Did you know? An estimated 87% of B2B marketers apply their trade on social media. They also consider social media to be the most effective tool of all types of content marketing. What’s more, 80% of businesses plan on increasing the amount of resources allocated to their social media strategy in the future.
The most exciting thing about social media for B2B is how easy it is to get started and how well it performs in generating leads. The scariest thing about social media for B2B is keeping things going once you get started; especially for businesses with little resources to devote to tweeting, pinning, and liking.
I’m happy to announce the release of my book B2B Social Media: The Complete Guide to Developing a B2B Social Media Strategy (Plus a Case Study), available now in paperback from Amazon.
This 2016 social media guide takes you on a journey through strategising your social media plan to developing the tools you’ll need to make it a success. From putting policies and contingencies in place to seeing the entire strategy come together in a real-world scenario.
I split the book into four parts. The first three show you exactly how to tackle a different aspect of your social media strategy and the final part showing you how straightforward the previous three parts work in real life.
Social Media for B2B Companies
Part I introduces social media for B2B companies. As you’ll recall, the best things about social media for B2B is the ease of entry and capacity for generating leads. But the downside to social media is ongoing activity. This can be tricky for businesses with less than modest resources.
Thankfully, there are tactics and tools to simplify the entire process. The first of these is defining your objectives for using social media. This will help you select from the top eight social media platforms to meet your objectives.
Knowing how to use social media effectively is challenging but quickly learned. I delve into the best practices for each of the top eight platforms and give you handy tips on content creation and audience engagement.
Source: Abramovich, 2014; Narcisse, 2014; Social Dynamite, 2014; Bennett, 2015; Cowling, 2015; Fryrear, 2015. Image: Rich Walker
What you’ll learn from Chapters 1-3:
- How to create company objectives for using social media with your employees and stakeholders
- How to define measurable objectives
- What the top eight social media sites are, the advantages and disadvantages of using each, and how each will help or hinder achieving your objectives
- Registering for an account on each of your chosen platforms and carrying out competitor research
- The best practices guides of using you selected social media platforms
B2B Social Media Content
After pinning down the interests of your audience, you’ll want to begin curating and creating content that aligns with these interests. But that didn’t mean erratically posting branded and non-branded content in an attempt to interest your entire audience at once.
Instead, it’s best to set goals for your content and then create engaging posts according to your own unique set of branding standards. As a result, you will have ongoing effective social media activity and therefore achieve increasing success.
Since consistency is key in any social media strategy—showing up on social media and then vanishing into thin air doesn’t sit well with your followers—an editorial calendar will drive your daily social media posts and keep your team aware of what has and what hasn’t been scheduled for each platform.
I provide an example editorial calendar to give you an idea of how your editorial calendar could look as well as how it works alongside a one-page, colour-coded cheat sheet.
Another driving force in maintaining consistent engagement with your audience is your social media management tool. Rather than logging in to separate social media platforms and posting content to each, the management tool will significantly reduce the time and effort required to find and schedule content across all of your profiles.
What you’ll master in Chapters 4-6:
- How to find out who your target audience is and what content they like to consume
- How to uncover the five key content types that are gratifying across all of your audience segments
- How to look at your currently available resources and, based on what you discover, decide on the type of content you want to create
- Creating a consistent style guide to maintain consistent branding and easy-access social media content bank
- How to create a social media cheat sheet
- Creating an editorial calendar Excel spreadsheet to outline daily social media activity
- Examining the costs and features of social media management tools
- Making lists of social media influencers in your industry for you to start following today
Social Media Policy, Risk Management and Reputation
Part III takes a sharp turn away from having fun participating on social media and down a serious path towards managing risk. Mark Zuckerberg said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
So while embracing Mr. Zuckerberg’s advice to keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape by taking risks, it is important to create a company social media policy document in order to direct appropriate social media behaviour and help prevent a PR disaster.
Success on social media is achieved through consistent tracking of your social media ROI and regular reporting to relevant stakeholders. And social media management tools help make this process relatively effortless.
While I encourage you to strive for high lead generation results with organic posts, it is sometimes necessary to boost your posts with a budget. Situations for paying for greater post reach include seeking new followers for your branded page, broadcasting news about an upcoming event, and making sure your brand sits in user’s home feed alongside other industry leaders and authorities in your field of expertise.
Here’s a brief overview of Part III:
- Creating your company’s official social media policy document including straightforward guidelines for engaging with your followers and responding to comments and criticism
- Deciding on a salary for a social media specialist and a social media management tool based on your budget
- Planning your meeting with relevant stakeholders, ensuring you present justification behind your strategy and budget to accelerate understanding.
- How to make a table of measurable and achievable KPIs
- Familiarising yourself with analytics and reporting methods provided by your chosen social media management tool
- How to use the paid-for social media advertising options within LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
Social Media Case Study
The case study in Part IV took everything I discuss in the previous nine chapters of this book and show you how I applied this knowledge to assist a small ad agency, Sagada, develop their effective yet resource-lite social media strategy.
It fully explains my reasoning behind selecting certain social media platforms and rejecting others, in addition to the social media management tool I chose. The types of content I suggested the brand uses based on the agency’s target audience are also given.
Part II of the case study presents my completed social media cheat sheet and detailed editorial calendar.
For the final part of the case study, I wanted to bring the entire strategy together and show you exactly how the ad agency will perform their daily social media activity on a typical day, which I hope helped you understand how straightforward and resource-friendly your own social media strategy can be.
You will read how I managed to optimise their social media activity based on their very limited resources so that the individual responsible for managing five branded social media profiles can perform the necessary tasks in just 15 minutes a day.
Social Media Future Growth Strategy
After setting up your social media strategy as shown in this book, it is beneficial for you to use alternative channels and reach a more diverse audience. This should help boost lead generation and possibly allow you to offer an increased range of services for future clients; as long as you take care to assign more resources to social media in stages as your business grows.
If more resources become available, it can be a good idea to expand your reach by posting more content and managing new profiles on other social media platforms. With more diverse content at hand, other social networking platforms like Reddit, Flickr, WeChat, etc. can be used to connect with new fans across your region. Fortunately, many of these platforms are supported by popular social media management tools at no additional cost.
Another path you can follow to accomplish accelerated growth involves driving more traffic to your company website and specific landing pages through social media marketing, which as described earlier, ensures your posts are seen by more fans as well as non-fans (depending on your budget and ad objectives).
B2B Social Media Checklist
In a nutshell, your B2B social media strategy will have the following work flow:
- Create objectives
- Learn about and decide the social media platforms you’ll use
- Discover who your audience is
- Create content to engage your audience
- Create an editorial calendar to maintain a consistent posting schedule
- Subscribe to a social media management tool
- Develop a social media policy document
- Make a list of KPIs and set up a method for tracking and reporting results
Tick each item off when complete. A completed checklist means it’s full steam ahead. Just one thing…
The challenge for you is to take what you learn from this post (or book) and start researching your target audience as well as assembling the necessary documents, consuming time you simply may not have. For this reason, I have created something just for you—just as I would if I was consulting at your business in person.
So if you want to start your new social media strategy without delay, you can download ready-made spreadsheets, checklists, calendars, and more professional tools in…
What’s more, since this is a total B2B digital marketing package, you’ll gain valuable insights into other essential aspects of digital marketing including A Complete Guide to Developing a B2B Email Direct Marketing Campaign, A Complete Guide to Developing a B2B AdWords Campaign, and loads more bonus guides and downloadable tools.