Saturday, 3 March 2018

Identifying The Goldmine: Where And How Should B2Bs Promote Their Content?

b2b content promotion


The argument is over. Marketing experts and doubting Thomases have finally come to agree that content marketing is one of the most important customer acquisition channels for business of any kind. Seth Godin has my most favourite quote on this. He says “content marketing is the only marketing left.” 

Our judge has given the verdict.............. nothing left to be said.

What is now baffling, however, is the pool of information available on the internet. Self-ascribed experts and impostors continue to grow by the day. It reminds me of Ann Handely's book "Everyone writes." You are right to be worried!

I understand this, which it’s why I took it upon myself to discuss a subject of great importance: Where should B2Bs promote their content? Should it be confined to LinkedIn where their prospect are often said to be? Or there are other platforms that equal LinkedIn in this advantage?

Don’t sweat it; I will uncover many many facts as regards B2B content promotion.

Successful content marketing is both art and science. The art part is the wonder you perform when you burnish your cutting-edge content to do two things: Arrest and captivate. The science part is finding and implementing how to reach the right people – your target audience. So, we'll be going into some science today.

For B2C, we know audience are almost everywhere, but B2B has been severely narrowed down to some platforms, going by the popular opinion.

Sorry to disappoint you: The answer to the question of this piece does not agree with the popular opinion. Because in practical reality, the goldmine of B2B content promotion is everywhere. In other words, B2B target audience are available on almost every social network, except if you don’t know how to use it.

Why is this true?


Facebook, a platform with over 1 billion monthly active users, cannot be wanting of business owners. Not especially when media household names such as Bloomberg broadcast live video on it. If that failed to convince you, would it be appropriate to say among 50 million businesses that use the platform, none is your prospect?

Twitter, the mini-blog platform and playground of intelligentsia, has the world high-profile CEOs and business moguls hanging out on it. And with 65% of U.S companies, including 377 Fortune 500, using the platform for marketing purposes, how hard is it to find your prospects there?

Do you also have apathy for Instagram? Sure you do, but you are missing a lot because Buffer, Hootsuite and Paypal are tapping its potential to high degrees.

I cannot continue to prose on and on about this. Let’s move to the business of the day.

How B2B Can Promote Their Content Using Facebook

 
Promoting B2B content on Facebook
If you are just about to yell at me for asking you to promote your B2B on Facebook, relax and be sure that thinking Facebook does not work for B2Bs is MERELY some “you think” rebuttable presumption.


About 74% of Facebook users say they use it for professional purpose, according to a recent study by Hubspot. Who do you think uses social media for professional purposes? Only B2C consumers? Certainly, the answer is no.


After a close study of how some B2Bs use Facebook, I outline three most effective things I could lay my fingers on.


1.      Visual storytelling

Facebook, as Social Media Examiner puts it, is largely a visual social network. Better engagement and interaction are more guaranteed with visual posts, most especially in case of B2B users.

Why? Other business owners are busy people, just like you. If a picture is worth more than a thousand words, then using a picture to communicate your message would be a wise thing to do. Examine this post below from Accenture. SME dissected it and figured out it used “high-quality imagery combined with a bold font and one key message” to support its expert status.




In one simple photo, it communicated 3 distinct messages as SME explains:


·        We are experts in our field and we are giving you access to insights from our managing director
·        We have industry knowledge that we are willing to share with you
·        At no point in this status update, in the image, or in the blog link description are we trying to sell to you.


Fantastic! Isn’t it? Your prospects are already occupied. They are not going to pass their time consuming content unless it appears irresistible. Use the imagery tricks to hook them down and they are likely to get into your sales funnel.

2.      Facebook Live Show

One the most important characteristics any marketing content can have is “be very engaging.” Content marketing works for the simple advantage of its ability to interact across various levels. It tucks away complexity and engages people of different levels in the casual cordial way. And there is no better place to do this than a live show.


You may agree with me that there is no better way to engage people than live show. This is most especially so in case of B2B where you need to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Other business owners -- who are your target market -- are very smart. By implementing Facebook Live in your content strategy, you provide an instant, real-time source of engagements that affirms your authority to others, and in so doing give them the reason to listen to you with interest.


Think about it. Facebook reports that users watch live videos three times longer than they watch pre-recorded videos. If you manage to hook many admins on the platform to watch your purpose-filled live show, you can as well inform them of your products in a winsome manner.

3.      Facebook Ads

Considering the price and the number of audience available on other social networks, Facebook Ad is a gold mine for B2B marketers to get referral traffic. With its highly specific ad options and customer data repository, Facebook allows you to select and narrow down your target audience to almost anything possible.

With its almost limitless options, the most essential thing here is for you to use it to drive traffic to your website, from where their journey into conversion continues.

If I have my facts right, up to 50 million businesses are available on that platform. Use Facebook ad to target their persona and you won’t go wrong.

How to use Instagram to promote your B2B content

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where you can share relevant content for your industry and get click backs, making B2B work on Instagram requires a great deal of creativity as well as patience. But the simple and straightforward message is: it works.

Proof? An estimated 71% of US businesses use Instagram, that's according to a finding by eMarketer. Instagram says that 80% of users say they follow at least one business on the app. Estimate 80% of 800 million monthly users and do the maths. They are there too --  your prospects.

Assuming that’s resolved, how you can secure a foothold on Instagram as a B2B is undoubtedly the next question.  And the answer is a simple one.

Instagram, as you already know, is home to visuals. Nothing else grows there as visuals do. Anything engaging, inspiring and educating will surely do well. Adobe seems to know this better than anyone else. To make Instagram work, they highlight what their products can do by creating dashing visuals that make even the coldest watcher want to try their hand at Adobe products.

There you have it. The first thing is to try and build a large fan base out of them while you attract them with comestibles such as storytelling, motivation, jokes and compelling visuals that highlight what your product is capable of.

Adobe is just one out of many B2B companies that are killing it on Instagram. You can read more about what others are doing here.

Twitter

Twitter undoubtedly hosts a great deal of fun for consumers, which makes it an ideal place for B2C. But what of B2B? Is the grass also greener here?

The answer is Yes. This is not particularly because of the conspicuous presence of many businesses, but because the rule of game is almost pretty clear more than anywhere else. For brevity, let me just specify the three best tools you need when promoting a B2B content on Twitter.

1.      Hashtags

Tweets with hashtags, according to a research, get twice as much engagement as those without, and 55% more retweets. But don’t just go on using hashtags blindly; undertake the thorough assignment of identifying which hashtag aligns with your target market audience -- one they are more likely to share or use when searching in the search box.

Lucky for you, today there exists a handful of technology that caters for hashtaggers' need. From finding out what’s trending to measuring your hashtag performance, you can tap into a pool of advantages by using tools such as Hootsuite, Hashtagify, Keyhole and many others that perform as well.

2.      Timing

Timing is everything, everywhere.

But it is more important on Twitter. This is because, although twitter provides a very limited space for words, the engagement is mostly lively and the connection, very deep. Thus it becomes a rule of thumb that if you are taking your content to Twitter, try not to do it at the sleeping hours. Do it at a time when the birds of Twitter are still chirping, and the dwellers of Twitter are willing to join the chorus. Below is the summary of what I found out.

Coschedule conducted a study to find out when it’s the best time to tweet. It collected some data from top industry experts as well as companies. After studying this collection of studies thoroughly, I found out that 5-6 pm week days are the best time to post a tweet if you are a B2B marketer. You can conduct further research if you are not satisfied with my conclusion.

The bottom line: Timing is very important.

3.      Use influencer’s power

using influencer power to promote b2b content


I know what you’d think if I didn’t mention influencer in this post “The post is zero.”

Of course, influencers can be very useful in promoting your content but not everyone will have chance to win their attention amidst teeming followers. You know this as much as I do. Nevertheless, all hope is not lost.

You can attract their followers to your page by using your company’s account to engage them whenever they post. People who read tweets often read the comments, too. When your brand name is unique and your engagement is valuable, all it takes to drag people to your page is the simple verb word “act.” Comment on influencer’s post as a way of getting your brand name across to their followers, who probably have never heard about you. They will come to your page trying to find out who you are and this is the beginning of their journey into your sales funnel.

How to use Quora to promote your B2B content

At first glance, Quora looks like some Q&A platform where nothing of marketing value can be made out but that’s not true. If you know the numbers and the how-to, almost everywhere is a potential marketplace, so long as human beings interact there. What you will gain from Quora is none more than referral traffic.

Why should you even consider Quora? Simple: Because it has people. Quora hosts people of different social status, from Fortune 500 executives to political leaders, behemoth artists to war veterans and academics. If we should go by the categories of people, Quora would be even a better option for B2Bs than LinkedIn. The reason, again, is because it has people. Needless to say the majority of users are their to share and gain knowledge concurrently.

Apparently unlike LinkedIn, no one hangs out looking for jobs or internship opportunities. So, it takes either a genuine expert or a genuine knowledge seeker to be immersed in Quora.

Or should we talk about the number? Because numbers don’t lie, as they say. Quora reaches over 29 million US people monthly, according to the latest report from Quantcast. Another way to say this is Quora reach 29 million of B2B prospects every month. What we should discuss next is what you should be doing there.

1.      Create a compelling profile

Mark Zuckerberg once remarked “People trust people, not institutions.”

From the onset of this piece, emphasis is laid on professionalism. You want to attract a group of people who are more interested in what you can do. The best way to show them is to leverage social proof. Turn your profile into a semi-resume by displaying the most important of your achievements.

Begin by mentioning your greatest recognitions and then move on to state clearly what service you provide.

I cannot think of anyone doing this better than Neil Patel. First, he reveals he is one of the top 10 marketers on Forbes and also NY Times Best Selling Author. Then he further outlines many of his achievement as an influencer in his area of specialisation.

Observe the image below.



You and I are certainly no Neil Patels, but we can leverage the social proof we have no matter how inferior they seem.

2.      Give for free

With big emphasis on the V word (value) you have to keep answering questions and making sure every word you write there proffers a solution. It is a content place where fine words that give important information hold high ground.

This is the point of your content promotion. What you will gain from Quora is traffic referral. But you must be very meticulous in doing this. At the end or in the middle of your question, you should find a way to suggest a link to a piece on your website without making it look obvious that you are trying to drag them to it. It should be for further reading on a question you just answered well or could be some other valuables you think might be of use for the readers.

The level of your success here is just as good as the level of valuable answers you can provide. Quora is segmented into various categories. By this, it gives a fair play ground for contents to reach the category of those who are interested in it without any hindrance. So long as you can identify the pain points of your target audience, know how to turn that into a question and give an in-depth problem-solving answer on it, you can’t go wrong using the platform.


LinkedIn

I can’t exempt LinkedIn from the piece, neither can I waste good amount of words stressing its necessity for B2Bs. It doesn’t just make sense to do something like that. B2B is a go-to place for B2Bs and hundreds, if not thousands, of literature are available online to teach you how to do that. All you need to do is to go out and find them and you’ll be fine.

Let’s wrap this up


The main theme of this entire piece is simple: Understand that all other social networks, aside LinkedIn, are not meant to corroborate LinkedIn in B2B content promotion. Each and every one of them is as potent, rich and useful as the other. I would not say there isn’t hierarchy, there is, but the pot of gold is for you to know how to effectively tap the potential of all channels. Don’t be a bad work man, be a smart work man. Seth Godin has been praised repeatedly for his ideology of harnessing the purple cow. He made it clear that the best way to succeed in business is to stand out, by bringing out a unique thing which is not adopted by all. You can apply this technique in B2B marketing, while your peers simply abandon other platforms for a few, steal the market before they discover the potential.

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