B2B brands often struggle on social media, with a fine line to walk between keeping things interesting and maintaining a professional voice. Our experience of B2B marketing has shown how important it is to plan ahead, understand your audience, and be ready to set your brand apart from others. Before you start posting, make sure that your B2B social media plan incorporates these elements.
Setting SMART targets
Before you start posting, you need to set SMART targets. This is a technique developed by George Doran in 1981 to help managers set useful objectives. They’re a powerful and effective way to make sure your social media plan stays on track and might look something like this:
S – Specific. What are you going to do?
We will improve clickthrough by 5% on our Facebook content.
M – Measurable. How will you be able to tell you’ve done it?
We have tracking in place to identify sources of traffic, as well as historical data on site usage, which will allow us to identify increases in visitors from specific origins.
A – Achievable. Is this something you can do? Is it within your control?
We have previously been able to raise clickthrough by 2-3%, so 5% should be possible with a more concerted and dedicated effort.
R – Relevant. Will this work within your organisation’s wider goals?
Site visitors are a primary source of sales leads, and this provides more opportunities for our sales team to work on.
T – Time-bound. When will you decide whether you’ve succeeded or not?
We expect to have achieved this growth by the end of the quarter.
Having a set of SMART targets is crucial since it provides a framework for the rest of your work. Do not be tempted to skip this step, as that way lies fuzzy goals, scope creep, and bloated projects.
Getting inspiration from the competition
Your competitors are a great source of inspiration, both for what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. For example, if another company in your field is having success with influencer marketing, it might be time to consider how this could benefit your business. However, they might be focusing on Facebook, while your clients are more easily reached on LinkedIn, providing an opportunity for you to improve on their strategy.
We’re not advocating wholesale copying, rather using your competitors as a source of inspiration. One of the key challenges that B2B brands face is standing out from the crowd, and simply following the herd won’t get you very far.
Define your brand’s identity
Crafting a stand-out identity as a B2B brand is difficult, but it can be done. Marketing businesses can create a unique online brand identity by balancing professionalism with fun and interest.
No B2B brand can afford to be as ‘out there’ as B2C brands because the expectations of their clients are very different. ‘Playing it safe’ is understandable, but does nothing to distinguish your brand: find a middle ground that works for your business.
Tune in to your audience
You should always be marketing to networks, which means understanding what your audience is talking about. Brands don’t have to start the conversation themselves: instead, they should align themselves with the discussion that’s already happening.
Source: Hubspot Twitter
In the above example, HubSpot isn’t starting the conversation. They understand that “what I’d do if I was in charge” is a common topic of discussion amongst the audience they want to reach, and they’re providing a forum to hold it in. This gives them that all-important element of successful social media marketing; authenticity.
Finding the right mix of content
Sometimes people are in the mood to read a blog. Sometimes they want to watch a video, or they’re just aimlessly scrolling to kill a little time. Knowing this, your brand should produce a range of content to have the best chance of engaging with them.
The actual mix your brand creates will depend on your particular audience. For example, while video is the king of social media for younger users, B2B brands may well be targeting a more senior audience, and need to adjust their content mix accordingly. Think hard about who you’re trying to reach, and what types of content you should create in order to pique their interest.
Taking the opportunity to engage
The joy of social media is that it gives brands the opportunity to actually interact directly with their audience. Whether this is helping with a support issue or joining in a conversation, you should always be looking for ways to engage with your audience. Make sure that your team knows who will be doing the engaging, what to say, and how to say it.
Making a success of B2B social media marketing
A successful social media presence doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly can’t happen without sustained effort. The elements of social media planning that we’ve covered should give you a good idea of where to start, and the questions you should be asking of your team. For expert assistance with your B2B marketing, or to have a discussion about your brand’s online presence, just drop us a line today: firstname.lastname@example.org