The 80/20 Rule – Pareto of B2B Social Media Marketing

on November 5, 2015

The 80/20 Rule – Pareto of B2B Social Media Marketing

One of the oft-quoted principles of business—especially in B2B marketing and sales—is the Pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule. It states, broadly, that 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes.

The rule can be applied to just about anything: “80% of your sales are produced by 20% of your sales force,” or “80% of your marketing ROI comes from 20% of all marketing tactics.”  But here, we’ll focus on an intriguing idea in B2B social media marketing: 80% of your leads are acquired through 20% of your social media content.

Only a small amount of Facebook posts, Tweets and LinkedIn status updates can make it into that top-performing category. But by laying the proper groundwork and continually refining your social content, you’ll see increasing returns in lead acquisition.

Here’s some direction on how to develop and leverage the “20%” content that will yield the most leads from your social campaigns.

Segment Your Audience Wisely

In order for any given piece of content to truly engage its target, it has to speak to one entity: your ideal customer. If you develop a clear vision of your buyer through segmentation, you can construct a content roadmap that will attract prospects, keep them in your sales funnel and convert them to paying customers.

92% percent of B2B marketers segment their target market, so careful segmentation is essential to stay competitive. It will depend on sharp attention to certain prospect attributes, such as the business demographics and psychographics of point persons and “firmographics” of companies:

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All of this data enables you to meet leads where they are. Using psychographics, for example, a segment that is influenced heavily by thought leaders might be served well by data-driven educational content, whereas a segment whose buying decisions depend heavily on peer opinions might be drawn in by case studies and detailed customer testimonials.

Once you’ve determined key attributes and defined buyer personas, there are several ways to use social media platforms to aid in segmenting your audience:

Segmenting your audience and creating sub-channels via your social media presence is the first step in a content strategy that drives remarkable results—all before the first word is ever written.

Craft Content to Target Specific Segments

Only 35% of B2B marketers are documenting a content strategy, so the opportunity still exists to be competitive via content. But there’s a trick to creating content that will captivate your audience and draw leads into a relationship with you: don’t write for 80% of each segment. Write for 100%.

[Tweet “Only 35% of #B2B #marketers are documenting a #content strategy.”]

With this mindset, even if your content doesn’t engage every single person in each segment—and realistically, it won’t—you’ll come as close as possible to ideal as presented by the Pareto principle.

There are several key points to keep in mind:

Once every piece of content has a purpose, each segment has its own stream of content, and each segment is being uniquely engaged as leads move through the sales funnel, you can be confident that your content is coming ever closer to reaching maximum efficiency.

Use Analytics to Determine and Reproduce the Best Content

The final piece of the puzzle is to use analytics to determine which content wins. By doing so—and by repeating what works—you’ll prime your blog posts, social status updates, and downloadable reports to speak as powerfully as possible to all leads in all segments.

Each social network has specific analytics offerings that show what’s working best:

After selecting content that garners the most response, reuse it to enjoy its full value:

Careful attention to analytics will reveal the parts of your content strategy that shine and those that can be polished for maximum effect.

Go Beyond 80/20

It goes without saying: a B2B social media strategy based on what your customers respond to will lead to more sales and stronger market positioning. Focus on segmentation, targeted content and smart use of analytics to refine your content, and you’ll find that more and more of your marketing collateral will turn engaged leads into satisfied customers.

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