​Speakers at SES NY talked about how content creation is the cornerstone to any effective social strategy.

​​Social media marketing has grown into an essential operation for B2B brands of all sizes. In two educational speeches at this week’s SES NY, Jasmine Sandler, CEO of Agent-cy, and Adriel Sanchez, senior director of demand generation at SAP, spoke about how business-facing organizations should use social to distribute and publish branded content.

Sandler, who talked a lot about the value of a content strategy for social media marketing, noted sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become the places where business owners go to influence customers on a one-on-one level. (I also won her book.) She called the conversations that take place on these sites the present-day equivalent of offline meet and greets of the past. Sandler emphasized that social media marketing thrives when brands publish relevant content and push the media through their respective social presences. Of course, social media content helps maximize visibility, and Sandler seems on board with the idea of SEO and social becoming integral partners.

The social side of SEO

 Social link building and Authorship will benefit brands with sustainable content marketing strategies.

Brafton has continuously reported on SEO trends related to Google+ Authorship, and as Sandler noted, these two will increasingly play a role in online discovery moving forward. Companies must have a defined content plan. Social link building and Authorship will benefit brands with sustainable content marketing strategies. However, Sandler didn’t solely focus on social, SEO and content – she also touted networks’ ability to mitigate customer care responsibilities.

Content for social customer care

“A lot of B2B firms that I’ve worked with don’t think about B2B social and customer service,” Sandler said. “I would encourage all of you to talk to your support teams to understand how they handle calls today and how those issues can be resolved through social. This can help clients gain competitive market share through new​-​media channels by paying attention to social care.”

All in all, it comes down to aligning a social team. Businesses need a strong internal or external team to develop strategies and deliver resources. Sandler advised companies to really consider a diverse content offering, from infographics to video content to general articles.

Finding a social voice

 “A quality agency will partner with you to create a strategy, train your staff members and execute your visions, helping to amplify your voice online.” – Jasmine Sandler, CEO of Agent-cy

“An agency doesn’t want to come in and take over your voice,” Sandler insisted. “A quality agency will partner with you to create a strategy, train your staff members and execute your visions, helping to amplify your voice online.”

How can a company use social to find the right voice? Sandler suggested data mining and market research, as they’re both excellent benefits of social media marketing that are hard to quantify.

“No B2B company can survive without a content marketing plan,” Sandler concluded, before Sanchez approached the microphone to further support the notion of content for social media marketing purposes.

‘Hire a content person to do you social’

Adriel Sanchez further emphasized the value of social media and content marketing as a marketing strategy. He noted, “Hire a content person, not a social media person.” Why? Because you need a writer who can create compelling content first – that’s the foundation of social success, and he believes platform nuances can be learned. If you employ only a social media guru, you lose out on the content skills brought to the table by a trained writer. His claim supported Sandler’s idea that brands should focus on the quality and diversity of the content they share via social media.

Sanchez shared anecdotal success of his company on social media, noting that the agency they use for social marketing is primarily a content marketing agency.

Listening to social audiences for targeting opportunities

Sanchez said, “The single most important thing any company playing social media catch up can do listen to social chatter.”

Sandler's book giveawayHowever, at Brafton, we’d add that listening without responding or reacting won’t result in any worthwhile returns. Sanchez noted that working with an agency that handles both content creation and social media marketing can help brands produce materials directly responding to audiences, but he warned audience members not to expect immediate results. “For you to teach an agency how to respond to engagement and create relevant content, you need a lot of support and put forth a lot of time.”

Overall, both Sandler and Sanchez highlighted just how essential custom content is to effective B2B social marketing. For organizations that want to build powerful marketing machines, setting the right benchmarks and using the right media to measure and capitalize on social chatter can make the biggest difference, but only if brands understand that not everything can be measured immediately – success takes long-term investment.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.