Get excited. The 2013 edition of the annual content marketing study of North American B2B marketers conducted by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Marketing Profs is out, and has a number of findings that should be of interest to anyone in the B2B space. Titled,"B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America," the study is the result of a survey of roughly 1,400 B2B marketers from a range of industries, functions, and company sizes. After detailing its findings, the study lists five traits of successful B2B content marketers that I believe are spot on.
Before I touch on the five traits, here's a brief review of some of the study's key findings.
Perhaps the most significant single data point is that 91% of B2B marketers surveyed are using some form of content marketing (I am left wondering what the other 9% are doing). Given the universal adoption of all things content over the last year, this probably should come as no surprise. Still, I think it's significant that over 9 in 10 B2B marketers acknowledge that what they are doing, at least in part, is "content marketing."
Larger companies (over 10,000 EEs) tend to use more content marketing tactics (18, on average) than small companies (who average 11). This probably makes sense, owing to the limited resources smaller companies are working with.
"Does your small business have a social media marketing strategy that takes time and effort but fails to deliver a positive ROI (Return on Investment)?" Most small business Internet marketing campaigns are in the same boat!
If your business puts more time, effort and money into its social media than the returns warrant, then it's time to take stock. Don't be afraid to make bold changes regarding social media strategy.
Like any business activity, social marketing needs to provide some sort of return - there's little point in wasting resources on it simply because that's what everyone else is doing. This article will contrast the growth in social media with its poor returns, and discuss how you can get more for less from your Internet marketing budget.
Business & social media
According to a recent report by email marketing company Vertical Response, who surveyed 500 small businesses:
Do your fans and followers get Tricks or Treats from you on social media? The tricks are like egg on your car or like toilet paper in your bushes - unwelcome, to say the least. The "Treats," however, go beyond what's expected. They are what will set you apart from others and keep your fans and followers engaged, bringing you more business and happier customers in the long run.
Check out these ghoulish tricks to avoid and delightfully surprising treats to pass out to your fans and followers all year long!
Trick # 1: Are You a Social Ghost? You set up a Twitter account & a Facebook Fan page - heck you've even created a company LinkedIn page, a Google Plus page, and you're on Pinterest. Your customers can find you. They go to your social media channels to talk to you, engage, compliment, criticize and ask questions. But where are you? You're a ghost on social media. You have an eerie presence and give your customers a chill because there's nobody there! Or is there?
Don't be the invisible man or woman! Here's what you should be doing: As a matter of course you should always be monitoring and replying on any channels you set up, otherwise it's like having a phone number you never answer on an address at which you don't open mail. Set up these barriers for telemarketers, not for your customers!
Facebook improves options for international marketing through its "Global Pages"
Until this month brands wanting to use Facebook company pages to communicate with their customers in different countries have had a challenge. The challenge has been the resource needed to manage different company pages in different countries in a way that provides consistency and management for their communications. Each country has required separate administrators and reporting has also been separate unless third-party tools were used.
In October 2012, Facebook launched "Global Pages" as a solution for managing company pages in different countries. This is how Facebook describe the new approach:
"With this new structure, Facebook users will be directed to the best version of a Page based on the country those users are in, enabling them to see localised cover photos, profile photos, Page apps, milestones, 'about' information, and news feed stories from Pages -- all while remaining part of the global brand community. Each brand's Global Pages structure will include local Pages for specific markets (single- or multi-country regions) and a default Page for all other markets."
On September 20th, 2012 Facebook rolled out a significant change to their EdgeRank algorithm. This change directly impacted the organic reach of brand pages on Facebook. According to initial reports, this change has potentially impacted organic reach for brand pages with a decrease per post upwards of 50%.
After the initial announcements, instead of simply reporting what the changes were, I wanted to see what a month's worth of data would look like to truly gauge the impact that our brands are seeing. Prior to jumping into the results, let's quickly recap how we got to this point.
WHY THE CHANGE?
Here is a quote from Facebook's Q2 earnings call... "Feed quality is crucial in order to not turn off users" - Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook is laser-focused on making sure the integrity of a users newsfeed stays as relevant as possible. With billions of pieces of content being shared, and brands trying to drive organic engagement through content, Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm serves as the overarching authority of what content ultimately gets surfaced to an individual user. Here is a previous post outlining EdgeRank.
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