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What Makes Engaging B2B Social Content

- April 14, 2015 - 9 Comments

Why do you login to your various social media accounts? Is it to be entertained by videos and images? Catch up on the latest news in your industry? Engage with colleagues? My hunch says you do all of the above.

Nobody has time to sift through every piece of content on social media though. We quickly scroll through our feeds, bypassing updates that do not grab our attention. So how do we as social marketers create content that is not ignored? Here are some absolute musts for creating engaging B2B social content.

The content must be a balance between entertainment and education

Let’s look at marketing content as a spectrum. On the left we have lengthy and boring technical data sheets and white papers. On the right, we have funny videos, memes, and other amusing pieces. While we all need to push the left content to our audiences, we need to incorporate aspects from the content on the right to grab our audience’s attention. The middle of the spectrum is where we as B2B social marketers need to be.

Gary Vaynerchuck writes in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, “If we want to talk to people while they consume their entertainment, we have to actually be their entertainment.” But not only is our B2B audience looking for entertainment, they are also seeking information and new insights so they can be ahead in their industry. Some examples of good content for this include infographics, informational short videos, and visual SlideShare decks of key highlights. We must strike a balance between informative and entertaining content, such as the examples below.

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The content must be native to each social channel

Each popular social channel still exists because it has found its niche. For example, Twitter focuses on short, real-time updates whereas Facebook has longer-lasting content in a community setting. When generating social content, design it specifically for each channel. In the example below, notice the Facebook visual appeal on the right compared to the left. The Facebook audience wants interesting, high-resolution images and videos, proven by the increase in engagement on the right.

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Another example is an informational video we posted recently on the Cisco Security Facebook page that went viral. Rather than linking to a YouTube video, we uploaded the video directly to Facebook to achieve the larger video design layout and auto play feature. The video reached over 77k people, versus our 6-month average post reach of 4.5k. By adhering to the common Facebook feed video design, we were able to grab more attention from our audience and watch them share our content further.

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The content is short and simple

We do not visit our social media channels to read a long paragraph or more about going to download a white paper. We are looking for quick descriptions of content to determine where and when to click-through for more information. Give a quick summary of your content that you’d like to point your audience to and add a visual element that correlates. In the example below from LinkedIn, you can see a quick question to spark the interest of the readers followed by a call to action to read the white paper.

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In order to a run a successful B2B social media campaign, we must produce content that is both entertaining and educational. This balanced content is more likely to engage your audience while they consume their other online entertainment.

For questions of comments, tweet me @AnaAlessan and follow us @CiscoSocial.

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9 Comments

    Good blog post Ana! As I was recently involved in promoting a global security hackathon I appreciate even more how important and tricky it can be to be engaging, even in a highly technical field. Thanks for the tips.

    Well written and fantastic advice Ana. I love the tie-in to entertainment value!

  1. Great Share! Good litmus check is if "we" like it and find value most likely "others" will too! Thanks Ana!

    Your tip on native video uploading to Facebook has changed our video engagement dramatically. Great find and and great tip! Thanks for these other good tips on Social Media content!!

    This is why we succeed, Ana - Smart experimentation and taking calculated risks to find what works best. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing your findings with a broader audience!

      I love how you juxtaposed smart experimentation and taking calculated risks. This couldn't be more true and these insights have really helped with A/B testing with social posts.

      Thank you Ana and Mitch for sharing your best practices with us! #Teamwork

    You nailed this! The entertainment competent is often overlooked and striking the balance is truly key in order to create engaging content that is not ignored. Your tip about uploading straight to Facebook versus using the YouTube link has illustrated higher reach numbers. Thank you Ana!

  2. Great tips!

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