Marketing via social media seems like a no-brainer to many marketers today. It’s one of the most-used media outlets of our time with 81% of Americans reporting they have at least one type of social media profile. You can’t beat that kind of outreach. And because posting content costs so little compared to other types of traditional marketing, such as print advertising, the amount of content out there is astounding. So the question is: how can you stand out to the 81% of B2B decision makers who use online communities to make purchasing decisions? The short answer is: develop a social media strategy. With that in mind, here are five tips to help you get started.
Social Media Strategy Tips
- Choose the right outlets. Each platform comes with specific parameters, such as Twitter’s character count or Instagram’s photos. LinkedIn is obviously the place for B2B content, while there can be greater variation in the subject matter on Facebook. Construct a social media marketing plan that takes advantage of each platform’s niches. Keep track of what is successful to continue providing content that your followers will read and share. Using free social media analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Buffer can be valuable in measuring success and planning your content.
- Seek information to determine the best times to post. While there isn’t a perfect system for knowing when your posts will receive the most views, most followings have peak usage times. Facebook, for example, is used most often on the weekends while Twitter is busiest during morning or evening commutes. LinkedIn trends mostly during the business week. These tendencies can be specific to your followers and may take some time and research to identify, but you can start by utilizing the research that has been collected by the outbound marketing experts at Hubspot.
In addition to figuring out when to post, it’s just as important to consider frequency and consistency of posts. Juggling the ever-growing number of platforms can be daunting but will become much more manageable with a written blueprint. Devise a schedule that fits your current resources and provides you with flexibility as your social media strategy changes and grows.
- Be relevant. Developing content that is useful or meaningful to your target audience is imperative to keeping your audience engaged and coming back for more. If you don’t, they’ll lose interest quickly. Remember, it’s better to be share more relevant information less frequently than to blast your followers with useless content. By keeping your feed full of quality posts, prospects will find value and view your organization as a reliable information resource. Content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders. Building this credibility will lead to better visibility and name recognition within your marketplace. In turn, this generates leads for your business.
- Cross-promote. By using your social media profiles to promote information on your website or by using your website to promote your social media content, you’re inviting your prospects and clients to connect with you across multiple channels. This outreach encourages a community to grow, and keeps them up-to-date through one or more avenues. Ensure that your social media posts always route followers to your website. At the same time, encourage traffic to other pages by providing textual links within your content. If last month’s whitepaper is relevant to this week’s blog post, don’t be afraid to recycle some data. Link to the previous work and let your readers understand your firm is a “quotable” resource.
- Follow your followers. Social media is called “social” for a reason. Reaching out to prospective companies or individuals goes a long way to get your name out there and vice versa. When someone follows you, click through and create a connection. This kind of reciprocity is the foundation of social media. It’s how communities, meaningful discussions and networks start and grow. In fact, 80% of B2B decision makers visit vendor-independent communities, vendor-sponsored forums and LinkedIn at least monthly for business purposes. If your company’s social media page is where people go to discuss a certain topic, you know you’re doing something right. Foster discussions by asking questions and listening to what your followers are saying. Then engage in conversations to create a space that welcomes involvement.
Social media is a force we now accept as integral to any business. By creating a well-crafted, proactive social media strategy and plan, your growth potential increases exponentially.