B2B Social Media Management: Using the 10-4-1 Rule to Build Reach

B2B Social Media Management: Using the 10-4-1 Rule to Build Reach

By Amy StarkFeb 1 /2012

I recently attended the webinar How to Master B2B Social Media Marketing with @KippBodnar and @JeffreyLCohen from Hubspot. Lots of great thought provoking information shared, including their “10-4-1” rule for social media posts in a B2B environment. This rule describes the number of times a business should promote their own content on social media platforms, in relationship to the number used from other sources. 

»10 Links to third-party articles 

»4 Links to company blog posts  

»1 Link to a landing page

This 10-4-1 rule was only a tiny portion of the webinar -- Kipp and Jeffrey covered lots of other valuable material. The webinar did not include, however, one of the most common questions businesses ask when venturing into the B2B social media arena -- where does one find worthy third-party articles? 

When considering what businesses to use as your third-party content sources, it's best to start with trade articles from well respected publications in your field. You can also find share-worthy content about your industry from authoritative news sources like Forbes, NPR, or The Huffington Post  Using these sources will help establish your brand as a trust-worthy social media voice within your chosen field or topic.

There are other - perhaps more interesting -- sources to fill that “10” quota which can dramatically increase your brand's social media reach and maybe even woo a potential customer.

  • Share Content from Your Vendors: All businesses require goods and services and one of your suppliers may already have a social media presence with a large audience. Once you establish trust by posting their material, some of your vendors might be open to giving your brand space on their facebook wall or retweeting some of your content. This exposes your brand to a new audience -- growing your reach. Your vendors want you to succeed so you’ll keep buying from them and this is one zero cost way for them to help.
  • Share Content from Complimentary Businesses: A complimentary business is one that does not compete with you and has a shared demographic e.g. a hospital and a nearby restaurant, a web-developer and PC technician, a vet and a dog groomer. These complimentary businesses may not profit from your success directly -- like the vendor --  but there is a mutual benefit in entering into a reciprocal content share relationship. You both gain exposure to a new audience growing your reach.
  • Share Content from Potential Clients: If Company X is on your “top ten customers you’d like to land this year” list, investigate their social media. If they have anything that your followers might find interesting, share it on your company's facebook wall and tweet about it. Reposting content carries a strong implied compliment that goes something like, “My Company likes to associate with Company X because they have content that is share-worthy.” Highlighting the actual post in a first email, or mentioning it during an initial cold-call, is an excellent ice-breaker. There's a strong reciprocity element on social media platforms and it's possible Company X will thank you for sharing their content by sharing yours.

The ROI for posting an article from Forbes or Huffington Post is the ability to establish your brand as an aggregator of valuable industry news-- which is very important.  The ROI on posting something from a company that will actively engage with your brand in social media is the ability to grow reach.  And to quote slide 24 from How to Master B2B Social Media Marketing, "Social Media is about Reach Building."

Photo credit: Mashed-up using JWSchmidt's image

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