10 May Social Media Strategies for Business-to-Business Organizations
Are you on Facebook and/or Instagram? If so, you’re no doubt very familiar with how Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies use social media – these organizations are highly prevalent on social platforms.
But what about Business-to-Business (B2B) organizations? With a range of available platforms, social media is being used widely and with great success by B2B organizations across industries. In fact, it’s anticipated that social media will account for more than 20 percent of marketing budgets by 2020 (compared to approximately 5 percent in 2009) [Reference 1].
The key to success on social media is to be strategic. If your B2B organization is struggling to define a social media strategy, we can help. Below we’ve outlined some of the steps you should take when integrating social media into your overall marketing plan.
Create a Written Plan
We commonly work with organizations that say they have a social media strategy but have not actually documented one in writing. A written strategy enables goal setting and supports ongoing planning and refinements – and it ensures that everyone in the organization is on the same page.
Start by defining the goals you want to achieve by entering the space. If you don’t know what you’re working towards, you can’t possibly select the right platforms or measures of success. Once your goals have been defined, you should consider the following questions:
– What are your competitors doing?
– Who is the target audience?
– What social platforms will be used?
– What type of content will be published? How often?
– How will you measure the success of these efforts?
Use the answers to these questions to further define your strategy – and then, as mentioned, document your plan in writing. Make sure that this plan can be easily referenced by all stakeholders and evaluate it on a regular cadence (quarterly, annually, etc.) to ensure that you’re still on track and no changes need to be made to address new priorities (or new platforms!).
Put the Right People in Charge
A single point person should be responsible for overseeing the social media strategy for your organization. This person has the authority to make decisions and approve changes, and they are responsible for making sure that the strategy is executed appropriately. We have worked with organizations that have various resources participate in social media activities as their schedules allow. This approach can work, but it must be coordinated and managed by a central resource to ensure content is posted regularly and in a consistent tone. This person will also monitor and report on social marketing results against the defined strategy.
If an existing internal resource will be the point person (as opposed to hiring a new resource), ensure that this person and his or her support staff are appropriately trained in social media best practices. There are plenty of seminars and online courses available to help your team understand and apply social media principles for the benefit of your organization.
Create a Personality
Part of your strategy should include defining the personality of your social media profiles. Consumers and potential clients don’t like dealing with faceless corporations, so use social media to humanize your brand and organization. This is a good time to evaluate what your competitors are doing on social media, so that you can differentiate yourself. Emphasize what is unique about your organization without being “over the top” – the message and delivery should be consistent with your organization’s culture. Also consider if your personality should differ depending on the platform. For instance, your Facebook persona may be more “fun,” while your LinkedIn persona may be more professional.
Learn the Art of Social Selling
Social media posts should not be overtly sales-oriented – even if sales is your ultimate goal. If you’re posting useful and interesting content, sales will come naturally. One way to do this is by featuring posts highlighting your employees. This approach helps to humanize your team and it demonstrates the value placed on internal employees. Another option is to post client testimonials. This helps to showcase the credibility of your organization. It also is a form of “earned media” – word-of-mouth and recommendations from trusted sources. A 2012 Nielsen report found that more than 90 percent of consumers trust earned media. A 2010 McKinsey study found that customers won through earned media have a 37 percent higher retention rate relative to other sources [Reference 1].
Other tips to help boost engagement on social media include:
– Place links near the start of posts. In general, users are much more likely to click a link if it appears in the first quarter of the post.
– Capitalize on trending topics. Share content if it applies to a trending topic or hashtag and has some relevance to your organization.
– Experiment on the posting time (peak vs. non-peak). Posting during non-peak hours can increase your reach.
– Analyze your performance. Use the analytics tools built into every social platform to fine-tune your strategy and make adjustments.
These are just some of the key considerations you should make before implementing a social media strategy for your B2B organization. We can help you strengthen your approach so that you achieve your goals and experience real value from your investment. Learn more about our services here or contact us at email@example.com for more information.
– Reference 1 – “15 B2B Social Media Strategy Tips”, posted by Keyhole – Sep 1, 2016; http://keyhole.co/blog/15-b2b-social-media-strategy-tips-best-practice-examples/