In an era when emails, Facebook posts, Tweets, LinkedIn connect requests and countless bleeping apps are screaming for more and more of our attention during the business day, the marketers who will succeed are the ones who understand how to consolidate and funnel target-grabbing content on the channels that matter. Content for the sake of producing content does not work anymore. Only content developed and delivered to support the target’s content needs has high value.
It is not about the companies who share the most content, but the companies and executives who best understand how and where its customers consume and share content. To succeed there, marketers must understand which social networks are part of a movement toward content consolidation.
Let’s take a look at how B2B marketers can take advantage of these content marketing opportunities with social media, where content movements are happening.
- Facebook. With more than 2 billion users, 1.44 billion of whom are monthly active users, Facebook is the uncontested king of consumer attention. Estimating a little less than an hour’s daily use per person, users are investing approximately 3.5 million hours in Facebook every month. The social media giant has made moves in recent months to shift toward the role of a news site, as well as a social network, capitalizing on the time users spend to provide them with stickier social content.
Directly rivaling LinkedIn, Facebook has also taken steps to allow businesses to create their own intranet type networks via “Facebook at Work.” If Facebook at Work gains any market share on LinkedIn, Facebook may be a real opportunity for B2B marketers.
- Flipboard. A 2010 startup company from San Francisco with 65 million active users as of May, is a simple app which allows users to select and curate their own news feed from social networks and media sources. In recent months, Flipboard has engaged in partnership and acquisition talks with Twitter, which has begun to specialize in providing news to its users in curated, bite-sized headlines.
Marketers should consider Flipboard as an add-in to their current blog strategies so that thought-leadership blog content can be shared on a broader spectrum, to a wider audience.
- LinkedIn. With more than 350 million monthly business professional users, LinkedIn is a repository for all kinds of social content: short form updates, discussions and long-form. LinkedIn Pulse – which up until 2014, was reserved for journalist-driven content and content from deemed “LinkedIn Influencers” – is now an open publishing platform for any LinkedIn user. LinkedIn is an excellent social network for executives to drive thought-leadership via effective content.
Social content has emerged as the fabled “magic pill” for catching users’ attention. Curious users will read all sorts of content, while discriminating users will choose only good content. The challenge is not to find relevant content, but to allow users to find all content, sample the submissions to pick the highest activity, and let the relevant and most popular bits rise to the top.
Consolidated information is the path to winning hearts and minds, as evidenced by the Facebook at Work initiative, the broadening of the LinkedIn Pulse Program, and the success of both Flipboard and Twitter. As social media marketers and executives, we need to build, monitor and measure our own social content in line with the movements of content aggregation.
More and more, the B2B-buying audience looks to social content as a one-stop shop for research, votes of buying confidence and identifying thought-leaders and influencers that matter. As a result, B2B sellers need to craft and share content that aligns with the needs of the buying audience when and where they make each decision point.
Today, social content is influencing global decisions from political to consumer buying behavior to B2B. Companies and marketers need to align their brands with the content that is of the highest value to their audiences. This requires more attention to tailored content, as well as the ways companies respond to third-party content that affects their industry.