Having identified a target customer, the goal of every B2B marketer is to then create the right sort of messaging to reach them. A piece of content so eye-catching, attention-grabbing, relevant and intriguing that it causes the prospective customer to stop scrolling through their social feeds and take notice.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for creating ‘thumb-stopping’ content. Great creative, as always, requires talented marketers armed with deep understanding of their target audiences.
At LinkedIn, we play host to a lot of B2B content, so we’re in a better position than most to gauge what is working well on our platform and what isn’t. We tapped into this knowledge to identify three consistent characteristics of engaging and impactful B2B creative. Read on to uncover real posts that have driven highPosts that drive the highest engagement on LinkedIn employing one of the following three tactics: disruptive, interactive, inspiring.
We are living in a world that is awash with content. According to research from Forbes, in 2020, the average person spent around seven hours per day consuming content. Standing out from the crowd has never been more difficult.
However, we also live in a world where marketers have bosses to answer to, so there is a tendency for the marketing department to stick with tried-and-true approaches. On social especially, it’s understandable that businesses and brands adhere closely to best practice guidelines when creating and distributing content.
Unfortunately, an unforeseen side-effect is that many posts and ads from companies end up looking very similar. Awesome, highly relevant content can go unnoticed in the feed, if it’s not presented in a way that catches your target audience’s collective eye.
‘Disruption’ is an overused word in marketing circles — in fact, it actually won a Linkedin award in 2019 for being exactly that.
Despite this, it is undoubtedly true that disruptiveness is an effective differentiator for B2B content to transcend the static. The wise B2B marketer never forgets that they are targeting not just ‘businesses’, but rather the human beings inside those businesses – and human beings are wired to notice things that are different, counterintuitive or unexpected.
It’s important to think carefully about how a user will experience your content — what they’ll see first, how the different creative elements come together, and why someone will be compelled to stop scrolling.
The following example from eCornell illustrates an excellent use of visual space to captivate a scrolling social media user. Here we have a bear unrolling a piece of paper, immediately generating suspense in the viewer’s mind: what’s inside? The animation plays out and interacts with a simple, straightforward value prop and CTA below.
I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that bear to leave the frame. And that’s exactly the point.
Questions to ask yourself: How can you make the most of the visual space available to you? Where will the user’s eye go first? How can you swim against the tide and defy expectations to make your content more unique and evocative?
From a sensory point of view, there’s a big difference between watching a football match from the side-lines and taking part on the pitch. In the same way, content experiences tend to be more engaging and memorable when the audience can take part and interact with them.
That said, marketers should always have a particular purpose in mind when they deploy interactivity - the second of the key differentiators.
At LinkedIn, our platform provides marketers and organizations with a range of ways to infuse interactivity into their content and ads. For example, Carousel Ads are delivered as a sequential series of cards, which can be used to narrative effect. Then there’s Conversation Ads, which enable members to engage in back-and-forth messaging dialogues, following different paths based on responses to deliver a tailored experience for each individual customer. You can find out more about the interactivity options available on LinkedIn here.
Below you can see how MailChimp cleverly leveraged Carousel Ads as a conduit for directional Q&As with their experts, based on the member’s area of specialization or curiosity:
Questions to ask yourself: How does the interaction bring value to the user? Does it drive deeper brand engagement?
When you think about the promotional output of the giant B2C brands – the Nikes, the Coca-Colas or Apples — they often strive to provoke an emotional response with the target audience. Sometimes this will revolve around the dreams and aspirations of the viewer or highlight a societal issue that could be changed for the better.
B2B marketing content, by contrast, isn’t often described as ‘inspiring’ by its intended audience. For B2B marketers, it can be difficult to find the sweet spot between personal and professional objectives, cut-through the generic noise and inflame the passion of your target customers.
One way to do this is to focus on topics you know that they care about. Think big and position your customer as the hero of the story. Another way to inspire your audience is through your own behaviour as a brand. Customers can smell insincere content from a distance so, at all times, strive to be authentic, consistent, empathetic, and relatable.
In the ad below, you can see how Global Web Index speaks to very specific role-based audiences with messages and images that tie directly to the pains and practical realities of their day-to-day work:
Questions to ask yourself: What topics matter most to my audience? How can I shed light on these topics in an emotionally engaging way?
When it comes to making your mark with B2B content, remember to be disruptive, to use interactivity where appropriate and to inspire your audience by understanding their goals, both personal and professional.