Sharing content on social media is a great way to extend its reach, but internal shares are crucial to B2B marketing strategies.

Social shares are usually much more complicated than they appear. While there is some superficial sharing among people who haven’t even read full articles, content is mostly passed around by people who read things thoroughly and want to discuss them with others, as Brafton reported. And that’s just B2C content.

B2B content marketing exists in a corner of the web where time is money – so people won’t leisurely read articles or whitepapers simply because they’re interested. Instead, promotional content needs to optimized for professionals who are trying to make business decisions that affect their jobs and livelihood. Some recent data about content consumption patterns in B2B industries drives this point home.

Content makes the rounds

The CMO Council recently published the results of a survey that looked at sharing and reading patterns at B2B companies. It turns out content is almost never read by one professional alone. In fact, 94 percent of B2B content is curated and circulated throughout businesses, being read and evaluated by multiple decision-makers.

The patterns of content sharing within businesses are evenly split:

35 percent of companies see articles and resources originate with middle management and move outwards
30 percent mostly experience a bottom-up trajectory
29 percent move top-down.

However, the hallmark of the sharing patterns is who does the most passing. Researchers, influencers and decision-makers are the most likely to curate content collections and pass them along to others.

Create shareable and data-driven pieces

The types of shared content vary – 68 percent are research reports and in-depth studies, 50 percent are technical spec sheets and 46 percent are analyst intelligence insights. However, what matters is that these types of content are information rich and actionable.

The B2B industry is all about demonstrating value at the outset, and the more people reading content, the more obvious value propositions need to be. Keep this in mind when creating content for B2B customers. While social sharing on LinkedIn and other platforms is important, web marketing strategies should emphasize internal shares most of all.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.