SEO, as we know it, is a B2B process. Nobody goes to a retail outlet expecting to buy an SEO package. The buyers and sellers are both businesses. True, DIY SEO has been a phenomenon for a while, but nine out of ten clients are still interested in hiring a company or, at least, freelancers.
Content marketing and B2B
Content marketing has been encircling the B2B vertical for a while. The circle is yet to complete, and will complete over time. Maybe this year itself because content marketing now allows quality scaling, which is essential to gauge ROI outcomes for a B2B campaign.
Search engine optimizers taking note of this are excluding the unnecessary marketing workarounds from their SEO packages.
Is it helping them? The answer is yes. See below yourself:
Figure 1 shows buyers are becoming better informed about what a digital marketer can offer. Yesteryear’s marketers often deliberately kept them in the dark. The reason? If clients figured out web directory submission or social bookmarking won’t help in ranking, they’d have stopped paying for those a long time back.
The interaction between two equally informed individuals is a productive interaction. Content marketing is creating the space for such interactions in the B2B domain.
Social media for B2B
Now, let’s discuss the importance of social media for B2B.
B2B brands were earlier hesitant about using social media for marketing. But the mindset has now changed. A research done by Accenture Digital and SAP Hybris shows B2B clients crave for personalized engagement just like their B2C counterparts. Because social media accounts for the majority of engagement, not making their campaigns social can stop B2B marketers from reaping the benefits.
For anyone who might doubt this, see below:
Figure 2 is an infographic created with the help of several case study findings. The infographic shows social media has the potential to dominate the B2B marketplace, similar to the B2C marketplace.
Content social nexus
In the last two paragraphs, we’ve discussed content and social media separately. It’s time we link them up to get the most out of a social campaign. There’s an overlapping area where social media and content influence each other.
You see status update, pics, videos, slides, messages, pinboards, etc. All these are content. A microblog is content. A picture qualifies as content. An explainer video is content. No matter what social marketing strategy you apply, content always has to be its part and parcel.
Basically, social media is like a photo frame. Content circulating across social channels is the photo that fits the frame.
Customizing content so it suits a variety of leads is a leading trend that we can observe in the B2B industry. Customization of content owes to factors like the social channel, the brand’s reputation, the niche the brand belongs in, etc.
If the channel is Pinterest, then the content should be a pinboard with beautiful pictures on it. For LinkedIn, the content is an insightful blog, published on LinkedIn Pulse.
Social media allows you to flaunt your expertise and create a thought leadership position for yourself, so others in the industry value your thoughts and look at you as an influencer. But again, social media alone cannot get you going. You need the social media-content-nexus to achieve the stature.
LinkedIn and Slideshare
The two are among the platforms that help you in the pursuit of thought leadership. Through blogging, you can connect with leading industry figures on LinkedIn. Articles on LinkedIn Pulse can trigger a remarkable level of engagement.
See the image below:
Figure 3 show an enormous level of engagement in a blog published on LinkedIn. The post got over 2 million views, 27K likes and more than 7K comments. The author Dave Kerpen sends out the message to influencers in his industry that he’s a thought leader.
In 2013, Forbes published an article explaining why Slideshare is the quiet giant of B2B marketing. Sadly, the article brought little change; B2B marketers and advertisers continued to under-utilize this platform. Slideshare adds a social quotient to otherwise boring white papers. Some saw it as the resurgence of white paper when the content format was losing value.
The slides have .ppt extension. You can create them using Microsoft PowerPoint or OpenOffice Impress (If you are on Linux). The content has to be crisp, concise yet informative. Slideshare gets more than 3 billion views every month with 10 million+ presentations, which can give brands visibility and create engagement, so they build a thought leadership position for themselves.
Evolution of B2B
Social media and content are two formidable allies, and together they can drive visibility and exposure to a brand, which finally lead to sales. As new experiments will take place involving content marketing and social media, branding will evolve, forcing marketers to devise new strategies.
What do you think of the article? Would you connect your social media strategies with content marketing? Let us know in the comment section