The 2018 NCAA March Madness basketball tournament lived up to its name. With a total of 67 games played in a matter of weeks, ever-changing story lines and dramatic upsets — it was nothing short of madness! Much like the tournament, social media platforms are fast paced environments, where underdogs — often smaller companies — have the opportunity to become stars and new types of content can become king overnight. But winning a championship doesn’t happen by chance and neither does becoming a social media all-star. Here are the Elite 8 B2B social media tips:

1. Have a Game Plan!

You can’t just stroll onto the basketball court without going over the X’s and O’s. B2B social media is no different. It could be a short-term strategy for a smaller campaign, or a six-month, long-term strategy. In either case, planning is important. What types of content are you going to use? What is your messaging? How often are you going to post? What are your goals? If you want to increase your chances of success, it is critical you lock down your strategy before you send out your first post.

2. Monitor Your Competitors

They say the best defense is a good offense. Do your scouting on all of the social platforms that your competitors use. Keeping tabs on what they are posting is important for staying up-to-date so you don’t get caught off guard. Be aware of what content they are sharing, and you may even even pick up on their whole strategy. And if they are onto a new trend, you won’t be far behind!

3. Know Your Audience and Where to Meet Them

The benefit of playing on your home court in a basketball game is the boost the team receives from the crowd. Similarly, you need to know where your fans are. Knowing your audience and which social media channels they prefer is a difference maker for a social media campaign. If your target market is primarily on LinkedIn, then make sure that is where you place a majority of your effort. Don’t just use a platform because it exists or because another company found success there; do the research and meet your audience where they are.

4. Video, Video, Video

Reviewing the game film is key for identifying a team’s strengths and weaknesses. As a result, it is very difficult to be a successful coach without video. The same can be said for social media managers. Video has already taken over social platforms. In fact, video is estimated to account for 74% of all internet traffic in 2017. It’s everywhere, and that is because it is engaging, easy to consume and production capabilities with minimal technology today are outstanding. And it’s not done yet, the use of video is only going to grow.

5. Balance Your Content

Your favorite team’s offense shouldn’t be one-dimensional and neither should your content. Publishing the same type of posts can become stale for your audience. Blogs, images, videos and animatics are all great ways to keep your audience consuming your content in different ways and will prevent them from scrolling past uninterested.

6. Engage With Your Audience

The crowd loves it when players engage with them. It makes them even more compelled to cheer louder during games. There is more than just showing up and playing, and B2B social media is more than just scheduling posts. Respond when you are mentioned, interact with peers and remember that people want to connect with people, not corporations. So humanize your content and make it seem like a person is behind the posts while staying within your brand identity.

7. Don’t be Afraid to Share and Use Other Great Ideas

Syracuse University Basketball coach Jim Boeheim didn’t invent the 2-3 zone defense, but he has pretty much perfected it. And even in this year’s tournament, Duke University made a quick switch to the 2-3 scheme that helped propel their defensive play and get them to the Elite 8. The best coaches and social media managers are able to recognize game-changing and innovative tactics in their respective fields and incorporate them effectively to improve their own strategy.

8. Measure and Optimize Your Effort

The statistics at the end of a basketball game can be useful when determining the results of your game plan. Similarly, keeping track of your social media campaigns will help you optimize your strategy. For example, you may find that a certain type of content doesn’t work on a specific platform. That’s okay, you can always work to improve your tactics within your larger, long-term strategy.  That is what basketball legend Walt Frazier coined, “The game within the game.”

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Mitch Mathern is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b. Mitch graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Marketing. When not at the office, Mitch enjoys spending time at the beach with his surfboard, or binging on the latest season of Vampire Diaries.

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