Selling B2B using social media requires a great deal of content. We need to publish what we know and put our ideas they will be found by people with problems we can solve.
That’s the way we engage sophisticated buyers with our value proposition.
Creating the aricles is enough of a challenge. We don’t need to struggle with technology. Fortunately there’s a range of tools available to take the pain out of publishing and promotion.
This is a post from our Social Media Sales Strategy series explaining the ones we’ve chosen for ourselves.
Content Consumers The Silent Market
Our efforts at developing a social media sales strategy are progressing at snails pace but we have decided on the role of article publication and the tools we’ll use.
First off we put a lot of effort into deciding whether we needed to be involved at all. The conclusion was we couldn’t afford not to be.
Next up it seemed appropriate to choose the social media tools we used. But that was a blind alley. We couldn’t decide on tools, even thought that’s the fun part, until we’d decided what we wanted to do, and we couldn’t do that until we’d decided on who would be interested in what, where, and how. Before we could understand where the sales strategy could come into play we needed to understand our social media contacts.
That’s how we arrived, in a round about sort of way, at our 4 categories:
- Content Consumers
- Network Wallflowers
- Power Networkers
- Content Creators
Content Consumers is by far the biggest demographic, in two of our businesses at least, so that’s the first challenge. Everybody uses Search, and increasingly Search leads us to Opinion. Anybody wanting to be found, seen and read by interested parties has to feed the monster – Google Search – with fresh, compelling, entertaining, informing content.
Publishing content is hard work- needing new ideas written for both readers and search engines. Competition is fierce. Plagiarism is rife. Getting heard above the noise isn’t simply a question of volume.
Keeping content fresh is even harder work. Every day there’s a pressure to come up with something new to feed the monster.
Luckily putting that fresh compelling idea where people can find it is simple. We use a combination of tools to write articles, make sure they present properly in browsers, are friendly to search engines and spread quickly around the Internet. Within a couple of hours of publishing our stuff is out there on all the main sites.
We use (almost) exclusively self hosted WordPress with the Thesis theme. Out of the box, the combination just flat out works, with no technical support needed. The range of design options and plug in tools can’t be matched.
On all our sites we use the Scribe SEO Optimiser tools. They help us ensure the best combination of key words within SEO best practice for content, and offer internal and external links. This is great discipline, even though its also hard to do.
We also use Zemanta to find relevant links and images. The side benefit is our stuff gets indexed by Zemanta and offered as links to other users. Sometimes we even get relevant, quality, backlinks.
Google Reader with Alerts helps us monitor the Internet for interesting content in news, blogs and Twitter updates.
You Tube hosts our videos and provides embeds for our blogs.
So this part of our social media sales strategy is in place, and works, to an extent at least. The combination of ideas crafted into content – text and video – with great tools brings prospects to our sites. That part works, but for sure we’d like it to work a lot harder.
The problem we’re left with is Content Consumers are silent. They arrive, feed, and leave without a word. How much influence we’ve achieved is hard to know, but at least its a start. We can measure traffic and bounce rate, time on site and numbers of actions.
But we get very little feedback.