Many B2B firms are developing both "content marketing strategies" and "social selling strategies".
Is there a link - or an overlap?
We think there is!
The Content Marketing perspective
A "content marketing strategy" sets out a series of actions to achieve certain goals/objectives.
The actions relate to authoring, distributing and following-up pieces of content, developed in a range of formats (eg white paper, video, event etc).
There are many ways of distributing content pieces - e-blasts, face to face events, personal selling - and in the modern "digital age" increasingly "social" is a key distribution mechanism.
So - if we want to distribute our content - one mechanism that we have is social distirbution via our sales resources.
So - our "social selling strategy' needs to include actions to distribute certain content elements via social means.
The Social Selling perspective
Just like a content marketing strategy, a "social selling strategy" sets out a series of actions to achieve certain goals. The actions relate to listening, publishing and participating in online communities.
Rather than focus purely on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn etc - we believe the social selling needs to describe how specific sales workflows can be improved, by including in the workflow the use of the various social platforms:
If we are going to let our sales resources loose to pursue the workflows shown above - then we need to give them "something to say". Certainly they will offer spontaneous comments - but these need to be shaped in line with the firm's overall messaging.
There will also be programmatic postings - publicising blog posts, talking about campaigns, offering thought leadership etc - again, these are best done in line with the overall content strategy.
Ultimately a co-dependence
So - the content strategy relies on the social selling strategy - in offering one channel with which to get the firm's message out.
And - the social selling strategy relies on the content strategy - to suggest to the sales folk "what to say online".
An enormous co-dependence.
Interesting though to see how often these strategies are developed in isolation of each other......