Lee Odden

Opportunity for Better B2B Marketing with Social Media & SEO

B2B Content Marketing Social SEO

Oftentimes marketers budget, plan and implement online marketing tactics in silos. When it comes to SEO, Social and Content Marketing – integration is the best practice and that means a tremendous competitive opportunity. Why Social Media and SEO for B2B? The intersection of social media and search engine optimization is a perfect match for B2B Marketer for several reasons:

Long B2B buying cycles have always involved engagement through content. The opportunity for coordinated Social SEO is in part inspired by buyer information discovery, consumption and sharing habits that have changed with the influence of social technology and search.

Influence of Search & Social Media on Buyer BehaviorConsumers are increasingly using both search and social to discover content. In a recent study by GroupM and comScore, only 1% of consumers were led to a purchase via Social Media but 51% were channeled via search and 48% through a combination of search and social media.   I’ve heard B2B buyers are people too 🙂 and these consumer behaviors are also reflected, to some degree, in the B2B space as well.

B2B companies have adapted well to implementing search marketing programs. They’ve also begun to experiment with social media marketing. In fact, according to the recent SME Social Media Industry Report (pdf), B2B marketers are significantly more likely to employ search engine optimization (71% B2B vs. 65% B2C) than B2C marketers.

According to Forrester, B2B social spend will hit 54m by 2014 and BtoB Magazine reports that 93% of B2B companies are using some kind of social media application.

However, there’s a big difference between testing social media marketing and effective implementation with Social SEO and content marketing.  Here is a video interview I did at SES London recently on this very topic with Tracy Falke. We discuss the intersection of Social SEO and Content (Content Marketing Optimization) as well as the importance of integration and how companies can leverage across an organization.


If you’re a long time SEO practitioner, are you coordinating content marketing and social media with search engine optimization? Does your social media SEO and content marketing extend beyond products and services content? What challenges do you face at getting the people responsible to implement a coordinated effort?

One of the reasons I ask that second question is because I’m speaking at ad:tech San Francisco tomorrow on the topic of Modern Search Engine Optimization, which is essentially going to be a holistic view of how Search, Social Media and Content intersect. I don’t believe a company can achieve great success in competitive categories without this triumvirate of tactics.

Consumers and B2B buyers alike search for more reasons than just to buy something and companies can realize business value by making sure their content is easily found through search for those myriad reasons.  Consider the customer lifecycle of content needs and it spells out the opportunities for optimization for better search visibility.  The result?  Increased revenue of course, but also reduced costs, improved efficiency and reach for things like Customer Service, Recruiting, Investor and Public Relations.

An integrated and holistic approach to Social Media, SEO and Content Marketing is a great opportunity for B2B marketers to boost their effectiveness and create competitive advantage. Hopefully corporate marketers can demonstrate the vision for coordinating disparate resources in the organization and realize the collective benefit outside of just marketing.

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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. We (www.sas.com) are using analytical tool (of course it’s SAS) on our website to understand the “journey” our website visitors are taking. Some of the early reports I’m seeing show us that they have regular interaction with our blogs and FB pages before and after they use Search.

    As usual, your blog post is right on in terms of the interaction among Search, Social, and Content. Critical mix. Many large B2B companies manage these disciplines separately, and miss out on the synergy.

    • Thanks Deb – appreciate your appreciation 🙂 It’s great to hear directly from B2B brands on this topic because there’s so much opportunity.

  2. Avatar Randy Duermyer says

    Great post. There clearly is a convergence between content, search and social marketing and it’s good to see that you’re addressing it head on. I think it’s a legitimate “three-legged stool” for B2B marketing success.

  3. Love the post. I reach out to manufacturers on a regular basis to help optimize their product content on Google and Bing. Many tend to focus on one thing such as SEO, content or Social Media to be the answer to greater exposure. A lot of great points in the article – they all tie together. As I heard in your interview – “It is literally about visibility to your target audience.”

  4. Very true for B2B Marketing SEO and SMM are very important