Social media marketing is not a new kid on the block anymore. It's been 20 years since the pioneering social media site Friendster appeared on the scene, with MySpace and Facebook following closely on its heels. The rest is history.
But with all the changes and growth in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn over the years, many B2B business owners are still struggling to figure out how to fully leverage social media strategy to grow their businesses.
Here are 11 tips for getting started.
1. Start with Business Objectives
Any social media strategy should start with establishing business objectives. In other words, you have to answer a vital question:
What are you hoping to achieve with social media?
Once you clearly understand what you wish to achieve, you can begin developing strategies that will help you reach your goals. Otherwise, you risk creating content that doesn't align with your business objectives and wasting time and resources on a campaign that won't produce results.
There are a variety of business objectives that can be achieved with social media marketing. Common goals include:
Social media can be an effective tool for achieving these objectives. For example,
If you don't know what your goal is, though, you can't track campaign performance, either. And if you aren't tracking progress, you will have no idea whether your social media strategy is working or not.
Consider the difference between having an aim like increasing traffic to your website and just wanting to create a presence on social media. With the former, you can set clear, specific, and measurable goals, so you can track your progress. You can determine your return on investment and find ways to improve your campaigns to get better results.
Conversely, simply deciding to be on social media without an objective is a bit like deciding that you want to go on a diet without knowing how much weight you want to lose or what your end goal looks like. You might slim down, but it will be primarily due to luck rather than planning. And if you don't track your progress, you won't know whether you're making any real headway at all.
So, before you start any social media marketing campaigns, take some time to clearly define your business objectives. This will help you create content and strategies that are more effective and achieve better results.
B2B business owners should initially focus on a single social media platform where their target audience hangs out. Trying to be active on all platforms can overextend time and resources. Instead, pick one platform—or two at the most—where you can be really active and produce great content, and ignore the rest.
This doesn't mean that you should never try new platforms; once you've established success with an executive visibility program on LinkedIn, for example, you may wish to take your thought leadership strategy to Quora. But it's never a good idea to spread yourself too thin by trying to be active on everything at once.
Whatever platform you choose, make sure that you're posting regularly. The more engaged you are, the more likely people will see your content and potentially become customers.
3. Share Interesting and Relevant Content to Engage Your Audience
To keep your followers engaged, you need to regularly share interesting and relevant content. People will get bored and stop following if you only post promotional material. So instead, mix it up with multimedia content, including images, infographics, videos, and more.
Make sure that the content you share is relevant to your audience. For example, if you're posting about the inner workings of your company's technology when your followers only care about what your product can do for their business, they will not be interested in what you have to say. Better to give them tips to help their business—even if it means not mentioning your technology at all.
Also, make sure the content is interesting. Nobody wants to read a blog post that's full of dry statistics, for example. Instead, find ways to make your content exciting and engaging so people will want to read it. This might include using humor, telling stories, or providing helpful information.
Be sure to test different types of content to see what works best for you and your audience. Not everyone will be interested in the same thing, so it's essential to experiment to discover what works best.
Using images and videos is essential to creating social media campaigns that sizzle. These days, people have short attention spans, so if you want them to notice your stuff, you'll need it to be eye-catching enough for them not to scroll past it.
When posts start looking the same with just black and white lettering, they won't seem as interesting anymore. However, when you include a stunning image, you'll find that people are more likely to click on it and read what you have to say.
Not only that, but videos can be even more engaging than images. If you can create a short video that catches people's attention and explains your product or service in an interesting way, they're much more likely to watch it all the way through. So make sure to include both images and videos in your social media marketing strategy.
The type of content you create and share will vary depending on your audience.
For example, if your business is in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), engaging in discussions with others interested in AI trends could be a good idea because it could help you gain exposure to their followers. That's a great strategy for thought leadership.
But if your goal is to sell products to bottom-of-the-funnel prospects, talking more directly about your product benefits may be the better idea.
Also, remember that the type of content can vary based on the objectives you're trying to achieve and the timing. For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, sharing blog posts or infographics might be more effective than running a contest. But if you're looking to generate leads, you'll need to create and share content that is more sales-focused.
If you want to be successful with social media, you need to be consistent with your posting schedule. This means that you should post regularly and not just sporadically.
Consistent social media posting will help you build a loyal following that will come back to your page time and again. Conversely, if you are inconsistent with your postings, people may lose interest in your page and stop following you.
A content calendar can be a great way to help you stay on track with your posting schedule. This is a tool to plan out what you will post and when. Having a content calendar will help to ensure that you are consistently posting fresh and relevant content for your followers.
When managing a social media account for your business, it's vital to promptly respond to comments and messages. When people take the time to reach out to you, they expect a response within a reasonable timeframe. If you're slow to respond, they may become frustrated and decide to take their business elsewhere.
Make sure you're set up to receive notifications on all devices. This way, you'll never miss a message or comment. You can even have notifications sent straight to your email inbox, so you don't have to constantly check your social media accounts.
Responding promptly shows your customers that you care about their business and concerns. It also builds trust and creates a positive relationship between you and your customers. So make sure you're always responsive on social media platforms, and you'll soon see the benefits in your marketing efforts.
Hashtags are a great way to increase the reach of your posts on social media platforms. By adding a relevant hashtag to your post, you make it easier for people interested in that topic to find your content. This can help you build relationships with potential customers and followers.
Choosing the right hashtags is crucial when trying to increase the reach of your posts. The best way to do this is by analyzing what others have done before when posting something similar and seeing which hashtags they used most often.
Other ways you can make sure you're choosing the right hashtags include using a tool like Hashtagify or RiteTag to find the best hashtags for your posts. These tools can help you find hashtags that are relevant to your post and have a high amount of engagement.
If you're still not sure which hashtags to use for your posts, try using a mix of general and specific hashtags. General hashtags will reach a larger audience, while specific hashtags will target people more likely to be interested in what you are sharing.
Social media contests and giveaways are a great way to increase engagement on your social media pages. They can also be a great way to generate leads and attract new followers.
The trick is to make sure you have attractive prizes for your audience to encourage them to enter or share their experience with others. Consider offering something of value that people would like but might not buy themselves, such as gift cards or products from your store.
The more creative the prize, the better! An office-supply company could give away something fun—like an otter tape dispenser—to a business customer who shares a testimonial on Twitter or Facebook. B2B customers like to have fun, too, you know.
The possibilities are endless. Just make sure your prize is relevant to your brand and appeals to your target audience.
You might think you don't need to pay attention to what your competition is doing on B2B social media because they're your competition. After all, if you want to stand out, you shouldn't be copying your competition, right?
But it pays to monitor them through social listening to see what they're doing because it's all about strategy. You want to learn from your competition's successes and failures, so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
It also allows you to see what's working for them and adapt it to your own business. Just because they're your competition doesn't mean that you can't learn from them. Take what works for them and make it work for you.
Monitoring your social media marketing efforts ensures you are making an impact on your target audience. In addition, it will help you identify what is working or not working to make changes as needed. Monitoring can be done by using various tools, such as Google Analytics, Sprout Social, Hootsuite and others.
Monitoring also helps you create better content for future posts because it provides insight into what content resonates with people and which topics they would like to see more about.
Finally, tracking the success of your social media marketing efforts enables you to prioritize certain tasks so that they get completed first while still maintaining a balance with the other aspects of your business.
It is also essential to set goals for your social media marketing efforts to have something to measure your success against.
Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Some examples include increasing brand awareness by 20%, generating 100 leads from social media in the next quarter, or increasing website traffic by 25%.
By setting goals and monitoring your progress, you can ensure that your social media marketing efforts are having a positive impact on your business.
Action Trumps Knowledge
Social media marketing can be a powerful tool for business owners looking to grow their customer base and increase brand awareness. However, it's important to remember that it won't work miracles on its own—you need to put in the hard work, too.
If you're a little overwhelmed with all these tips, start at least by setting clear objectives, focusing on one platform at a time, creating engaging content, and monitoring your results carefully so that you know what's working (and what's not). Over time you should begin to see real results for your business.