Love it or hate it, social media is part of the world we live in. Although many B2B sectors have yet to fully incorporate social media in their marketing, it can be a critical and driving element of any organization’s strategy.
The data already supports this; according to recent studies, 84% of B2B executives use social media to help make purchasing decisions, with 92% of B2B buyers using socials to engage with industry thought leaders and another 72% using platforms for research. While every industry is different, current trends indicate that a strong social media presence is becoming increasingly valuable in the B2B world.
If your business is looking to start or further refine its social media marketing, you’re probably wondering which platform you should choose. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer; every business is different and will require different tactics and social platforms to reach their audience effectively. Careful strategizing and planning, coupled with consistent execution, will allow your business to achieve consistent results from your social media marketing. To help get your business started, here are four steps to selecting the right social platform for your B2B marketing.
Step 1: Understand Your Audience
Think about your ideal client. Who are they? What industry do they work in? What types of traditional and digital media do they consume? Most importantly, what social media platforms are they active on?
Many of the best marketing strategies start with creating audience personas, and social media marketing is no different. Developing a clear, detailed picture of who your audience is will allow you to market to them effectively and select the right social media channels for your messaging.
Quick Tip: Today, most audiences use more than one type of social media. Moreover, they use different platforms for different things. For example, most professionals use LinkedIn for gathering business-related information, while those same professionals browse Twitter and Instagram as an escape from their working lives. Consider where your product will fit in the best for your customer, as well as where it is most likely you’ll reach your target audience.
Step 2: Relate Your Audience to Real-World Data
While creating audience personas can be a fun exercise, they need to be connected to data-driven insights before they become useful for your marketing. Conducting market research will help you discover your customers’ priorities, what kind of language they use, what digital platforms they favour, and what types of tactics will influence their purchasing decisions.
When conducting market research, be sure to include both first- (i.e., your organization’s social media analytics) and third- (market reports, consumer trends, other businesses) party sources. Understanding where your business fits in your market will allow you to develop a social media marketing strategy that meets your audience where they are.
Quick Tip: Include your competitors in your research! Look at their social media presence critically; just because they’re posting on a platform doesn’t mean you have to. Look at both where they’re active and how they’re doing (where they’re getting the most “likes,” where the comments sections are most active, what type of content seems to be doing the best, etc.) and cross-reference with your audience personas. From there, you’ll be able to get a clear idea about where your audience is and how you can reach them effectively.
Step 3: Craft Compelling Content For Each Platform
When it comes to social media marketing, the numbers seldom lie; through the process of creating and researching audience personas, you’ve likely found the ideal social media platforms for targeting your potential customers. The next step is to create content that your audience will find valuable, informative, and persuasive!
Today, the Big Four of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) are each unique platforms that work differently. As such, your content will need to be uniquely tailored to each platform and the people who use it. DO NOT post identical content on multiple platforms! At best, your audience may begin to experience “content fatigue” from seeing the same marketing in numerous places, while, at worst, you can damage your brand’s reputation through an ineffective (and lazy) content strategy. Always tailor images and copy to the platform on which you’re posting; even subtle changes can dramatically affect how your content performs.
If your organization is posting to multiple social media platforms, a content management system (CMS) is essential to staying on top of your posting. Tools like Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and (our favourite) Sendible allow you to post to multiple platforms from one place, as well as offering scheduling features, analytics and insights, and much more.
Quick Tip: Keeping up with best practices for various social platforms is essential to remaining competitive. Many social management tools’ websites feature informative blogs that can keep you up-to-date on the latest practices; Sendible and SproutSocial are two of the best out there for modern digital marketers.
Step 4: Continually Monitor Results & Optimize Routines
Evaluation and optimization are crucial to any marketing program. Consistently monitor results to ensure your social marketing is effectively reaching your audience. Take note of both successes and opportunities; be prepared to pivot adjust your strategies (and attention) according to what’s generating the best results.
Most social media platforms have built-in analytics that can give you basic information on your performance. However, external management tools (like those noted above) often include more in-depth information on your audience and how they interact with your content. These kinds of insights will be invaluable in evaluating your social media performance and optimizing your strategy over time.
It’s no secret that social media can be a time-suck. Creating compelling, result-generating content is a time-consuming process that, if left unchecked, can take away from your business’ other marketing efforts. Whether you choose to tackle it yourself or enlist the help of a digital marketing agency, a solid social marketing strategy has the potential to deliver consistent results that will allow your business to reach new heights.
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