How to create an exciting B2B social media strategy
‘B2B social media strategy’ – okay we have to admit as a statement it sounds about as exciting as watching the proverbial paint dry. So is there anyone who actually wants to read about corporate services or, God forbid, company IT services on their Twitter feed?
This isn’t a rhetorical question and the answer may surprise you. If it’s done right your B2B social media is interesting to someone… quite often your target audience. So how can you take what on the surface looks like a ‘dull’ subject and turn it into a successful social media strategy?
Why should you aim for social media rockstar status?
Hold up there a second and let’s backtrack a bit. I know you’re gagging to know how to make the coolest B2B social media feed in town, but a key underpinning of success in this area is understanding exactly why you want to achieve that in the first place.
We’d be lying if we didn’t admit that the current kings of corporate social media strategy are all B2C. In fact most B2B brands often totally discount this very successful modern marketing channel because they feel like it’s not for them. Not only is this a missed opportunity but it forces B2Bs to rely on much older, and let’s face it, outdated strategies – bring back the cold call,said not one successful marketing manager ever.
To be successful in social media you first have to understand what that means to you.
Social media is an active opening for every business and B2Bs need to make the most of it.
The essentials of B2B social media
Okay I know we promised exciting but there are some structures you just can’t do without.
1) Set your goals and work out how you are going to measure them
To be successful you first have to work out what that means for your business. Taking time to carefully assess what you are aiming for will inform a lot of your choices further down the line and help you to identify what needs doing. Some basic goals to consider could be:
- Increasing brand awareness.
- Positioning yourself as a thought leader.
- Generating more traffic to your website.
- Creating more or higher quality leads.
Once you have some goals to aim for you need to decide how you are going to track them. Why? Because this means that you can optimise your processes to achieve them over the life of your strategy. As much as data can be scary, having raw numbers is essential to deducing what’s working and what isn’t.
Common social media attributes to track are:
- Follower count.
Remember to keep a consistent track of your measurables so that you can gauge whether your super exciting strategy is working on a regular basis.
2) Write up your strategy and make it accessible
We haven’t quite got to the nitty-gritty of the strategy yet, but once you have it make sure you record it.
Having all of the relevant information documented and available means that everyone on your marketing team can be kept in the loop. It also means that any later adjustments can be clearly recorded and the reasons for them stated.
Core strategy musts
1) Live and die by your audience
There are around seven billion people on this planet and in 2018 Statistica estimates that 2.6 billion of them are on social media. So there are people out there who are not only in need of your services but genuinely find them interesting. It’s your job to find these people and nurture them.
That being said you need to be posting information that your audience wants to read and engage with, not just things that promote your business. This is your chance to really get creative with what your business does, who it helps.
It can be helpful here to have a look at what other companies, both B2C and B2B, are doing that’s driving success, but don’t get too carried away with generic selfies or motivational quotes. Your business is unique and deserves content that both celebrates that and informs those who want to learn more.
2) Which social media channel suits you best?
Not all social media channels are created equal. Success on any one requires a good understanding of how it works and user intent. Instagram for example is primarily visual focused, while Twitter is based more around the snappy #.
‘Ah’ I hear you cry, ‘I’m a B2B company therefore surely i’ll get the most impact through targeting the most popular B2B social media platform’. Yes Linkedin can be a good place to promote your social media strategy, but its should never be your only avenue.
While Linkedin is a gift for B2B marketing in that everyone there appears in a business capacity, there are drawbacks to restricting yourself to that platform.
Firstly everyone else is doing it – more accurately 97 per cent of B2B marketers according to the Content Marketing Institute. In that sort of crowd there is a very real possibility of being drowned by competition. Furthermore a focus on Linkedin can tend to shift the focus away from the core basis of social media, that is that it should be fun. People generally go to social media for entertainment, not to be sold to. We are not saying don’t use Linkedin, just be aware of its drawbacks.
Try to base your chosen social media channel on what your target audience wants. Consider where they are going to be and why. You should also consider which channel is going to allow you to be most creative and matches with the potential of your business function.
3) Give it proper time and effort
Successful social media campaigns require planning and execution over the long term. So if you’re going to get it right you will need to dedicate suitable time and energy.
Ideally, assign someone to run it. This could mean hiring someone with experience or creating a role from within your current team. Either way, having someone to take charge of and direct your strategy will make it not only more cohesive but enable long term creativity.
Be warned: having adhoc employees post ‘when they have the time’ is a recipe for social media failure.
What to post
So with all the cogs in place, it’s time to think about the exciting content itself. Let’s have a look at what should guide your post content.
Live and die by your audience
Wait, we just did this paragraph didn’t we? Well guess what – the same sentiment applies. Everything you post should be interesting and relevant to your target audience. Go wild with creativity and then take a step back to think about who will want to read it and what they are getting out of it.
Interact with your audience
Social media allows easy two way communication with your customer base. Try to see your posts as a two way street for communication, rather than you just firing out content into the abyss.
A fantastic way to do this is to respond regularly to any comments. This helps foster trust between you and your followers and further builds your brand. A slightly harder but very worthwhile strategy is to engage with any user-generated content. This is content that customers are posting about your services. To be fair this can be a rare occurrence with B2B services, but if it ever does happen be sure to take advantage of it by responding.
Create a unique voice
The easiest way to fall into the trap of boring social media posts is to sound dull. Don’t forget that you want living, breathing humans to interact with your content, so give them some personality to work off. A little bit of humour can go a long way, but you don’t have to be a standup comedian, just make sure you sound like a relatable human being who people will want to engage with.
Work out a posting schedule
The aim here is not to formulate the absolute perfect time to post, down to the very second, it’s more about providing a regular drip feed of content to keep your audience connected. Think one to three posts a week rather than ten in the first day and then radio silence for the rest of the month.
Take time to think about how your target audience will want to engage with your posts – will they want smaller more regular updates or will bigger pieces of content aligned with current events in the industry go down better? Either way make sure you create a schedule and stick to it – no one likes a friend who doesn’t message you for half a year and then turns up wanting your attention.
Keep your goals in mind
Finally always refer back to your original goals. Makes sure that every decision is driven with them in mind.