You are probably already well aware of social media marketing and its general concept. If you are a business owner I would go so far as to say that your business also probably active on at least one platform of social media (and if not, then you should change that quick smart!).
Social media marketing is a great way to both reach and improve your relationships with consumers, as well as allowing another way potential customers can find you. A lot of businesses are active on social media and if you aren’t you are one of the few.
But how many businesses are truly successful with their social media marketing? And how many businesses are using the right strategy to get social media working properly?
Being active on social media is one thing, but it is more important that you are effective with your marketing methods. This can be particularly difficult especially if your business is in the B2B industry.
Many B2B businesses strongly believe that they are unable to reach their clients on social media because their clients aren’t active. This belief seems quite silly seeing though on the Facebook platform there are over 1 billion active users daily.
If you find that you are unsure about how exactly to get your social media marketing to work for your business then don’t worry, you have come to the right blog! This blog post is written to help all businesses in terms of social media.
There is a focus on B2B businesses for this blog as these businesses tend to have the most difficulty reaching their target audience. This post will help in producing real results for all businesses on social media, especially the B2B companies!
1. Know who your audience is
This is very important because how are you going to create effective and engaging posts if you don’t even know who you are going to target. Before you begin anything else in terms of social media, you need to understand who your customer actually is.
By understanding your target market it will help you choose the right social media platform, help direct the type of posts you will create, assist in determining the time and frequency of posts, etc. Therefore, if you want to see success for your digital marketing campaign you will need to have a full understanding of your consumer.
But how do you determine exactly who is your consumer? Well, you can create a buyer persona and this will list out all the demographics and traits of your consumer and therefore assist you in identifying the most common type of customer.
It is important to note that your most common type of customer might not actually be your desired target audience. If this is the case you will have to think of ways to change the situation.
Once you have a better idea on who your consumer is, you will then have the ability to create social media posts that are more suited to them. The more relatable a consumer finds your post, the more likely they are to react to it, share it, or like your page for more!
2. Don’t just promote, build relationships
Even though you tend to see a lot of promotion (especially self-promotion) on social media, this is not what it was designed for! Social media platforms are for interactions and connections.
Use promotion on your social media accounts at your own peril. This isn’t something social media users want to see, if they were looking for promotional items they would watch the ads on television! Social media users want to be engaged and delighted with your witty and creative posts. Blatant promotion will get you nowhere, fast.
Businesses must act more like people and less like a business. I know this is pretty hard for B2B businesses, but if you want to create and establish more relationships with your clients this is something you will have to do. Social media is all about how well you engage with your followers and promotional content is seen as the easy way out. But have you heard of the saying ‘you get out what you put in’? So by taking the time to actually create posts that people want to see, you are on your first step to building a relationship with them.
By focussing on building relationships and the two-way communication, your efforts on social media marketing will be worth it! Building relationships is at the heart of every business, so why not try to build more through social media? You will never know the true benefits of building relationships until you give it a good crack!
Outright promotional posts are now looked down upon by Facebook and Twitter. This can be seen in their recent updates which allows for less reach of promotional posts. This therefore means that your promotional content is now likely to be twice as ineffective as they were before, which begs the question; why are businesses still posting promotional content on their social media accounts?
3. Choose one (or maybe two) channel/s
As I’m sure you know there are many different social media platforms. Many more than the typical Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Snapchat and YouTube that usually comes to mind when the term ‘social media platform’ is thrown around. This can create both excitement and confusion for marketers as there are so many different options and ventures for you to choose from.
Despite the wide array of variety when it comes to social media platforms, it is not recommended that you use all of them. Choosing to be active on a significant number of social media platforms is actually very difficult and you would need a dedicated team to ensure the proper running of each platform. Most businesses cannot afford a dedicated team. This is why you should just choose one or maybe even two channels and focus on them. By only choosing a limited amount of social media channel, this means that your resources are spread across a smaller amount, allowing for easier management and focus.
There are many reasons as to why you shouldn’t use too many social media platforms:
- The different platforms mean you have to come up with different types of content which will create a lot more work for you and could mean that you don’t have the time to create truly effective and engaging posts.
- Content is presented in different ways on the various platforms. This means you have to change and adjust your content depending on the type of platform.
- There are different types of people on different platforms. Therefore one platform you could be targeting the right people, but on another you aren’t reaching your desired target audience.
When it comes to B2B businesses, the platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn tend to work best. By focussing on these two channels only, you have a better chance of mastering them and actually being successful. It is important to try not to stretch your resources too far by attempting to be active on too many social media platforms.
4. You must be active
This seems fairly obvious, right? But so many businesses just set up their social media accounts and then forget about it! If you want to get social media working for your business then you will actually have to put in a little work yourself. You can’t expect to get results if you don’t but the work in. A lot of the work in terms of social media can be attributed to actually be active and online. By being more active you are likely to reply to comments faster, be on top of the news and trends, get more ideas for your next post, etc.
Social media moves so fast that you could be inactive for one day and you’ve already missed a viral trend. This means you should endeavour to be more active. I’m not saying you need to be online every second of every day, but you should at least try to have a look at what’s going on every couple of days. This also means that you should be posting on a regular basis. Building consistency with your followers is important. You should try to post once a day (or once every two days at the least). You can also use business manager tools on social media platforms to back schedule a certain amount of posts, or alternatively you could try Hootsuite, where you can manage all your various social media accounts from one place!
A half-assed commitment to social media is not really any better than any commitment at all. So you should always stay active. I tend to see a lot of businesses really committed at the beginning of their efforts and then they slowly run out of steam. You must be consistent and not post every day for 3 weeks then not post for 2 months, then start posting again. This type of behaviour looks odd and unprofessional in the eyes of consumers.
By always being active you are allowing yourself to better humanise your brand. As well as this you will create a better and stronger emotional bond with your clients/ audience therefore meaning the relationship is better developed. If you are unable to connect properly with your desired clients then why are you using social media? Being active means you allow yourself the time to listen, engage and respond to anything that comes your way.
5. Understand what your goals are
Deciding your goals can only be achieved once you actually know who your customer is. So if you don’t completely understand your customer then your goals are likely to be unclear meaning they are difficult to measure and achieve. Goal setting can be difficult in any situation, especially with social media marketing. It is important to understand that your goals are likely to change as time goes on, so you should always remain flexible and be ready to make compromises.
In social media, it is common for businesses to fall into the category of just striving to get likes or re-tweets. However, this shouldn’t be one of your main goals because this does little to affect your bottom line and there is not substance behind this type of goal. Reaching this type of goal doesn’t do much in terms of engagement or quality posts either, it is important for you to look at the bigger picture and a ‘like’ is only one little sliver of the pie that is social media!
You will tend to find that people with these types of goals end up failing and becoming non-believers in the impact of social media marketing on your Return on Investment (ROI). However, it is comforting to see that between 2015 and 2016 the percentage of individuals interviewed by Sales Force that believed social media marketing generated significant ROI jumped from 9% to 39%. This means that more businesses are developing realistic goals that will impact their bottom line.
It is clear that everyone wants to generate significant ROI from your social media efforts. The way to do this is to stop and think about what you would like to achieve. If you are flexible, realistic and establish goals of substance, then you are already well on your way to see good ROI.
If you are stuck for thinking about the type of goals you want to achieve through social media marketing, don’t worry. Coming up with goals are tricky! You should have a think about how you could achieve higher levels of brand awareness and conversions for your business as a starting point.
Social media marketing is a difficult place to enter. There are so many ways that it could go wrong. But on the flip side – there are so many ways that it could go right! You should definitely give social media a try, but if you truly want to get social media working for your business, then you should follow the above 5 steps.
It is important, especially for B2B businesses, that you focus your effort on understanding who your customer is and what your goals are. You should also pay close attention to your level of activeness on social media as well as focusing on only one or even two platforms so that your resources are better spent. Social media is all about building relationships with your followers, now this can be difficult for B2B businesses but it is important that you make efforts because this will benefit you in the long run.