Jan 27, 2010

7 Step B2B Social Media Content Sharing Strategy

from Social Media B2B 

When it comes to the social web people often spend too much time talking about the applications and not nearly enough about the content that fuels them. Sharing content and information is the currency of the social web, and without content the platforms are useless. So when we think about B2B social media success we obviously need to focus on content. Though we have written many posts on how to create B2B content for the web, today I want to address how to share content.
Before we get to strategy, I have one rule.
The Rule: Don’t only share your content, people don’t care about ONLY your content.
Now with that rule out of the way, let’s talk about developing a strategy and tactics for sharing content on social web. This framework should work for sharing content your business creates as well as other relevant information to those in your industry.

7 Step B2B Social Media Content Sharing Strategy

1. Understand What Is Interesting To The People You Are Trying To Influence – If you are in a B2B marketing department you likely know what you want to tell them about your products. Do you have a clear understanding of what they are interested in in general related to their industry? Do you know what information they need to do their jobs better? In some cases you or a member of your organization will know these answers. If you aren’t sure about the type of content you customers are looking for, then consider trying a few of these approaches:
Look at popular articles from industry trade publications
Use Twitter Search for industry keywords to see which links are being shared
* Ask customers what information they look for online
2. Develop A Process To Gather Relevant Information To Share – It is unlikely that your B2B company has a full time social media team member and if you do, they are likely booked solid. This means that spending your entire day looking for information to share isn’t an option. To solve this problem, invest a little time to set up a system that allows you to filter and receive content to share in one place. One of the easiest ways to do this was to set up an RSS reader, such as Google Reader. RSS feeds allow you to get new posts from across the Internet in one place in real-time. You can import RSS feeds from leading industry media outlets as well and feeds from Twitter Search and Google Blog Search results into your selected reader. By doing this you have created one tab in your browse that is jam packed with relevant information to you customers that is ready to share. If RSS readers aren’t your thing, you could always use a real-time search engine like Collecta to help gather information.
3. Preform A Content Distribution Inventory – Take a look at how your business is distributing information online right now. What is missing to properly reach your customers is an e-mail newsletter? Twitter account? Blog? etc. Do you need everything, no. However, content on the social web can get more powerful as more pieces are put into place. Inbound marketing has a lot to do with probability. If you distribute information in 6 ways instead of 3 it is more likely that people will find it.
4. Segment B2B Content By Platform – Once you have a method of gathering content to share and ways to distribute it online, you have to put the two together. For example if you are searching Twitter, it is likely many of those may be retweeted through one or multiple business accounts. While you may pull all of the stats from your feeds and use them for a blog post or SlideShare presentation. The point is that different types of online content serve different purposes. By segmenting content it makes it quicker and easier to share.
5. Set Up Cross-Posting – Repetition is the enemy when it comes to sharing B2B content online. People who share a high frequency of good content online use services to distribute. For example using a service likeTubemogul it is easy to upload a video once and post it to multiple video sharing sites. Another popular servicePosterous can allow you to post a picture to Twitter, Flickr and Facebook all at the same time. Doing research to see what type of platforms can help with your content distribution could not only save time, but insure that opportunities for distribution aren’t missed.
6. Implement Measurement For Each Distribution Method – Measurement is still the painful part of content distribution. Most platforms have their own measurement systems to track views, engagement, etc. This means it is difficult to have one dashboard to look at your measurement for each social platform. Even though spreadsheets can be painful, most services will let you export your measurement information as a .csv file. Doing this would allow you to have one spreadsheet document with measurement data to help compare platforms and demonstrate overall success.
7. Optimize Distribution Timing – Like it or not different segments of people online have different habits. Some people like to check e-mail in the morning and tweet in the late afternoon. So to add a layer of complexity to the process of sharing content, it is important to look at measurement data from step 6 to understand when you need to be sharing. Does this mean you need to actually share it at these times? No. Many tools exist that will let you schedule how you share content online. For example for most blogging platforms have a scheduling feature and services like CoTweet and Hootesuite will allow you do schedule messages on Twitter.
Sharing content buildings credibility and improves all inbound marketing efforts. I hope these steps will help outline a strategy to allow content sharing to be a success for your business. Other content sharing tips that you think should be added?
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