B2B social media marketing has been slow to emerge. But it is now catching on and businesses who want to survive and thrive need to get “with it.” In fact, research from the Content Marketing Institute has reported that 92% of B2B marketers are using social media as a part of their total content marketing plan. Businesses have come to understand that, just as with B2C marketing, there is a great advantage to promoting a brand and building relationships with businesses that are potential customers. And, just as with B2C marketing, it is important that B2B marketers write engaging content, targeted to the right audience and then promoted/published on the right social media platforms. The following are just six ways to effectively move your content marketing into social media.

Connect with Your Potential Customers on Social Media

Cold calling is no longer an effective lead generation tactic. But human connection can still occur if social media is used correctly. It’s sort of like a “first date.” The idea is to allow potential customers to get to know you, to have your brand before them in as many ways as possible. Basecamp, a company that markets cloud-based project management software, has a website of course. And it has a business blog which is promoted all over social media – LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. If you access Basecamp’s Facebook page, you will see post after post of a variety of things that will put a human face on the company – press releases, the team, support for charities, customers featured with their comments about Basecamp products, videos, and promotion of posts that are on their blog. You will find a huge LinkedIn presence as well, and their Twitter feed promotes successes, specific blog posts of interest, etc. The goal is to get the brand in front of as many decision-makers in as many businesses as possible. And it is working, at very low cost.

Promote Your Content (and thus your brand) on Social Media

Crafting content that is of interest to potential customers is a strategy that is exploding. B2B content marketers are utilizing text, videos, photos, and more to educate their audiences, to showcase products and services, to tell their stories, and to drive traffic to their website. Here is a pie chart from Content Marketing Institute showing the increase in content creation during 2015.

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The content you create depends upon the specific platforms you use. If, for example, you want to focus on specific aspects of your business with other professionals, then you join the most relevant groups on LinkedIn and participate in the discussions. If you want to highlight actual business operations, then create videos of production or your team engaged in project work. These can be accomplished through videos which are then published on a variety of platforms. Your content does not have to bore if you use lots of visuals and tell stories. If you want to see how a few companies are creating exciting and fun content, you can see their presentations here. Granted, these are big players (B.E., American Express Business, and Maersk Shipping), but you can model the same types of content, no matter what your business size.

Keep Track of Your Competition

You need to engage in “social listening,” that is accessing all of the social media platforms of your competitors. What topics are being discussed? What blog posts are being written that are promoting questions, comments and conversations? You take this knowledge and use it as you create your own content.

Use social Media to Drive Traffic To Your Website

No matter where you are on social media, every post, every tweet, every YouTube video, and every Instagram photo has the URL to your official website. Make it highly visible. If you have created specific videos that will be of interest to certain potential customers; if you have produced white papers; if you have e-books or case studies, promote them with links to the pages on your site where they may be accessed immediately. And you can always gate those items with an email registration form.

Use Paid Social

If you have the budget, you can really increase your brand visibility through paid messaging. This is especially effective on twitter and LinkedIn because you can reach your target audience much more specifically. Promoted Tweets will put you on the Twitter accounts of influencers in your niche; targeted LinkedIn ads can be made visible to specific targeted audiences, specifically the right departments and individuals within a company that you want as a customer.

Improve Search Engine Ranking

A lot of B2B marketing on search engines is through paid advertising. And it can be effective if you have the budget to keep it going over the long haul. But a much cheaper way to do this is to promote your content on your social media platforms. If your content is engaging, then viewers/readers will comment on it, “like” it, and share it with others. The more clicking, linking and sharing you get, the more valuable you will be seen by Google. And moving up on those page rankings is a huge benefit when a potential purchaser is searching for your product or service. This obviously requires the time to create that great content, but you will not have to worry about your advertising budget being depleted and having to suspend a search engine ad campaign.

The Big Three

The whole point of incorporating a strong content marketing campaign through social media is three-pronged.

  1. First, you want to build brand awareness as widely as possible. This you do by having a presence on all of the social media platforms where companies who are target customers hang out.
  2. You want to create such engaging content that readers/viewers will want to share it with their colleagues and professional acquaintances. You want to showcase your expertise; you want to showcase your team; and you want to showcase current customers who see the value in what you have to offer.
  3. Make those contacts for potential sales. If you are doing the first two things right, you are going to have “nibbles,” from provided email addresses, from conversations in which you are engaged, from groups you have joined on LinkedIn, from promoted tweets, and from searches that are conducted.

Getting results from your social media content marketing takes time and a commitment to be consistent in your posting, publishing, and participation. It won’t happen overnight, but marketers who have been using social media for an extended period of time are getting major results.