For many B2B brands a social media strategy is loosely defined at best. Below, GO! Network members Lesniak Swann explain how B2B businesses can create and execute a social media plan that isn't just strategic, but also tied to commercial objectives.
83%of B2B companies use social media as part of their marketing mix. But for many, their presence has developed organically and is regarded more as a ‘need to do’ rather than being part of a strategic, commercially-driven approach.
Put simply, companies without a plan as to how social media activity benefits their business goals are wasting valuable marketing resources.
Despite the compelling evidence showing the power social media plays today in influencing B2B purchasing, many companies aren’t giving it the time or energy it deserves or spending too long producing content that’s not relevant or engaging for the audience.
For B2B companies with complex business structures, selling into multiple markets with disparate audiences, it means they’re missing a marketing trick (or two) for engaging with customers, building loyalty and brand bias, increasing awareness and crucially, influencing purchase decisions.
1. Understand your goals
The process for bringing structure and purpose to social media activity begins with business objectives, understanding the commercial goals of an organisation and how social media can support in meeting them. This should be supported by building a full view of your audiences – in many cases creating buyer personas to ensure activity is customer-focussed.
2. Auditing social media performance
With these elements in place, you can take a deep-dive across all relevant social channels – both those the business is currently using, and ones they are not. This allows a clear understanding of the level of engagement achieved across each channel, how certain types of content is performing, what’s working and what to avoid.
3. Adapt and shift
From this point, you are able to develop or adjust a company’s social media plan to ensure it aligns with specific and clear commercial objectives. This includes how KPIs can be used to measure the tactical outputs of social media – such as likes, shares and engagement, as well as the more commercially focussed outputs that drive newsletter sign-ups, and traffic to websites.
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A social media specialist agency may advise to reduce the number of social media channels being used, or to shift focus if the evidence shows core audience groups are more active and engaged elsewhere.
Advice will be provided on the type of content that’s likely to return the best results across the recommended channels, linking back to audience personas to ensure it resonates with its intended audiences and engages them in a way they appreciate.
Although conducting an audit takes time, it can prove to be a critical step in ensuring the resource focussed on social media provides the strongest possible returns for the business. It also provides organisations with an informed view of where social media sits within the broader marketing mix and customer journey, and where further opportunities could lie in areas such as customer experience.