By Christin Jeffers, Marketing Specialist at PSA Security Network
We recently took an informal survey of a small sample of PSA integrators to find out how they are using social media. While most are catching on to the importance of using it – some have recently invested in the help of an agency to get them started – there were several respondents who didn’t think there was enough value to justify the time spent on it. I understand the case for not believing that social media is valuable because it is by far one of the most difficult marketing tools to analyze and demonstrate tangible ROI. However, as a B2B marketer and public relations professional, I believe there is a case for B2B companies to not only partake in social media, but that if we treat it like we do all other marketing programs and have a proper strategy in place that it will benefit the organization.
Earlier this year the Content Marketing Institute released its annual report on B2B Content Marketing. They polled more than 5,000 marketers to develop a detailed report on the status of B2B content marketing in 2015. For those who are unfamiliar, The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
A good content marketing strategy will squeeze as much juice out of high quality content as possible. This is often achieved by re-purposing content through multiple channels, such as email, whitepapers, case studies, articles, social media, infographics and videos (just to name a few). I have long been a social media advocate when it comes to B2B marketing and here are the top three reasons why I believe social media is a valuable tool, along with data from the Content Marketing Institute report that supports it:
- B2B content marketers are using social media – if you’re not on it, you’ve already fallen behind. The Content Marketing Institute found that 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. It is by far the most used social platform for B2B. The other social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, etc.) also have a strong presence with the B2B crowd. In fact, social media is the most used platform for content marketing tactic usage (92% of respondents reported to using social), followed by eNewsletters (83%), articles on the company website (81%), and blogs (80%).
- B2B marketers not only have a presence on social media, but they are actively using the accounts. These marketers are not sitting on stagnant or abandoned accounts. 42% of respondents said they publish new content “multiple times per week” or “daily,” which means many B2B marketing departments are dedicating the time to ensure these accounts stay active. This often goes beyond simply publishing new content every other day. It’s also about being relational, whether that’s responding to questions, retweeting or sharing partner, customer, or vendor news, and interacting with other partner or industry social media accounts. Some people may believe that social media is just noise, but in fact social media creates the opportunity to strengthen relationships and build new ones through these interactions.
- Brand awareness is the biggest goal for content marketing and social media is the strongest platform to support it. 84% of the survey respondents said “brand awareness” is the most important goal for content marketing. While the immediate benefit of social media is not always clear, we need to consider what it is capable of. There are certainly instances where a tweet or post will correlate directly to a sale, but more often than not social media helps build brand awareness, creates advocates and provides a forum for connecting with your audience more directly and personally.
The key to success with social media is about doing more than just “showing up.” The companies who are engaging on social media and approach it with an intentional plan are much more likely to find more value than those who are engaged only periodically. Set the stage for success by having a solid strategy in place and remember that while social media is just one player in the overall content marketing plan, it has the potential to leave a positive impact on your brand.