Strategic Social Media: A B2B Guide
We’ve been living in the age of social media for many years now. For some of us, we don’t even remember a time without it. It dominates so much of our lives. For my husband, he can’t go through the day without catching up on the news on Twitter. For me, I’m a bit of an Instagram addict. I consume photos and videos from my friends, cute animal sites and have been convinced by influencers or adverts to try out new products (because everyone needs a shampoo with their name printed on it). When I need ideas for work, I often turn to LinkedIn because I can get high quality content that’s suited to my needs.
The fact that social media consumes so much of our time is utterly terrifying. But luckily this is not a rabbit hole that I am going to jump down today. What I want to discuss is social media strategy for B2B businesses.
The fact that so many B2B businesses often don’t have a social media strategy never ceases to confuse me. I’ve often seen companies pat themselves on the back when they’ve managed to open a business Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account. They then just sit and look at it.
“What now?” whispers one marketer.
“Maybe we should tweet something?” asks another.
Then there’s a tweet. Everyone congratulates themselves, the office is closed for the day and everyone grabs a drink. Okay, maybe that’s a tad bit dramatic, but sometimes it does feel like that.
I get it, it can be difficult to make your product sound interesting. However, social media is where potential consumers and employees are. And it’s not their job to find you, it’s your job to find them. And to do this, B2Bs need a social media strategy.
I’ve a created a short list of some of the things that businesses need to consider when developing a B2B social media strategy.
Be where your customers are
It’s important to know where your target audience is. For example, just because I love Instagram doesn’t mean that the people I want to target are on the same platform. Also, not everything about a company can really do well on one social media platform. If you’re trying to show your expertise with a well-written white paper, LinkedIn could be your best friend. If you want to show off your great work environment, maybe a social media mix would be a fantastic strategy for you.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What type of content will you publish? Is it the type of content that you personally would be interested in?
- Which social media platforms would your target audience use?
- What are your goals? Is it simply quantity of followers or do you want to focus on quality?
- How will you measure your success?
- What are your competitors doing?
Have a personality
At its heart, social media was born out of a desire to communicate. That underlying need has never left and it’s worth remembering that the targets you are reaching out to are human. Social media strategies for B2B often fall short because there’s a misguided belief that a product can be too dry to interest people. As a consequence, this can reflect in a B2B social media account.
This can be time-consuming. Writing content that reflects your brand’s values while still being engaging is not easy. Then you have to bring your hashtag skills to the yard. It can be a lot. To really make this work, choose a social media star. Look at what you are trying to say and decide which social media platform would be the best place to put this on. Work on a couple of lines of compelling copy and make that your main post for the day.
Find your influencers
As we mentioned, social media is not a silo, it’s a community and communities like to engage. You’ll always have influencers in every field. Also, good feedback on social media can go a long way to a company’s credibility. Find the experts in your field who are active on social media and reach out to them.
Sharing knowledge on expertise builds up credibility in your brand and your products. However, hiding away your white papers somewhere on your website is just not enough anymore. Using social media as a tool to share your knowledge can make you stand out from your competitors as not only a thought leader but also an organization that believes in innovation. Positioning your organization as a thought leader on social media means that you go much deeper than just selling products. Your organization becomes an informed opinion leader and a trusted source of industry information.
It’s not about quantity!
Although it feels great if you have thousands of followers and hundreds of likes, it’s really important to remember quality trumps all. Although this can be said about B2C as well, it rings even truer for B2B. A B2B social media strategy needs to be really focused on targeting a niche audience. A good investment on quality content, social media analytics and an understanding of conversions and site traffic should be your main focus areas.
A social media strategy is not a maybe
Having a social media presence is no longer a ‘maybe’ part of a B2B marketing. It’s a must have. However, you’d never treat your traditional marketing in an ad-hoc fashion. You’d strategize, decide how to make it work for you and make sure that your communications and marketing work towards a goal. That amount of consideration needs to be given to your B2B social media strategy as well. In today’s world, no marketing tool is as influential as social media. It gives you the ability to interact with reporters, followers and thought leaders in real time. It depends on your organization to give your products the online recognition it deserves.
Having a social media strategy has never been more important. As well as offering traditional media knowledge, EMG is your partner for B2B marketing when it comes to your social media marketing strategy. To find out more about social media strategy development, please contact us.
Varsha Lalla recently joined as an Account Executive. Originally from South Africa, she has several years of experience in marketing, PR, event management and digital marketing. Her background has included working in the NGO and publishing sectors in SA and in the Netherlands. She holds an MA in International Relations from Rhodes University and an MBA from The Management College of Southern Africa.
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