Lee Odden

The Power of Blogs & Social Media in B2B Marketing

Lee Odden     B2B Marketing, Blog Marketing

B2B Social Media Marketing54 Million.

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.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. I agree there is a difference between knowing and industry and just posting content. Social media is about being social. If you want to be successful you must: Engage. Listen. Share. React. Good post!

  2. Awesome information, and enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing! Lani

    PS..found it informant, so I tweet it, for those who can obtain valuable content from your post. 🙂

  3. Avatar Teresa Basich says

    Great post, Lee! It's interesting to see the various statistics from all sorts of research firms on the use of social media/future spending on social media marketing in the B2B space. No matter what the true state of social media adoption in B2B actually is, there's some great opportunity to connect with customers and prospects via these channels, specifically because of the knowledge-deep, relationship-based nature of B2B.

    You've provided a great outline for B2B marketers to get started blogging and using social media, and I think it's worth reiterating the importance of auditing and assessing your social media and blogging strategies — as you suggested, don't just dive in, figure out if you truly have the time and resources to dedicate to these efforts. Find and employ those tools and processes that streamline outreach and engagement, but don't cut corners just to get in the game.

    Good stuff!


    Teresa Basich
    Community Manager, Radian6
    Twitter: @TeresaBasich

  4. Avatar dhirajch says

    thanks for giving such deep analysis on B2B marketing, specially about metrics used to measure B2B Social Media Success.

  5. I think this market is only going to grow as larger companies begin to form their own social commuities online

  6. Great post. These might be better called The 4 S’s to Social Media Marketing: Stories, Sticky, Shareable and Social.

  7. “Is blogging appropriate for every B2B company? Not by a long shot.”

    Do you have any rough guidelines for when B2B blogging ISN'T appropriate? I would imagine regulatory/legal implications would be a potential reason, but beyond that I'm having troubles thinking of examples of where a blog wouldn't help. Good post!

  8. Hi Lee, thanks for a great post. And thank you for starting with listening. I am a big believer that effective social media outreach starts with listening. Not only does it help you to become acquainted with the community your trying to reach, and gives you a natural way to enter the conversation, but listening also informs you of the topics and tone you should be using when creating your own content.

    Also, thanks for the mention of Spredfast. We're hard at work improving the product every day.


    • Thanks James. I think there are many opportunities for some of the social media monitoring services to make it easier to extract topical insights and even keywords to guide editorial. On my wish list is a social keyword research tool not unlike those used for SEO except the data source is the social web.

      Am looking forward to trying Spredfast out one of these days.

  9. That’s a great post. Thanks a lot, it was very usefull. I’ll be reading your other ones also.

    You can check out my blog about the top 10 mistakes people made in social media in 2009. Hope it can help you. http://blog.starmedia.ca/

  10. Avatar VisibleNET says

    Great Post lee!I think sometimes people need to realize that they are running a blog to not only get results from the search engines but also to gain READERS. I usually tell people that the sites that I tend to visit on a regular basis are in fact Blogs, reason being that they always provide me new content to read. I also think some of these companies that struggle to grasp or effectively utilize social media are the ones who forget the SOCIAL aspect to it.

  11. Great piece Lee,

    I often feel like I'm watching an engaging movie or event from my television when I see companies struggling to make the move forward into social media. I can scream and throw food at the tv all I want but they can't hear me.

    Seeing research that shows positive trending in that regard is a breath of fresh air. I'm a huge advocate of blogging and it's one of the most popular services that I offer as a content marketer. I try to encourage clients I work with to strip away the corporate suit, have a seat next to their prospects and start a conversation.

    I love blogs because they're scalable to just about every business – that's hard to beat when you're talking about marketing.

    • I have seen and used the power of blogging and contents….so frankly, blogging is much more strong way for marketers and other promotion companies as well………i have seen now that clients to like to have blog contents on their own web sites regardless what niche site they have…..
      May be that google also give more importance to blogs content and after 8th june with complete indexing of google new algo, i have seen many fresh blogs being given high importance

  12. Another well written perspective article here Mr. Odden. Really agree with you on your blogging strategy for B2B. I think it's not only important but necessary. And I enjoyed your 3 tips for B2B Marketers to get the ball rolling with Social Media. All solid points and steps to take. Great read, thank you.


  13. Avatar Joe Tulsa says

    It's all about new and fresh content these days. Small local service businesses can expect to spend about 15 to 30 minutes if they really want to make it work. And you definitely have to participate and pay attention what the community is talking about. Throwing a few tweets or posts every so often is not going to cut it.

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  15. Avatar David Gay says

    we are looking for a company who has software that we can use to help our b2b clients understand what is being said about their software products/services etc in the marketplace. We have looked at Alterian but the people we are speaking to have no b2b experience… can you help ?