Social Constructs: Matching Marketing Content to Social Platforms
In the last installment of Quarterly Content Marketing Corner, I highlighted content considerations related to SEO. In today’s post, I’m going to touch on another important “S” word – Social – and the types of marketing content that work best on different social media platforms (in this case, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
Before I dive into platform details, however, let’s take a moment to spotlight the state of current social media usage as a whole. Hootsuite curated an impressive collection of social stats, and these are just a few demonstrating the breadth of social reach and how it impacts a company’s brand today:
- 45% of the total world population uses social networks (that’s 3.48 billion people!)
- 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. use social media
- 90% of brands use social media to increase brand awareness
- 40%+ of digital consumers use social networks to research new brands or products
For B2B marketers, these stats point to a vast opportunity for organizations to reach, and resonate with, their target audience on social channels, if executed in a precise manner. Just as the right content marketing message must be delivered via the right content type (e.g. demo webinar educating on product features or an infographic for higher-funnel brand awareness), the right content type should align with the right social media channel.
Avoid the “One Message Fits All” Social Posting Pitfall
For B2B marketers, engagement, impressions, SEO and other success metrics are more important than ever. This means it’s critical to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time, especially on social media platforms. Marketers must be thoughtful and purposeful around what content is shared on each social channel, shifting from a mindset of posting the same message or content type across all social sites to one of tailored messages focused on what works best on each platform.
LinkedIn has become the go-to professional business platform – both for sharing content and for networking/job searching. To get a clearer picture of who’s on it and why, let’s take a look at LinkedIn by the numbers:
- LinkedIn users include10 million C-level executives, 3 million MBA graduates and 6 million IT decision-makers
- 45% of LinkedIn users are in upper management
- The platform feeds 9 billion+ content impressionsper week
- 86% of B2B companies use it, and it’s the top platform for B2B lead-gen (80% of B2B leads generated on social media come from LinkedIn)
- 2 million posts, articles and videos are published every day, and 94% of B2B marketers on social media use it to publish content
- 50% of B2B web traffic originating from social media comes from LinkedIn
Given the proliferation of executive and B2B companies on this social platform, it makes sense that the types of content that perform best on this channel include professional content, thought leadership and company news. According to Buffer, “content that is relevant to professionals in your target audience…including training webinars, whitepaper and industry studies” work well when shared on LinkedIn.
Here’s an example of a LinkedIn post our company put up a few months back. It’s a thought leadership piece written by our CEO, directed to other marketing CEOs and leaders about a topic that’s highly relevant in the industry right now – segment marketing.
As of December 2018, Facebook had 2.32 billion monthly active users, with 169.5 million in the U.S. alone. And 95% of businesses worldwide use the site.Given those usage numbers, it’s not too surprising that Facebook is the top platform for B2B and B2C businesses. In fact, 89% of B2B companies surveyed in Hootsuite’s 2018 Global Barometer report using Facebook, and 54% of B2B marketers say it’s their most important platform. For marketers with B2B brands, it’s evident that Facebook has become a frequent venue for building brand reputation and engaging followers, though in our company’s experience it is better suited for paid posting versus organic posting. That’s why we recommend sharing most often about employee, industry and company news on this site.
So what is the best type of content to share with followers and prospects on the network? Given the interactivity and sharing preference on this platform, videos (live and pre-recorded), blog posts and curated content all perform well and resonate with both peers and customers.
Video, in particular, has stood out. According to a Buzzsumo analysis of 68 million Facebook posts, videos have higher average engagement than images and links. And though the ability to stream live videos via a company’s Facebook page is a relatively recent development, according to Advertisemint it holds great promise: “For brands, the promotional possibilities via live streaming video are vast. Brands should focus on Facebook Live for ads, events, campaigns, product launches, and demonstrations to actively engage with their customers and drive brand awareness.”
But while videos continues to hold a top engagement spot, let’s not overlook the value of blog posts and curated content for Facebook. Platform users are driven by emotional content and content that has a point of view, especially when it’s a brand showing how they feel about what they do – whether that’s sharing a roundup of best practices from other industry peers or showcasing the creativity behind what the brand does for its clients. Case in point – here’s an example of a Facebook post we put up this past May. It highlights our passion for what we do and gives our followers a variety of examples around how we support clients from a marketing perspective before, during and after events.
Twitter is a bit more of a “fast-paced platform” than its social network contemporaries. A sizeable 40% of users turn to the site to find out about breaking news, and 39% use it to keep up with news overall. For the business community on Twitter, this translates to followers seeking real-time, relevant information about industry news, company updates, brand changes and product developments.
So it’s no surprise B2B marketers are active on Twitter and eager to give followers the content they crave. An impressive 75% of B2B businesses market on the platform, with it snagging the third priority spot for B2B just behind Facebook (#1) and LinkedIn (#2). Brands tweeted an average of 122 times a month in 2018, which is great considering the average Twitter user follows 5 businesses. With all this tweeting going on, what’s the best content for B2B marketers to push out to their audience? News, blog posts and GIFs.
Tweets with a GIF get 55% more engagement, so it stands to reason that B2B marketers who include more GIFs in their tweets will realize greater engagement from their followers across all content shared.
In terms of content, tweets about the latest industry, company and product news fare best with professionals on this site. This can take the form of sharing an article from an industry authority, pushing out your company’s blog post on the latest industry trends, tweeting real-time updates from an industry event you’re attending or sharing new product and service announcements. Twitters users want to be informed, educated and enlightened – and want to feel that brands they follow have their finger on the pulse of the industry.
This is an example of a tweet OMS published this past June. The topic of A/B testing has been a hot one in marketing circles, and this Econsultancy article takes a look at whether folks should test just because they can. We felt this would resonate with our followers and help shed some light on what approach they might want to take toward digital marketing. And because people are 31% more likely to recall what they saw on Twitter vs. general online browsing, we wanted to be sure to share it here.
Instagram continues to grow, and so do the number of businesses leveraging the platform. Consider this:
- There are more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, and approximately 60% of users access Instagram every day.
- In terms on business interaction on the platform, 74% of U.S. businesses use Instagram, and it houses more than 25 million business profiles.
How does this help B2B marketers? Instagram has evolved to become a business profile destination. A whopping 80% of users follow at least one business on the platform, and 200+ million people visit at least one business profile every day. When you factor in that 60% of users say they’ve discovered at least one new product on the platform, it’s easy to see how all B2B marketers can benefit from establishing a solid Instagram presence for their company.
As with all social platforms, however, the right content is key. And with Instagram being a predominantly visual-focused medium, that means sharing quotes, stories and similar posts featuring hi-res, engaging photos or images. On this network, less is more. But if done right, it could mean a lot more for brands as Advertisemint points out: “Because posts tagged with locations have 79% higher engagement, and because 60% of users learn about a product or service from Instagram, brands should leverage visually rich platforms like Instagram to best showcase their product line. Additionally, brands should post highly visual, geo-targeted content to boost engagement.”
In terms of B2B-specific content, product photos and behind-the-scenes company photos (at work, at industry conferences, at events or even “at play”) help to establish who you are, what you do and what you offer. And to amp that up to the next level, B2B marketers can leverage Instagram Stories for tutorials, blog promotion, research sharing, news (company or industry), announcements and more.
Here’s one example of an Outlook Marketing Instagram post around industry news, which we thought our followers would find intriguing. Note the emphasis on an engaging visual and header/teaser to pique reader curiosity vs. relying on copy to get the message across (here the description is almost secondary). Also note that on this platform you want to take the opportunity to include content links in the comments since you can’t include links in the post itself.
A Final Content Commentary
While this post concentrated on four of the more common social platforms used by content marketers, it is by no way intended to overlook any of the others where companies are finding marketing success (including Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, Spiceworks and more). The world of social media is vast, and there is no shortage of ways for savvy B2B marketers to capitalize on content sharing to resonate with audiences and connect with industry influencers. By honing in on a thoughtful, deliberate marketing strategy that’s specific to each unique social channel, and which leverages content that’s most impactful on each platform, modern B2B marketers can better position themselves for continued success.
Come back and check in on the Quarterly Content Marketing Corner at the end of Q3 to read highlights about another popular marketing topic making headlines 2019! Until then, stay up-to-date on B2B trends and Outlook client highlights right here on our blog.
Are there other social platforms you’d like to hear more about in terms of what content to post? Are you hearing best practices you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us in the comments, or connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
Author: Stacy Greenberg, Content Manager, Outlook Marketing Services
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