Overcoming the B2B Marcom Manager’s Content Conundrum
Content , links and trust are the currencies of the internet. Relevant, useful content provided on a regular basis across multiple social and online media helps build trust. This same content can also generate the links that boost search traffic, leads and sales.
Whether you’re a B2B marcom manager who’s taking on social media as a grass roots effort (you and one or two colleagues) or you’ve enlisted a team, content creation can be daunting, even meeting the bare minimum frequency. A blog alone takes a minimum of 12 posts per month, and it’s recommended that you have at least two months’ worth of blogs already in the queue to ease the pressure of developing content on demand. Like many B2B marcom managers who are beginning a social media program, you and your already burdened staff are responsible for creating most of the content in addition to your day jobs. Before you read any further, make sure you have a content marketing plan and a conversation calendar.
How to develop a B2B social media workflow
One of the biggest hurdles to social media adoption in B2B is adapting the B2B marcom workflow to allow for social media. For starters, you need to develop a sharing mindset and integrate it into your daily activities. Any media that you consume or develop has the potential to become “social media fodder” that can be finessed into a tweet, blog post or comment on someone else’s blog. For example, when you’re monitoring your news feeds, copy one or two articles/posts and quickly post them to your social media status updates or your Facebook fan page, and then bookmark them on Delicious or Digg them. Social bookmarks serve as a good reference for future blog posts and Twitter tweets.
Note: If you’re not monitoring the social sphere and you’re new to social media, start by setting up your listening posts. It will save you a lot of frustration and embarrassment later.
As you develop the social media workflow, you’ll need a repository for all the content you collect (The new buzzword for collect is “curate.”) You’ll also need a system for managing content. Your repository can be as simple as a “content” folder on your desktop and a Delicious social bookmarking account or a Digg account. There are many other social bookmarking sites; so sign up for one, and as you come across content, bookmark it.
Organize your desktop for social media success
Begin each day with a blank document on your desktop. Then, as ideas come to you, add them to the document. If your idea came from something online, remember to copy and paste the URL for future reference. The blank document approach also works well when an opportunity arises to comment on another blog. I find that you can write your comments more freely in the blank document, than the blog comment box. Plus, you can run spell check before copying and pasting your comment into the blog and do a character count to make sure your post is suitable for 140-character status updates. Remember, comments posted on other blogs often become good fodder for a blog post of your own. So save the document each day and revisit it for future blog posts.
Then, organize your browser to optimize time spent online. Save tabbed groups for the social media-related sites you visit such as productivity tools (mentioned below), your listening posts, bookmarking sites and your company’s social media venues.
Take advantage of the free productivity tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Seesmic which allow you to monitor your followers’ and your activity in the Twittersphere and on other social sites. These apps also allow you to schedule tweets as well as simultaneously update statuses on other social networks. Be careful with this one. The idea behind social media isn’t to batch and blast status updates, but to connect with real people real time. Although it’s perfectly acceptable to post what I call reference content—something that you read or saw that may benefit others in your community, but be mindful of the social idiosyncrasies of each community. For example, some posts are more suitable for Twitter, while others may be better for LinkedIn. Remember, not everyone has a Twitter account. So @replies and hashtags, although perfectly acceptable in a tweet, may appear confusing on another social media platform.
Effective B2B social media marketers are masters of time management
In the world of B2B social media, busy B2B marcom professionals must make every minute count. It helps if you think of time in smaller chunks. You may have five minutes before a meeting, which is plenty of time to post a tweet or two. While you were in the meeting , did any discussion spark an idea for a blog post or even a series of posts around a given topic? Make sure you capture those thoughts in your “content” document for future reference. An extra 15 minutes is enough time to outline a blog post. Then carve out a little more time to complete it and post it. Most B2B marcom departments have plenty of existing content that simply needs to be adapted to social media—usually that means shifting from a company focus to a community focus. There are numerous blog posts on the topic of repurposing content. I’ve listed a few below.
You’ll find that as you become more proficient at writing for social media and more comfortable with your workflow, you’ll become more efficient at managing social media, making it less of a burden for an already burdened marcom staff.
Here are a few tips culled from the advice of top bloggers and content creators that will help you overcome the B2B marcom content conundrum:
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