The wrong marketing strategy is the biggest threat to a Chief Marketing Officer’s success. A massive gap in market strategy for most companies is quality content. This is particularly true for social media content in a B2B marketing team.
Marketing leaders voice frustration for the insatiable need for quality content. Never is this more apparent than a company’s LinkedIn page.
An established LinkedIn company page that doesn’t drive leads is missing a content plan. Recruiters use your page to peel away talent. Sales reps find contacts to sell their services to your company. Everyone is selling with your LinkedIn page but you.
SBI’s annual report “How to Increase Marketing’s Contribution to 2015 Revenue” is focused on developing an effective marketing strategy. This blog article is focused on Content Planning for your social channels. This should be important to you because this is a key gap in most marketing strategies.
Review the following gaps through the lens of B2B social media content:
Tactics Masquerading as Strategy – B2B social channels are established and have activity. Yet there is no driving strategy behind the content production.
Same as Competitors – The social channel reflects what other competitors have done in the industry. This represents an echo chamber to get lost within. Differentiation is essential to not becoming a ‘me too’. If your LinkedIn content shares are similar to the competition then you are failing.
Not Aligned with Buyer Needs – Social channel content must be generated based on the information needs of the buyer. Furthermore, the content should vary by Persona (where there are differences) and stage of the buying process.
Not Aligned with Corporate Strategy – Align the social B2B content with other sales and marketing programs. The content should reinforce and be consistent with those programs.
Not Aligned with Product Strategy – Understand the product strategy. Identify areas where the social content communicates the key points of differentiation. Incorporate product launch content into your social channels.
No Strategy – This occurs in 1 out of 4 B2B companies. This article is focused on filling the strategy gap for social content. Future blog articles will dive deeper into the overall marketing strategy.
Social Content Planning begins with understanding the nature of social media. What makes content effective is the value to the audience. Effective social content requires the accumulation of positive experiences for the audience. This is done through content.
The 4:1:1 Rule serves as a guide to remain relevant with your target personas. The general framework is to Give, Share and Ask.
Content experts vary in their recommended ratio of anywhere from 4:1:1 up to 9:1:1. Where you fit in the spectrum depends on the quality of your promo offer. If your offer has value to the Persona, then you are at the lower end. If your team lacks creativity and their offer had minimal value (i.e. Form to have a sales rep call them) then 9:1:1 is right.
Target audiences who receive quality content are open to promotional messages. They even expect to be sold. This openness depends on their perception of your company. Brand perceptions are impacted in a positive manner through valuable content. Following the 4:1:1 rule keeps your company relevant to the audience.
Bring Focus to Your Efforts
Your marketing team launched company pages for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The initial launch may have been more of a corporate communications effort. The pages are just sitting there and no leads are being produced. Start by understanding which social channels to focus.
LinkedIn: You appreciate the importance of LinkedIn and have invested in getting the messaging right on the company page. Your company page may include showcase pages and discussion groups you have created. What’s next? Most CMOs have let LinkedIn become stale. Worse yet, the company page by and large became a recruiting ground.
Twitter: The channel can be effective for early stage awareness. Twitter is ineffective at driving leads. Think of Twitter as an entry point. Visitors don’t research on Twitter. The twitter audience browses for the most part. Timing is everything. Millions of tweets flow through every day. Only the few tweets on the screen during browsing count. Content planning for B2B social needs to adjust posts based on how it is used.
YouTube: Can be valuable to bring your product/service offering to life. The value of the channel is largely determined by the quality of the video content. Invest in quality video or abandon.
Facebook: Few B2B marketers find value. Exceptions can be where it’s used for user-groups or events.
Select the top channels to build your content plan for your social media. LinkedIn is the undisputed 900-lb gorilla for B2B.
Build your Social Media Content Plan
Author your plan by answering the following questions from SBI’s Marketing Strategy Content Plan.
- What are the content goals for the marketing and sales teams?
- When, where, how do our buyers consume content?
- What content do we have vs. need?
- What trigger events put our buyers in the market?
- What is our editorial calendar?
- What content production schedule is needed to meet our content goals?
- How do we incorporate SEO analysis in our content plans?
- How do we promote the content we create?
- How do we test and constantly improve content?
Once you have written your plan, then it’s time to execute. Leverage this past post for authoring content marketing by leveraging an execution kit.
Build it and they Shall Come
A recent report by CMI (Content Marketing Institute) validates your investment in content planning.
B2B marketers who have documented content strategy are more likely to consider themselves effective (66% vs. 11%).
Start with social content as this is the biggest gap for most CMOs. Download the B2B Social Media Content Planning Workbook to increase customer acquisition.