This post was first published by Blaise Lucey on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.
Sometimes, it seems like everything has already been said about B2B social media marketing. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of articles all talking about the same thing: strategy.
To succeed on social media, B2Bs have to develop a strategy. Duh.
But if it’s all been said before, why do only 38 percent of B2Bs have a “defined” social media strategy? Is the message not getting through? Or is social media still just a corporate afterthought?Here’s the thing: social is going to keep getting more popular. More people are going to use it and some companies are going to keep setting the bar higher and higher. The longer businesses wait, the harder it will be to reach that bar. Sure, the channels might change – Facebook might not be around in ten years – but the community you build now will be there tomorrow.
So B2Bs need to start creating a social media strategy today, so that community will be there for the future. Here are four really easy ways to create a concrete strategy that will work:
1. Make Sure Customers Are Active on the Channel
Most B2Bs are guilty of hopping onto social networks just to have a presence on them. Think of the customers first. Are they on the channel? Do they expect you to be established on it, even if they aren’t?
The easiest way to decide whether or not a channel will be effective for your business – be it Pinterest or Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or SlideShare – is to see if your competitors are on it. If they are, you should consider at least creating a semi-active presence, if not an active one.
2. Assign a Different Purpose for Each Social Network
There’s a tempting option that allows you to integrate Twitter with Facebook, so you can make sure that Facebook fans see every tweet.
Don’t do it.
The best way to create a defined strategy for social media channels is for B2Bs to take a look at each network and think about what kind of content would go best there.
Facebook, for example, could become a hub for employee activities and behind-the-scenes events. You could also customize images with free editing software like PicMonkey to create flashcards of facts and tips.
Twitter, on the other hand, could be a place for customer service, engagement and news distribution.
3. Schedule Types and Sentiments for Content
To ensure things don’t clunk along within a robotic system of passionless, monotonous content, designate not just different types of content, but the sentiment of that content. Maybe Friday is more fun than Monday. Maybe Tuesday focuses more on the company and Wednesday focuses more on education or industry topics.
On Twitter, assign one day a week – at least –to interact with someone else’s tweet. Don’t share a blog post or plug a product, just add the company’s opinion on something industry-related.
And finally, don’t just share blog posts. Create a calendar that designates different kinds of content for different days. Share pictures and videos. Photos, cartoons, anything that seems relevant to the customer and the channel.
4. Set Goals with a Business Value
A lot of social media activity goes on within a vacuum. Sure, you tweeted 100 times and got 10 new followers, but what value does that have for the company?
Determine what you want out of social channels. Is it referrals to the blog? Why is blog traffic valuable? Make sure that the traffic you’re hoping to generate from social media will mean something more than just a web visitor. Educate and nurture every person that comes to the site with compelling, dynamic, relevant content. And always have calls-to-action.
New tools like LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, Promoted Tweets or Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards can help amplify that content through social channels and produce something quantifiable for the business, too.
Back to Basics
The frenzy to get onto social channels and not be left behind has distracted B2B companies from the goal of social media marketing: to build brand awareness and drive business. Companies are in a panic about which channels are the next MySpace or Friendster and which are the next Facebook.
That’s not the point. The point is to build a social community loyal to the brand for original and curated content. By creating that community across a few social channels, you can have the possibility of success on all of them.