According to Hubspot “60% of the sales cycle is over before a lead ever talks to a salesperson, it has never been more important for marketing to be involved early in the buying process”.
Ideally, marketing involvement needs to happen right at the beginning of the sales cycle; at the marketing content creation and dissemination stage. Here you can make sure that your valuable content gets picked up by, and found in, Google as well as the various social media platforms.
However, there are still many B2B marketers not using social media strategically and harnessing the power of Social Media Optimisation (SMO, but also called Social SEO). SMO, according to Brian Solis, is defined by the distribution of social objects and their ability to rise to the top of any related search query, where and when it is performed.
So the overall goal is to boost the visibility of the content created (such as blog posts, videos, images, comments, status updates etc.). Since the B2B company blog is one of the most important conversational hubs (and since most of them are on WordPress nowadays) I’d like to give some best practices for optimising the corresponding content.
Best practice SMO for WordPress #1: Find your niche
B2B blogs are often optimised to feed Google and get ranked for long tail keywords. This is a good way of getting ranked and demonstrating expertise, gaining traffic and thought leadership at the same time. Google’s keyword tool is perhaps the best way of getting any blog posts ranked. Choose at least 3 words long keywords and find relevant searches for it – sort the results by relevance and add 3-5 relevant keywords in the text of the post including meta tags (see below).
Best practice SMO for WordPress #2: Do what Google wants
HTML meta-tags are still a main source of social media optimisation juice, basically telling Google what the post is all about.
The main keyword (or phrase) needs to be in the tag page title, and it is best put it at the beginning. It is also worthwhile mentioning it 2-3 times in the body text, but try to avoid keyword stuffing. Place relevant keywords into the meta-tag header (h1, h2, etc.) or bold them, though for user experience it makes sense to use headers to make the whole post more readable.
The meta-tag description does not influence the ranking, but it does affect the click-through rate from within the search results a great deal. Hence, it needs to be written to motivate and convince the user to click on the link and get to your site. Additionally, image alt tags can and should be social media optimised.
Best practice SMO for WordPress #3: Spread the word
The goal of social media optimisation and social media marketing for B2B is simply to reach the right audience.
For posting with one-click to the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, we recommend Hootsuite, a social media management tool. You can also achieve good results through posting into LinkedIn groups or your profile. If you’re well prepared, you will have done a social media monitoring analysis and know where the targeted audience hangs out. For B2B social media marketing, lots of relevant reach can be achieved in niche forums and communities. Good content is always welcome there!
On top of the above outbound dissemination of content, every blog needs to have share buttons (Google+, Facebook, Twitter etc. There are plenty of WordPress plug-ins available that are easy to implement on your site.
Richard Buettner is Director of Weever Media, a leading social media and SEO agency.