There’s a rumor going around that social media may not be as beneficial to B2B organizations as it is to B2C companies. However, according to AdWeek.com, “More than 9 in 10 B2B marketers say that increased exposure is the number one benefit of social media.” The truth is, B2B organizations that do social media well are going to be ahead of the pack in 2015. The challenge is how to execute a successful plan at your particular company. Here are some ways you can make social media a winning part of your marketing strategy:
1. Make a game plan
From determining your goals and deciding which channels to focus on to creating a calendar and determining how you’ll measure analytics, there’s a lot to lay out before you begin utilizing social. You’ll want to decide what your main objectives are, what channels you’ll use, how many resources you have, and what kind of content you want to share.
2. Divide and conquer
You won’t be successful on all channels at once and some will garner stronger results for you than others. Once you’ve determined which channels you’ll use, decide out how each one will function. You may find that Instagram is a great place to share event photos and company culture, but LinkedIn is a better place for you to promote content and product updates. Determining what percentage of your posts will used for each of these purposes is also helpful. Just remember to work towards building a community and developing conversations. You don’t want to be overly promotional all the time.
3. Gather your gladiators
Creating a solid team is essential. You need skilled writers, creative content developers, talented graphic designers, and organized analysts to make your social media movement successful. Many companies mistake “using” social media for “understanding” it. Just because someone comes to you and says they Tweet on a daily basis in their personal life, doesn’t mean they’ll understand how to execute a successful business strategy. Today, promoted posts and paid tweets are a big part of social media for businesses. It’s important that your team has an understanding of how to navigate this aspect.
4. Brand your channels
Make your channels a strong reflection of your brand and the direction you are heading in as a whole. Your header and profile photos, description, and overall tone should be consistent and on-brand across all social channels. Even the filters on your Instagram photos and the type of content you decide to send out should create an experience for your visitors that is true to your organization.
5. Measure your progress
You may be spending hours on developing your strategy and creating innovative social media posts, but if you don’t measure your progress, you’re doing your team a disservice. You could be missing some major signs when it comes to what is working and what is not. Every channel has its purpose and some content works better on one channel than it does on another. By measuring stats such as new followers, engagement (i.e. likes and retweets), and top vs. bottom performing posts, you’ll be able to know what is helping, or hurting, the growth of your channels. You’ll also be able to see which channels help you the most and deserve the most attention.
Quick Tip: Pulling reports once a week is absolutely fine. There’s no need to get too far into the weeds. You want an informative overview, not a long look through the magnifying glass. You should, however, be paying closer attention to paid social media campaign progress so you can continuously check your budget and make improvements to your campaigns.
6. Listen closely
Having your finger on the pulse of what competitors and customers are talking about, as well as what’s new in social media technology is key. You can’t do all the talking… you have to listen, too. Social listening should be a main component of your strategy so you can be a relevant part of the discussion and cultivate content that is both current and engaging. The more you listen and take time to explore what’s trending, the easier it will be to grow your channels.
7. Use the buddy system
Engaging with partners and like-minded brands on social will help boost your visibility and grow your following. It also gives you credibility when an established brand with a large number of followers “retweets” or “likes” your posts. Lean on partners and vendors that you work with to help share your accounts and the content you’re posting. Reach out and interact with fans and potential followers, especially those who are speaking about your brand. These evangelists will be your greatest allies.
8. Get to know your audience
Knowing which followers to target on social media can be difficult, especially since your audience may vary slightly from channel to channel. However, the general profile of your clients should be something you’re very aware of. Start by examining your current clients and figuring out who they are and how you and your sales team communicate with them.
Quick Tip: Analyzing your customer data can also be helpful when it comes to choosing your audience for paid social media advertising. If your current data is incomplete or inaccurate, you’re not going to find it useful when deciding how you want to spend your ad dollars. Access your records with a free Data HealthScan and get your team on track.