I think we can all agree that social media is a key piece of the inbound marketing puzzle. Without it, it is very difficult to promote the content you’re creating for your target audience.
But for small marketing teams or even teams of one, is it possible to create and manage a social media strategy that gets results? In reality, who really has time to “listen” and respond every day? Like everything else, you get out what you put in, right?
Yes. Managing social media can be a huge challenge for small marketing teams and even large teams. If you want social media to be more than just a huge time suck, it begins by creating an effective strategy to guide your efforts.
If you take the time to build a strategy before you just start publishing tweets and updates, your chances of success are much greater. Here are five things every effective B2B social media strategy includes.
Before you begin any social media efforts, it is important to identify the end goal of the program. Is it to generate a certain number of leads? Or is it to simply gain followers and create awareness? Is it to drive visitors to your website?
Whatever it is, make it quantifiable and know how you will measure and report on it each month.
If you don’t know where you’re trying to go, chances are you’ll never get there.
2. Budget and resources
One of the biggest complaints I hear (and have experienced myself) is the amount of time it takes to implement an effective social media strategy.
Another thing you need to do before you begin is to define the amount of time and money that will be dedicated to the effort. Estimate the number of hours you believe will be required. Then figure out what other resources you need to have in place to execute. Budget for tracking tools and graphic design if you need to. Also consider whether or not you will incorporate any paid advertising as part of your overall strategy.
Knowing and defining this information up front will allow you to be more effective in execution.
3. Ideal client profile and buyer personas
Knowing and truly understanding your ideal client profile and buyer personas is an integral part of any inbound marketing program…especially the social media part.
When you define your target audience’s pains, problems, motivations and objections, it will help you identify the types of content to promote through social media.
If you choose any paid social media options, knowing who your prospects are from demographic perspective will help you narrow your focus and spend money in the right places.
4. Platforms and tactics
When it comes to social media, the list of platforms available to B2B companies seems to get longer every day. Before creating company profiles for each one, take a step back and figure out where you should really be.
Instagram seems to be hot right now. The number of companies using it has exploded in 2016. That doesn’t mean it’s right for you. It’s kind of like the “jumping off the bridge” expression. If all of your competitors jumped off a bridge, would you?
Spend time investigating where your prospects actually engage. Some of the information you know about your buyer personas may point you in the right direction.
In your strategy, identify the two-three platforms where you believe you can have the most impact. Then, define the tactics you will apply.
For example, if you identify Twitter as one of the platforms, your tactics may include writing five tweets for every blog post and then scheduling them three days apart late in the afternoon. Other tactics might be to promote relevant content from other sources at least once a week.
Make sure you take the time to evaluate results and adjust your tactics as necessary.
Part of your strategy should also identify who is responsible for what. In most small to mid-size businesses, there isn’t a person dedicated solely to social media. It’s typically a marketing person (or team) wearing many hats who is responsible for execution.
The key is to identify who will be doing what. Those people need to know and understand the strategy inside and out and be clear on expectations.
Like all things related to inbound marketing, social media is not a set it and forget it type of strategy. It is something that needs to be evaluated and tweaked based on what you learn. The strategy is meant to give you a starting point. It’s up to you to experiment while you implement and figure out what brings you the most reward for your efforts.