Have you ever watched someone scroll through their feed on a social platform? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so. After watching a friend scroll through Facebook the other day, I wondered if she retained a single piece of information—it was like looking at a slot machine.
As a content creator trying to get noticed in a noisy digital world, the slot machine social feed is kind of terrifying.
The biggest problem facing modern, sophisticated B2B marketers today isn’t an issue of content creation—it’s retention. That’s why analysts like Forrester are pushing CMOs to face the reality of engagement with B2B content, or lack thereof. This issue of quality engagement is widely present and known for B2B social media managers. Even as social media budgets increase, organizations struggle to connect social media to actual business outcomes, be it leads or hard revenue.
So what’s the solution? How can social media specialists, community and content managers combat these issues? How can we avoid becoming victims to the empty scroll and engage users in a way that proves social media delivers real business value?
The answer: high-quality, targeted content.
Even though this may sound pretty obvious, it’s honestly something that gets put on the backburner of our content strategies way more often than marketers would like to admit.
Let’s start with a reflection of others—because that’s far easier than looking at ourselves. Take a minute to check your Twitter feed. Just scroll for 90 seconds. Then come back to me.
Okay. How many times did you stop at something job-related that made you say, “Wow, that sounds super interesting, innovative, and new! I’ve never heard that idea before now. I better read it because it will help me be better at my job”?
You may have clicked on a few articles here and there, but you probably skipped through a lot of posts. It’s time you ensured your company was one of the few that received a click, a read-through, and a conversion.
2 Steps for Increasing Engagement with Targeted Content
Step #1: Learn Your Customer
Before the content creation process even begins, you need to have your customer persona nailed down. We talk about buyer personas and personalization until we’re blue in the face, but how well do you really understand your buyers? And, then, how does that influence your writing?
Sometimes we totally forget to understand our buyers in a buyer-centric way and limit them to job title and how that relates to our product. Big mistake.
You should be able to talk about your customer’s priorities, day-to-day life, problems, joys, and concerns. How else can you write content that they care about without this information? It’s shooting in the dark to create a content strategy, let alone a single piece of content. You may luck out with a few on-topic ideas, but otherwise, you’re probably missing the mark completely.
The best way to illustrate this is the most recent presidential election in the U.S. (Don’t worry, we’re not going to get political.) There’s been a lot of controversy around the 2016 election in regards to “fake news,” or falsely curated Facebook feeds. Regardless of where your opinion falls, one thing is for sure: the writers behind the content knew the hopes, fears, desires, and pleas of their target audience. They targeted the you-know-what out of these people based on Facebook data—from geographic location to past likes. The result was a powerful sphere of influence that in the least garnered national media attention, and at most helped sway a presidential election.
That’s what I call engagement.
Step #2: Deliver Value
Once you know your customer, you have two boxes to check during the content creation process:
- Pick the right topic
- Support the topic with valuable content
Let’s talk about the first checkbox. You know your user. You know what resonates. You are aware of their areas of concern. With that knowledge, you should quickly be able to list off topics that intrigue them. Whether you’re solving a problem or providing an industry overview, it should be a subject that reads like a discussion. Don’t pick an issue that somehow allows you to talk about your product. Woof. Buyer-centric content is critical.
Now, for the second, yet more elusive checkbox: writing valuable content. This is where rubber meets road. If you choose to write “15 entirely new tips for the future of SEO,” and then move on to provide your readers a list explaining what a keyword is, you’ve failed to check that box. Nothing is more frustrating and more damaging to your brand customer experience then telling someone you’re going to provide them with new information, only to regurgitate existing content topics.
Take your time. Do it right. I love this example on CMI from Andrea Fryrear, Confused About Agile? Your Questions Answered. The article provided detailed and thoughtful information, answering numerous common questions on building an agile marketing team. The writing was clear and concise, providing me with exactly what I expected when I clicked on the post from Twitter.
The essential idea here is that social media requires you to fully understand and cater to your audience in exceptionally in-depth ways—and then create content accordingly. Content for the sake of content will reap little business value. Moreover, an impression is of little importance for B2B. Focus on your buyer, deliver value, and your content will be sure to stand out in among the noise, earning your loyal followers—and, eventually, loyal customers. Oh and of course you should follow us on Twitter to receive targeted, high-quality content in your feed. You’ll become a B2B marketing rockstar in no time.
Kelsey is a Writer and Content Marketing Manager at Kapost, trading law school for marketing startups. Now, she geeks out over innovative content strategy, trail runs, kale chips, and the (occasional) legal drama.