Future-proofing: five content platforms B2B is ready for in 2020
New year, same old platforms. Sound familiar? It’s no secret that people digest content in different ways – so why do B2B companies keep using the same channels to promote content over and over again?
When thinking about brands that have a big presence online, the first few that come to mind are probably B2C. However, despite the success of B2C companies across channels like Instagram and Facebook, B2B industries are still relying on more traditional tactics, mostly out of fear that their business is too boring for platforms that are bursting with B2C content. For this reason, B2B marketers sometimes completely ignore great content-led platforms because they don’t feel ‘cool’ enough or ‘ready’.
But, we’re here to tell you that this way of thinking is all wrong and your brand CAN survive online. We’re all human after all and like to digest new content in different ways – yes, even those of us who work in B2B. Moreover, there’s no better way to get ahead of the competition by being present and leading by example first. So, to get you thinking outside the box and considering platforms you presumed were strictly B2C, take a look at where we think you should be in 2020.
Let’s start with the big one. Whilst Instagram is arguably more geared towards B2C audiences, it is an invaluable visual storytelling platform that can help to promote your brand and build a following in a compelling, memorable and engaging way. But only if you’re on there.
Recently, Instagram reached an exciting milestone – now seeing 1 billion monthly active users (compared to 90 million in 2013). Given its popularity and large following, the platform clearly presents B2B businesses with an important opportunity to market their products or services to a targeted audience, without spending a large amount of money. But this channel is still often overlooked by B2B companies. So, aside from the fact that 1/7 of the global population is using it, what are the other reasons we think Instagram will work for B2B?
B2B companies have a much longer sales cycle, in which gaining trust is a significant piece of the puzzle. This is where Instagram can truly shine through. Not only is it a great space for showing off company culture and brand values, helping to develop deeper connections with customers through transparency, Instagram helps individuals to feel like they’re part of your world. This helps prospective clients to understand how you run things on a deeper level and proves there’s much more to your team than work. In other words, it humanises your company, adding a personal touch to your public image and promotes transparency, which people appreciate.
Increasing website traffic
Boasting higher levels of engagement than other popular platforms, Instagram is a powerful driver of traffic. Why not use the link in your bio, for instance, to send followers to your home page or product page.
Whether you’re looking to show off your corporate culture or showcase your products and services, Instagram can clearly add depth and creativity to your marketing efforts. To drive the most engagement on this channel, think about thought leadership content, corporate culture i.e. behind-the-scenes posts and positive company announcements for the best results. Think of it as a window to your company.
If you’re already on Instagram, why not try Instagram stories or Instagram TV? These functionalities can help B2B businesses tell bigger, more exciting stories than a series of individual photos or videos. The type of content that is well-suited to Instagram stories includes tutorials, in-depth videos about your product or service, interviews, tours of your office and announcements.
If your brand is looking to boost thought leadership and reach a new audience, now is the perfect time to add a podcast to your content marketing mix. B2B businesses should care about this channel, because the way that people consume podcasts makes it an ideal platform for high-quality content. You might find someone listening to your latest episode while working out, driving or cooking for instance, but you wouldn’t find them reading your whitepaper or watching your video during these times.
The demographic for B2B marketers is attractive too and its likely your target audience is already spending a significant amount of time listening to podcasts already. The most successful B2B podcasts tend to be in the Q&A or panel discussion style, with hosts bringing on new guests each week to share key insights and topics that matter to your industry.
YouTube has become less popular with B2B marketers than it once was. Nevertheless, it’s the world’s second largest search engine with over 5 billion videos viewed each day, and ranks as the fourth most important channel by which to distribute content.10 This channel is ideal for educational videos, and with education having a significant part to play in the development of B2B content, you can see why YouTube should be part of your content strategies. Do you have an expert available that might be able to do an explainer or how-to video? Or how about videoing an event you’re attending or presenting a case-study in a more visual way?
Pinterest allows its users to visually discover, curate and share their interests by posting or ‘pinning’ images, videos and links on digital boards. On the surface, this may come across as a good premise for B2C marketing, but some of the leading B2B companies, including Marketo, Hubspot, GE and Microsoft are actively engaging their audience on this platform.
Although B2B companies will have a much lower following on Pinterest than other networks, the mass shareability of the platform means there are a few ways in which you can take advantage of this space too. Creating a board for infographics, for example, is one way that B2B companies can reach their audience on Pinterest. If infographics aren’t for you, what about a board that features your products and/or services, content like blogs, whitepapers and videos, or even a board that showcases your employees?
So, do you think you’re ready to take a leap of faith and try something new this year? Go beyond the basics of content marketing in the January issue of The Knowledge, available to download free here.