That’s what Forrester Research predicts for US B2B Social Media Marketing spending by 2014.
As a living example of a B2B company that fully leverages blogging and social media in our online marketing, TopRank Marketing has a lot of first-hand insight that we can share with clients. I know there are many B2B marketers that are uncertain about their place on the social web and over 6 1/2 years of B2B blogging experience can provide the companies we work with a unique perspective.
Working smarter with developing and implementing blogging strategy, content planning, promotion, SEO and the intersection with other online communications channels such as PR and social networking saves time, resources and improves results.
Am I biased towards blogging as part of a B2B marketing strategy? Absolutely. Is blogging appropriate for every B2B company? Not by a long shot.
According to the 2010 SEMPO Study, 35% of B2B companies integrate social media marketing with search marketing. At this stage of the Social SEO game, that percentage shows a lot of opportunity for growth. However, companies we’ve worked with like Marketo have made substantial progress towards dominating their industry and experiencing explosive business growth, in part, due to the effects of blogging and SEO.
Deciding whether to start a B2B blog or have an existing blogging effort audited is worth thoughtful consideration. Did you start a blog because the competition is blogging? Are interns managing the blog content and promotion? Are your blog contributors experiencing burnout or boredom? Are there a lack of comments and engagement? There are many reasons B2B blogs fail, but that doesn’t mean a blog isn’t right for your company. Get insight from companies that are successful to see what you missed or if blogging really isn’t a good fit.
For the businesses that are getting mileage out of blogging and social media, the Business.com Benchmark Study shares the most popular metrics used to measure B2B Social Media Success:
- Website Traffic – 68%
- Brand Awareness – 61%
- Engagement with Prospects – 60%
- Engagement with Customers – 52%
- Brand Reputation – 47%
- Prospect Lead Quality – 40%
- Revenue – 38%
- Prospect Lead Volume – 37%
- Useful Product Feedback – 26%
With the right plan and guidance, affecting these KPIs as well as lead generation is a reasonable expectation through B2B blogging and social media.
Three things B2B Marketers can do to get the ball rolling with social media:
1. Establish a Listening Program: Brand monitoring is the most common dimension social media monitoring efforts focus on, but extend your efforts to Audience Analysis and Social Keyword Research as well to get a handle on the community you’re trying to engage with. Trending keywords can facilitate real-time marketing or longer term editorial planning and SEO.
2. Give to Get with Content: Commit to aligning content with searcher personas that also meets your marketing objectives. Information and education have their place with B2B marketing. Understand those needs of your target audience and develop content (optimized for keywords of course) that meets those needs but also facilitate your prospecting pipeline.
3. Leverage Social Media Marketing campaign tools across channels to promote optimized social content. Creating multiple media and content for a single promotion to a mix of social destinations is very time consuming and inefficient unless you use tools. Examples of social media marketing campaign management tools with corresponding analytics include: Awareness, SWIX, Sprout, Pop.to, WildFire, Objective Marketer, Spredfast and Socialtalk.
Many B2B marketers go through the motions with social media, but they’re not really being social. Adam Singer and I were just talking yesterday about the world of difference between content produced by a copywriter that’s good at writing and someone that knows an industry, writes well and especially has experience as a participant with that industry’s social networking and blogging community.
B2B marketers don’t need to “do social”, they need to “be social” and that means time and resources for participation, analysis and action. Customers can tell the difference and everything from measures of engagement to leads generated will show the difference as well.
Event: B2B Search Summit June 23rd San Francisco
I will be speaking at this event on why Blogs and Social Media should be part of every B2B Marketers toolkit and why it might be the easiest way to generate customer ambassadors and gain more quality leads. Register using the code TOPRANK and you’ll get $300 off.