social media case studiesDo you want your company to be seen as a thought leader in your industry?

Are you B2B in a niche market and wondering if social media is relevant to your audience?

Drillinginfo, a software as a service (SaaS) company serving the global oil and gas industry, is a B2B provider in a very specialized niche market, which has been actively using social media since September 2012.

Their goals are to emphasize their role as an oil and gas intelligence company and boost the perception of the company as a thought leader in the industry.

Since September 2012, they have increased their blog readership by over 2000% and developed relationships with influential industry leaders through social media.

Current and potential customers have indicated that the Drillinginfo blog is a premier source of information in the oil and gas industry, which is exactly what the company wants.

read di blog

Drillinginfo's social media manager has some fun keeping blog contributors motivated.

The steps they’re taking to achieve these results are:

  • Blog with a plan.
  • Market your marketing (from Jay Baer).
  • Network with influencers via Twitter.

Social Media Handles & Stats


  • Increased blog readership from 400 per month in September 2012 to 8,000–11,000 per month
  • Over 100 email subscribers per week to the DI blog in first four weeks of offering
  • Blog post The 50 Top Oil and Gas People on Twitter from May 2013 currently on page 1 of Google search for “Top oil & gas”
  • Drillinginfo’s largest clients have told account managers they consistently read and appreciate the content on the DI blog

James Hahn II, social media manager for Drillinginfo, explains their business this way: “If you want to get some hydrocarbon out of the ground, we have all the information to understand where it is and how to get the most of it out of the ground.”

Hahn said that Drillinginfo, started in 1999, has traditionally been viewed as a data company. Over the years they have expanded their offerings to include more international intelligence and analysis. They now want to shake the “data company” label and be seen as an industry intelligence leader.

The company had social media accounts and a blog before September 2012, but they were underutilized. When Hahn took over social media at that time, within a month blog views increased from 400 to 4,000, Facebook followers tripled and Twitter followers doubled.

By January 2013, the company made Hahn a full-time social media manager, and he has made it his mission to put Drillinginfo top of mind with influencers in the industry. Here’s how they’re doing it.

Blog With a Plan

Content marketing is the core of Drillinginfo’s social media strategy. Currently 52 of the company’s 400 employees contribute to the blog. They’re mostly senior leaders, product managers and international editors—people in other countries who are part of Drillinginfo’s intelligence-gathering arm.

Hahn sets the editorial calendar, assigning writers but not topics, for the blog. He encourages contributors to write about something they’re personally interested in.

He works with contributors to brainstorm ideas, prompting them about things they’re working on. One recent post, Rig Locator Blues: 3 Things to Know Before Installing GPS Units on 1,800+ Rigs, came from a back-and-forth with Drillinginfo’s director of GIS content.

di rigs map

DI blog post about GPS units on oil rigs came from a brainstorming session.

As social media manager, Hahn is always looking for ways to keep blog contributors motivated. “Don’t just send those calendar invites (reminding them of blog posts due) and expect people to be on the ball,” he said. “Find some way to keep that project top of mind so that when their due date comes, they have content.”

Hahn sends out a “Monday Morning Motivation” email to blog contributors each week that contains a condensed nugget of information about content marketing. “I try to make it fun and really silly and short,” he said. One recent email focused on a Technorati Digital Influence Report.

motivational email

Drillinginfo's social media manager sends a motivational email to blog contributors each Monday.

After Hahn receives each contribution, he edits it to make it “blog-friendly.” He works to make posts shorter, uses shorter paragraphs, adds an image and uses keywords in the first sentence and title that he has researched in Google Adwords.

Hahn makes a point to explain to authors the reason for any changes and to make them feel appreciated. “I built this community, but I built it around amazing content that’s written by people who have been in the industry forever,” he said. “It always comes back to that.”

Market Your Marketing

After each blog post is published, Hahn pushes the content out to their email list and social accounts using an Evernote checklist to keep track of each task.

evernote checklist

Drillinginfo's social media manager uses an Evernote checklist to keep track of tasks.

He has learned some techniques that work better than others. In the email to blog subscribers, Hahn includes the full blog post, but tailors a call to action to send readers to the website for comments.

On Google+, he uses keywords in the status update. Having a personal Google+ account also means any of his own posts show up with a photo in search results.

google search

Hahn's Google+ account means any of his posts show up with a photo in search results.

Hahn has amassed a list of approximately 70 Facebook groups related to the oil and gas industry that have over 1,000 followers, and another list for smaller groups. He updates each group with each new blog post.

facebook lists

A small portion of the many oil and gas groups Hahn posts to.

When posting to Facebook, he learned that if he includes a large version of the photo, the status update gets more likes and shares, but if he leaves the default setting with a small photo when posting a link, it gets more traffic.

In total, he posts to 156 LinkedIn and Facebook groups, and is careful to be conversational and “non-hypey, the same way you share with a friend,” he said. His mantra in social media is, “It’s not spam if you’re adding value,” citing Jay Baer’s concept of Youtility.

He has not received any negative feedback about posting to the groups. On the contrary, people have reached out to him wanting to connect. “I’ve had people add me on LinkedIn saying, ‘I see the work you’re doing all over LinkedIn and Facebook, and I really like what you do,'” he said.

Network With Influencers

In May, Drillinginfo posted their most widely viewed blog post to date, The 50 Top Oil and Gas People on Twitter, which received over 4,500 views in its first month.

The post was nine months in the making, when Hahn started actively following and networking with industry leaders on Twitter. He started by following the hashtag for the NAPE Expo in August 2012.

He then used Followerwonk to search Twitter bios by “oil & gas” and filter by followers, eventually growing two lists of over 400 each—Oil & Gas Biz and Oil & Gas People.

Hahn uses HootSuite‘s premium feature to filter by Klout score to identify people to start conversations and network with. “Over time I really paid attention,” he said. He saw the payoff in traffic and conversations about the Twitter list post. “Now we’re top of mind for all of these people,” he said.

twitter replies

Drillinginfo's oil & gas Twitter list received many mentions and retweets.

Although Twitter delivers a much smaller fraction of web traffic to their site, people who come from Twitter stay about five times as long, Hahn says.

“When I have a post that I really want to get out there to a lot of people, (my list) really helps me focus—here are the heavy influencers that I want to target.”

Get More Effective than LinkedIn

Perhaps Drillinginfo’s content marketing successes can be summarized in a comment from a member of their international sales team. A potential customer contacted him about their services, and asked about posting on the DI blog to reach their own customers. “They consider that posting on the DI blog will be more effective than LinkedIn or any other site out there,” the sales rep said.

Your Turn

What do you think? How effective is social media in a niche B2B industry? Have you used social media to build the perception of your company as a thought leader in your industry? Include your comments and questions below.

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  • Great case study that everybody can share with their audience.

    Thanks for sharing.


  • Great article.

    I especially like that I learned a new way to use Evernote to help me stay on task with my task lists.

    I’d suggest automating as much as possible the posting of good & relevant blog posts to Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn pages. Hootsuite is a great tool for doing this.


  • Remarkable case study. You really show how to market your marketing and add value to those groups. This reminds me when “you lead by serving and giving, people follow.” Thank you for sharing!

  • Way to go, Drilling Info and James Hahn II! It takes a very special organizational culture and servant leadership mindset to achieve what you doing in the digital space. When companies are able to insource content and involve team members like James is doing, there is an authenticity to your marketing messages that inspires real connection. Well done!

    You’re an inspiring example to many organizations who want to start doing this and need great examples. Thank you, Louise, for telling their story and revealing great tips from their strategy to help more organizations envision a better way of doing content marketing and making it a full blown brand culture too.

    Every company “on fire” starts with a spark. Be the spark.

  • Great case study! Extremely helpful. Thank you!

  • Great call on Hootsuite – their social media management dashboard really helps with that.

  • Sue Lawrence-Longo

    Exceptional case study! Thanks for sharing! I’m delighted to see that 13% of employees are blogging rather than a lonely 1 or 2 employees. Your story offers motivation and hope! 🙂

  • Excellent Louise!

  • Nancy

    Great article, Louise! Case studies are a great way to show what works! Very informative!

  • brandonlife

    Great article. Thanks for sharing.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I think social media is effective in the B2B industry, especially if your target audience uses social media. Not only do they understand it, but they’ll expect your company to use it.

    On a personal note, I have to create a schedule for my email marketing. I send out my blog post via email, but that’s it. I receive a couple of *motivation* emails; one is every day. But I’m not sure if I want to be a *copycat* and do the same thing. I’ll think about it.

  • BillBooth

    Are you concerned about appearing spammy if you post the same. content to multiple groups? Many group members overlap

  • Really glad you found it helpful Leo!

  • That’s great Teddy, I honestly don’t know what I would do without Evernote! And I definitely automate as much as I can, especially with Hootsuite. Unfortunately, unlike LinkedIn where you can use tools like Oktopost to automatically post to several different groups, you can’t do the same with pages that aren’t yours on Facebook. But, with the right amount of focus and keyboard shortcuts, I can usually knock out my sharing pretty quickly 🙂

  • You nailed it Patrick. It’s all about serving your community. The more value you add, the more trust you build, and it’s just an upward spiral from there!

  • Thanks SO much Krista!! Your work with Marcus Sheridan at Block Imaging has been a consistent source of inspiration as we’ve executed our strategy at Drillinginfo. So, thank YOU for being the spark as well!

  • Awesome David, glad you got some helpful takeaways – thank you!

  • Great insight Sue! I’ve never thought about it from a percentage standpoint before. But, top-down buy-in from the beginning is essential in content marketing. Sure you can outsource, but I believe the authentic voice coming from so many of our own people “in the trenches” has really been the key to our success. And it IS possible – even in the oil and gas industry! So, say it with me, Keep! Hope! Alive! Keep! Hope! Alive!! 🙂

  • Thanks Brandon! Glad you found it helpful 🙂

  • Being truly of service, useful and fun on Facebook has made a massive difference to our business.

    And one thing I’ve noticed when it comes to posting our blog content on Facebook is that when it has a personal introduction and people we’ve cultivated relationships on there, that we know could be served by the content, are tagged in the post, it gets about a THOUSAND times more engagement than when we just have Buffer auto post it with a brief description of what it is.

    But I believe the key that makes the content take off is that only leaders we’ve had personal interactions with via chat, private messaging, on the phone or on Skype are being tagged – not people we don’t know but would love to be in front of their friends list.

    And of course it’s been very time-consuming making an impression on Facebook, forging alliances and relationships there, and we’re not EVERYWHERE but in this space, in our chosen Facebook group, we’ve made an impact that a thought leader would and it has paid off handsomely.

    I tip my hat off to James for seemingly being everywhere making a big splash. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to spread myself meaningfully, yet economically. 🙂

  • Baesis10

    Great post! How did they go from 400 views in a month to 4,000? Was this from posting to groups on FB & LinkedIn? a tenfold increase is impressive.

  • Great question Bill. As Louise said, my motto is “It’s not spam if you’re adding value.” By that I mean that at Drillinginfo, our blog posts are not commercials. We write extremely valuable analysis and insights about oil and gas that some might think we’re crazy for giving away for free. So, the first step is producing content that is so good group and page owners thank you for posting it. (As an aside I’ve had more than a dozen people send me private messages doing just that, and even one that worried what happened to me when I missed his page a couple weeks in a row.)

    Next, it’s all about the voice you use and how you position yourself. Personally, the way I avoid annoying people and seeming spammy is by being extremely authentic and hype-free with every share. So, instead of sharing a link and saying, “This post is AMAZING! A MUST READ FOR SURE!!” I will say something like, “Do you think it’s time for oil and gas companies to go ‘all in’ on social media?” or “Let’s just say there were a few hurdles to clear when we released our newest product – like exploding rigs!” I’ve found that a lot of authenticity and a little good humor goes a LONG way. And, instead of annoying people, I’ve actually developed several meaningful relationships.

    Hope this helps!

  • Louise Julig

    I believe the main difference was using keywords in the blog posts and posting to groups, which they hadn’t really done before. Glad you liked the article!

  • Louise Julig

    I did not know you could use Evernote to make lists either before doing this interview, so I learned something new myself – definitely a perk of this gig!
    As far as automating the posts, there is a fine line between being efficient and being impersonal. I was impressed that James spends as much time as he does manually posting to the over 70 groups in Facebook. Perhaps he can weigh in on why he does this manually vs. using Hootsuite.

  • Louise Julig

    Thank you! I’m glad you liked the article and hope you get some good information from it.

  • Louise Julig

    I had the same question for James when I did the interview with him. As you can see in his post below, he hasn’t had that response, and in fact has had the opposite happen, where people thank him for the information and want to connect. Being conversational and posting really good content is the key.

  • Hi Louise! This is really interesting data, and tackling these social outlets is a huge concern for a lot of B2B companies. You’ve provided very specific examples of how Drillinginfo has made it work, which proves that all you need is a dedicated, motivated and organized team to get the job done. Great study; thank you for sharing!

  • John Gaines

    Has DrillingInfo been able to turn this into leads, deals, money, etc?

  • James

    Great article! It’s encouraging to see that a niche B2B business can excel make it too. Will definitely be using a few of these techniques myself. Cheers.

  • Would love to see more of this type of post in the future. Also, I’ve picked up a new social media tool that I could try and share.

    Thanks for sharing this case study.

  • Kate

    This could not be more perfect for me at the moment! I work in the trucking industry in Australia where social media is just in its infancy… This is the motivation I need to push harder in my company to get a content marketing plan developed and implemented. This case study will provide great support for my argument that social media is not just for B2C, as the senior management tends to think, and with the right planning and strategy could position us not only as product leaders, but thought leaders. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Wow just when I asked you Mike about what to do after you post a blog you drop this on me. Great steps to becoming a thought leader. I love the idea of having an editorial checklist and planning social media posting for the day. Great job.

  • I love the idea of being authentic. I think that a lot of marketers forget about this when they are putting together a tweet, Facebook Post, Google+ post, etc. Thank you for adding humor. You got me reevaluating my strategy.

  • Louise Julig

    Great! I’m so glad that the article is helpful to you. You might also want to read another B2B Blogging case study I did last year, at Best of luck with your endeavors!

  • Louise Julig

    For this type of social media activity, which is mostly focused on networking and building thought leadership, the connection to sales is less direct and has a longer lead time, and Drillinginfo’s story is no exception. They were very pleased to hear that some of their largest accounts think highly of the blog, because “keeping clients is much easier than making new ones,” as Hahn told me. They have had some very good contacts from leads that have directly mentioned the blog, but no monetary numbers that they were wiling to directly attribute to the social media activity as of yet. Since they’ve been doing this for less than a year that isn’t too surprising. Like the Twitter list post that was nine months in the making, this is not an instant gratification strategy.

  • BillBooth

    First let me correct my oversight in my first comment. “Thank you for a great post!” In fact I read it waiting on a flight and spent the next two hours in the air thinking about my own strategy and how I can improve by implementing some of your ideas.
    Let me clarify my first question. I am a member of around 12 LinkedIn Groups. I don’t think that’s unusual as many of us belong to multiple groups in our industry. If I write a solid and valuable technical article, which I write once per week and post that same article to all 12 groups then many of the same people will see the same article. This is what I about when I say spammy. (Maybe a bad choice of words.) So, do you post the same articles to multiple LinkedIn Groups knowing that it may be seen by the same person multiple times? Or should I alternate posting to groups or just reduce the number of groups?

  • Shiry Benschar

    Great article lots of useful tips – thanks

  • Excellent Article – thanks!

  • I love how James has used his blog and social media to connect with like-minded people. Oil and Gas could be seen as tough to crack, but his creative thinking around content is really cool. I also like how he keeps his contributors motivated and educated.

    I’d like to know how the blog contributors were recruited and if they have a minimum post requirement.

  • Joanna Beerman

    Fabulous case study. Would love to see more of these!

  • Triggered some further thoughts towards streamlined productivity in the space Mike!

  • Very useful post. I haven’t been posting to like groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. I will take the idea and the technique and see how it goes. Thanks!

  • Please, copy away Amandah! All of my best ideas are usually stolen 😉

    But seriously, I believe the “Monday Morning Motivation” email has been a crucial piece of the puzzle. Many of our blog contributors are Senior Leaders and Executives at the company, aka some of the busiest people on the planet. So, having a quick, humorous way to stay in front of them and keep the project top of mind each week has worked quite well for us.

  • Love it, my man! Go kill it!!

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Hi James,

    It’s true that the best ideas are stolen. Thanks for the permission to ‘copy’ away. 🙂

  • I say be yourself and do what works for you. If you are getting a lot of pushback and people blocking you, then that’s not the strategy that works for you and your audience. But, the way I’ve gotten around that is by being very authentic and extremely grateful to group owners. And given that title is “Social Media Manager,” I think they understand it’s my job to drive traffic to our site.

    One best practice I used that you may try as well is to reach out and thank each group owner. Given that we really started blogging in earnest in October, I used the holiday season as an opportunity to send every group owner (and admin for groups with multiple managers) a message with the title, “Wishing you the Best in 2013!” The body of the message was as follows:


    (Group Owner),

    As we wind down the year, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for allowing me the privilege to be a member and post in the (insert name) group. I do not take it lightly. Our blog has experienced a lot of success in the last few months thanks to generous people like yourself! I hope our content adds a ton of value to the community and spurs thoughtful conversation for a long time to come.

    May you have a blessed and prosperous New Year!

    Merry Christmas!!


    And this wasn’t just a hokey tactic, it was true and I actually wanted to thank these people. After all, almost 60% of our new social traffic was coming from these groups.

    But, I not only sent this to every LinkedIn group owner and admin. I also sent it as a private message to every Facebook page in my list. The result? A whole bunch of them replied thanking me for everything I do to contribute to their community, saying how much they enjoyed our content. And two of the Facebook page owners made me an admin so I could post on behalf of their page!

    Now, will you annoy some people? Honestly, I think I’ve been turned off maybe 3 times. But, waaaaay more often than not, if you execute properly and are authentic, grateful and (most importantly) produce awesome content that adds A TON of value, you’re going to get the opposite reaction.

    So, in the end you maybe holding onto a false belief that isn’t true at all. And if that’s the case, I understand because that was a serious fear of mine at the beginning. But, if you know your content is good enough and you know people truly appreciate the work you’re doing, the next time that thought pops in your mind just remember, “It’s not spam if it’s adding value.”

    Best of luck to you, my friend!

  • Thanks so much for the kind word Lewis! I tip my cowboy hat (I live in Fort Worth, Texas – they confiscate everything else at the city line) to you as well! I’ve never thought tagging people, so I just may have to run an experiment with that one. Thanks for the tip!

  • Exactly. I know I’m perpetually quoting Jay Baer, but as he says, “Content is fire, and social media is gasoline.” By spreading our content as far and wide as possible, I was trying to pour as much gasoline on that fire as possible – and it worked!

    Of course, as Louise noted, we are also extremely strategic with keyword targeting (thanks to Marcus Sheridan of TheSalesLion – dot – com). As a result, we’ve had a lot of success in getting to page 1 of Google and our organic search results spiked straight up from the moment we started blogging.

  • Man, that means a lot coming from you John! Thank you!!

  • Our strategy at the beginning was to position ourselves as THE thought leaders in oil and gas. We wanted to develop a whole lot of rapport and good will throughout the industry and build out a thriving community. In other words, we set out to accomplish a lot of top of the funnel goals. Awareness, engagement, etc. Granted, as Louise said, this is not a quick click-through and get a sale approach. It’s a long-term investment in your community and industry that takes time before you begin seeing results. But, if you do it right, in the long run, the rewards you stand to gain massively outweigh the opposite approach.

    Having said that, we are now moving into the next phase, which is to put the proper lead generation tools in place, and we’re gaining more momentum everyday 🙂

  • Awesome James! Glad you found some best practices. Love the name, by the way 🙂

  • Great to hear Ruby! Thanks for reading!!

  • John Gaines

    Thanks. I look forward to following this story.

  • Awesome Kate! It’s funny, I think every business owner has a natural tendency to look at new things like social and content and think, “But I’m in (name your industry), this sort of thing could never work for us.” And you know what? That’s awesome because it allows innovators like you to dominate! Because, in the end, people are people and the same tactics and strategies that work online for solopreneurs are the same things that work online for small business, which are the same things that work online for large corporations, regardless of industry or niche. It’s only the voice and execution that varies depending on the business case.

    On that note, here is another post from the DI Blog that will surely help to build your case:

    Now go crush it Kate! – Hey, Crush It Kate, that has a nice ring to it 🙂

  • The pleasure is mine Amandah, enjoy!

  • Serendipity is a beautiful thing! I’d love to hear your results, so stay up!

  • Thanks TJ! Much appreciated!

  • Thanks Shiry! Glad to help 🙂

  • Thanks for that Sarah. It has taken a heck of a lot of hustle and long hours, but I can’t imagine how I could have possibly had any more fun at any job over the last year.

    As far as recruitment, we started with a core group at the very top. It really helped that I work for a visionary CEO who had a personal blog for years and even has a Twitter account today, which is sort of unheard of in Oil & Gas (@AllenGilmer). So, I set in-person appointments with all of the top leaders at the company, which was about 25-30 people. When we sat down, I laid out the goals and scope of the project, and sold each of them really hard on what it would do for our business. I also placed a strong emphasis in the meeting on the fact that our CEO and President were “all in” on the project and were going to regularly contribute content themselves.

    When we started, I wanted to post as frequently as possible, SME style, so I told them all they would be responsible for one blog post per month. However, we were burning through content so quickly and I was having to go back for more too often, so we cut back our posting schedule and expanded the number of contributors. This has helped greatly because now each person only ends up in the rotation about once per quarter. And, since we’re a high-growth company, everyone’s schedule is only getting busier, so it’s taken a lot of stress off of both them and me.

    Hope this helps!

  • Thanks Joanna! Louise is *really* good at what she does!

  • Awesome Dan, I’m always looking ways to improve productivity myself. I use a combination of Evernote and David Allen’s Getting Things Done system. I have my various task lists set up as tags in Evernote. As emails come in, I’m able to quickly determine if they are actionable. If it takes less than 2 minutes, I do it right away. If it will take longer, I forward the email into my Evernote with the appropriate tag. Then, at the beginning of each day, I go through my lists and move the day’s tasks into my “Today” list. With all of the stuff I’ve got going on, I couldn’t imagine living any other way. And, given that you’re a COO, I’ve got to imagine you’re in the same boat – only waaaaay worse, haha!

    Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Run with it Michael! Enjoy 🙂

  • You’re very welcome! Honestly, I am surprised that you even responded to my post. Not everyone does! Your response is a testament to your company being “social.” Really appreciate that! Looking for update regarding your company’s story in the future.

    I do automate posts selectively so I can stay “social.” I know there are people who would shudder at the thought of that. 🙂

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  • Aaron

    Solid article with great info. Keep up the great work!

  • Louise Julig

    Thanks for the kudos, James! Much appreciated 🙂

  • Awesome read! We will definitely share this with our community.

    We actually use very similar strategies for our company, and clients.

  • Zakaria Desai

    Thanks for sharing James. Really enjoyed the bit on getting staff members to contribute, as I currently face the same challenge.

    Generous to open up your processes to the public, but I guess that’s what social is all about.

  • Immanuel Nwachukwu

    This was especially an inspirational article for me because I’m heading out our company’s social media marketing venture. And just like DI, we are a B2B niche serving the Oil & Gas industry. And I’m wondering what kind of success we can have with our own (different) approach?
    Its seems DI’s remarkable success in numbers is unlikely for us because of one main advantage: Though niche, DI is technically a “information provider” for a broad industry. Not to mention that they’re apparently relatively large. On the other hand, we (Mezintel), are a small software provider for a very niche sector of the industry – ‘measurement while drilling’.

    Nevertheless, here is our approach for social media: To be knowledge providers in our niche field, with a strong focus on customer support (i.e. tips, Q&A, promos), and sprinkles of relatable industry news. Our main target audience being field operators and MWD managers. These groups are influencial “connectors” (as Gladwell would say) because of their high turnover rate.
    What do you guys think of this approach?

    PS: I noticed DI followers have increased by 100s across the board in just a few days since this article. A connection?
    Very impressive nonetheless!

  • Well deserved!

  • Thanks Aaron!

  • Appreciate the kudos and share Michael!

  • Heck yes it is! If it weren’t for the amazing generosity of people like Michael Stelzner, Jay Baer, Marcus Sheridan, etc. who let us steal their best ideas, I wouldn’t have a job today.

    On the recruiting front, I don’t know if you saw it, but you might take a quick look at my reply to @Essex_courier:disqus above. I give a bit more detail on how we got buy-in from the top down.

    Happy thought leading! 🙂

  • So great to hear Immanuel! With the proper execution, style and (especially) out of this world content, social/content marketing can work in any niche or industry.

    As far as your approach, I’d say even though your ideal buyer persona is a subset of Drillinginfo’s wider niche, that doesn’t mean you can’t have great success and build a thriving community. Granted, yours might be smaller, but when you’re in a niche B2B market, that’s to be expected. And when it comes down to it, it’s really about quality, not quantity.

    Drillinginfo currently has about 4,000 Facebook fans. Sure, I could run a few ads and juice that to 100,000 overnight. But the other 96,000 would more than likely be righands. That presents two problems – righands are not in our target market and they’re not known for censoring their language in any setting, especially on social media. In other words, we’re good with the 4,000 we have because they are who we’re looking for. So, don’t compare yourself to Drillinginfo, SME, Coca-Cola, Red Bull or any other business. Mileage will vary widely across the spectrum, so focus on what works for YOU and what resonates most with YOUR audience.

    Having said that, on your specific content strategy, again, you’ve got to find what works for you and that can take time. But, for Drillinginfo, our goal has been to consistently add value with every post we write. So, instead of writing a post called, “Drillinginfo Now Has Detailed Completions in the Bakken!” We will write something like, “5 Completions Techniques Producing HUGE Results in the Bakken” (or something like that). We would then dig into those techniques using our own intelligence and workflows replete with screenshots taken from our various system. So, yes, we end up showcasing our capabilities. But, it’s done in such an undercover/soft way that instead of turning people off, it sets us apart as a valuable resource and trusted partner in the industry. So, tips and Q&A’s are great, but be careful about how much you directly promote your products/services. That’s not to say you can never promote. But, it needs to be more like a 20/1 ration of Adding Value vs. Promotion. Because, not to get off on a tangent, that is the biggest problem I see day in and day out in the oil and gas industry. People trying to apply outdated interruption marketing tactics to new media outlets. It just don’t work. But, if you’re quoting Gladwell, I’m sure you won’t have that problem 🙂

    Hope this helps!

  • Immanuel Nwachukwu

    Thanks James.
    This article, the comments and particularly your response, have been encouraging.

    Thanks for reminding me of a few things, like righands’ coarse language. Field users are currently part of our target audience, but somehow I forget to consider there language. (Perhaps I belittled it because of my Gladwell influence on ‘creating the environment’).
    Anyway, I guess I need to figure out how to handle public conversation with the righands.

    Thanks again.

  • disqus_W4KjfaOksA

    Great article. I work in the B to B space and find social media to be essential. The thing is, our customers want answers to questions. Answering their question with in-depth material is the best marketing there is.

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  • Enjoyed reading this article! It truly is about adding value. James – could you share some tips or tactics for avoiding sounding like spam? How do you adjust to each of the 156 groups?

  • Mollyand Fox

    Thank you so much James. I have just started in the world of social media, and you have given me a great checklist of the actual ‘down to the brass nuts’ of what to do, rather than just a wishy washy article about connecting. I now have lots on my To do list to get going in this digi world. A great article – thanks again

  • DavidMcGarry

    Great article and case study! It has inspired me to continue my pursuit to use social media to add value to my community of followers and position myself as a thought leader!

  • Glad to hear it David! Onward!!

  • Absolutely. Become the best Youtility in your niche and you’ll knock it out of the park.

  • Hey Sarah! Sorry for taking so long to reply!! But, I actually don’t adjust my messaging for each group. I choose one good thought provoking question or statement (though questions usually get way better engagement) and use it across every LinkedIn group and Facebook page. As far as how to not sound spammy, check out my response to @BillBooth:disqus above. I go into detail about some of the tactics and messaging that has worked well for me.

    Hope this helps!

  • Awesome Molly! Roll up them sleeves and get ta grinding 🙂

  • No worries – thanks for getting back to me. I read your interactions with BIll and it was certainly helpful. I appreciate it!

  • Great Post Louis !! Amazing ideas to know to become a leader in any industry. Thanks for the sharing your insightful ideas!!