How Businesses Can Make Social Media Mean Business
It’s meant for a specific audience, which means the rest of the world might think your social media content is a big yawn
With apologies to Cinderella, B2B companies have discovered they’re not the ugly stepsister of the content marketing world after all. It turns out that there’s no such thing as unglamorous when it comes to using content to fuel the engine of inbound marketing.
And the idea of the glass slipper fitting just one person takes on more relevance for B2B companies. It’s a powerful way to educate, offer perspective, and position your brand as a subject matter expert to accompany your B2B prospects along the buyer’s journey.
Here’s the thing: You probably won’t be applying Instagram filters or peppering Tweets with emojis. Your social media content will likely be invisible – except to those who truly are your ideal customers. You’ll convert prospects by making them feel they’re the most important people in the world. The rest of the world? They couldn’t care less.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 B2B marketing survey, 90% of the top-performing content marketers “get it” and now put their audience’s informational needs first – rather than leading with product or service features and benefits. The institute cites Symantec as an example. Symantec Corp.’s director of content marketing Randi Bartelmie has generated a B2B content formula that has doubled unique visitors. Instead of content that promoted features and discounts, Bartelmie and her team focused on education and content that answered questions. And they upped their social media game.
They designed content so that it would guide prospects down the purchase funnel. What Symantec is doing right, according to the Content Marketing Institute, is building trust by creating content based on what they share with prospects – the problem.
As a result, Symantec is seeing what others who took part in the survey have discovered. When you help a prospect by sharing valuable information, you’re creating a bond and positioning your organization as a trusted resource, a subject matter expert. In fact, 68% of this year’s participants agree that content marketing has successfully helped them build credibility with their target audience.
How are we doing?
Successful B2B content marketers don’t create their storytelling in a vacuum. Participants in the most recent survey say their most productive input comes from feedback from the sales team, website analytics, and keyword research.
Curiously, only 42% of respondents said they research their audience by talking to customers to determine content needs. There’s light on the horizon, though. Three out of four said they’re moving toward using personas and increasing their presence on social media for content marketing purposes. And that’s a good thing. Besides picking up the phone or dropping by their office, what’s the best way to engage and determine needs?
Social media makes it easy for followers to tell you what they think. You want to control this conversation – or at least facilitate it. If you don’t take the lead, they’re free to head over to Yelp or Twitter to vent.
Nobody cares about your marketing, except for the businesses that need your product or service. Those prospects don’t want general stuff. They’re looking for specific information about why you’re associated with the problem they have. They want factual information about how you’ve helped other businesses overcome this problem because of your familiarity and expertise about the problem.
They’re appreciative of white papers and ebooks that give them examples that they can share with others in their organization because it’s highly likely that they aren’t the sole decision-maker. And they appreciate being made aware of it with the brevity of a social media post.
There’s nothing boring about living in a niche. Ask Boeing. The list price for its new 787 Dreamliner is $239 million. That’s if you buy it green, meaning fresh off the Boeing assembly line, with an unfinished interior.
Boeing realizes that the customer universe for a Dreamliner is limited. The content Boeing has created for the new aircraft is, well, boring to just about anybody other than the finite number of prospects who might be able to write a billion-dollar purchase order.
Meanwhile, this target market doesn’t think the subject is boring. They want granular information about things like the advanced composites used to create the aircraft. What’s more, these prospects want this information delivered in the industry-specific language they speak. Buzzwords, please! Thank you.
Are your social media posts invisible to the rest of the world? The more important question should be, should that even concern you?
It’s not boring if they’re interested
Successful marketing is nothing more than passionate storytelling, and social media is all about collecting your tribe of passionate followers. When you are a B2B marketer who may have a niche market, your only concern should be about engaging this small group of prospects with information that captures their attention and pushes them toward engagement.
Nobody else matters. You have limited resources to create content marketing. Your focus must remain on the creation of content that helps prospects validate their decision to become customers. Every piece of content should be for these people.
How could that possibly be boring stuff for businesses that are looking for a specific solution to a certain problem? What can be boring is the story itself. If B2B social media content is boring to its target audience, it’s because it’s being told by someone who doesn’t understand or care about your audience.
Your B2B social media content isn’t for the masses. You have permission to geek out and wallow in the nitty-gritty of your niche. It’s not boring to them – as long as you share it with confidence and passion. Learn more about the importance of teaming up with the right marketing professionals to create B2B content for your target audience.
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