Social media for a B2B marketer can be a tricky thing. It’s easy to share content that is funny or entertaining, or to promote a brand. But most B2B marketers are challenged with using social media to attract new buyers, so sharing rich educational content that establishes you as the quality, go-to source is often the best choice.
When used correctly, social media can create a strong personal connection with your prospective customers. However, marketers often make the mistake of diving into social media without a clear plan.
To benefit from B2B social media, you need to build a clear strategy that takes into account your value proposition, what you’re trying to achieve, who your customers are and what your competition is doing.
If you don’t have a full-time team of social media experts at your disposal, your success depends on creating a sensible strategy that fits your resources and goals.
1) Define your target audience.
Define the key demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach. Can you estimate their average age, gender, occupation, and some typical job titles?
Then, think about what’s most likely to get their attention. What big challenges do they face? What small problems do they have to solve on a daily basis?
2) Post articles weekly.
Commit to creating fresh, quality content for your blog on a consistent basis. Here are some of my favorite ways to come up with blog topics:
- Brainstorm the most common questions asked by sales prospects, then write educational content to address those questions.
- Address common misconceptions about your industry, services or products.
- If there’s something relevant to your industry happening in the news, you can “newsjack” those headlines to talk about your solutions.
Share this content on social channels to promote traffic.
Use #hashtags that are the same as the keywords in the content on your website.
Hashtags on trending topics can also be added to your posts, which will enter them into those news feeds for additional exposure to new audiences.
3) Create shareable educational content.
Dive deeper with e-guides, checklists, videos and infographics offering use-right-now solutions to attract busy professionals looking for helpful shortcuts or business insights. These can be promoted through gating content (where clicking on your headline takes them to a signup landing page to download it). It’s OK to mix forms into your social strategy to collect new prospective buyers. You just want to be thoughtful about how and when you do that tactic.
It’s fine – even savvy sometimes – to post others’ content and include an @ mention of their name to get additional exposure. Not all content shared through social media has to be your own…and it can help companies align with industry thought leaders who will appreciate your mentions on the same social media channels where they’re trolling for an audience too.
4) Focus on only a few channels.
Don’t get overwhelmed trying to broadcast everywhere. It will quickly become a time suck with diminishing ROI.
Be smart about which channels you’ll focus on. Figure out where your prospects spend time – LinkedIn? YouTube? Twitter? Facebook?
Build, nurture and sustain a community there before moving on to another channel.
Include links in every social profile you create, to promote more follows.
5) Develop a schedule and stick to it.
It takes discipline, so create a schedule for yourself (or whoever you’ve assigned it to), with reminders.
At Leadit Marketing, we have a daily schedule we follow. Some other companies may choose to follow a weekly schedule, but staying top of mind is key in social media
Use #hashtags the same way you would keywords on a website, to have your post appear on trending topics
6) Measure results.
Decide on which metrics will be your key performance indicators.
You can measure engagement with the # of new followers, likes, shares, favorites and – the gold standard – comments. (If you see a lot of comments you really know you’ve got your audience engaged.)
Monitor times/days when you see the most activity.
All social media channels come with Analytics features that allow you to track and measure your performance, so acquaint yourself with this wealth of tools at your fingertips. They will be how you measure your ROI on the time you invest with social media activities.
7) Be Watchful.
Monitor the content of your feeds regularly – especially if someone else is doing the posting.
It’s also easy to get trapped into artless posting that can get your company into trouble, invoke ridicule, or create other PR disasters.
Oftentimes it’s helpful to get your social media strategy going with a little professional marketing advice from a seasoned strategist who knows where to find your target customers, and what you should be saying to them, before going out on your own.
Shannon Prager is the President of Leadit Marketing. She is responsible for the daily operations and management of Leadit Marketing as well as the long term vision for the company.
A marketing leader with over 18 years of B2B demand generation and marketing experience, she understands the importance of a fully developed marketing strategy. Shannon’s background includes demand generation, marketing automation, social media and marketing operations. You can follow her on Twitter via: @LeaditMarketing