When social media first burst onto the scene many years ago, it was impossible to predict the effect it would have on marketing. Who knew status updates and “likes” would lead to better branding and customer service?
Even though social media as a marketing tool is now old hat, many B2B firms struggle to implement an effective strategy. In fact, some B2B firms still question whether social media is even relevant to their customer base. Given the importance of word of mouth and referrals to the decision process of B2B customers, we’d argue that social media has the potential to be even more impactful for B2B companies than B2C.
Hinge’s recent study on referral marketing found that a strong social media presence was a key factor in developing a solid reputation. In fact, 17 percent of expertise-based referrals are reportedly made based on social media interactions.
With the following six tips, you can develop a solid B2B social media strategy that allows your firm to connect more with your target audience and attract more business.
6 Tips for Creating a B2B Social Media Strategy
1 – Find the right channels
When first developing your social media strategy, it’s tempting to join all the major platforms to cast a wide net. Unfortunately, doing so is more likely to overextend your resources and leave you with a long list of social media channels that are underperforming.
Instead, determine where your target audience spends the most time and focus on a just few key channels. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook tend to be the most popular B2B platforms, but plenty of B2B companies are also experiencing success with image-driven sites, like Instagram and Pinterest.
2 – Check out your competitors
Getting to know your competition is almost as important as getting to know your audience. By paying attention to the type and quality of information your competition shares on social media, you can stay on top of what your competitors are up to and pick up tips for connecting with your target audience. Don’t be afraid to borrow the practices that seem to work or learn from mistakes that don’t.
3 – Promote your content
Your social media channels offer a great low-cost place to promote your content and drive viewers to your website. Sharing links to your content keeps your followers in the loop and allows you to track what topics and content formats are most interesting to your audience based on likes, shares and clicks.
4 – Do more than just promote
Your followers are going to quickly lose interest if your social media profiles are all about self-promotion. To help avoid this problem, try sharing other relevant information, like industry news, updates or behind-the-scenes details that personalize your firm.
Remember, your audience is following you to gain value from your posts. Make sure your feed reflects their interests and needs—not just your own marketing agenda.
5 – Engage your readers
Your social media channels shouldn’t be a one-way street when it comes to communication. Instead, consider each of your platforms as an opportunity to interact. Start a conversation, respond to comments or tweets, or participate in industry discussions. And don’t be afraid to reach out directly to potential leads.
6 – Figure out what works
Don’t be surprised if it takes a little while to identify trends in what types of posts and engagement your audience prefers. Your social media metrics can also help you discover trends in how your content is shared, the best time of day to post and which platforms are driving the most traffic to your website. Leverage this data to regularly analyze and hone your strategy.
Use these six tips to create a B2B social media strategy that takes the unique needs and challenges of both your firm and your target audience into consideration. Once you start to see the impact social media can have on your B2B firm, you’ll be glad you did.
- Our Social Media Guide for Professional Services is designed to give you everything you need to know to build a comprehensive social media strategy for your firm.
- And dive deeper into LinkedIn with our LinkedIn Guide for Professional Services Executives.
- Download a copy of our SEO Guide for Professional Services Firms to get you the foundation you need to begin planning your SEO strategy and grow your business online.
How Hinge Can Help
Social media marketing should be a core component of your firm’s overall strategy. Hinge’s Visible Firm® is the leading marketing program for delivering greater visibility, growth, and profits. Based on 8 years of research into high-growth firms, this program gives firms like yours the practical tools and approach used by industry leaders.