Using Social Media Effectively
A lot of B2B companies see social media as an optional marketing strategy – a nice add-on if they have time. But those who view social media this way probably aren’t doing it very well. In today’s fully mobile and connected world, social media is a valuable way to reach your customers.
More than half of B2B buyers are using social media to evaluate purchasing decisions. If you don’t have a social media strategy, it’s time to start one.
Accommodate your audience
Millennials are a fast-growing percentage of B2B buyers and decision makers. They understand how social media works and know how to use keywords and hashtags to maximize their searches and find the information they’re looking for. Social media is constantly evolving, and this group is definitely keeping pace with the latest trends.
They’re also not relying on Google to search. They’re using YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Why? Because they’re searching for the most up-to-date information. They know your website may be outdated and not have the latest info they’re seeking. If your company isn’t capable of providing consistent updates to your website, social media offers a great opportunity to keep your audience engaged with the most current information.
Wherever they’re searching, you want your company to be listed near the top of the search results. By having an active social media presence and using language your prospects are using, your company will benefit from higher search rankings.
Make a strategy that works for you
Like many things, there is no one template strategy for social media. Your company’s goals and objectives are different from your competitors’, so you need to first identify what you want your social media strategy to accomplish – that will serve as a good starting point to creating a program that will work for you.
An effective social media strategy should begin with a goal and end with a fully attainable plan. Here’s where to start:
- Goals: Develop one or two overarching goals that you want to guide your social media efforts. For example, to increase company sales leads.
- Objectives: Your social media objectives, like all your business objectives, should be S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. For example, “bring in 75 new leads per month by the end of the year.”
- Audience: Identify your target audience. What types of prospects are you trying to attract? What attributes in your products/services are most important to this audience?
- Platforms: Using what you know of your target audience’s needs and your social media goals, determine which social media platforms would yield the best results.
- LinkedIn: Great for lead generation and as a professional portfolio
- Twitter: Best for industry news, facts, and linked content
- Instagram: Ideal for visual and engaging content, such as a product showcase
- Facebook: Works nicely as a company bulletin
- Messaging: Will your messaging be predominantly informative, humorous, and lighthearted, or promotional? This will be partially determined by the platform(s) you choose to use within your strategy.
Choose the right software
Just because social media is free does not mean you have to stick to using free posting tools. Investing in software tools that allow you to analyze and schedule posts in advance, optimize SEO and quickly create reports will drastically improve your chances of reaching and exceeding your social media goals. There are a plethora of tools out there, all with different functionalities and analytics; a few we like are SproutSocial, Iconosquare, HootSuite and Gain.
Put in the effort
With almost 70 percent of American adults using social media, there is no denying its popularity and practicality. Social media marketing offers a wide audience reach, targeted and sponsored posts, and the opportunity to reach audiences with differentiated messaging through distinct platforms. Consistency is essential in fully reaping the benefits of social media.
Reaching your desired audience through social media requires as much work and skill as all other marketing tactics. Your social media strategy should include:
Implementing social media without concise goals, messaging and effort will only waste your time and money. The last thing you want to do is implement a Twitter strategy by posting once a week or even once a day with content that is not curated. To make the most of your resources and to reach the audience searching for your product or service, consistent implementation of the actions listed above are the only way to get there.
Often companies join social media, but they don’t put in much effort because of the initial skepticism and lack of knowledge. There is more to social media than 140 characters: it takes work, but it isn’t rocket science. Rather than being intimidated by it or hoping a few posts a month will generate leads spontaneously, create a plan and more importantly, follow through with it. Check out how we helped Snap-on Industrial do just that.