Where are you going post your B2B content in 2016? LinkedIn? Twitter?
These social media platforms are typically seen as the more “professional” candidates among B2B companies. They’re the obvious choices for businesses looking to connect with decision-makers. It makes sense that you focus your brand storytelling on these channels.
Except – and here’s the trouble – so does everyone else. Every organisation under the sun tweets. Just about every CEO or marketing head in the B2B world with an ounce of digital savvy posts on LinkedIn or writes for their company blog. A huge proportion of businesses have even managed to get their head around using Facebook to target likely potential customers.
Of course you have to have a presence on these sites and networks. But when you and all of your competitors are shouting down your megaphone on the same stage, how will any of you ever manage to get heard by the right people and the right time?
What you really need is to find somewhere else to have those all-important conversations. You need to find somewhere where your competitors aren’t but your target clients are. And that is very tricky… although certainly not impossible.
Take a platform like Medium. What started out as a kind of blogging-cum-open-journalism site has transformed in the past year or so into such an effective system that many successful and established publications have shifted their output onto it altogether. Other Medium publications “curate” articles in their particular niche that are written by independent authors on Medium - or invite them to become regular contributors.
All of which means that the platform has a growing reputation as a place to find high quality writing on very specific subject areas. It’s a natural, and popular, place for people to hop between posts by different writers on areas they’re interested in, and to sign up for email updates that deliver the latest high-performing posts on these topics to their inbox.
What does that mean for you? Well, despite its broad readership, Medium hasn’t (yet!) started seriously bleeping on the radars of many marketers. If you have genuinely valuable (read: non-salesy), high quality written content to offer - whether in the form of tips and advice, a personal account of how you got to where you are in your business, or a more general discussion of issues affecting your customer base – posting it on Medium can be a great move.
Because you’re posting alongside professional writers, it gives your content a sheen of credibility, it has the potential to get picked up by a relevant publication and, crucially, it feels fresh. You’re not elbowing competitors out of the way to get your message across.
And then, of course, there are the platforms that B2B companies have typically shied away from because they don’t have a clear overlap with their business. Platforms like Instagram, for example.
Instagram might consist of 90% selfies and holiday snaps, but brands that have worked out how to leverage its potential often do very, very well as a result. Okay, it might be easier if you’re in the B2C field, or work in a field that lends itself to a visual medium – event organisers, designers, make-up artists and hairdressers are obviously going to find this a more straightforward task than tech professionals or accountants. But the upshot is, if you can find clever, creative ways to connect with B2B customers through Instagram, you are really going to stand out.
Perhaps you can offer a more relaxed “behind the scenes” view into your company’s R&D activities to help clients feel more emotionally invested in how you work? Perhaps you have a long history that you can emphasize by publishing “then and now” photos of your factories, workforce or products over the years? Maybe you work closely with your local community, as suppliers, customers, partners or via CSR work? Documenting this with regular Instagram photos and accompanying stories/direct quotes gives an insight into who you are as a company and what it’s like to work with you – strengthening your brand and building trust.
Going off the beaten track is a bold decision and might just be the best one you make in 2016. Just make absolutely sure that you don’t lose sight of what really matters: you have to create content that offers real value that directly benefits your customer base. Don’t go getting complacent – the competition will catch up eventually!
For more advice on creating great content and making the most of social media platforms, downloadThe B2B Content Creation Masterclass below.