As a marketing content writer, I get asked a lot if social media fits into B2B content strategy.
My answer? It fits perfectly—just maybe not the way you'd think.
But let’s go back for a second. Back to the dawn of online content marketing. Back when marketers saw social media as a panacea for waning customer attention.
Ah, the early days.
Social media made it possible to hear directly from customers or prospects themselves, and we, as marketers, were enthralled. Two-way conversations! Brand community building! Customer-generated content!
Today, B2B marketers have a tempered appreciation for social media—in part because we struggle to find signal over noise in our own lives.
But social media still glimmers as a type of marketing holy grail. As B2B marketers, how can we use it effectively?
1. Rethink your content marketing model.
If your goal is to build communities and start conversations, reimagine your content marketing model as a hub with spokes.
Your hub is your website or blog that you own. Ownership is central to this model—you must have full control over the content, domain and design (even if you’ve hired someone else to manage it for you).
The spokes are social media outlets. They exist as avenues for you to put the word out about all the exciting content available on your website or blog.
2. Prioritize the hub.
Copyblogger’s Sonia Simone presciently declared, “Don’t build on rented land." Your website or blog takes priority because it’s an owned platform, it—and the original content you develop for it—belong to your organization (unlike social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter where you and I are guests). And while “ownership” is a nod to intellectual property, more importantly it means you have ultimate flexibility to publish, repurpose, and reimagine your content as you choose.
A note about your website as a platform: Prioritizing web content doesn’t just mean making the content on your website as compelling as possible (although that’s definitely a good start). Web content includes assets like white papers, case studies, testimonials, e-books, press releases, videos, podcasts and more. Your website (or your blog) is a repository of high quality content. So, how do you get the word out?
3. Syndicate with social media.
That amazing content you spent weeks working on is ready for the world. Here’s where the spokes come in.
As consumers we use social media to share disparate content: a photo on Instagram, a funny overheard comment on Twitter, the status of our day on Facebook.
In B2B content marketing, social media becomes your content syndication service. Promote new content with compelling (and corresponding) posts, tweets, blurbs, and images for social media channels with trackable links that shuttle readers directly to your platform.
Prioritize creation of owned content for your owned platform, then drive traffic through social media promotion.