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5 Ways to Get Started in B2B Content Marketing

Social Media B2B - Mon, 2016-06-20 07:00

I was recently talking to the marketing team at a B2B enterprise company about content marketing. With all the conversation about content marketing over the past few years, it is hard to imagine there are those who are still not incorporating content marketing into their marketing efforts, and who still don’t know how to get started. This B2B technology firm has multiple divisions selling multiple products around the world.

After I described some of the basic elements and best practices of content marketing, especially at the top of the funnel, and specifically how we approach it, they put me on the spot a bit. They asked me if I were consulting for them, what are the five things that I would tell them to do to get started in content marketing. Assuming that they are not the only B2B company still struggling to fully understand content marketing, I will share what I told them.

1. Identify an Internal Champion

If you are looking to start content marketing, you need someone to lead the charge. There are two main jobs for this person, and it doesn’t matter if they have a content marketing title or not. The first is that they set the strategy for the effort. They need both the authority and the vision to know how content marketing can be incorporated into the business. And the second function is internal education. Because a content marketing approach to marketing represents a big culture shift for many B2B organizations, someone has to sell the story to both executives and other marketers. Success will come with a broad understanding of what is required of everyone, not from a small group pushing content out without the support of others.

2. Review Current Marketing Plans

Content marketing cannot succeed in a bubble. It has to align with the rest of your marketing plans. Start with your personas and make sure you understand how other marketing campaigns are communicating with them. You don’t want to disrupt what is already happening, especially if it is working. You want to add a layer of top of funnel, valuable content to the marketing mix.

3. Audit Existing Content

Before you start everything from scratch, you need to audit all the content that already exists. For most organizations that have not really adopted content marketing, most of the marketing materials are product focused. If you are lucky there are things beyond the usual feeds and speeds type content. Definitely look for white papers, case studies, customer testimonials, explainer videos. All of these elements can be utilized as you think about content across all stages of the buying cycle. If you know what already exists, you can create additional content that connects more dots with your buyers by showing them that you understand their business pain points.

4. Establish Goals

No marketing is ever successful unless everyone agrees upon the measures of success. Again, this needs to align with other marketing efforts and not be an outlier. If your marketing team is measured by driving marketing qualified leads then that should be your metric for content marketing. If you focus on driving pipeline then you should measure against that. This way your success will be understood by the rest of the organization.

5. Create a Pilot Project

Since you can’t change everything overnight, it’s better to start with something small and develop processes around creating new content. While a content marketing effort is a long term prospect and you may not have results quickly, a pilot project for one product line or buyer persona will help you and your organization understand what’s involved in this shift to content marketing.

These are not the only things to do to get started using content marketing for your B2B company, but if you begin with these five things you will be well on your way to success.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Report: B2B Social Media Engagement in 17 Industries

Social Media B2B - Tue, 2016-04-05 07:00

There are so many reports, studies, surveys and statistics put out by companies as content to attract prospects that marketers start to question both the quality and the validity of the results. To keep up with the latest in the industry we turn over our email addresses in exchange for yet another fancy PDF with a smattering of data. Oh well, just signed myself up for another email list for nothing.

But sometimes I get surprised. And today was one of those days.

TrackMaven is a competitive intelligence company that I’ve been familiar with for quite some time (Disclosure: just starting to use it at work), and have liked some of their data reports. But I opened up this latest one and I was blown away. There is so much great data in here, especially for specific B2B industries, I almost didn’t know where to start.

The report analyzes “12 months of content from 316 leading B2B brands on five key social networks to understand how the best B2B marketers move the needle with social media.” This is great for B2B marketers in all those industries, who have never seen this kind of detail about their social media peers. I’ve picked some data to share, but you really should head over to TrackMaven and download this report for yourself. It is worth your email address.

One of the primary datapoints the report shows is size of audience. The industry with the largest following across the five social media sites measured (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) was Professional Services. The one with the smallest following was Wholesalers. And LinkedIn is the social network with the largest number of followers of B2B companies.

The other thing the report tracks is engagement rate. This is calculated as the the average number of interactions per post per 1,000 followers. Here are the average rates by platform for all B2B companies tracked. Below you will find a breakdown by industry. You can compare your engagement rates to these averages or look at the numbers for your specific industry.

Instagram: 22.53
Pinterest: 15.88
Facebook: 5.99
LinkedIn: 1.09
Twitter: 0.86

Aerospace & Defense

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 142,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 28.10
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: Textron 43.58

Biotech

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 96,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Facebook 46.97
Company with Audience on Facebook: Merck 36,000

Chemical Manufacturers

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 54,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 29.25
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: Monsanto 80.94
Ed Note: Lots of negative engagement here

Computer Hardware

Largest Median Social Media Audience: Facebook 1,217,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 24.69
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on : Fujitsu (Germany) 33.27

Construction

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 120,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 24.69
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: Centex 24.88

Electrical Equipment

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 124,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 18.31
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: ABB 48.32

Energy

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 48,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 29.38
Sector with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: Oil & Gas 33.07

Engineering

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 185,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 44.13
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on : ch2m

Financial Services

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 240,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Pinterest 69.92
Sector with Highest Engagement Rate on Pinterest: Commercial Banking 76.44

Logistics & Shipping

Largest Median Social Media Audience: Facebook 41,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 22.73
Sector with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: Rail & Freight 29.21

Machinery

Largest Median Social Media Audience: Facebook 183,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 25.14
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: John Deere 29.97

Medical

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 203,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 21.47
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: Medtronic 27.98

Motor Vehicle & Parts

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 148,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 25.44
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: Ford

Pharmaceuticals

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 464,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 20.70
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: Bayer 32.59

Professional Services

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 1,154,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 10.61
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: Cisco averages 620 engagements per post

Software

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 284,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 13.38
Company with Highest Engagement Rate on Instagram: IBM 12.67

Wholesalers

Largest Median Social Media Audience: LinkedIn 25,000
Network with Largest Average Engagement Rate: Instagram 21.38
Sector with Highest Engagement Rate on : Electronics & Office Equipment 33.56

B2B social media continues to be driven by content, and this report shows that if you are looking for engagement, Instagram is the platform for most industries. Even though this report is full of great data to benchmark against, remember that nobody knows your audience better than you do, and make sure you are measuring your success against the right goals.

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