I’m going to assume we all already know and understand the value of social media in B2B marketing. This isn’t about ‘why should we use social media?’, it’s ‘what are the essential ingredients to getting social media strategy right?’.
The good news is that the strategy you’ll put in place for social media marketing is very similar to how you strategise for all your other marketing channels. In essence – Plan, Listen, Execute, Measure, Refine. However, there are three areas that hold the real key to success.
1. Know where you’re headed, then measure measure measure
I was at a talk the other day being led by a mid-sized agency based in the South West in the UK and they said, and I quote,
“Everyone knows that the main point of social media is to drive traffic to your website.”
Um, what? I swear, I almost stood up in that hall and went to battle like freaking Braveheart.
Can that be one goal of social media strategy? Yes, of course, but if we stop there, we should all just throw in the towel and go to the pub. It’s basic, it’s boring and crucially it doesn’t prove any real value.
Here are some valuable goals to aim for:
- Sales from social media: Rock solid integration between your marketing automation platform and CRM are required.
- Pipeline value: Similar integration is needed. It’s not essential, but there will be a lot of manual information gathering and processing to get the details you need without it.
- Goal completions: E.g. CTAs such as ‘request a demo’, ‘request a free trial’ ‘download your whitepaper now’ or ‘contact our sales team’.
- Quality of social media traffic: For example, visitors from Twitter are the most likely to complete a goal on our website. Also, approximately 25% of all our website traffic comes from social, visitors from social view more pages and stay for longer than visitors from organic search or referral traffic, but less than visitors from email marketing. This shows that visitors from social are interested and stay around to read our content.
- Relationship building / influencer engagement: Connecting with influencers in your industry takes time and finesse, but it’s well worth it once they really connect with you and start sharing your content with their audience, or better yet co-creating content with you.
Once you’ve decided the goals you need to measure, make sure you have a solid, replicable process of how to track performance. Without this, it’s all just dust in the wind.
2. Getting the tone and messaging right is key
Once you have all your goal and tracking ducks in a row, it’s time to think about messaging. There are a few bits to think about here, too:
- Tone: What’s your B2B voice going to sound like? Plan this in advance, get it in writing and get approval from your senior team to make sure you’re representing your organisation in a way that meets your team’s expectations.
- Messaging: What do we need to be talking about to add value? Hint: it’s not all about you and what your business is doing. What are the key industry talking points? How can we add value here?
- Create a written plan: This is particularly important if you’re managing social media in a highly regulated environment. Create a plan, get full internal buy-in and stick to it.
3. Align your goals and reporting with what the board wants to achieve
The single most important thing you can do to make your B2B social media strategy a success is to align your goals with the goals of the board. That’s CMO material right there. You want that promotion and recognition? This can help you get there.
Of course, this applies to all aspects of your marketing activity, and it’s also one of the biggest challenges you’ll face. But when you get buy-in from the board, you’ll see social media quickly become a crucial part of, not only your B2B marketing strategy, but the strategy of the business as a whole.