Chocolates with wrappers that have the LinkedIn logo.
PHOTO: Nan Palmero

Most marketing budgets for 2019 were set in the latter half of last year. It is likely that a good part of that spend was put aside for social media campaigns and initiatives. But are you spending that budget in the right place? According to research from BuzzSumo, the social media landscape is changing rapidly and marketing departments may have to rethink what it is they are doing for their online marketing initiatives.

For those that haven’t used it before, BuzzsSumo is an online tool that allows any user to find out how content (among other things) is trending by topic or on any website. For marketing content driven organizations this is particularly important as BuzzSumo offers a tool that social sites use to find out what people are talking about and what their concerns and needs are. Being able to input certain search criteria, analyzing content and finding out what is already working is priceless for marketers.

B2B Content That Is Working?

According to a blog post by Carmel Anderson, BuzzSumo developed a list of common B2B topics, then analyzed the 52,892 articles with the highest social engagement for those topic areas. The report itself was published in March 2018, but has helped form social spend decisions over the past year. However, with budgets now being put in place, Anderson has pulled out some of the salient points that marketers need to note this year. 

There was a whole range findings in the report, including:

  • The average number of social interactions for high performing B2B articles was 1,029.
  • The median number of social interactions was 415.
  • Content quality has a significant effect on the number of shares. Create better content, and you should see an increase in shares.

The Trends Report also showed that LinkedIn sharing was on the rise while shares from other social networks was in decline. The report points out that there has been a growth in content sharing on LinkedIn and that many publishers are seeing steady increases in content engagement on the platform albeit from a small base. It also found that the majority of this content gets zero backlinks, but because it offers authoritative research and reference content it continues to gain links. So what is happening?

Related Article: Why Social Media Is So Addictive (And Why Marketers Should Care)

Not All Platforms Are Effective

Zachary Weiner, CEO of Emerging Insider Communications, pointed out that for years, the going marketing remit across organizations was to have an active and engaged presence across all platforms. This meant a lot of work, time and investment to manage messaging, campaign strategy and execution with unique tactics, assets and efforts tailored to each platform to achieve some measure of success.

However, as more brands and organizations began (and were given the tools) to conduct intensive analysis — depending on industry/sector/audience — some platforms stood out as incredibly effective whereas others did not. Organizations began to focus on the platforms that showcased worth and removed emphasis from those that did not. “This has caused a lot of social activity to get shifted around, reducing across the board mass utilization. Overall scale has decreased while overall platform focus increased,” he said.

LinkedIn: Built for Business Interaction

This has changed somewhat since 2015. While Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have been touted as must-haves for all businesses, the truth is that for B2B organizations, they can be distracting, frivolous and not really useful, said Rafe Gomez, co-founder of VC Inc. Marketing. Not only does it take a tremendous amount of time and energy to connect and truly engage with prospective followers/friends, the bottom line payoff is non-existent to minimal.

LinkedIn, however, is built for business interaction. It's streamlined and simple for B2B pros to use and benefit from. “Even if only utilized as a research tool and not as a connectivity vehicle, the effort, focus and exploration spent on LinkedIn offers a much greater Return on Time Invested (ROTI) for B2B professionals/execs than does any other social network,” he added.

The reason LinkedIn isn't being impacted and is actually seeing an increase in B2B content sharing is because of the user mindset when on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a business network — users are looking to keep up with the latest trends and news in their industry, discover new ideas to help with business and self-growth, and build their network and reputation.

All of this leads to a desire to consume content on LinkedIn and increases the potential for shares and clicks — as opposed to Facebook where a user may just be looking to see updates from their friends, or Instagram where they may be looking for inspiration.

Anthony Capetola is marketing manager at ecommerce specialist Sales & Orders, points to two reasons why LinkedIn persists as other social networks see content engagement fall off:

  1. Algorithmic changes made by social networks — most notably Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  2. An increase in content creation causing content fatigue, which means less shares and less clicks.

Related Article: How LinkedIn Local Changed the Face of the Professional Network

Final Thoughts

Needless to say, there are no hard and fast rules for any of this. Depending on the type of business (B2B or B2C), the target market and their objectives, each company will see a different level of success on the various social media platforms, said Brenda Ledwith, senior digital marketing consultant at digital marketing agency Living Online.

While engagement with brand pages and posts remains relatively stable, we find leads that come from Facebook and Instagram, in particular, are very low quality compared to those that come from search engines. LinkedIn works better to drive qualified leads because those who spend time on the platform are usually in a more active mindset and are looking for business opportunities.

While it's still important for all companies to have a social media presence across all platforms (where relevant) to help individuals qualify them as a company they want to potentially engage with (and to inspect the reviews as part of the research phase), time is often better spent on other digital marketing strategies aimed at increasing ROI.“It's also becomes more inconvenient to schedule posts through social media scheduling software Hootsuite (and has been for some months) so focusing your efforts on LinkedIn sharing (if it makes sense for your target market) is a better strategy,” Ledwith said.