How social listening can be a B2B content marketing goldmine

Tap into social conversations to make your B2B content strategy less risky and more relevant. Let your audience's own words guide your content creation.

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Most content strategies for B2B often rely on a subject matter expert or skilled writer to generate ideas, schedule content to satisfy the CMO and write based on perceived market demands. However, you must take the guesswork out of the equation to create relevant, high-performing content.

Rather than rely solely on hypothesizing what an audience may want to read, savvy B2B marketers tap into social listening. This allows you to directly monitor your prospects’ and customers’ own words across social platforms. The insights uncovered from online conversations and shared content form a content goldmine.

Social listening lets you identify the hot topics your audience cares about, including their pain points and interests. You can also gauge reactions to competitors’ content and view influencer opinions. This real-time pulse on your market’s needs helps significantly reduce the risk of creating content that misses the mark. Instead, you can publish timely, resonant content.

This article will explore actionable ways B2B companies can apply social listening to their content programs.

Social media should influence your content

LinkedIn and Reddit are vibrant hubs for discussing professional opinions. Companies empowering employees on social media allow people to freely express honest opinions publicly.

This offers a goldmine of insights that should directly shape content strategies. Engaging on social media removes the guesswork as people express their preferences directly through posts and comments.

Stop guessing and start catering

Tools like Oktopost and Sprout Social enable marketers to conduct social listening at a significant scale. Even the smallest team can keep their ear to the ground across any platform they choose for valuable intel on competitors, brands, keywords and even industry events. 

I believe events are the most underutilized content generator when done in tandem with LinkedIn, but we’ll hold off on that topic for another time.

Ensure a diverse range of social platforms. While LinkedIn may inhibit candid expression due to professional connections, Reddit offers anonymity, revealing genuine opinions and allowing you to empathize with market sentiments in your content.

When listening to respond is OK

While social listening on a macro level can help fill the gaps in your content mix, I find there’s still a massive opportunity on the micro level — actively engaging with individuals from both the SME and company profiles. 

A dear friend, social media expert and colleague of mine, Alan Holley, developed a powerful pre-event social play I’d like to highlight. It involved:

  • Taking the list of attendees.
  • Prioritizing them by their LinkedIn activity.
  • Actively commenting and engaging with them from the company profile to build excitement around the speakers, sessions and the event itself.

The number of people who stopped by to simply commend the strategy was validation that this fresh take was well received — as it was done in a very authentic way. 

Companies should empower social media marketers to browse prospects’ social profiles at target accounts, akin to how sales reps prospect. This helps craft relevant copy and note topical trends in their posts or comments. Despite being manual, this data can be shared with the content team, creating a win-win with a single activity.

Depending on the speed of your content creation, you may also unlock opportunities to reengage them by offering the piece of content you or your team just created. This empathetic approach humbly shows your market that you’re willing to listen to them and offer insights that may help them improve their practice, thanks to your subject matter knowledge.

Leverage influencers

Another great place to find relevant topics and the market’s opinions on them is by pinpointing the influencers — those with a larger following and heavy engagement, if you will. 

You can factor in the comments and context of their most popular posts to help guide where you take your content and when. If executed well, this can amplify your content by being highly relevant to your audience in real-time. 

On top of that, with their permission, you can quote their own words to enhance your point further and build up your company’s credibility with your audience by referencing someone deemed influential by the market.

I highly recommend exploring this tactic for those with limited access to subject matter experts or those operating on very slim budgets and lean teams.

Dig deeper: Influencer marketing: The bridge between B2B brands and genuine connections

Uncovering content marketing gold through strategic social listening

Social media is something that B2B companies can no longer shy away from and leadership teams should start to take a lot more seriously. It has become more than just a growth or brand channel, offering businesses the ability to listen directly to their audience and prospects in real time. 

Chances are, there’s a forum or post about a feature someone wishes existed or a function they wish worked better, too — opening up the doors for product research and ideation. But as the market continues to get saturated with more and more content, relevance and timeliness have never been more important than they are right now. When done perfectly, content marketing is simply saying the right thing to the right person at the right time.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Eric Dates
Eric is an accomplished and ambitious global marketing leader who enjoys the psychological nuances of marketing, brand, and overall business growth. With deep roots in early-stage startups, he focuses on breaking down complicated topics to their essence and obsesses over grasping the multiple 'whys' behind individual and consumer behavior. Outside of work, Eric lives in Tennessee with his family and is an avid outdoor enthusiast, exercise junkie, and lover of music.  

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