10 Tactics To Maximize Your B2B Content Reach [Research]
Social media remains key to content marketing distribution in 2016.
B2B content marketers use 6 social media platforms on average (not including blogs) to maximize their content reach. That’s according to Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs 2016 US B2B Content Marketing Trends.
Top social media for B2B content marketing distribution
B2B content marketers rated the following social media platforms as top.
- 94% use LinkedIn. This is a B2B no-brainer. In addition to professional connections, businesses can leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups, Company Pages and LinkedIn Publishing. Melonie Dodaro and Viveka Von Rosen are the experts to follow.
- 87% use Twiter. Twitter is the go-to promotional stream. It’s great for answering customer questions in real time. This requires trained personnel who understand social media, customer service and sales.
- 84% use Facebook. Facebook’s standing among B2B marketers shows audience numbers matter despite competing with spouses, children, friends and kittens. This is partly attributable to the power of Facebook’s massive data. B2B marketers can use Company Pages, target ads (including the new Lead Ads), and get audience insights. To stay up-to-date, follow Jon Loomer.
- 74% use YouTube. YouTube use should be higher given the combined power of videos, targeted ads and search capabilities. YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google. Video gives your B2B brand a human face and shows how to use your products and answer questions. Jay Baer’s short Jay Today videos show this platform’s potential. (Note: He’s ended it.)
- 62% use Google+. Google+ has stayed on marketers’ radar due to its Google connection. Many marketers still don’t understand the platform’s full potential. Copyblogger uses Google+ for discussion after closing their blog comments and Facebook page. Follow Martin Shervington to broaden your use.
- 37% use Slideshare. Slideshare is under-utilized by B2B marketers. Owned by LinkedIn, it provides a broader audience for your presentations, case studies, research, webinars, white papers (including ebooks) as well as video, audio and PDFs. It also captures leads.
- 29% use Instagram. It shows the beauty of your products as GE has taught us. It’s great for live events but it’s surprising that it’s ahead of Pinterest. Check Sue Zimmerman, the Instagram Girl.
- 25% use Pinterest. Give your content a visual perspective. Step outside of your internal groupthink to see how others can be interested in your content. Think mood boards applied to your business. Follow Peg Fitzpatrick.
3 Key social media factors for effective B2B social media content distribution
While it’s useful to see the social media platforms other B2B marketers use for their content distribution strategy, this comprehensive research misses 3 key social media factors. (BTW—Here’s what 5 influencers had to say about content and social media.)
1. Integrate social media activities and distribution into your overall content strategy and marketing plans.
Think beyond just promoting new and existing content.
For example, Content Marketing Institute’s Cathy McPhillips has a calendar for planning and promoting Twitter Chats that’s coordinated with other events.
2. Optimize your social media efforts.
In 2014, social media surpassed search for content findability according to Shareaholic.
This makes optimizing your social media activity crucial to your success metrics. Media entities like BuzzFeed have staff specialized in making content shine on each social media platform. (BTW—Pinterest is BuzzFeed’s #2 driver of social media shares after Facebook.)
Key social media optimization factors include:
- Write great headlines. They remain the hook that lures readers in.
- Consider content format. At a minimum, optimize the text associated with non-text content since search engines can’t see it. Also, Jakob Nielsen pointed out that photo captions get read most.
- Use hashtags. Expand your content’s reach.
- Make completing related engagement or leads fast and seamless.
3. Leverage the power of influencers
Interestingly influencers weren’t mentioned in this research.
Influencers with strong followings on social media help expand your content’s reach by their involvement and/or promotion. Determine which influencers are important to your key target market. Research to determine what they’re like and the type of content they share.
Share their content and engage with them on social media where appropriate such as when they ask questions or respond to their postings. But don’t be creepy.
Skip the one-size-fits-all email. If possible reach out yourself. Don’t delegate this activity to your lowest level person or your PR firm since it shows little respect for their time. Remember you’re asking a favor!!!
As part of Content Marketing World’s promotion, Lee Odden’s agency, Top Rank, creates highly shared, useful ebooks. They’re well planned and executed to encourage participant contribution and sharing. The planning includes pre-formatted social media shares and blog posts. (BTW—here’s how to create this form of epic curated content!)
Check Odden’s 50 Tips to Fail at Influencer Marketing.
10 Tactics for using social media for B2B content marketing distribution
Social media use is key for maximum B2B content marketing distribution in 2016.
Social media broadens B2B content reach through the use of different platforms, various content formats, and diverse post timing.
Here are 10 social media tactics to enhance your B2B content distribution
1. Integrate content marketing into one or more blog posts
Take advantage of your blog’s ability to handle different information formats by creating posts with a new spin. This allows you to reach your blog’s audience as well as its email and RSS distribution.
2. Re-imagine content based on social media platform
Social media isn’t a one-size-fits-all option. Chunk each piece of content into unique pieces of sharable social media.
3. Use various content formats
Skip the plain text for most of social media platforms. It gets lost in the stream.
Transform your content into photographs, videos, audios and slideshares. Pat Flynn grew his blog through his podcast.
Other content formats broaden your content reach through third party, non-social media distribution such as Stitcher and iTunes for podcasts.
4. Batch schedule social media distribution
Optimize employee time used to post your content on a regular basis or it’s likely to become another task on someone’s To Do list.
Create a social media content distribution schedule when content is first published. Here’s a sample of CoSchedule’s recommended social media sharing.
Modify your social media sharing to provide new hooks to lure new readers in. Also it makes your content look fresh in people’s social media streams.
Here’s proof from CoSchedule that multiple sharing helps results. (Also, here’s data on social sharing based on 2.6 billion shares. It’s worth a read!)
Use one or more social media scheduling tools such as Buffer, Edgar, CoSchedule and Hootsuite.
5. Get employees involved
Encourage employees to share your content with their friends and colleagues. (BTW, I call this the social media opportunity most businesses miss.) Your content must make them look good and not appear to be shills for the firm. Also you must alert them when you publish new information.
6. Make reader sharing as simple as possible
There’s a reason Steve Krug named his website usability book, Don’t Make Me Think. The same holds true for enticing readers to share your content since 10% or less share content.
Select consistent looking sharing icons so that readers know what to do without thinking. Place share buttons at the top, along the side, and at the end of your content. Many people won’t share until they’ve read or scanned your content.
Allow readers to share salient visuals, infographics, videos, audio and PDFs. Also, simplify tweets, etc. using tools like TweetThis.
Add hashtags where appropriate.
Don’t hamper readability on smartphones and tablets.
7. Build your social media community
Go beyond just sharing content on social media. Participate in Twitter chats, LinkedIn Groups, Google hangouts and Blabs.
Answer comments and requests on your company pages. Post social media office hours where appropriate to manage followers’ expectations.
Use social media questions and discussions as the basis for blog posts and content.
8. Build your audience through social media blogging platforms
Use LinkedIn Publishing and Medium to extend your content reach. Jay Baer has these 2 platforms as part of his 8 ways to reuse content.
9. Set aside budget to support social media activity
Social media is far from a free media platform. It requires time, creative development, participation, technology and support.
With changes and maturity, social media also requires advertising support via a growing number of options. Here’s how B2B marketers rate them in this 2016 B2B Content Trends.
10. Test the latest social media platforms
Many of the social mediarati test the new, new platform to see how and what works. Ian Cleary brilliantly made this the focus of his RazorSocial blog that compares and tests new platforms and related tools.
The bottom line is that social media is a critical element of your content marketing plans both as a content format and as a means of content distribution.
To maximize your B2B content marketing reach, consider your social media in the context of your audience’s streams and in the context of your content strategy and marketing plans.
What’s your favorite social media tactic for distributing content marketing and why?
BTW, want to see the entire research? Here it is:
PS: Here’s our analysis of the overall research.
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