As social media becomes commonplace and platforms evolve, the question of whether B2B companies should expend the personnel, time and money on it still lingers. Like public relations, B2B social media positions your company as a knowledgeable presence, one that prospects will feel comfortable doing business with in a crowded field of competitors.
Why use B2B social media?
B2B social media helps you develop a positive view of your company, products and services. When done well, it also gives your business a personality that is both well-informed and accessible. This customer recognition and engagement can eventually lead to sales. In addition, it can drive prospects to your website. And, if your website has content offerings to capture their contact information, it will send them down the path to becoming a sales-qualified lead.
How to stand out
Thousands of social media posts pop up every minute. Standing out is a challenge. To narrow your scope, start by learning which social platforms your current customers and prospects use the most. Then follow them to find out their interests. Focus on satisfying their needs through direct social interaction and your own posts — which ultimately lead to content on your website.
If your business is already active on social media, do an audit to see which posts, content offerings, hashtags and topics generate the most interest. Then, use these findings to hone your B2B social media strategy.
Also, it’s important to be consistent with your posting, messaging, monitoring and engagement with your followers. Social monitoring is very important. Prompt acknowledgment of a question or mention shows that your company is attentive and responsive to what customers and others in the industry have to say.
Make sure all members of your social media team use the same tone and write posts that consistently reflect the personality that you want your business to convey. Include a visual element with your posts that is relevant to the content and eye-catching. The image should be the right size for each platform. And because the call to action involves a click, be sure to test your links.
Define and measure goals
What does your company want to accomplish with your social media program? Common goals include increasing social media reach, driving more visitors to your website, engaging with customers and prospects, and increasing brand awareness.
You’ll also want to measure the success of your social media program. Which numbers are the most important ones? A good way to see how your social strategy is performing is to match the goal with the most relevant data. For example, if your goal is to drive people to your website, look at the number of form fills and content downloads that came from social posts. If your goal is to increase interaction with customers, prospects, and others in your industry, check out your likes, shares, mentions, and comments.
Part of an integrated marketing strategy
Your B2B social media activities shouldn’t exist in isolation. Best practice is to make social media a part of an integrated marketing strategy. For example, use social media to complement an inbound marketing workflow, and the posts will be tracked along with the other well-defined tactics for their effectiveness as a whole. Proving that your posts are sending visitors to a landing page on your website validates the effectiveness of your social media program.
All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.
Lisa Goetz is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.