For too many B2B brands, social media and thought leadership exist in two separate spheres: The former is breezy content—often posted by the interns—about your brand on Twitter and Facebook, and the latter is serious journalism, created by serious journalists, to share your most in-depth and timely ideas with your business audience.
This artificial separation of social media and “real” journalism no longer exists in the world of news media—and likewise, it no longer serves B2B companies and associations like yours. To savvy thought leaders, there’s no longer even a distinction between the two: Social media is journalism because it’s where your audience goes to take in breaking news and expert insights.
It can be difficult to reconcile the idea of B2B thought leadership coinciding with 280-character tweets, Instagram photos floating in a sea of selfies and Facebook posts surrounded by political rants, but this remarkable mashup actually works as a way to further your communication goals. To make it work, though, you have to make some distinctions.
Think about the difference between adding quality and context to a conversation and adding just another voice. Social media is where your B2B audience tends to go first for news and industry insights, and where they often leave disappointed by the subpar quality of said news and insights. Because there’s no barrier to entry, users can post anything they want in the service of positioning themselves as experts. (And they do.)
The remedy is to take a journalistic approach to B2B thought leadership in the feed. You may not be able to cite your sources on Twitter, but you will have sources at the ready. You might not have 2,000 words to convey your brand’s story to your business audience, but everything you do on social media will jibe with that story.
And you’ll have a role that goes well beyond how we used to define social media marketing.
|THE CONSUMER SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETER:
||THE B2B SOCIAL JOURNALIST:
|Curates and shares content from others.
||Creates original content with an industry-insider mindset, along with strategic outside sharing.
|Tweets the latest trending content at the same time every morning.
||Offers expert context to real-time events.
|Hungers for likes.
||Pegs tactics to meaningful business results.
|Connects for connecting’s sake (and to garner the above-mentioned likes).
||Connects meaningfully with target audiences to build long-lasting relationships of trust.
The benefits shining from the right side of the table are social journalism in action. And they're just the start of what social journalism techniques can do for B2B content marketing.