. However, this doesn’t mean you should just drop in a random CTA that doesn’t make sense. For example, if your article is titled “10 Ways to Make the Most of Your HubSpot Investment,” your CTA could be something like “contact us today for a free HubSpot audit.” Another important thing to note is that you can include multiple CTAs throughout your article to drive traffic to other resources or articles on your site.
To learn more about reviewing and approving content, reach out to us! We’re here to help!
If you’re part of a small team, you know how difficult it can be to stay on top of content demands. From posting on social media to blogging, producing a steady stream of high-quality content every week requires valuable time and resources. However, it’s not something you can skip — it’s proven to be effective in attracting new visitors and converting them into leads. In fact, new benchmark data from HubSpot shows that “the small companies that publish 11 or more blog posts per month drive much higher traffic than companies of the same size that publish fewer than 11 blog posts.”
If you’re having trouble producing enough content and time isn’t in your favor, read these ideas for some quick, easy ways to generate and repurpose engaging content.
As of June 2019, there are over 750,000 podcasts. The popularity of podcasts has steadily risen, with many people using them as a form of education and entertainment. On top of that, they’re super easy to produce. All you have to do is sit someone down and interview them while recording the conversation. The content doesn’t stop there though. You could transcribe the podcast and turn it into a blog, make it into a video by filming the conversation, or pull quotes and create images for social media — the possibilities are endless.
Similar to podcasts, webinars are a great way for B2B companies to reach their audience. In fact, a study from the Content Marketing Institute found that marketers rate webinars in the top five in terms of the most effective tactics they use. The main reason for this lies in the fact that webinars help build trust with your audience and provide them with valuable information. In addition, webinar registrations allow you to collect data on potential customers such as their email, phone number, and company name. There are also many ways to repurpose webinars, similar to the ones listed above for podcasts.
Surveys are a great place to start when developing a content strategy. They allow you to ask your audience questions, uncover their challenges/pain points, and uncover out what kind of content they’d be interested in. Beyond this, survey results can inform your content with unique data. For example, your survey data could be used in a whitepaper, data visualization, slide deck, research article, or quotes on social media. Supporting your content with your own data will differentiate your brand and help you stand out as a trusted expert in your industry.
Recap an event
Most people take notes when they attend conferences to remember important bits of information. You can use these notes to create a blog recapping the event. To make the recap as valuable as possible, you’ll want to take detailed notes throughout the entire conference and be sure to highlight the main takeaways from each session. Also, by adding pictures, videos, and details about each speaker, you can help your audience feel like they were part of the event too.
Turn blogs into slide decks
If your audience isn’t responding well to long-form blogs, try turning them into a slide deck where you can simplify the information and focus on key points. The average person’s attention span today is eight seconds, according to a study by Microsoft. This means you need to make your content as short and as simple as possible. Slide decks are helpful with this because they force you to summarize, turning long sentences into short bullet points. In addition, they’re a great downloadable asset that customers can save for future reference.
Create an infographic based on a blog
Infographics are a great tool for engaging your audience because they are easy-to-read and visually pleasing. They include data points and statistics, shown in the form of a chart or graph, as well as copy. Because infographics offer a detailed overview of a topic, they can be used to summarize a longer-form blog post. This type of infographic would be called a “visualized article,” but there are many other kinds of infographics you can use for a variety of purposes. To learn more about them, check out this article by Pikotchat.
Interview SMEs (internally and externally)
An SME, also known as a subject matter expert, is a powerful resource for producing content. By making an effort to conduct interviews with SMEs, you can develop a large pool of content to pull from whenever you’re short on ideas. An interview with an SME typically revolves around asking them about their knowledge or expertise on a particular topic or field. It’s important to note that this can be done with both internal employees and external experts. In addition, the interview can be repurposed into a podcast or blog.
Interview customers for a case study
Do you have a customer who has seen success with your product? Submit a request to interview them for a case study! This type of content elevates you and your client by highlighting the mutual benefits of your partnership. An effective case study includes an overview of both companies, the problem, the solution, how the solution was implemented, and the results. It’s also important to note that case studies can be shared during the sales process to add credibility and help in turning prospects into customers.
Run a curated newsletter
Sending your clients a weekly newsletter is a strategic way to share the latest content available on your site. In reality, it’s a piece of content that advertises the content you already have. A newsletter should be divided up into different sections based on content, such as “On the Blog,” “Industry News,” or “Latest Resources.” A weekly newsletter helps you drive more traffic to your website and establishes your company as a trusted, reliable source of information. Lastly, it allows you to build a base of subscribers that can provide you with feedback on your content so you can make adjustments accordingly.
If you’re having trouble keeping up with content and need some extra help, contact us to find out how we can support you in meeting your content goals.