Despite what we may have thought just a few years ago, social media marketing isn’t just for the B2C world. In fact, 56% of B2B marketers now consider social media marketing core to their business, with 30% reporting that social media directly produces ROI, according to Demand Gen Report.
How You Approach Social Media Matters
While it’s true that social media can be just as valuable for B2B marketing as it is for B2C marketing, the two do require different approaches. After all, we act far different in our lives as business professionals than we do in our lives as consumers, and therefore how we interact with brands will differ too.
Additionally, it’s important to recognize that there’s more to social media success than just snapping a picture and hitting publish. On the contrary, effective social media marketing, particularly in the B2B world, requires strategy and a holistic approach that integrates with multi-channel campaigns and other overarching objectives.
12 Tips to Improve Your Approach to Social Media
So how can you improve your approach to social media marketing and ensure your efforts support your larger strategic objectives? Here are our top 12 tips for B2B social media marketers:
- Develop an editorial calendar: What you post, when you post it and where you post it matters. Maintaining an editorial calendar can help you easily keep track of all these details to ensure you have a good mix of content and that your posts properly coincide with related campaigns on other channels. Having an editorial calendar also comes in handy for reporting on historical data and making sure that you’re taking advantage of the best times to post for your audiences on each network.
- Integrate with key systems: Integrating your social media management platform with other key marketing technology like your marketing automation platform and CRM system will provide a more complete picture of customer engagements across all channels.
- Make social a part of larger campaigns: While you might have purely social campaigns, making social media part of larger campaigns can also help take those efforts to the next level. For example, let’s say you’re hosting a webinar. Using social media ahead of the event can help drive attendance, using social media during the event can help increase interest and engagement and using it after the event can help extend the life of the recording and get it in front of new audiences.
- Tie your efforts back to demand gen: Once someone engages with your brand on social media or takes action from a social post that brings them to content on your website, what happens next? Tracking how social media contributes to conversions and what happens to leads sourced from social campaigns is essential to determining the value provided by your social efforts.
- Limit your social channels: The number of social media channels around today is simply mind-boggling. While you likely want to be on more than one social channel, you definitely don’t need to be on all of them (or even half of them). Consider where your customers are and go there (and only there — just because a channel like Pinterest or Snapchat is popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for your business). According to a recent report from the Content Marketing Institute, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and SlideShare are among the most effective social networks for B2B markets.
- Identify and engage with influencers: Influencer marketing can be an extremely powerful tactic, as it can add credibility to your brand and content and extend your reach. Social media is an excellent place to engage with influencers, whether it’s sharing your content with them or responding to updates they’ve posted in order to build a relationship.
- Actively engage in social listening: What are people saying about your business? What interests your target audience most? Making social listening a daily activity can help answer questions like these. While one of the most common uses for listening is brand listening, keeping an eye out for relevant keywords and related topics can prove just as valuable in helping you take a pulse of the market and formulate new ideas for content.
- Mix push and pull tactics: The best social media efforts will combine a mix of push and pull tactics. By this, we mean pushing new content to your followers and pulling people into your network by engaging with and responding to their content. Remember: Social media is a two-way street.
- Consider sponsored content: There’s a lot that you can do on social media organically, there’s no doubt about that, but as social networks become increasingly crowded, it’s important not to overlook the value of sponsored content. Sponsoring content not only helps attract visibility to your posts, but it also helps get that content in front of a very targeted audience, as most networks allow you to set a variety of parameters for whom to serve your content.
- Listen to the data: Is what you’re doing on social media working? Which types of posts do particularly well (and which don’t do so well)? Who are your top engagers? When is the best time to post? There are so many metrics out there (through third party social media management tools and native capabilities on the networks themselves) that can help you answer questions like these to improve your efforts — use them to your advantage.
- Emphasize quality over quantity: In the world of social media, we tend to look straight for the most likes and the highest rate of engagement. Although those are certainly areas where it’s good to see high numbers, the real value of social media for B2B marketing lies in the quality of those engagements, not the quantity. For instance, if you have one conversation on social media with someone who ends up converting and becoming a customer, that single interaction is much more valuable than getting 30 likes on a post off of which no one converts.
- Encourage employee advocacy: Without a doubt, employee advocacy is the next frontier for B2B social media marketing. As powerful as your brand’s social media presence can be, it’s no match for the power of all of your employees advocating for your business and spreading your message. Not only does employee advocacy help increase the reach of your content (particularly on networks like Facebook where the newsfeed algorithm favors personal accounts over brand accounts), but it can also help keep employees more engaged with and aware of your content, which in turn can help them do their jobs better. And that’s a win no matter how you look at it.