How to incorporate social media into B2B content marketing strategies

Have you let your brand's social networks slip into auto pilot? Here's how to take back control and reap the benefits...

b2b content marketing

Magnus Linklater is the owner of Bespoke Digital Content Marketing, based in Bristol. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow @Bespoke_Digital on Twitter.

For many B2B operators, using social media amounts to tweeting the odd link to their latest and greatest blog posts. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, per se, but consistency is certainly key if you want to grow your audience and drive traffic.

To be frank, we’d let our social media game slip for a while – failing to practice what we preach because client work always came first, continually pushing social down the list of priorities. However, six months ago we made a commitment to re-energise our online presence, and the results have been significant.

Regularly sharing our blog posts and other useful, relevant articles on Twitter, and generally being more ‘active’ – engaging with and mentioning other businesses – has seen our number of followers steadily rise and referral traffic to our website has surged.

For example, this tweet summarising the success we’ve had with our client Washware Essentials led to direct enquiries about our services.

It really goes to show the strength of having a routine, making it part of your everyday process rather than flirting with the occasional update.

This particular example also highlights why case studies should be central to your content marketing strategy, as they document client journeys to show your worth, convincing others that you can achieve similar results for them.

However, what has driven even more interest is another social network that often goes overlooked, despite it being fertile ground for B2B collaboration: LinkedIn.

There are 500 million LinkedIn members, and if you’re serious about career development and business opportunities, you’re probably one of them. If you haven’t yet signed up, you really need to, as there are fantastic groups for every niche imaginable, industry leaders and newcomers alike sharing expertise and discussing trending topics.

As an ambitious content marketing agency, we’re keen members of the Content Strategy group, which boasts over 30,000 content marketers from all over the world. It’s a hotbed of discussion – a place where you can learn new techniques, or debate the pros and cons of popular tactics.

You can add your voice to the conversation to help establish your authority in the industry, earning respect from your peers and possibly opening the door to new ventures. Indeed, we started a project with one of our clients after striking up a conversation on the group.

Learning from LinkedIn

Staying on top of group discussions has helped inform our own content strategy; the topics of conversation are highly relevant to our target audience – businesses in need of content marketing advice – so we’re well placed to write articles on the burning issues the industry faces and offer expert guidance.

We’re also in the process of compiling a ‘words of wisdom’ series, interviewing the crème de la crème of the content world and publishing their top tips for our audience. On the face of it, you may think that this sounds like a crazy idea – giving your competitors a platform to earn PR points on your platform – but the benefits far outweigh the cons.

By associating ourselves with the finest minds, not only are we delivering great value for our audience, we’re also positioning ourselves alongside them. It shows that we’re aware of best practice advice, and we’re on the pulse of what works, subtly framing us as an agency that can deliver the goods.

Engaging in conversation with other professionals, whether on LinkedIn or IRL (in real life), can help you develop mutually beneficial relationships; even if your business models seemingly oppose one another, there are likely to be areas of overlap that can be highly profitable.

If you offer white label services, contributing to LinkedIn group discussions (in a helpful rather than sales-driven manner) is going to be even more valuable, breeding familiarity with the right people, ensuring you’re fresh in the mind when the time comes to enlisting help.

So, no matter what your line of business, there’s bound to be a plethora of relevant groups crying out for your input. The more vocal you are, the greater your reputation will become, and the more opportunities will present themselves.

Warm leads

Another area where we’ve experienced great success is repurposing our blog content to post directly on LinkedIn, summarising our long-form analyses into shorter pieces more suited to social media.

There are multiple benefits to blogging on LinkedIn, such as earning referral traffic and extending your reach (the more popular your article becomes, the more LinkedIn will start promoting it on your behalf), but one of the major plus points is reminding those already in your network of your existence.

Every time you post, your connections will see your activity in their feed. There’s also a good chance your update will be highlighted in the near-daily emails LinkedIn sends to members, urging them to check out your wise words.

Slowly but surely, the combined effect of this works to re-establish your authority in the eyes of those who already know you, which means you’re likely to be first in line when they require your services, or they know someone who does.

Some of our recent work has come from such warm leads, and there’s no doubt in my mind that being more active on LinkedIn has contributed to this, however indirectly.

The other benefit of repurposing your blog content (being careful to avoid duplicate content, which Google frowns upon) is that you’ve already done the research, so you may as well make the most of it, casting your net far and wide to maximise potential inbound traffic.

As with all forms of content marketing, quality trumps quantity, but if you consistently share high-quality output that lead the conversation and engage like-minded people, social media can supercharge your whole strategy.

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