Frustrated. That’s how you feel if you’re busy with social media – month after month – but aren’t getting results. Businesses spend hours publishing blog posts, sending out tweets, and posting on Facebook how great their product is, promoting speaking events, sharing staff updates, discussing company news, and pushing out special sales and promotion.  The truth is, people don’t care about your company, they care about themselves. If you want results, first stop talking so much about yourself.

Second, develop a content marketing strategy.

The secret to a killer B2B social media program is to have a content marketing strategy that defines your company’s buyer personas and their buying process. Identify who you want to reach, what issues they care most about, and then create content against this plan. Content should be built around the different stages of the buying cycle.

Content Should Move People Along the Purchase Path

Create content that represents what needs to happen at each step to move a lead from the top of the funnel to the middle to the bottom (from awareness to consideration to purchase). If you already have a demand generation program in place, this is really nothing new. If you’ve not thought this through it’s entirely likely you’re wasting a lot of marketing dollars.

Top of the Funnel: Educate and Inform

The top of the funnel should be content that is educational and helps your prospect with a problem they’re facing. At this stage, people are interested in getting general information and not looking for specific vendor solutions. You want to be seen as a trusted resource for information. Valuable B2B content can include white papers, industry research, etc.

Middle of the Funnel: Introduce Your Products and Services

The middle of the funnel should be something that both educates and slowly introduces your product or service as a solution to their problem. At this stage, content can include client case studies, product fact sheets, educational webinars hosted by an executive from your company, etc. Highlight the benefits of your products and services and differentiate your offerings from competitors.

Bottom of the Funnel: Close the Sale

The bottom of the funnel should be content that moves the prospect to pick up the phone or send you an email request. At this stage, prospects are prepared to make a purchase. Offer a free demo over the phone or free in person consultation. You want them to contact you directly so you can now close the sale.

Keep in mind there is a deluge of information online (25 billion web pages according to Netcraft). People aren’t looking for “information”, they’re looking for answers to their problems. Your content should be the answer they’re looking for. Continue to provide ongoing solutions to their problems in the form of valuable content, and ultimately people will reward you with their business and loyalty.

Do you have a content marketing strategy for your business? Let us know in the comments below.