This month at Social Media London we were joined by Jasper Martens, Head of Marketing & Communications at Simply Business, the UK’s largest online business insurance broker, with 200,000 customers. SimplyBusiness provides comparisons for business insurance including public liability and professional indemnity.
Jasper talked about the benefits of content marketing for B2B companies, how you can set up a strategy for your company and, of course, went through the Simply Business success story.
Here are the main takeaways from the event:
Re-Evaluate and Fine-Tune Your Social Media Content Strategy:
Whatever direction your strategy is in, make sure it has some great content to back it up. Ask yourself what you want people and businesses to associate your brand with, and that’s where you need to align your content. In fact, your content doesn’t necessarily have to be about what you’re selling– if it’s part of your strategy (thus, if it’s in line with your brand), then it’s alright. Simply Business tried this first-hand: as Jasper was brought in to manage the company’s content, he quickly realised that even though Simply Business is about insurance (as that’s what they provide), customers weren’t very interested in seeing insurance-related posts on their news feeds, and they were less prone to share it with their own friends. However, once Simply Business fine-tuned their content strategy and started focussing on a brand attribute instead of the brand product, they noticed the changes in reception right away.
Do Not Follow the Crowd:
Just because other brands are on a social media platform it doesn’t mean you have to develop a fanbase there. In fact, if you’re not careful, you might find yourself in a slow-growing fanbase not because of your content but because it’s the wrong platform for you. Simply Business experienced that first-hand when they eventually realised that Facebook was not the right place for them. So, they moved their focus elsewhere and that proved to be successful for them. The same concept also applies not only to social media platforms but to content as well – don’t go for what other people are doing, be original, strive to create your own presence, and instead of imitating, innovate, aim for bigger and bigger and do not settle for less. At the end of the day, think about your fanbase – if you are willing to share that content you’re posting, then your fanbase is more likely to share that with their friends too.
Google+ is Not To Be Underestimated:
Despite the myth that Google+ is a dead network or that there’s no fish to catch there, Google+ can actually be a turning point for your B2B business. One feature can be especially useful for your brand, and that is Google Hangouts, where you can interact with your fanbase and interactively communicate with a few of them with video and audio. However, do not expect thousands and thousands to pour in on your first hangouts, or any subsequent ones. Jasper realised that though they had a pretty big fanbase, the number of attendees for their Hangouts was always on the double-digits. Do not despair though – recognise the potential in these videos, that can also be saved on YouTube and be shared around (here is where they then reach a much greater audience). Keep the hangouts short, straight to the point, and regular – do not set sporadic hangouts – make sure you keep regular appointments with your fans (weekly, fortnightly, monthly – you choose the frequency and stick to it), and then you’ll be more likely to see a more regular pool of fans attending those hangouts and even inviting others to chime in from among their own circles. (Side note: Have you joined the SMLondon Google+ Community?)
SEO Is Your Friend:
Jasper revealed how SEO changed the way they do business. Do not be afraid to spend towards your SEO. To see how effective Simply Business’ SEO is: if you Google “social media guide”, Simply Business’ website comes up first, even before Mashable’s article on “The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media”!
If Your Content is Good, You Will Get Links:
Closely linked to the previous point, if your content is good enough for your fan base, big brands and businesses will notice and pick up on them too and generate more and more traffic if they link to it. Simply Business know the meaning of that first-hand: after they produced a Google Analytics guide, Google linked to it from their very Google Analytics helpdesk page, and due to that Simply Business started receiving more traffic, hence having access to a much wider audience for their future content.
Your Team is Essential:
Whether you have a small team, a medium-size team, or a really big team, don’t forget to get everyone involved – from the idea creation to the actual implementation of the strategies; from content creation to the nitty-gritty details. Simply Business has a daily huddle in the morning which they called a ‘Content Meeting’, where they discuss brands as if they were publishers, and that helps them keep abreast of what’s going on in the industry and what they should do moving forward.