Social media is key to your marketing plan, even as a B2B. But don’t take our word for it. 84.2 percent of US B2B marketers say they use the tactic to acquire customers. That puts it ahead of content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and word-of-mouth.
But undertaking an effective social strategy can be daunting, especially if you haven’t done it before.
Here are five steps to get a powerful social media plan in place.
1. Understand buyer behavior.
To have an effective social media strategy, you first need to understand how your buying audience is engaging online. Assuming you have your buyer personas documented, you then need to map your customer journey online to know what content to deliver to your audience and at what time.
Also, how are social users engaging with brands in industries like yours? Committing the time and effort to identify and document these insights will enable your social strategy to deliver a much stronger ROI.
Take a tip from Raytheon when evaluating your investment in social media:
2. Develop targeted outreach by focusing on social platforms right for your brand.
There are a lot of social networks out there. And they’re always changing. Just because Facebook has the largest audience size, or Twitter has been an industry leader for a while, doesn’t mean that your brand should focus all of its attention on either one, or that you should commit your limited resources in one place. We speak with brands that think they must be on one platform instead of another and we always try to inform them of their options, focusing on where their audience is engaging.
In addition to the above, you should consider joining smaller social groups or affinity based communities and networks within the major platforms. For example, we are members of a LinkedIn group for digital marketers and have found that engaging with industry leaders through commenting, resource sharing, etc., is a valuable way to make connections that grow our business. And we’re not alone in the benefit we’ve gained by using LinkedIn.
3. Tap into the 2017 trend of utilizing social selling, influencer marketing, and employee advocacy.
Social media is a powerful tool for reaching individuals. The ability to engage individually is often overlooked by businesses seeking to merely check the box of having a social media presence. Effective social media strategies don’t stop with a basic post on your brand’s social profile. Instead, interact with real humans on a one-on-one level.
By using social media, your sales people can undertake prospect research, nurture leads, and shorten sales cycles. You can also develop an employee advocacy program by getting your employees excited about your offerings, and enabling them to share with their networks. In fact, getting your team involved through developing thought-leadership pieces not only showcases your in-house expertise, but also excites your staff to market themselves, making it even more likely they’ll share about your company.
Influencer marketing is also a key component to reaching individuals through social media. People turn to influential sources on social media for subject-matter expertise. Identify influential people in your industry with a significant online audience, and see what kind of partnerships are possible to further your brand reach.
4. Invest in social advertising.
In order to gain the strongest results from social programs, brands need to incorporate both paid and organic marketing. By linking the two together you will accomplish the best of both. Organic social activity is a great way to test and see what content performs best with your audience. Certain social posts will rise above others in terms of generating engagement and even conversions. The posts that do stand out should then be utilized for paid social efforts in order to reach the most users possible in the most targeted way.
Social media advertising has advanced greatly in recent years, and only continues to do so. You can focus like a laser on your ideal buying audience, show them content you already know performs well, and watch your spend like a hawk to make sure your ROI is high.
5. Measure your results through attribution.
Digital marketing doesn’t need to be a mystery. And social media marketing is the same. You can manage your social activities in a way to know what is converting and what isn’t, and adjust your practices accordingly. Social media marketing can be profitable for your business, not just posting pretty pictures on Facebook. So make sure to implement attribution methods and track your success.
Need more guidance on social media marketing? Contact us for a free consultation.
And check out our ebook on improving your sales cycle to increase your revenue.
eMarketer and “State of Pipeline Marketing 2016”