Is Facebook Your New White Paper Landing Page?

Updated: May 19, 2011

The latest tack on this issue is a white paper published at SocialWhitePaper.com, under the banner, "Emergence of the Social White Paper: 5 New Strategies to Deliver White Papers on a Platform".

A key point presented in this white paper is that PDFs simply cannot track sharing activity and are mostly invisible to the major search engines. Instead Social Media offers your white paper a richer platform to track, share, interact, measure and grow business leads.

Like many issues with Social Media, there are both pros and cons associated with any B2B marketing strategy. So before you run out and delete your corporate white paper library, here's my perspective on the issue of using Social Media as a dedicated platform for hosting a strictly business-oriented white paper.

Let's agree that lead generation is THE primary reason that drives most B2B marketers to develop white papers. Countless numbers of business researchers have shown over the years that the credibility, educational value, and professionalism of white papers is what executive decision makers seek, trust, and use to make critical business decisions.

This social white paper offers several interesting concepts (without going into a lot of detail) on how Social Media can help marketers can make their white papers more "social" and interactive, but it doesn't offer any concrete ideas on how a white paper can generate leads. I'm sure in a subsequent phone call, they will tell you all about it.

Sure, you can use white papers to increase the number of your friends, followers, and ReTweets, and to solicit comments and feedback, but in the end true white paper ROI is measured based on the number of legitimate names, titles, and email addresses. You can build up your total social media followers, but it is a process, which takes a longer amount of time before you can leverage an extensive social media community for a subsequent B2B solution campaign that can generate revenue.

In addition, due to the open nature of Social Media, B2B marketers must deal with an uncontrollable amount of "garbage" that just goes along with the territory, especially on sites such as Facebook. The sidebar ads, jokes, and bizarre comments can make any B2B white paper appear less professional.

Think about it? The enterprises that are dedicated to B2B marketing using the white paper medium want to control the environment in which they are hosted. That is for a good reason. Can you imagine companies such as IBM or Oracle hosting a business white paper on a Facebook page? When there is a million dollar software or consulting sale at stake, I don't think social media is on their short list.

On the other hand, with the traditional landing page, as soon as you place a "gate" or require the user to register for a white paper, you're going to turn off a substantial number of visitors.

For example, one quote from V.P. Jay Halberg with Spiceworks.com, the vast majority of visitors to their site will choose to opt out instead of registering and downloading the white paper.

So given the choice between an unrestricted social media environment and a gated landing page, what's a white paper marketer to do to find a way to generate better leads?

The answer is a solution called, "Protected PDF" by Vitrium Solutions. Vitrum allows marketers to integrate lead capture forms into their PDF white papers, capturing lead information along the way. With Protected PDF, you can give away the PDF without the gated registration requirement, have your reader sample your white paper content, and the capture leads in the process. Simple tracking with complete control.

One advantage with this approach is the ability to capture leads as a PDF is passed along from one person to another within the same enterprise organization. Since Protected PDF tracks the IP address of each user that opens the PDF, as that IP address changes, new readers are required to re-register for the white paper. Using this approach you can capture ALL of the leads from each reader, not just the first person that happened to download the white paper.

Featured Research
  • 7 key questions to ask any ERP provider

    Having a fast-growing business is good. Having to overhaul your technology every time you need to scale is not. Upgrading to a more complete Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can help, but how do you ensure the solution you choose is exactly what you need? To help you with your search, we’ve pulled together 7 key questions every fast-growing business should ask before choosing a cloud-based ERP solution, including: more

  • How Finance Leadership Pays Off

    Oxford Economics recently surveyed 1,500 finance executives and it’s clear that small and midsize companies are growing significantly faster than larger companies. But, there are also big opportunities for finance to increase efficiency, boost financial performance, and work more strategically. Why is that? more

  • Professional Services Audience – Improve Profitability Infographic

    As a Professional Services Organization (PSO), you know the importance of customer satisfaction. In fact, 47% of PSO leaders say managing changing customer expectations is their top challenge. That’s why many firms are engaging smarter project management technology, even before deals are signed, to ensure project profitability. How are these leaders utilizing technology? Find out now. more

  • Business Phone System Buyer's Guide

    Communication has been a focal point in business since inception, but the industry is changing drastically in how people connect to one another and what tools and systems they use to do so. Less than 15 years ago, 90% of people relied on landline phone systems for communication. Today, less than 60% of Americans even have a landline and 40% rely solely on their mobile phone. more

  • 7 Ways Your CRM Helps Convert Leads

    Failure to convert interested leads can impact your bottom line drastically and simultaneously increase your operational costs and decrease your profits. The most common reason for this failure is lack of follow through from a sales team. Did you know that 74% of CRM users said that their CRM gave them improved access to customer data? And that by properly implementing a CRM, a business could shorten the sales cycle by 8 to 14%? more