We have cross-posted the following entry I wrote for the 60 Second marketer blog:
Weve known for some time that social media can be incredibly effective for B2B brands. Today, people expect to find familiar brands on the social platforms they use and like to research new brands on social networks as well.
The importance of available customer service, responsiveness, and the ability to address a crisis have all been established as crucial aspects of a brands social presence. Though significant advances have been made with regard to B2B social media strategy, navigating the various platforms that are available and knowing where to focus your resources still poses a challenge.
Here are 5 ways to maximize your social media presence as a B2B brand:
Content is an instrumental part of any marketers strategy. It builds brand awareness and establishes you as a thought leader. Content also plays a prominent role in SEO rankings. The rise of content marketing has certainly led to the ongoing challenge of content production. Not having a blog is not an option anymore, and if youre not publishing Ebooks and white papers regularly, youre most likely falling behind the lead gen efforts of your competitors. That said, as you work to create content, social media can inform your sharing and engagement strategy.
Not all content is created equal, nor is all content meant for the same channels. Some blog posts are best designed for the LinkedIn community, and rich media content is often better aligned with Facebook sharing. Twitter, meanwhile, provides an opportunity for marketers to distribute content that is relevant to the ongoing stream of sharing and searchable with hashtags. And given the importance of social signals for SEO, all content has a place on Google Plus.
In short, as you work hard to create high quality content, consider the impact sharing via social media can have, and dont just uniformly post across all channels. Customize your messaging and content to ensure it is relevant to that particular channels audience to maximize engagement.
Why does anybody use social media? It gets your brand name out and in front of people who could potentially buy your product. Its also where consumers are spending their time, so any brands not establishing a presence on social media are missing out on a valuable opportunity. With everybody flocking to the obligatory social channels, however, how can a B2B brand truly set themselves apart? The brands that have been most successful are those that consider posting what their customers and prospects want to see.
Take Hubspot, for example. Hubspot creates more content on a daily basis than I know what to do with! But, its all useful and relevant to digital marketers, and of course digital marketers are their target audience.
When it came time for me to evaluate marketing automation products, Hubspot was at the top of my list. Social media lets anyone be a publisher, and for the B2B brand it affords you the opportunity to participate in community discussions, build brand awareness, establish yourself as a thought leader, and ultimately increase brand recognition. Social media is an effective way to get your brand name out there and the less you engage in shameless self-promotion, the more success you will have.
More brands are spending their budgets on paid social media, and according to eMarketer, 64% plan to increase paid social spends in 2013. Social advertising provides an unparalleled opportunity to stay in front of a qualified and relevant audience on their favorite social networks.
Twitter offers a plethora of advertising tools, including Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, Promoted Trends, and Keyword Targeting in Timelines. You can target search results (for example, you can target by hashtag), by interest (based on publicly available profile and tweet data), and by geography. Always take advantage of the robust targeting options while a Twitter ad campaign targeting, Women, 18-25 may sound perfect, with 200 billion + active monthly users, I think youll find your budget runs out fast.
Facebook advertising, may be able to help you reach your desired audience, depending on the subject matter. However, in the B2B space, if you have a limited budget, you may want to focus your efforts on LinkedIn Ads. LinkedIn is ideal for driving readers to that content you work so hard on, especially evergreen content like white papers or ebooks. In fact, LinkedIns ability to provide potential buyers with information about you, your product, your brand, and your business has the social network at a visitor-to-lead conversion rate that is 277% more effective than Facebook and Twitter.
Whether on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, the robust targeting options available means you can focus your messaging on the people who are likely to be interested in your product or service. Like any initiative, define your objectives and develop your paid advertising strategy accordingly.
Supplement Social with Email
As you build your social following, you can support engagement and activity with email. Believe it or not, 77% of Internet users surveyed prefer email messages over any other form of communication. Marketers can, and should, support their social strategy with email.
This can be done a few different ways. One option is to send a monthly newsletter with a roundup of your best blog content. Another option is to send emails informing your customer database of promotions available only on social. Have you ever received an email encouraging you to like a company on Facebook for exclusive offers? You want to incentivize your customers to join your social channels. They need to know what they get from following you on social, and communicating that information via email just makes sense.
Retargeting on Social Networks
Retargeting can help convert your social audience from regular readers to paying customers. By placing a simple retargeting code on your blog as well as any dedicated landing pages you direct people to from social channels, you can stay in front of everyone who is interested in your content. Readers may fit your target audience or buying persona to a tee, but may simply not be ready to buy yet. Retargeting can keep your brand in front of those readers, helping to guarantee that when they are in-market, youll be top of mind.
The Facebook Exchange, FBX, platform brought retargeting to the social network and has proven to be a service with impressive results. What advertising on the Facebook Exchange allows you to do is stay in front of users who have already expressed interest in your brand. Using FBX, you can target based on previous site visits, a valuable insight to ensure you reach the right audience, or you can use Facebooks traditional demographic info with Facebook Marketplace ads.
When first offered, FBX ad placements were restricted to the right rail. Just a couple months ago, however, Facebook began testing FBX ad placements in the News Feed in what AdWeek describes as, matching up what is arguably Facebooks most valuable ad offeringwith its most valuable real estate. As expected, performance in the News Feed has been very high. In an early study conducted by Nanigans, ads delivered in the News Feed resulted in a 19.73% increase in ROI on average as compared with ads delivered on the right rail.
Taking a cue from Facebook, Twitter announced its ad retargeting efforts, now letting users serve promoted tweets to people that they have in their own customer database. Though Twitter has yet to set up an ad exchange, this ad product is still an effective and unobtrusive way for advertisers to reach their target audience directly in the Twitter feed.
More B2B marketers are leveraging the popularity of social media and upping their spends on social ads and retargeting, and youll be remiss to not follow suit. A continued focus on engaging, high quality content coupled with the robust targeting and relevance provided by social advertising and retargeting will ensure you maximize your B2B brand presence on social media.