Although B2B brands may have long trailed those in B2C in adopting Social Media as a legitimate Marketing lever, they’re definitely catching up. Social Media Examiner’s 2017 Social Media Marketing industry survey found that the difference in the percentages of B2B and B2C companies using each platform was incredibly small.
While adoption and usage of Social Media for B2B Marketers may be growing, there’s certainly no shortage of concern, doubt and confusion over the best way to get a great ROI. A recent report from Socedo / Demand Metric revealed that 71% of B2B marketers either don’t know their Social ROI or that their ROIs are falling short of objectives.
We meet companies weekly that are confused over many facets of social, even if they’ve been using social media in marketing for years. There are hundreds of ways that you can improve the impact and ROI of your social programming, but here are five that hold true regardless your industry.
Lets dive in.
Ensure that your content strategy is ready for prime time, as it should be the backbone of your Social strategy.
Marketers have to resist the urge just to dive into Social Media armed with only some humorous posts and roughly sketched out content calendar. Content and Social Media go hand-in-hand, and the best ones are developed in parallel. When you have a disciplined understanding of what your content must accomplish for your brand, you can better tailor the execution. Some of that content can be served up to your organic audience, while some may be best utilized to convert paid traffic to leads.
Define the role of each platform in service of your overall marketing strategy.
Just because your target might use all of the major social platforms doesn’t mean that they play similar roles in their lives. Make sure that you work through how each platform can best be utilized to perform different tasks within the funnel. For example, LinkedIn can be a strong lead generation driver for many B2B brands. But Instagram’s best role is frequently creating an overall brand look and feel or design aesthetic while driving or maintaining awareness. We have found that Facebook can also play a huge role in lead generation with paid ads, but organic content on Facebook is really about nurturing relationships and providing a conduit for conversation about the customer experience. The key is in clearly defining the role of each channel (why are we here, what do we want to accomplish, why will our audience engage) and then executing against those objectives.
Maximize engagement across each platform by designing your posts and paid ads based on best practices for each.
Platforms like Twitter and Facebook change their ad tools pretty frequently, so it’s important to stay educated here. Regardless, there are some principles related to how people use that platforms that are less likely to change anytime soon. For example, Pinterest is a very visual platform where consumers go for ideas and inspiration. If your brand is going to play there, you cannot just re-apply your Facebook or Instagram posts. Build custom plans that help you accomplish your objectives. Similarly, Instagram is also incredibly visual, but much less about the type of inspiration that Pinterest serves up. Within IG, your brand needs to tell a simple aesthetic story whether you choose Awareness or Lead Generation as your primary objective.
Use measurement tools (and people resources) to monitor and optimize deeper metrics than just the number of likes or comments.
Every time that we feel like we’ve left the world of “likes” as a proxy for ROI behind, we meet someone who’s still living there. At the end of the day, “likes” will not deliver hot prospects or sales growth. You need to construct your KPIs and train your people on how social media fits into the overall path to purchase. With those frameworks established, you can begin to better understand how social media performs vis-a-vis other marketing vehicles. As you get more information about the effectiveness of each platform, based on your pre-defined KPIs, you can begin to reallocate resources towards those platforms that perform best. Each brand is going to be different here, so a test-and-learn approach is best if you’re just starting out.
Combine the reach of Social with the power of a Marketing Automation platform to supercharge your Marketing results.
At the end of the day, Social Media is one tactic in the overall marketing mix. However, we’ve found that when combined with Marketing Automation, it has the power to take whatever leads you’ve generated and begin to cultivate a relationship with your prospects — one that you can track, measure, and optimize in real-time. Unlike other marketing vehicles, Marketing Automation, with its ability to personalize the buying journey, has the ability to take a personal platform, social media, and continue to personalize that journey all the way through conversion. Think of it as a modern-way of “1-on-1” marketing. Is that what we’ve all wanted since we’ve gotten into the profession?
As you can see, a lot of the principles outlined here dovetail from tried-and-true marketing approaches, albeit reapplied to today’s vehicles. And Social is not just a B2C game anymore, and the data supporting it’s demonstrable impact on B2B organizations is only growing by the day.