Last week, Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs released a new study, B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America. Among its findings, evidence of one growing trend is clear: B2B marketers are using social media at higher rates now than ever before. On average, B2B marketers are leveraging six channels for social media content, compared to five last year.
On the surface, this may seem like good news, as it indicates that marketers are tapping into more of the myriad channels available to them. But, before we collectively celebrate, consider this other study finding: LinkedIn is the only channel that a majority of marketers consider themselves to be using effectively.
How can marketers handle this influx of channels — and what can they do to be more effective when creating social media content? This was the focus of our first B2B research roundtable video during this year’s Content Marketing World. Content marketing experts Ardath Albee, Michael Brenner, Carla Johnson, Michael Weiss, and Todd Wheatland joined Shiri Friedman from Brightcove to discuss the “whys” behind the results of our fourth annual research project.
Here are a few key takeaways from the conversation:
B2B marketers are traditionally hesitant about, say, Pinterest; yet if you really double down and focus on Pinterest as a key strategy, I’m absolutely sure you can make that work. It’s just [a question of] where are you going to direct your resources best [for] having a real potential to engage with the community better. — Todd Wheatland
Choose the channels where you can build and engage with a genuine community, and focus your attention on those. Study what others are doing in this space so you can learn what people respond to the most favorably. And, by others, I don’t mean your competition but, rather, anyone who may be taking your audience’s attention away from your social media content. Ask yourself how you can be more useful or entertaining than other brands, or people, your audience is engaging with on this platform.
While it makes sense to choose the primary channels you will focus on, the landscape is changing quickly, and it’s important to experiment to keep your social media content efforts fresh and current. As Coca-Cola’s Jonathan Mildenhall taught us during Content Marketing World, “If you don’t have room to fail, you don’t have a way to grow.”
It doesn’t make sense to start using a platform simply because it’s become trendy, or because your competitors have a presence there. But don’t let fear of failure stop you from trying something new. Follow these recommendations to guide you in your decisions:
- Don’t sign up for an account without having a plan on what you will do there.
- Do prioritize the channels you want to experiment with, and spend a dedicated amount of time to test out what works — and learn from what doesn’t. You may discover something new about your audience, or you may learn that it’s not a priority channel for your business.
So, a Facebook post should be very different than [one on] Pinterest, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, but a lot of times it’s just ‘Ugh, just put it all out, because you’ve got the tool so you do it and you hit send so it goes to all your channels.’ —Michael Weiss
The easiest way to turn off your community members is to broadcast the same message across multiple channels (yes, you want to be consistent, blindly cross-posting is lazy and ineffective). Instead, determine the kind of content that interests that community in a way that is useful to them. As a starting place, check out 58 Social Media Tips for Content Marketers, which provides tips for each channel, as well as examples of brands that are using each channel well.
Next week, our roundtable of experts will focus on the top challenge for B2B marketers: a lack of time. They will discuss, among other things, whether or not this is really a legitimate excuse, and what content marketers can to do address the problem.
In the meantime, share your tips on conquering their fears of being overwhelmed when creating social media content. How can content marketers be more effective?
View the other videos in this roundtable discussion:
- How to Overcome the B2B Content Marketing Time Crunch
- What the Future Holds for B2B Content Marketing: A Look Ahead
You can also see more results from our B2B content marketing research, visit CMI’s Research Page.