What are some tips for using social media for B2B publications?

Whether for better or worse, social media has become a necessary additional platform for B2B content. Editors must follow their readers, and no matter the industry users are usually found on at least one social platform searching for content.

Paying attention to another platform can put a lot of pressure on editors who are already pulled in so many directions. Some editorial teams must manage their channels themselves, while others have marketing teams or interns to help. Some see it as a positive way to engage with their audience; but to others, it’s a nuisance where anyone can openly express negativity.

Laura Barnes, an editor for PCR magazine in the United Kingdom, said her team is responsible for running the publication’s social media channels. Her team has tried to incorporate sharing on social media into their existing process. “We have to make social posts part of the process of writing a story, so you don’t put content online without sharing it,” she said.

Chris Crowell, the managing editor of Solar Builder magazine, as well as a co-founder and editor of Craft Brewing Business in the United States, said his editorial teams are also responsible for posting on social media.

Unfortunately, this leads to a more “set it and forget it” mentality. They use a WordPress plugin to automatically send out article links once published. His teams also use a platform called Hootsuite to mass schedule posts during the week.

“We mostly use social media as a link sharing platform to drive a tiny bit of traffic and maybe snag some new subscribers and regular readers,” he said. “If we had an entry-level editor who could devote a ton of time to it, I’m sure we could find more value. I question how much actual value there is in senior-level editors spending time worrying about social media.”

Kristin Doucet, managing editor of Professionally Speaking, the publication of the Ontario College of Teachers in Canada, said her team is “fortunate” enough to have a dedicated digital media team to share content on social media. Without the stress of
having to post, Doucet’s team is able to focus more on engaging in a conversation with their readers.

“Social media is a two-way conversation, not a one-way conversation,” she said. “If you respond to inquiries in a timely fashion and keep the dialogue going, you can grow your number of followers.”

Doucet said her team posts every day but tries to provide useful, engaging content that doesn’t appear as spam.

“We find that content that helps people do their jobs more effectively is always of interest, as well as interesting profiles of our members,” she said. “We always use photos in our posts, as it helps engage our followers more easily.”

Evan Sparks is editor-in-chief of the American Bankers Association Banking Journal in the United States and also run his publication’s media channels–though his parent association’s media manager is able to cover when he’s out of the office.

He says custom posting a link to each article, rather than auto posting, and including tags to authors, companies and subjects referenced helps increase his publication’s engagement and reach. He posts different kinds of content depending on the social media channel.

“For example, we post career-oriented, ‘news you can use’ stories to LinkedIn, where those kinds of stories perform best,” he said.

One thing is for sure; social media is here to stay. Editors must continue to develop best practices for managing channels while searching for value in conversations.