I recently read this article which suggests that using blog posts as a basis for LinkedIn content marketing is basically spamming. Although I agree with much of what it says, I believe the issue is less to do with what people are putting on LinkedIn, and more to do with what they are putting on their blogs. If your blog simply contains promotional copy telling everyone how wonderful you are, they will lose interest very quickly. Good blog posts should be informative and should reinforce your position through demonstrating that you know your stuff and can help your clients. Personally I don’t see an issue with linking this type of copy to social media! So why do people post this type of “spammy” content on social networks? The simple answer is because it works (At least based on the way we are encouraged to measure success in these things). And herein lies the problem….. Content marketing analytics are almost entirely quantitative. Views, Engagement (measured by number of likes & comments etc). The principle is that if you can add it to a chart, then its a good metric! This approach may work for B2C and social metrics on Facebook etc. But in the B2B world things tend to be a bit less altruistic. Does this mean we are missing a trick? Using established approaches to analytics, to be a deemed a success your content marketing copy has to get a reaction, and if your audience view your B2B copy in a positive light they are less likely to react. this can mean that good, informative, unprovocative posts are likely to deliver less favourable metrics! This response is actually out of line with their value in the real world. As an example, let me take a linked Group (Business Peak District) that I moderate. This is a group dedicated to those doing business in and around the Peak District National Park in the UK, and members are predominantly SME businesses within the region. Most of the posts on this group are links to informative (hopefully) blog posts. Not surprisingly (as there is (intentionally) no real call to action) they get very few comments. I do however know that people find them of interest, because they tell me so. I also know that LinkedIn is no 3 on our websites referrers list, so it is driving traffic to our site. Traditional engagement stats would tend to suggest that these posts are not worth doing. However, through knowing what I am trying to achieve with them, and taking a broader, more joined-up view of their effect, I know they are. Now take another post on the group:
Free Social Media Lessons with SocialMyna. This is quite blatantly a promotion. The post itself delivers little value to the readers, other than informing them of the services offered by the poster’s company. In contrast to most posts on the group, this one had illicited comments from a second user, again blatantly using the comment to promote their services.
The post that inspired this article is “two ways to post blogs on linkedin that could get you banned“. According to that post, the SocialMyna post above should have been moved to the “promotions” area, but it wasn’t, and I will tell you why not. Assuming that promotions are relevant to the group they are targeted at, then I believe they have value. Marketing is about communication, and if you are running a business delivering a product or service, then you must think it delivers value to your target market. The issue I have is that posting ONLY promotional stuff on your blog or social media is bad marketing. The promotions do little or nothing to enhance your standing in the market, and do nothing to suggest why people should listen to/use you, and will not encourage people to come back to your blog in the future. They do however perform well based on the standard engagement stats. Mixing informative & promotional content will maximise the marketing benefit, enhance your brand position & sustainably deliver leads. However on this example the metrics culture only recognises the benefit of the promotional content. These posts are not moved to the promotions section because I believe this and other promotional “discussions” do add value to the group, informing them of what is going on in the area, and thus they are not spam. However it would deliver a more rounded and sustainable marketing message from the posters if they posted a mix of promotional and informative stuff. This said, on balance this group is better with these discussions than without them, so they stay in. If it appears that a contributor is abusing their status by posting nothing but promotional material then this can affect the core value proposition of the group and consequently action must be taken.