7 Ways B2B Marketers Can Find Success in Social Media Marketing
May 31, 2017
A beginner's guide to start using organic social media that leads to paid social ROI – learn from our B2B social media strategy, experience and results.
Have a Plan
If you’re new to the world of social, don’t be intimidated; this is your time to show your brand peers your thought leadership and relevance in your industry. It all starts with laying out your social strategy.
Start with an organic approach, meaning no company dollars behind the content. For most brands, it’s easiest to start with a monthly content calendar. Depending on your line of work, be sure to choose the appropriate platform to publish your content. For instance, a financial institution may not have images fitting for Pinterest, where as a clothing wholesale company would benefit from having a profile on the catalogue-esque platform. Knowing what to post is as important as knowing where to post, so take inventory of your media material and post based on trends or themes in your area of expertise.
Tools such as Hootsuite can help you visualize and schedule your content as frequent as you see fit (or have content for). Posts should include brand-built material such as blogs, case studies and news featuring your company. Sprinkling in third party material will also strengthen your credibility within the industry.
After creating your initial presence on social platforms, it’s time to put your money where your digital mouth is. Again, depending on the platform you choose, determining what to promote should be based on its organic performance as well as relevance to the goal you wish to achieve. A current B2B client has implemented this social strategy for both organic and paid efforts. When an organic post generated high engagement volume (ER%), efficient CPC (or substitute with CTR%) and highest monthly website referrals, it was deemed successful, and the post would then be put into the paid cadence. Once promoted, overall site visits increased 129%, driving the overall cost per site visit down 30% year-over-year.
Have Staff to Execute Plan
The plan is only as good as having the ability to press the “Post” button. Whether it’s someone on your marketing team or an agency, your plan should include someone to put your plan into action.
A social presence isn’t built on its own, so having someone to dedicate their time to grooming and feeding your social profile is necessary to a successful account. A recent eMarketer study found that the larger the company, the larger the need to have multiple full-time staff members on the social team became. Nearly half of large companies have multiple people running the social ship, and companies of all sizes with 1 full-time social staff member ranged from 15-30%.
Size matters when it comes to covering digital ground and creating sharable content. Many times brands collaborate with creative, sales and other teams within the company in order to maximize reach and gain valuable learnings for marketing efforts going forward.
Produce Useful, Relevant Content to Go with Plan
By putting different department minds together, your company is able to mold an effective social and overarching marketing plan. Within this plan, knowing what your audience has engaged with in the past in all aspects of media will be helpful for shaping out what to share. Case studies can have multiple team members’ results and project you as an efficient company in the field.
Conducting a competitive analysis can give you a good idea what your rivals are sharing and how effective their social efforts are. Tools like RivalIQ can reveal other brands’ engagement rate and what’s working within the target audience.
Use platform insights. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest all have an analytics interface for you to learn about your audience and what gets them involved in your brand. Take these insights, such as best times to post and demographics, and use these tactics for both organic scheduling and paid targeting.
Nothing is more timely and relevant than live events. Incorporating live video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can elevate your business to the top of your audience’s feeds. If you’re hosting a webcast or live Q&A, make sure you use a consistent hashtag to get users involved and track engagement. If it is industry related, use invitational text to ensure businesses who will benefit from your content will attend. For long term benefit, consider creating a webpage or blog post that will retain SEO value from your live event and all the promotion you put into it.
Show Your Personality as a Brand
Be an example to other like brands that having fun isn’t out of style, and you can do it all while staying within your brand’s established voice. A security client took this idea and turned out a piece of content which was intriguing, informative and aesthetically appealing to their B2B audience. When the client published the comic-style infographic on real world security issues and rising trends, overall click through rate increased from an average .3% to .6% compared to posting content with simple stock images. This tactic allowed the client to differentiate themselves from competitors by putting a new, comprehensible spin on cybersecurity and the threats facing all organizations.
Your plan may consist of a monthly content calendar, but if you don’t have enough original pieces to share, recycle! Many news articles, blogs, white papers, reports or even landing pages can be reshared throughout the month (as long as it’s still relevant) with fresh post copy presenting a new angle for the same content. Here are a couple ways you can “go green” with your content.
• User Generated Content
BKV’s B2B client utilized this tactic after being featured in a Facebook Live event. The company who hosted the event gave approval to download and share on their flagship account in order to gain and measure exposure and engagement. The client put a small budget toward promoting this video but earned a sizeable increase in total actions (554% more than a static post and 96% lower cost per action).
• Multi-Purpose Media
The above-mentioned comic infographic BKV’s client produced contained multiple components which could be sectioned out and used as standalone images. These portions of the larger infographic contained specific statistics, eye-catching numbers and colorful pops of image design so each post with a different section was new information but relevant to the overarching theme.
Be Consistent in the Plan
It’s not a trap, stick to the plan. Unless major events come up requiring immediate response or an opportunity presents itself to interject your brand’s perspective, your scheduled content and social efforts will keep things running smoothly and your reporting to show steady results.
BKV’s previously mentioned B2B client is provided a monthly calendar, including theme and images, to ensure steady growth in presence and engagement. In 2016, the organic social posts earned 41% higher engagements YoY.
Know how to measure success
Every brand has specific KPIs set in place for each department, quarter and campaign. This should be no different for your social media presence.
For our B2B client, site traffic and leads remained top priorities, but combining organic and paid social, engagement became a tertiary KPI for our social efforts. Instead of stressing about sales or lead generation for all campaigns, engagement initiatives were set into place. When able to take a step back, plan out a paid and organic married social strategy, total promoted post actions increased 417% from the previous year.
We all want ROI and high-sales results, but when carving out a B2B strategy, focus first on awareness and overall engagement. Building brand trust at the beginning of the race will keep you top of mind when businesses reach the decision-making finish line.