Stacy Combest wrote this guest blog for Sonnhalter.
It’s no secret that social media has become the major player in marketing, but with all the hype, there are still companies not ready to step up to the plate. In the beginning, business-to-consumer companies were reaping all the benefits of social media. Consumers were attracted to the informality of engaging with their favorite brands one on one. However, recently business-to-business companies have started to pay attention to the benefits of using social media.
With that, the distinguished line between B2C and B2B has begun to fade. What we are discovering is that even though we’re interacting with other brands, we know there is a person or team of people behind the name, changing how we interact with them. Rather than targeting the brand alone, B2B social media targets individual influencers either directly related to the brand, the industry or in some cases both.
The goal in targeting the influencers is to shift them into brand ambassadors: people who will share your content, give your company positive reviews and ultimately spread the word about you. The key is to know who your top influencers are, what platforms they use, how to capture their attention and when they are online.
Top influencers typically have a strong social media presence and are industry experts in their own right. They may already be engaging with you often, increasing your success because the relationship has already been established.
Tip 1: Lists are key for success
Make a list of these users (broken down by industry if you’re company is involved in more than one) so you can target them for future campaigns.
It’s important to push your business across many channels; however if you are using Facebook because it’s popular—but your audience isn’t there—it’s a waste of time. LinkedIn is currently the best social platform for B2B companies. Starting out as more or less an online resume, LinkedIn has grown into the place to be for B2B companies because those on it are there for business reasons. You are not going to see pictures of what someone ate last night for dinner or the umpteenth smiling baby. Rather, LinkedIn is a social platform for the professional.
Twitter is another platform growing in popularity within the B2B community. Aside from live tweeting; tools like CoveritLive and Storify give customers real-time updates not only from the company but everyone using a specific hashtag or handle. The number of things you can do with Twitter grows everyday.
Tip 2: Broaden the search and ask for love
Search for top influencers on all the platforms you’re on—you may even find the same influencers on more than one. Invite them to like your page, follow your Storify or share your post. (Chances are…they will!)
The way in which you compose your post is also very important. Each social platform is designed to attract in different ways. Twitter allows 140 characters in a tweet but most successful tweets are fewer than 60. Where Facebook has an unlimited amount of characters, it recommends a character count of around 100. Learn what will attract your influencers based on the industry you’re in. For example, engineers use social media to learn or seek information, so posts that work best are composed in the form of questions.
Tip 3: Learn the lingo
Test the headline of your article on by tweeting multiple titles and seeing which one performs the best.
Finally, timing is everything. You created an amazing social post; it has a beautiful eye-catching image and the perfect call-to-action. You post it on all your platforms at the same time but the next day your impressions are less than 2% of your total following with zero clicks. What did you do wrong? The answer is timing. Everyone uses social media at different times, and diving even deeper, each platform’s traffic is different. The key is to know what times of the day are the most active and post then. You may find that users are on LinkedIn in the mornings but more active on Facebook in the evenings. So the same post will need to be scheduled at different times.
Tip 4: Don’t let your post die in vain
Each platform has an average life for its posts. Facebook is 2-5 hours, Twitter is about 45 seconds (yikes!), Pinterest never dies, and so on. Learn when your customers are online and target your posts during those times, otherwise your hard work will never pay off because no one will ever see it.
All in all, social media is constantly shifting and changing. What worked for you today may not work next year or next month. By continually checking your reports and what’s working, you’ll be able to stay on top of your social media success.
What do you do for B2B social media success? Follow Stacy at @WTWH_Stacy