B2B marketers are increasingly aware that having a presence on social media is no longer optional. In fact, the following slide from the Content Marketing Institute demonstrates how far B2Bs have come in accepting social media:
Yet, the same study shows a disappointing number of B2B marketers that have a strategy in place for distributing content:
Moreover, the bigger your organization, the less likely it is to have an implemented strategy. Sad, isn't it?
What's more, if you are one of the 6% who are not quite sure if you have a documented content strategy, it's a safe bet you don't have one.
The reason why so many B2B companies lack an effective strategy may be because many don't believe it will improve their B2B marketing plan.
So what's the hitch?
Let's talk first about why you need social media incorporated into your B2B marketing plan, and then we'll talk about six simple ways you can get started on a strategy.
Why You Need Social Media Incorporated into Your B2B Marketing Plan
The bottom line is that using social media gets results.
Here are a few stats to get you on board with social media marketing:
- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)
- Companies that acquired customers from Facebook: B2C is 77% and B2B is 43%.(State of Inbound, 2012)
- Pinterest is now the 3rd most popular social network in the U.S. in terms of traffic. (Experian)
However, perhaps the most important reason to use social media is because that's where your leads are hanging out. This fact is true across the board -- whether you are a B2C or a B2B. Both groups are composed of real live human beings that are on social media nearly 24/7.
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6 Simple Steps to Implementing a Social Media Strategy
1. Figure out Your End Game
When launching a strategy, you first need to figure out what your goals are in social media. Some examples might be:
- To increase brand awareness
- To generate leads
- To boost thought leadership
- To engage with prospects and customers
- To increase web traffic
- To boost sales
Once you have your goal in place, it will become easier to tailor your social media strategy to the needs of your audience.
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2. Rally the Troops
“Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially…just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.” ~ Susan Cooper, BuzzEdition
Social media doesn't have to be a one-man (or woman) show. In fact, many business owners take advantage of the remote locations of their employees to showcase a global feel for their brand.
Just because you are based in the United States doesn't mean all of your posts have to be localized. For instance, why not have your team members in South Africa post lovely visuals to Instagram? This type of social media behavior humanizes your company and encourages interaction.
However, you don't want employees from around the globe posting at will. This might result in 10 posts in one hour, and then none the next day. That brings us to my next point...
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3. Utilize an Editorial Calendar
Social media posts need to be scheduled. Start with the content process. Decide who will create your content, what the due date each week should be, and how it will be promoted.
At Marx Communications, we use this one, and we're happy to share it with you:
4. Find Your CRM and Use It!
It might sound like such a simple step, but managing your contacts is one of the best ways to make your social media strategy productive.
It's almost frightening how many businesses are still using their personal email to send out hundreds, or even thousands, of marketing emails. Not only is this against anti-spam laws, but it doesn't do you any favors since you can't track the results of your campaigns.
Here at Marx Communications, we are big Hubspot fans. It's one-stop for all of your automated marketing. When posting to social media (something that can be scheduled in advance with Hubspot), you are able to see, at a glance, exactly who is interacting with your content, and measure the results of specific campaigns.
No social media strategy should be devoid of a CRM program that includes analytics.
If you're not seeing the fruits of your labor, you're unlikely to continue.
5. Listen to Your Audience
“Pushing a company agenda on social media is like throwing water balloons at a porcupine.” ~ Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics
Social media is about engaging in conversation. Just like IRL (in real life), you don't want any conversation to be one-sided. To avoid looking like a brand-obsessed B2B company, reach out to your audience and find out what they need, what problems they're facing, and what makes their day brighter.
How do you do this? Simply ask.
6. Channel Your Audience
While humanized posts are important ("Check out the view from my office/our headquarters today."), you also need to position yourself as an authority that can provide your prospects with what they need to succeed.
This means having a good portion of your social media posts lead directly back to your site, where followers can sample your thought leadership via a landing page. This is the funnel process that turns a fan into a prospect, and eventually into a customer.
(Click here to learn how to energize your overall B2B content strategy.)
How to Get Started on Platforms that Work for You
Of course, it's not necessary to jump on every platform that's out there. Why not try getting started on the most B2B-friendly outlet -- LinkedIn?
It's the go-to place for any B2B company looking to expand its marketing plan. To that end, we've created, with the help of our partner, Hubspot, Your Visual Guide to Creating the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page.
Inside your free guide, you'll learn how to craft a killer company description, an eye-catching banner, and we'll even reveal some pro tips on how to get your company noticed on LinkedIn.