Thursday Thoughts: The Basics of Social Media Marketing
THE VALUE FOR B2B COMPANIES
Many clients ask us to refresh and reactivate their social media channels. As such, let’s talk about the value of social media marketing. In the B2B world, social media is yet another way to try to reach your target audience. It can help you to grow brand awareness, create a customer community, or act as a customer service function. All in all, it is a more casual, conversational tone and allows for a 2-way conversation digitally. Similarly to a website, social media channels act as an extension of your sales team, that can reach beyond your local geography with little effort and resources.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN DEVELOPING A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
There are many things to consider when developing your strategy, including:
- Determining your goals. While you can begin posting without a strategy, to be successful you need to set goals. This will drive your strategy regarding types of content to create and promote, designed elements like graphics and videos, and metrics to measure your success. Your goals could be increasing brand awareness, building a customer community to discuss your products/services, or creating a customer service forum where your audience can ask questions and give reviews and you can respond to them. Your strategy can encompass multiple goals, but do not go overkill and make sure to determine the compatibility between your goals.
- Research and select your audience. Look at your current audience on your social channels and analyze your target audience for other marketing channels. Review your competitors’ social media channels to find things to emulate (more on this in our previous article). Make sure to check all channels individually, as some channels could be better for different segments of your target audience.
- Consider which platforms are right for your audience. When you research your audience, see which platforms they are active on and what they are responding to.
- Determine popular topics and post styles that resonate with your audience. Analyze what your audience is liking, clicking, retweeting, sharing, etc. Take notes on popular topics, as well as what type of post–image, infographic, video, text–your audience enjoys.
- Consider your resources. While it does not cost anything to post something on social organically, it does take time and energy of your employees, both the one posting, and those that later share your post. With social media, it is best to post regularly, so your ‘poster’ must be available routinely.
- How you plan to amplify your reach. Hashtags can help expand your post reach to people who are searching for those specific words, however, your employees can be your biggest advocate. As a B2B company, your employees may be connected to customers on LinkedIn; as such, they can share your company’s posts with their own networks.
Everyone wants to know if they are being successful, no matter if it is with a social media campaign or within their personal life. It’s only natural to want to know how you are doing and to be metrics-obsessed. With a social media refresh or reactivation, metrics should not be of the highest importance in the beginning phase. It takes a long time to perfect your social content and overall reach. With this perspective, we find it unimportant to monitor metrics of just one post. Rather, we suggest waiting until you are about 6 posts in (if they are similar) or even longer if you are trying to post a variety of messages/designs. Begin by looking at impressions and reach to find out if you are reaching any audience at all. Then, look into clicks, likes, and shares to see if people are responding and interesting in what you have to say. You can begin tracking the number of followers that your account has much later in your social media endeavors.
OUR BEST ADVICE
If you really want to reactivate your social media channels and begin growing your business with them, make sure that you have buy-in from 1) your executive team and 2) employees, in that order. As stated earlier, hashtags can only go so far; they will not get you the reach that you are looking for. Along with that, not many people will follow a B2B company’s social accounts from their personal accounts. As such, you need company employees to share your company’s social posts with the world.
This initiative should begin at the top with the executive team. If your executive team is on-board, they can help influence the other employees to promote the company. The more people that share your message, the more reach you will have for your posts.