In a time when E-mails, Facebook posts, Tweets , LinkedIn connect requests and countless bleeping apps are screaming for more and more of our attention during the business day, the champion marketers and B2B corporations of mind-peddling will be the ones who consolidate.
It is not about the loudest ones, but the companies and executives who best understand the value of social content, how its customers consume and share that content and where they are most engaged with that content that will succeed. Further, those that understand which social networks are a part of this movement of consolidation of media and user generated content. Let’s look at the current state of Social Content, where content movements are happening and how B2B marketers can take advantage of these content marketing opportunities in Social Media.
- Facebook, with over 1.44 billion monthly active users and over 2 billion users’ total, is no doubt the uncontested king of consumer attention. Estimating a little less than an hour’s daily use per person, users are investing approximately 3.5 million hours in Facebook every month. The media giant has made moves in recent months to shift towards the role of a news site as well as a social network, capitalizing on the time users spend to provide them with stickier social content. It has also taken steps to allow businesses to create their own intranet type networks via “Facebook at Work”, a direct rival to LinkedIn. If Facebook at Work gains any market share on LinkedIn, getting involved with Facebook as a possible B2B content marketing tool may be a real opportunity for marketers.
- Flipboard, a 2010 startup company from San Francisco, with 65 million active users in May, is a simple app which allows users to select and curate their own news feed from social networks and media sources. It allows users to consume content when they choose to consume it. In recent months, Flipboard has engaged in partnership and acquisition talks with Twitter, which has begun to specialize in providing news to its users in curated, bite-sized headlines. Marketers should consider Flipboard as an add-in to their current blog strategies so that thought-leadership blog content can be shared on a broader spectrum and to a wider audience.
- LinkedIn, my top B2B Social Sales Network, with over 350+ million monthly business professional users is a repository for social content, both in short form “update” content, discussion-led content and long-form content. LinkedIn Pulse, which up until 2014, was reserved for journalist-driven content and content from deemed “LinkedIn Influencers” is now an open platform for publishing for any LinkedIn user. LinkedIn is an excellent social network for executives to drive thought-leadership via effective content.
And there are many, many other examples of targeted B2B content marketing opportunities and valued content in social (Twitter, Quora, Meddle, YouTube and so many more). Social content has emerged as the fabled “magic pill” for catching users’ attention.
Curious users will read all sorts of content, while discriminating users will choose only good content. The challenge is not to find relevant content, but to allow users to find all content, sample the submissions to pick the highest activity, and let the relevant and most popular bits rise to the top.
Consolidated information is the path to winning hearts and minds, as evidenced by the Facebook at Work initiative, the broadening of the LinkedIn Pulse Program the success of both Flipboard and Twitter.
As social media marketers and executives that budget for social as a part of customer acquisition strategies, we need to build, monitor and measure our own social content in line with the movements of content aggregation. As the B2B buying audience looks to social content more and more as their one stop shop for research, votes of buying confidence and to identify thought-leaders and influencers that matter, so do B2B sellers need to craft and share content that aligns with the needs of the buying audience when and where they make each decision point.
Social content today is influencing global decisions from political to consumer buying behavior to B2B. Companies and marketers need to align their brands with the content that is of the highest value to their audiences. This requires more attention to tailored content as well as to how companies respond to 3rd party content that affects their industry.