One of the main issues being discussed this year among B2B communicators is the concept around content. From curation our own content to fighting social spam, we are trying to figure not only how do we provide the best resources for our stakeholders, but also how to sift through the growing amount of data coming our way. One trend that worries me when it comes to content is the growing amount of brands who use social media as a one cup approach; meaning, they are simply filling their own cup with their own content. There’s no conversation. There’s no sharing of other data. There’s nothing separating it from a a newswire service. While that may fulfil the needs of legal and compliance, that’s really not a very exciting, fulfilling or strategic way of communicating.
As I thought more about this, I kept coming back to three reasons why brands take this singular cup approach and waste the opportunity at hand.
- Resources: Managing social media channels takes time and effort, and as the amount of channels continue to grow this becomes more daunting. If this is the case, brands should either cut their losses from the channels they don’t use and focus on doing one or two really well. In addition, there should be some discussion as to how to add more people internal to help manage content and listen to what’s being discussed online. Four years ago it may have been easy for one person to manage all things social, but those days are
- Compliance: Legal has likely put a lid on what can and cannot be done in social media, making the job all that more difficult. I’ve written a few times here that it’s imperative to earn and have the trust of legal, compliance and InfoSec in order to be successful. If you’ve spoken with them in the past don’t let those meetings deter you. Meet with them again and bring case study examples of your competition and other brands you emulate.
- Lack of Content: I hear often from B2B communicators that their brand is too niche and finding new content on their site is difficult. This can be compared to the digital challenge of a blank sheet of paper. If you only look at your own content then yes, this will be a challenge. The reward of doing social media is expanding beyond what you see on your own site and finding content from other trusted sources that relate to your products and services.
Instead of one cup, how do you get to fulfilling multiple stakeholders and with multiple opportunities to engage with you? Here are some guidelines to consider as you look to have your content shared in a network effect.
- Have a strategy. What are you trying to accomplish using social media? Is it to educate? Persuade? Change opinions? B2B brands that succeed using social media think about how they use the resources to their advantage and have a strategy in place. There is no way to win against your competition using these tools if you simply think about them as a way to publish news releases. The bottom line is you can’t do anything well — social or non-social media — without a strategy.
- Expand your content: If you are only wanting to talk about your brand and share “legal approved” content you are missing the point and the chance to learn from a vast audience. There are numerous places to share and repurpose content that matters to your efforts and you should take the time to find them. In fact, you probably already share this information internally, so why not repurpose it for a broader audience.
- Expand your resources: Everyone has internal champions for content and ideas. If you’re serious about using these channels than find the right people to help you. I think you’ll be surprised at how easy this can be. You don’t necessarily need to find people passionate about social media, but you should know the people who are excited about content
and specialized topics who can help.
- Share your wins…even the small ones. Letting people know throughout the company what you are doing successfully goes a long way to educate them about the advantages of using social resources.
There are now three rules we practice when it comes to content: Work hard to have a supply of good content; have a constant presence on the sites that matter; and, share content from other trusted sources.
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