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Creating content that connects brands with audiences

How content marketing works – through a dating app

Relationships take work. Whether you’re building a relationship with a new client or are midway through a contract, each relationship requires careful thought and attention to succeed.

Take the beginning: it’s the most important part because without it, there is no relationship.

You’ll likely be familiar with various B2B marketing strategies to attract prospective customers and build relationships with clients.

As businesses, our survival depends on persuading prospects to listen, engage and ultimately purchase.

Social media as a marketing tool

One B2B marketing strategy has particular currency these days – content marketing. In fact, to paraphrase Seth Godin’s famous quote, content marketing is the only marketing left. We should now unpack why content marketing is good for building relationships with clients.

However, it’s more fun – and more helpful if you want to understand how to use content marketing – to examine this through the lens of social media. Not just any social medium, though. Through a dating app called Hinge: The Relationship App.

What’s a dating app got to do with content marketing?

The connection between a dating app and building a relationship is clear. What we can learn about content marketing from a dating app, however, is less obvious.

Here, it’s worth briefly explaining how content marketing works, before explaining Hinge.

How does content marketing work?

Content marketing ‘pulls’ customers towards your business, rather than ‘pushing’ products and services to them. It involves creating and promoting high-quality content that’s helpful, targeted and persuasive. You analyse that content as you go.

If parts of your content strategy aren’t performing – your blog, for example – make tweaks and see what works for you. If things go well, customers will commit to a long-term relationship. (Take a look at How to increase your sales, reduce costs and build trust for more information on this.)

How does Hinge work?

Hinge markets itself as a dating app with a difference. It’s a crowded market, after all. It eschews swiping to differentiate itself from rivals such as Tinder and Bumble.

Content marketing is an effective B2B marketing strategy

As with any dating app, you’re aiming to convince other users to like, chat with, meet and choose you.

In B2B marketing speak, you want to attract prospects, build engagement and convert opportunities.

As such, you want your profile to present your best ‘you’. Hinge gives you ten elements – or, pieces of content – to play with to create this seductive ‘Self’. These comprise six photos, three responses to a range of stock prompts (example below) and an ‘About Me’ section.

Content marketing is an effective B2B marketing strategy

Hinge users initiate interaction by liking or commenting on one – and only one – of another’s photos or responses. They receive a push notification if someone likes them and ‘matches’ with them to start a conversation.

Build relationships with B2B marketing strategies

The ‘About Me’ section on Hinge

How to build relationships in B2B marketing

The mechanics of Hinge provide a platform to produce, promote and analyse two different types of content: images and responses to prompts. You should, therefore, be able to employ content marketing strategies on Hinge to attract prospects, build engagement and convert opportunities.

To find out, I created a profile on Hinge for four days – under the pseudonym ‘Caspian Damie’.

It turns out B2B content marketing strategies on how to generate leads and build relationships with clients work pretty well on Hinge.

So, what are they?

Define your goals

Before you start creating content, think strategically about what it should contain and what you want it to achieve. Take Hinge as an example. Are you after lots of likes? Do you want to engage with people and chat on the app? Or do you want to meet people and go on dates?

Once you’re clear on your overall content strategy, ensure every piece of content aligns with your measurement goal(s). I chose the number of likes/comments each piece of content received as my measurement goal.

Tell your brand story

We’re exposed to an overwhelming number of messages about businesses and products. Yet many of these aren’t relevant to us – so why should we pay attention? Similarly, Hinge users receive a high number of push notifications.

This is where your personal brand story comes into play. It has to be compelling. However, it isn’t necessarily about you. Briefly explain what drives you. Then focus your brand story on your prospects and the value that they’ll get from choosing you. (Have a look at Create your brand story to build customer loyalty for more information on brand storytelling.)

In some cases, it makes sense to build your story around those you want to attract, while you settle for the supporting role. As with the response below, it helps to speak to your audience directly. Plus, if they can relate to you as the storyteller, they’re more likely to find value in speaking to you.

B2B marketing relies on building relationships

Sometimes it helps to speak to your audience directly

Take care with visual content design

Design is a key consideration when creating content. Good content design will encourage your audience to focus on the parts you want them to focus on. This will, in turn, attract more prospects and drive more ‘matches’ (or, clicks on your call-to-action button).

On Hinge, your photo selection can make all the difference. So make sure you’ve chosen your best ones. This jazzy number received three likes and a comment.

B2B marketing strategies such as content marketing rely on good content design

Take care with your content design, like Caspian Damie

Leverage influencer marketing

When your story is good, others will tell it for you. This is a great endorsement. Being proactive never hurt anyone, though. Managed well, encouraging others to tell your story can be more than worthwhile. Influencer marketing campaigns have generated 11 times the ROI of other marketing strategies. Only 49 per cent of B2B companies, however, are engaging with influencers as part of digital marketing campaigns. Read more on this in Why B2B influencer marketing should be part of your strategy.

On your Hinge profile, include a few photos of you with friends to show that people trust and get on with you. Hinge also lets you log in via Facebook, meaning you only see friends of friends. This saves your pals playing matchmaker, while retaining that higher level of trust.

Measure the success of your content

This is where Hinge sets itself apart from other dating apps, and is most like a content marketing platform. Other Hinge users can like or comment on one of your photos or responses. This means you can track the performance of each individual element of your profile.

In content marketing speak, you can measure the success of your content strategy and refine each piece of content accordingly.

Unfortunately, Hinge hasn’t yet integrated with Google Analytics, so your tracking and analysis remains manual for now. Nonetheless, keeping a tally of the likes/comments each piece of content receives can provide useful insight.

Take the response below, for example. It received no likes. In contrast, the ‘Roast and self-loathing’ and ‘Life, the universe and everything’ responses above received three and four likes respectively.

Show your personality in B2B marketing strategies such as content marketing

This response didn’t perform so well

I therefore swapped the ‘Oranges’ response for the one below. This amusing fact performed significantly better, receiving a like and a comment in half the time.

B2B marketing: Be helpful to build strong relationships

Don’t be afraid to refine your content

What, then, is the content marketing lesson here for B2B companies?

Well, it’s that personal relationships take work – and so do client relationships. You’ve got to understand what the other person is looking for and tap into what makes them tick.

So – when it comes to attracting prospects with your content marketing strategy – iterate, iterate, iterate.

Don’t be afraid to refine your content. You’ll gain insights into prospective customers and better understand how to improve your content marketing efforts each time. This is one of the reasons why content marketing can produce three times more leads than paid search.

I hope this 21st century dating-scene analogy has clarified how to use content marketing to build relationships in B2B marketing. If you’d like to learn more about content marketing strategy, brand storytelling, content creation or digital marketing, we’re here to help.

Check out how we helped our client Gather raise its profile and generate leads for starters.

Or, if you’d like to learn how to do it yourself, we’ve written a free Content Marketing Guide to help you bring your content to life:

Download your free content marketing guide now




By Olly Goodall, Editor