Are you disappointed that your social media posts seem to just disappear into the vast ocean of the internet, leaving nary a ripple? If you’re like most marketers, there’s a very good reason why your updates are being ignored:
You’re spread too thin.
According to the B2B Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America report, published by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, the average corporate marketing department is using an average of six channels to promote its content. Clearly, that’s too many to manage adequately.
What happens when you’re not focused
- If your target audience isn’t gathered on one or more of your favorite social media channels, then you’re wasting your time shouting at people who have little to no interest in your company and its services.
- You’re scrambling to keep up, so your updates aren’t as frequent as they ought to be.
- You rely on “spray and pray” to get the job done. You post your updates and move on. You don’t take time to engage with your audience. Thanks to your hectic pace, you miss opportunities to build relationships with and be helpful to them.
- You use a one-size-fits-all approach, instead of optimizing your messages for each social channel. This limits their impact and effectiveness.
In other words, you may be wasting a significant amount of time on social media activity that may never have a measurable impact for your firm.
A better approach: laser-like focus
A growing number of brands are finding social media success by focusing on one channel where its target audience is already congregated and “owning” it. Yes, it requires you to put all of your eggs into a single proverbial basket. But it concentrates your power at one focal point where it can do the greatest good, while at the same time minimizing wasted effort.
Here are some other benefits of focusing on one social network:
- Instead of high production, you can focus on quality – which is essential if you want your content to stand out. As you begin to get traction on one social network, you can gradually expand to include others.
- You’ll benefit from consistency. If your content is exceptional and is published on a scheduled basis, your followers will come to expect and anticipate it. If you’re trying to do this on five or six social networks, it’s almost impossible to maintain such consistency.
- You’ll learn more about your target audience, because you’ll have the time to listen to them and engage with them.
- You can also be more responsive to questions, because you will no longer be distracted with running from one channel to another to drop your updates. That can pay big dividends by helping you build deeper relationships with prospective customers.
Key questions to ask yourself
- Where do your customers congregate online? If they don’t gather on a channel you’re using, you’re wasting your time. Immediately eliminate it from your content distribution plans.
- Look broadly at what’s best for the business and your content initiative, not who “owns” which channel on your marketing staff. You’re bound to get some pushback from your team members as you make adjustments. But you must tweak your approach as your audience and channels evolve. Don’t get locked into a single approach because of people issues.
It’s time to assess your social media efforts. Remember, less is more!
Social media may seem overwhelming. You can’t be everywhere at once, so how can you choose the social media channels where your web presence will have the most impact? It’s a question a lot of businesses struggle with, and it’s especially daunting for B2B.
Below are four steps to get noticed on social media now:
1. Find Your Audience
Who is your customer? Your first step is to flesh out an accurate customer persona. Is your buyer male? Female? How old? Do they have a college degree? What are their likes and dislikes? What do they read? What do they want or need?
- Your Assignment: Once you fill in the basic demographics, take a look at this Pew Research Center report. Match your buyer demographics to the social media market where they have the most presence.
2. Pick Your Social Media Channels
Next, check out your biggest competitors. They’ll have the same potential customer base, so it makes sense to find out who is engaging with your competition and on what channels.
- Your Assignment: Running a competitor analysis can give you a clear picture of where your competitors are seeing success and what content their audience (and yours) most responds to.
Yes, there are a lot of social media options these days. Here’s the basics about the biggest social media platforms and what to expect.
Google+: Social media studies often overlook Google+, even though it’s a channel growing in both functionality and popularity. Google’s search algorithm favors Google products (surprise, surprise), so that means Google+ is a great social media option for many businesses. Google+ also offers additional SEO value. You can optimize your posts with keywords and hashtags, and each email you send to a Gmail user will include a button to follow your page.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is populated with business folk, so it’s typically a great platform for B2B communications. Keep your posts professional and to the point. Add links that drive traffic back to your website. Keep your private messaging personal and never spammy. More than 80% of B2B social media leads originate on LinkedIn, so make your content count.
Twitter: Engage your audience and make new contacts on Twitter. Twitter is a great place to connect with industry leaders, influential bloggers, brand advocates, and publishing platforms who will help you spread your message. Regular, active participation in industry hashtag chats is a valuable way to develop relationships with the right people.
Facebook: The big daddy of the social media sphere, Facebook offers an ability to hold lengthy conversations with customers and ask for input. However, sometimes it’s not the best place for B2B, so do your homework before committing.
Pinterest and Instagram: If you can create great visual content, consider Pinterest or Instagram. Users are engaged and love to share—just be sure you’re connecting with the right people by narrowing down your target audience.
For a more in-depth explanation of each of these social media platforms and more, check out our post: Which Social Media Platform Is Right for YOUR Business?
3. Determine Your Content Types
Content comes in all forms: video, graphics and photos, tweets, longer blog posts, surveys, and links. No matter what social medium you choose, longer posts and rich content that includes graphics and videos is most widely shared and will help you sell your brand. Share photos of your products, your business in action, your staff, and your customers, if possible. Involve your customers by asking them to share photos of how they use your products. Ask them for input directly or post fun quizzes.
- Your Assignment: Study the results of your buyer persona exercises, social media platform matches, and competitor analysis. What types of content are most popular on that particular outlet? Use content from others as a template and starting point. (…but don’t copy!)
4. Craft Your Social Media Strategy
The information you’ve gathered thus far gives you the basis for your social media plan. When you know who your customers are, where they hang out, what kind of content they engage with, and what social media channels are most advantageous—then you’re ready to get rollin’.
A word to the wise: One way to manage several social media channels is with automated posts, but be wary of automating too much. While some programs seem chatty and human, recipients almost always know they’re being addressed by a bot and not a person. You’ll also want to be careful about cross-posting. Longer posts crafted for Facebook will be truncated when posted to Twitter.
If you need help crafting a complete social media strategy, contact Cultivate Communications or download the free resource below.
Never forget that social media is social…the whole point is to build relationships and keep your customers interested and in the loop. When you build audience, you keep your sales pipeline full. Want to know more? Download this free guide to content marketing, Side Door Thinking.
Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how you can use storytelling as part of an effective marketing strategy.
You’ll learn how to:
- Increase Your Referral Rate
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- Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource