Like it. Share it. Retweet it. Pin it. The list goes on and on. The world is as social and connected as ever before—in some minds best navigated by millennials that have only known what it means to be connected from the beginning. And whether the business world is ready to admit it or not, the B2B industry has gone social too and it is either time to jump on the bandwagon or risk being left behind in the dust. But at the same time, we are being told to not bite off more than we can chew. So, what is it? As a business, are we supposed to be connected on every platform that our audience could potentially be? Or do we focus on one key channel to reach a hyper-targeted audience? How can a business differentiate themselves in a social world?
Below are six key lessons and why we believe they have the power to become differentiators for B2B social media.
Lesson One: In a world where ideas have become a commodity, determining the baselines for success need to change
“Success” is now measured in more than just a number of likes or followers. We need to shift our views of success to levels of engagement and how we are keeping those followers coming back for more. By creating more creative content, this is possible. It’s been proven that even though pictures can speak a thousand words, infographics speak even more and are 30 times more likely to be read than other content. Brands who use infographics receive more web traffic, but keep in mind that it’s even more important to host the graphic on a socially enabled landing page so that SEO can be utilized. Why? Well, SEO is the gift that keeps on giving. The way we deliver content is becoming more and more simple as well.
Lesson Two: Don’t forget social was meant to be fun
Social was inherently designed to be fun. While baselines, strategies and metrics are all important to understanding the impact of social media, we must not forget that with social we are able to think farther outside the box and have a little fun. We must stop using our B2B social media channels as megaphones for our brand anthems and start getting back to basics and making the conversation compelling again. In that respect, the conversation may not be one size fits all, so branch out and speak to your different audiences in ways that help them relate to your brand. Steal some best practices from a common tactic with marketing automation and find ways to nurture your audience over time and keep them engaged past that initial like or follow.
Lesson Three: Bring meaning to your metrics
With 66.5% of executives worldwide not confident that they are accurately tracking their organizations’ social media efforts, it is time that we start to bring more meaning to our measurement. For this to have value to your business, we must establish clear baselines and set realistic goals. Posting a sexy picture of your product with a witty tagline is easy, but understanding what that means to your business takes a bit more thought. You must determine what value a like, a share, a mention, etc. will mean for your business and then determine their influence on the buy-cycle. While word-of-mouth is hard to track, you have countless tools at your fingertips to see how social is factoring into recommendations and social conversations with a few clicks.
Lesson Four: Like a long-lasting friendship, social takes time to nurture
Like many of our closest friendships, those that have the most influence on our lives, social media can take time to nurture. Social media success does not happen over night—unless you happen to hit the jackpot with the next viral video. Yet at the same time, you cannot concept a video to go viral. Therefore, social media needs to be genuine and human-centric to make the most long-lasting connections with your b2b audience. Find a way to make an impact on your targets’ day. Tap the emotions. Show them something that shifts their mindset. The connection may come in an unexpected way that leaves a lasting impression of your brand. For example, during the 2012 Summer Olympics, P & G tugged heartstrings around the world with their “Thank You Mom” campaign, connecting with their target audience in a genuine way by standing behind the women that use their products each day.
Lesson Five: It might be free to set up, but social is a pay-to-play game now
The takeaway is simple—with algorithms constantly changing, it is getting harder and harder to reach your target audience. Social has become a pay-to-play game. Whether you are a start-up with a limited budget or a Fortune 500 brand with deep pockets for media spends, it is time we start backing up our social posts. Essentially it is time to put your money where your mouth is. Be strategic with timing and the rate at which you utilize paid social. Don’t be afraid to spend a few bucks on your best content.
Lesson Six: Make it shareable at a face-to-face level
We must consider how we are going to have our social messages transcend screens and start influencing our everyday face-to-face conversations. By both giving our audience the tools to share online/offline and by creating a virtuous cycle, in which promotes sharing, we can get our message on the minds of more influencers than ever before. With an estimated 75% of our conversations about brands happening face-to-face, it is time that we start leveraging the power of recommendation to our advantage. Therefore, it should be the goal for our brand’s social calls-to-action to become a part of these face-to-face conversations. You never know what he-said she-said conversation might turn into an impressive ROI.
Ultimately, the story you want to tell will dictate which social channels to post and promote your content on. It’s always important to keep in mind that measuring the outcomes of your social campaigns—good or bad—is a must. Even though these outcomes might not be ideal at first for every post, keep your focus on nurturing a trusting relationship with your followers in order for them to engage and come back for more content. Take advantage of what’s currently out there to maximize your audience reach and increase ROI. It’s undoubtedly time for businesses to engage with their customers and fans on a social level and with the lessons above you will be on your way to social success.
If you need help from a B2B marketing agency along the way, of course, give us a shout.