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How to Use Social Media as an Effective B2B Customer Service Tool for Active Engagement and Brand Building

9 Jul

Did you know that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others?

Not long ago, businesses would focus on newspapers and advertising through print. They still do, but clearly, digital media has taken over a major share of the branding budget in 2018. Now with smartphones and social media technology, businesses prefer to surf the tide of customer service using new-age marketing technologies. Social Media Marketing clearly demonstrates how technology amplifies brand messaging and meets new benchmarks in customer service benchmarks.

B2B marketing insights incorporated in social media are effective methods for traffic generation, interactive engagement and brand association.

Customer centricity is the pillar of any B2B or B2C social media marketing concept. A consistent rhythm of working through engagement campaigns is what makes the B2B social media marketing sphere ever dynamic and progressive.

To-do list for a strong social media marketing campaign

A number of businesses use the wrong path while pursuing leads on social media. The marketing technique used here must be effective in analyzing the weak links and strengthening those that have the potential to be efficient and affordable. In order to execute a robust social media campaign, follow these specifics:

Dedicate time to understand the intricacies of social media

A number of social media marketing tips are prevalent online, but the key goal here is to experiment, understand, and then pursue the ultimate goal. Curiosity is the key here, folks.

Listen to your clients/customers for valuable information

Having certain leads for ongoing commentary/advice or recommendations on feeds, posts or campaigns is important. Customers shall leave in positive or negative responses, but analysis of both reactions are important.

Real-time conversations exist and must be utilized

In the current world of rapidly growing technology and speed; unhappy customers who wish to communicate must be given importance to. Responsive time management is crucial. An auto-reply response generated by social media platforms would be an added bonus here. This will help customers in having a waiting time allotted, after which a real-time conversation can smoothly flow.

Social media marketing management

Many marketers aim to target 4-5 social media platforms at once, and this causes friction between coordination and calculation of insights. The to-do list here would be to focus on one platform with the right content and then expand eventually, after achieving the desired target.

Measuring Targets

No social media campaign has been proclaimed as “effective” without measuring targets and analyzing social media growth. According to DMA, “56% are using engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares, and retweets) to measure the success of social media.”

The objective is the same and it applies to both small business and enterprises; build structured content and then present it to the right audience. This fuels the audience for active engagement and tracks performance accordingly. Social media marketing has become a prerequisite, one that is implemented by businesses for overall presence. It also impacts the effect social networks have on users.

Content for Social Media Marketing

Posting content for social media has to be productive and valuable. The concept of quality over quantity is a must. There are numerous ways of generating content which in return will create leads and direct traffic.

Infographics

The addition of digital Infographics to your social media marketing campaign is a fun and quick way of transcribing the message to an audience. Infographics are fluent to understand and can give the user a massive break from monotony. Do make sure that the content made available via the infographic is visually appealing and productive towards your target audience.

User Generated Content or UGC

Content created by unpaid contributors is explained as UGC. This method of capitalizing on engagement taps into psychological behavior by analyzing how consumers react to stimuli presented by the company. This helps the company understand KPIs in analyzing crowd response and user-generated ideas/thoughts.

GIFs

GIF translates to the Graphic Interchange Format. GIF is an image format in which visual files can be shared and viewed. The format supports both animated and static images. GIFs are gaining popularity in the social media platform and add interesting visual components to a company’s portfolio. Incorporating GIFs into a social media marketing strategy will be a relatively new feature. Yet it will be approved by the fresh urban crowd of today because of its quirky and fun-filled appeal.

Concept Visualization

Visualizing a single concept with self-explanatory graphs, charts and paragraphs will be easy to implement in a company’s social media strategy. Embedding such visuals shall boost a company’s website and social media game since digestible facts are easier to consume, in comparison to solid bricks that are difficult to chew! These graphics are also shareable and commentary received on interesting topics can help you leverage metrics on the decided social media campaign.

Social Media and Social Media Marketing Tools

Due to the rapidly developing internet hype, social media users have reached an all-time high! Most of the social media users excessively leverage specific social networking sites to distribute content and increase traffic/leads.

Apart from the common social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube— Marketers can also leverage other social media tools that can help blend content seamlessly and increase engagement.

To hone language and improve the quality of content, below are 3 popular tools for social media marketers in the fields of calculating outreach, scaling images and video editing.

Percentage Calculator

Percentage Calculator is a free online tool which is used to calculate percentages. This is especially beneficial for social media marketers who find it time-consuming to analyze the increase and decrease of outreach for social media posts. With percentage calculator, the regular marketer can help turn raw data into definite percentages.  Instead of structuring correct mathematical formulas, the app can simplify a task by entering numbers into the calculator’s sentence based structure. It helps in doing the computation for you, significantly transforming the digital platform.

Landscape by Sprout Social

Landscape by Sprout Social efficiently scales the sizes of images for social media. Each social media network has different image sizes and coverage. For an image to fit all platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn; cropping, resizing and positioning are required. Landscape makes this easy by catering to needs of image editing by providing a platform fit for all. Landscape performs these edits with no compromises. After uploading the image to Landscape/SproutSocial, Landscape caters to different options for you. Landscape systematically resizes images meant for every platform, thus making your task simple and organized. It’s a free tool and comes with a download tab after edits, hence simplifying your social media managing platform.

Magisto

Magisto is a super-cool AI-powered video editing tool. Simply upload videos/movie clips or audio files from the desktop or smartphone app. Magisto will analyze faces, objects, camera motion or people; synching the music beats to the video footage. You can choose an edit amongst those provided either on the mobile app or website, and the results will be astonishing!

Social media is an efficacious medium for marketers and for business solutions. It fosters communication by augmenting social media marketing with key metrics is a definite way of calculating the effectiveness of strategy campaigns. The results are pure, rapid and valuable. With digitalization, social media marketing is the ideal way of connecting to an audience in a redefined driven innovation.

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How Social Media Marketing Can Adjust to Meet Waning User Trust

14 May

There is always a learning curve for society when it comes to new technology.

This has always been true, even long before the Internet or social media came onto the scene. But while there’s always been a slight, resistant tension between people and the tech that’s pulling them into the future, we have largely gone along with the development of social media as it has grown over the past 15 or so years. We’ve created accounts and shared personal information; we’ve posted terabytes of photos and written memoirs in status updates. Digital marketers know what this trade-off entails—a fun, convenient service in exchange for personal data—but it’s also easy to forget that ordinary users without a marketing background don’t readily understand the scale of how their social data is used.

And while platforms like Facebook have made middling attempts to explain their platform to their users, they’ve continued to pull them along—and it seems the tension may have finally snapped.

While watching the Facebook hearings a couple weeks ago—an exercise that taught us less about how social media works and more about how much the government has also been left behind by the rapid development—I found myself thinking about how crazy the past year has been for social platforms. While Facebook takes heat for data security and giving access to third parties, Twitter continues to update their account banning policies in an effort to keep up with complaints of unsavory content and bots, and Reddit also struggles to prune back tides of fake or automated accounts.

Social media as a whole is undergoing an intense stress test that, hopefully, will translate into systematic improvements to the platforms we know and love to use. But the stress test has come at a cost, and platforms are paying for that cost by expending audience trust.

How a Leak Turns Into to a Flood

Users are rapidly losing trust in many of the social platforms they love to use. Today, Facebook is the clearest example, having struggled to maintain a younger audience last year only to then lose more users and approximately $70 billion in light of the Cambridge Analytica data leaks. Twitter has had a less dramatic struggle in recent months, touting their first profitable quarter in nearly 12 years—largely driven by international growth while their US audience declined by a million users.

When this shift in trust is examined on a larger scale, the issue only becomes more pronounced. The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer—a massive, global study conducted every year to measure public sentiment towards major institutions—rightly subtitled this year’s report “The Battle for Truth.” In it, they found that the world as a whole has become more distrustful over the past year, with the US leading the charge, dropping 23 places in global ranking for the informed public’s trust in media outlets.

Specifically, where social media is concerned, trust in social platforms continued to decline as it has since 2016, nearly bringing us to an even 50-50 split between trusting and distrusting audiences using social media. An interesting note, however, is that journalistic outlets have seen a significant increase in the percentage of the population that trusts them, jumping by 5 percent since last year to nearly 60 percent. And in this, there may be lessons for marketers to take note of.

Speaking to Distrust

Brands that want to maintain effective social media marketing during this tumultuous time need to fundamentally reorient how they approach social media.

To date, social media marketers have by and large taken a “hear no evil, see no evil” approach to social media management. We offer content and conversation on our pages only to also run promotional social advertisements that we just simply don’t speak to. We use demographic targeting and audience insights to boost posts or plan for distributions, but work to ensure every step of our audience interaction comes off as solely organic. We exist on platforms embroiled in technological, political, and societal turmoil, but work to prune those conversations out of our comments and conversations.

This approach has worked for a long time because users were willing to engage with this fantasy—they also did not want to see, hear, or engage with the fact that the platform they used was collecting their data. But the coin has flipped, and now users are in a place where they more readily associate silence on social media matters with complicity rather than comfort.

Brands need to begin taking a more active role in earning audience trust if they hope to maintain it.

Embrace Transparency

As users become more comfortable understanding and talking about the ways in which their data is used, transparency into brands’ practices becomes a highly sought-after commodity. Rather than disengaging or ignoring conversations about how your brand interacts with user privacy and data, try to proactively explain your processes and how you protect your audience.

Be Idealistic

One of the primary drivers of distrust recently has been a disconnect between spoken ideals and active ideals practiced by brands (for instance, Facebook promoting the idea of building community, but then selling inordinate amounts of data to third parties). This offers an opportunity for brands that are willing to speak openly about their ideals and back it up with content and action. Brands are seeing success with this tactic in even the most extreme, politicized scenarios, which formerly would have been considered PR suicide.

Respond Promptly to Criticism

Even if your brand comes under scrutiny during this time, this doesn’t mean you should back away from hard conversations with your audience. Rather, take steps to engage your audience to understand what they would consider to be a solution, and implement it publicly to earn trust rather than defeat. You don’t have to take this as far as Elon Musk did and completely delete your Facebook presence, but listening and reacting will always go a long way.

Marketers are working at a unique time in history when society is contending with what privacy and big data can mean for them on a personal level. While the Facebook hearings may be done, these conversations are far from over, and it remains unclear how these conversations will shape the platforms we use, or how users interact with those platforms in general. What is clear, however, is that trust remains a consistently valued commodity throughout time, regardless of how our means of communication change. Brands that seek to be accessible, communicative, and responsive to the needs of their audiences will always find marketing success. But during times when trust is held at such a high premium, brands might also be able to turn success into even greater opportunity for growth.

How Can Manufacturers Successfully Leverage Social Media?

7 Nov

When it comes to marketing and leveraging the influence of social media, businesses are often inhibited by preconceptions and narrow thinking. One example is the notion that social media marketing is the sole preserve of B2C sectors, for example, which often deters inexperienced firms in B2B markets from embracing this unique and accessible channel.

In fact, social media marketing is something that can also serve as an impactful tool for businesses across a range of B2B sectors. This is particularly true in the manufacturing industry, where an estimated 85% of marketers cited content and social marketing drives as key drivers of sales in 2015.

Social platforms including LinkedIn and YouTube were also referenced as increasingly influential resources, particularly in relation to the effective sharing and distribution of content.

3 Ways in Which Manufacturers and Product Managers Can Harness Social Media

This is an encouraging trend, and one which suggests that the manufacturers and product managers that have leveraged social media have achieved positive and measurable results. This is something that less knowledgeable or experienced brands within the manufacturing sector can learn from, as they harness the reach and influence of social channels to drive sales and brand awareness.

With this in mind, here are three effective ways in which you can successfully leverage social media for the good of your brand: –

Make Facebook and LinkedIn the Focal Points of your Social Marketing Strategy

While all businesses should look to develop an integrated and tailored social profile (in order to effectively target customer segments), this is particularly important in the manufacturing sector. Whether you produce your own products and sell directly to consumers or are hoping to engage B2B clients, you will need to choose a viable range of channels that provides a showcase for your ranges and markets them appropriately.

In terms of core elements, you need to integrate Facebook and LinkedIn at the heart of your social marketing strategy. Facebook offers you instant access to a user base in excess of one billion, so creating a company profile and using this to highlight products and innovations provides tremendous reach. This can be also be used to integrate alternative marketing tactics, primarily by sharing blog posts, details of product launches and any innovative promotional campaigns aimed at optimising sales conversions.

While Facebook offers you access to a huge, global audience, however, you will need to ensure that you deliver the most relevant and appealing content to engage individuals. This requires a core understanding of your client and consumer base and the reasons that they use the platform, with an estimated 49% of individuals claiming that they ‘like’ a Facebook page in order to support a particular brand.

For B2B manufacturers, LinkedIn is another powerful and effective platform. This site is far more stream-lined and professional in its nature than Facebook, which in turn offers access to potential partners and an entry point into long-term, client relationships. By registering a company page here, you can leverage LinkedIn’s blogging facility to share informative and insightful content that establishes your business as  a thought leader this will improve your chances of forging mutually beneficial contacts and securing lucrative B2B orders in the future.

Embrace Video and Broadcast on YouTube

Of course, rich media plays a central role in any successful social and content marketing campaign, as diverse publications are far more likely to engage customers and clients alike. When targeting B2B clients, however, it is also important to note that video is far more impactful than still imagery and capable of driving 62% more engagement on average.

So while your B2B manufacturing outlet can still use imagery to drive social conversations (particularly when targeting female-orientated clients or markets through Pinterest), you should undoubtedly focus the majority of your attention on video marketing.

One of the best ways for manufacturers to capitalise on this trend is to broadcast on YouTube, as this platform currently boasts over one billion unique users and enables brands to establish their own, independent channels. This can then be used to share varied by impactful content, from product training videos and behind-the-scenes the scenes footage of the manufacturing process. This offers value and information to B2B clients, while helping to humanise your operation and cultivate a deeper relationship.

Both B2B and B2C manufacturers can also leverage video to share brand and product narratives, while also capturing compelling testimonials from former customers and clients.

Platforms such as YouTube are also powerful as they allow you to host content directly on the website and embed it on your own website, enhancing your own landing page loading times and the quality of the videos in question.

Empower Followers, Customers and Clients as Social Contributors

One of the biggest concerns that manufacturers about social media marketing is their ability to consistently produce engaging content. While this can be a particularly significant challenge for B2B brands, however, the conversational and interactive nature of social media actively enables manufacturers to empower their follows as key contributors of insight and content.

One of the best examples of this was in evidence recently, as food manufacturing brand Hampton Creek connected with followers through Twitter and encouraged them to share tricks for recycling and reusing empty jars. This is a direct and fun way of engaging followers, while subtly advertising products, sustainable manufacturing techniques and an overarching brand.

Twitter is central to this process, whether you are interacting with followers, gathering real-time insight or attempting to drive efficient, after-sales service. In fact, Twitter helped brands to re-imagine the nature of customer services, which went from being a costly and unyielding business element to a key marketing channel and ‘a scalable way’ to delight consumers.

Regardless of how you engage your customer or client base through social media and the Twitter platform, however, the key is to create real-time interaction and an organic channel through which to market your products. This will help to both generate fresh and exciting content for your social profile and optimise the ROI on your total marketing spend.

How Social Media Nurturing Gets You More Results

31 Oct

Social media nurturing has to be a requirement for all businesses. Businesses have turned social media automation into something that seems to resemble broadcast radio by posting large volumes of tweets and updates occurs fast with automation tools. Now imagine every business, regardless of their industry, doing the exact same thing.

Automated postings have inundated social communities to a point that no one is listening anymore.

Unfortunately, businesses have over-used social media automation tools to be the end of their marketing efforts. They are seeking efficient (not necessarily effective) ways of getting their message out as fast and as low cost as possible. Low cost to these businesses includes low to no labor. These quick tactics are not effective and do more harm than good.

The question we have to ask ourselves is how effective is broadcasting your message in bulk? How effective is it to wait for people to come to you? With every business broadcasting to the social communities, how likely is it for someone to listen on the other end? It is more likely people have become numb to the broadcasts.

4 DON’Ts of Social Media Automation

The reliance on social media automation tools can put a business at risk of ruining their social community presence. First, we must recognize social media marketing to be about relationship marketing. If the audience doesn’t recognize there is a real human being behind the business account, they are not likely to stay engaged.

  1. Don’t make auto Direct Messages part of your social media strategy.
  2. Don’t treat scheduled messages as a one size fits all tactic.
  3. Don’t forget to analyze your scheduled messages for results.
  4. Don’t forget to read the articles you’re sharing for quality.

Over-reliance on marketing automation tools will create the opposite effect over time. Consider balance between using marketing automation tools and your time.

Getting Past The Noise

Nurturing your social media activities does not mean you need to drop your social media automation. Rather, nurturing is about augmenting the automation with real relationship marketing.

There are two simple points to understand when it comes to nurturing your social media marketing activities.

  1. Pick one quality post and nurture that post for one week and only one week. This one post will be more effective than 10 broadcasts from social automation.
  2. Nurturing is about bringing people in your conversations. Waiting for someone to maybe like or comment on your post is not going to do the trick. The difference is active social media marketing versus passive social media marketing.

The nurturing process is about spending 15 minutes or less each day. Imagine putting on a reporter hat on and interviewing those who you have selected to bring into your conversation. You are soliciting for their help, opinion, knowledge, experience, and expertise. You’ll see how much people would like to share their thoughts. This process does need you to keep asking questions to keep the conversation alive.

Your Social Nurturing Activities

The list of activities to nurture your social media marketing is not that long and completed in 15 minutes. The activities below are best suited for LinkedIn. The concepts are similar in other social communities:

  1. Select a post you would like to nurture on a Monday.
  2. Add a comment to your post followed by a question and tag three people in your connected network.
  3. Tagging means you are going to add their First and Last name to the post. In LinkedIn, as you type a name, the people in your network will appear in a pop-up menu for easy selection.
  4. The people you have tagged will receive an email telling them to visit your post to include their comments.
  5. Come back to your nurtured post in 24 hours.
  6. If no one has responded, don’t give up. Add another comment and tag three different people.
  7. If you received a response, Like that person’s response and comment about what they said to keep the conversation going.
  8. In your next comment add three more people.
  9. You can like your own comments and your post to give it added exposure.
  10. The more activity on this post they more likely that others will see the post and join the conversation.

Does it help to know your network? Yes. Start with people you know will engage with you. Later start tagging people who have a high volume of connections. Each time others comment on your post, their entire network sees their activity. This means they see your post too. This is how viral marketing gets going.

Depending upon the success of a post you may decide to sponsor the post for even more exposure. Planning this up front will be helpful since you need to start this type of conversation from your company page.

In LinkedIn, you may wish to start a post and nurture the conversation in the Pulse Post section. This opens the conversation up to the entire LinkedIn network. In Pulse Posts other people can see your posts without a connection to you. Since the Pulse Posts are open to the public, Google will see your activity, too. This improves your chances of showing in search results.

Social Relationships Take Time

Nurturing your social media activities is helpful to present your knowledge and authority on a subject to your network. I would recommend visiting the profiles of those who have commented on your posts. You can then Like their activities along with commenting on one of their posts without solicitation by them.

You are now showing respect for their efforts and your relationship marketing is well underway. This has a much better possibility to become real revenue generating business!

How to Hire a Freelancer for Social Media Marketing

24 Oct

Advertising on Facebook and other social media sites requires time and expertise. But ecommerce merchants often lack one or the other; they sometimes struggle with optimizing paid social media campaigns.

The answer for many merchants is to hire a specialized freelancer. Marketplaces, such as Upwork, Outsourcely, and Guru, are good places to start. All have tools that allow you to search for the skills you’re looking for — such as “Facebook ads.”

You’ll likely see a list of freelancers with titles such as “Facebook Ads Master,” and descriptions of “All I do is Facebook ads. In fact, I love Facebook ads.” Each freelancer also provides his or her hourly rate, as well as other skills, such as email marketing.

Searching freelance marketplaces for “Facebook ads” will likely produce a list of candidates, such as this example from Upwork.

Moreover, most freelance marketplaces have a five-star rating system. Almost every project from every freelancer is rated in this manner. In my experience, if a freelancer doesn’t have mostly four or five stars, he isn’t worth your time.

Posting a Job

The first step in finding a suitable candidate is to create a post, on the marketplace, that lists what you need and how you want to pay: a lump sum or an hourly rate. For a larger project, such as setting up a Facebook ads account, I prefer paying a lump sum. That way I can budget for a one-time setup, a creative stockpile, and an initial strategy.

In fact, it’s nearly always best, in my experience, to hire freelance social media expertise with a lump-sum payment. Hourly engagements can sometimes lead to cost overruns or misunderstandings on the engagement’s scope.

The process of posting a job on a freelance marketplace is straightforward. For this example, I’ll use Upwork.

Create an account at Upwork and click “Post a Job” in the upper menu. This will take you to the job creation page. Start by giving your job a name, and then a description. Provide as much detail as possible — the success of the job depends on detailed communication as it lets the freelancer knows what she’s getting into.

Create an account at Upwork and click “Post a Job.” This will take you to the job creation page.

Then, attach any relevant files, such as non-sensitive business packets and style guides. Choose the project type, how your project is described, and the number of freelancers you’ve used previously and what they’ve done. Choose, also, the number of social media sites you’ll be targeting, which, for this example, is just Facebook.

Next comes a few more details, such as additional specifications for the job, your experience working with freelancers, the skills they need, and the price you will pay. Select, too, an experience level: Intermediate to Expert is best, though Intermediate will likely cover your needs.

Also, choose how you want to advertise your job. You can expose it to all freelancers on Upwork or, alternatively, you can just enter the name of specific people, and only they will be able to see the job. If you open it to all Upworkers, add further “Preferred Qualifications” to help narrow down the field.

Finally, you can ask a few questions that anyone applying will have to answer, such as “Do you have any experience with my industry” or “What do you find most frustrating with Facebook ads?” These questions will help you learn more about the freelancer, to make sure he has the expertise for your job.

Questions and Milestones

Once you’ve found a freelancer and have agreed on the cost, schedule a telephone call to get the project started. Remember, it’s your project. Ask questions, recognizing that you’ve hired an expert.

Most marketplace platforms let you set up milestones for each major step of the engagement. For a Facebook ads account, as an example, consider milestones of:

  • Account set up;
  • Ads created;
  • Conversion tracking added;
  • Account launched.

Beyond the milestones, keep tabs on your project. Establish a schedule of check-ins, such as every Wednesday at 5 p.m., but don’t send daily emails asking about the status. Send additional information to your freelancer if it’s beneficial and give feedback when necessary.

Of course, you can always save the hassle and work with a VA/Freelancer agency like Sala Social Marketing.  We have over 18 years experience in the field with many happy clients!

4 Social-Media Mistakes Your Business Can’t Afford to Make

17 Oct

Social media marketing is something you need to be doing. It’s too effective when it comes to growing your business to ignore it. As more businesses make it a larger component of its marketing strategies, I see more mistakes being made.

Here are four mistakes you don’t want to make on social media.

1. You’re not interacting with followers.

Guess what the number one line of communication is for customer service? Social media.

The majority of consumers are constantly plugged into social media, which is the reason social media is a major customer support tool. I see a lot of businesses that understand this, but its social media feed is just a long list of support replies.

Since your followers are plugged in around the clock, use it as an opportunity to create raving fans of your business. Every business is going to have a different audience and target market, so you need to think of content that your followers would be likely to engage with.

For example, if your audience is millennials, memes might be a good play. Memes spark engagement, like comments and social shares, generating buzz about your business. Remember, your social media posts don’t have to be traditional advertisements to convert followers into customers.

2. You’re overly promotional.

Continuing where the previous point left off, don’t post ad after ad, and expect your followers to stick around.

An offer here and there is fine, but if your followers feel that all of your posts are glorified advertisements, they will find other accounts to follow and leave you behind. They don’t need you. You need them.

3. You don’t include calls-to-action (CTAs).

Collecting followers alone isn’t going to magically translate into increased sales and revenue. Every social media profile gives you a place to put your website link, yet so many businesses miss out on an opportunity to collect leads, or push traffic directly to an offer because it simply puts its website’s homepage URL in these sections.

Don’t do that. Instead, put a link to your newsletter offer, downloadable whitepaper or a direct-to-purchase offer. Most clicks originating from social media and hitting your homepage are wasted clicks. Nobody has time to try to find offers. Send them directly to your offers, and this will greatly increase your conversion rates.

You should also mix in some CTAs in your posts. CTAs don’t have to be promotional.

Let’s assume you created a very informative infographic for your blog and want to drive traffic to it. Most businesses would just post the URL on social media and hope people will check it out. By including a strong CTA, such as, “You have to check out this cool infographic we just did — especially point No. 3,” will drive significantly more traffic than just listing the post title and a link.

4. You spread yourself too thin.

You have to accept the fact that you more than likely can’t be active on all social media channels, unless you have a dedicated social media team or outsource your social media to a digital agency.

It will benefit you much more if you are great on three social media outlets, rather than mediocre on more. Pick the social networks that your business thrives on, and focus on making your impact even bigger.

With just a small handful of social networks to worry about, it makes answering messages and engaging with your followers much more manageable. The faster you can reply and the more you can engage, the stronger that connection will become. Social media is a great tool to build relationships that create life-long brand supporters.

6 Huge B2B Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

19 Sep

There are many ways marketers can use social media, and we often see a lot of great examples of social media marketing from products or national brands and local businesses that really thrive on generating brand loyalty and involvement from their customers.

But what if your product or service is something with a long sales cycle rather than a sought-after consumer product, or if your target audience is composed of IT managers or CFOs rather than moms or college students? You can still reach key B2B stakeholders through social media marketing. But without the right strategies and tactics in place to reach these buyers on the right platforms, your social media efforts can end up hurting, rather than helping, your business.

Here are some of the biggest social media marketing mistakes to avoid – and what to do instead.

1. Dedicating Resources to the Wrong Platforms

Regardless of your business size or industry, building a robust social media presence is vital – but it doesn’t have to be everything to everyone. It’s important, especially if your resources are limited, that you’re focusing your social media efforts in places that will generate the most return for your efforts, but you can’t just guess at which ones those are. Not knowing where to start your social media strategy might be the result of a bigger underlying problem: not knowing your target audience. So, take some steps to figure out who your current buyers are and what your audience really looks like.

If you’re not exactly sure of the answers, or want to focus the majority of your efforts on a single platform, start with Facebook. It is the most widely used social media site by far, with 1.65 billon active users, and 66% of users logging on daily. So, chances are, your target prospects at least have a personal Facebook profile and are spending time there regularly. In fact, Facebook users spend an average of 50 minutes a day on the site. And, research shows thatpopular days and times for Facebook are Wednesday-Friday afternoons before four p.m., prime time for B2B organizations to reach out to their target audience.

2. Having a Narrow Definition of Social Media Marketing

Many businesses may think social media marketing just means having a claimed and active business page on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social channels. But this narrow view of social media marketing overlooks a wide variety of channels and strategies that can expand a business’ reach, create communities, and drive engagement.

Here are a few social media tactics that your B2B organization can benefit from:

  • Use LinkedIn Showcase pages to highlight top products or solutions and drive traffic directly to that page
  • Create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to generate engagement from an active user community
  • Leverage external social communities and online forums to drive user conversations and answer technical questions
  • Have a robust and active Glassdoor profile that reinforces your company’s brand and message
  • Publish product, customer, and community videos on an optimized YouTube page

3. Having a One-and-Done Content Strategy

What do all social media platforms have in common? They’re all content driven. But many B2B organizations don’t have a sustainable content strategy to fuel continuous interest and engagement on social media. On Twitter, your content typically only lives for about 20 minutes; on Facebook, a few hours. But, too often, businesses are struggling to create and share new content multiple times a day to post on these sites.

To achieve a repeatable content strategy that saves you time and effort, here are a few tips for generating and repurposing content for your social media marketing efforts:

  • Tap into internal experts: Don’t just leave the content creation up to your marketing team or agency, which could eat up a lot of your team’s time. Expand your content creation capabilities by leveraging subject matter experts from all areas of the business to contribute new perspectives on your industry. We frequently rely on product managers, service delivery experts, and even executive leadership team members to provide insight into the industry and provide fresh voices to our prospects and clients.
  • Share all the content from or about your business: Whether it’s a simple post on your company blog, an article for a third-party publication, a product video on YouTube, a press release, an interview or Q&A, or something else: promote all of your content across your social sites.
  • Repurpose and reshare: Social media content is not a one-and-done exercise. Developed an infographic? Turn it into a Slideshare or a video. Have a series of blog posts? Combine them into a guide or ebook. You can also leverage evergreen blog concepts that are more than a few months old, develop a fresh title or take, rewrite the content and structure, create a new post with fresh imagery, and BAM! Then, share it repeatedly. One thing my team at ReachLocal likes to do is to write a series of unique social media posts for a single piece of content like a webinar, blog post, or e-book so that we can share it across social media multiple times with different, clickable headlines. This also enables us to test how different messages and titles perform. You can also mix up your social media shares of a single piece of content by including a different image with each new social share, so it looks unique in the social feed. Make sure you spread these social posts out over a few days (or a few hours on Twitter) so you’re not spamming your audience.
  • Write clickable headlines: This is so important, I had to include it twice. Especially with the amount of competition on social media sites like Facebook, and the volume of organic views declining, it’s more important than ever to stand out on the News Feed. But how do you create clickable headlines? Start by brainstorming interesting titles with your internal team or agency, look at formats of engaging headlines from other brands and publications that are driving high social engagement, and test different topics and formats with your own audience. This also means you’ll need to review the performance of your social media posts and use the data to inform new headline styles, topics, and content.
  • Always use images: People like images. They like them so much that Instagram just reached 500 million users – more than Twitter. No matter what content you’re sharing or where you’re sharing it, make sure it’s visually appealing. Remember that your content is competing with family photos, infographics, memes, videos, ads, and more – so it has to make an impression. For limited budgets, you can use royalty-free images and stock photos to liven up your social media posts. If you have an in-house design team or agency, ask them to create a library of images that you can edit and use across your social posts. If you’re short on time, posting an info-image that features a stat, quote, fact, or tip is a quick way to drive engagement and interest from prospects and customers on social media.
  • Encourage employee participation: Finally, develop an employee advocacy program in your organization to encourage employees to share and amplify your content. This can be extremely valuable to expand your reach and engagement beyond your own fans and followers and enables employees to be active on social media without having to create their own content.

4. Avoiding New Content Formats (like Video)

Does your business only post 1-sentence status updates to your social media channels or link to curated content? You may not have experience creating live videos, presentations, or Buzzfeed-style articles, so you use this as an excuse not to try your hand at these tactics, but adding them to your toolkit can help you engage more of your audience on social media.

Here are a few ways to reach and appeal to your target buyers with new formats:

  • Create engaging videos: Not only do 87% of marketers already use video content, but it’s also one of the most liked and engaged-with forms of content on social media. So think about putting together some videos about your business, products, or services. Some of our top videos include Q&As, short webinars, product overviews, and client case studies.
  • Try your hand at live video: When it comes to social media, sometimes what works best isn’t the high-budget, edited video. Especially if you are short on time or lack video-editing capabilities. Chewbacca mom skyrocketed to viral stardom with a Facebook live video shot on a smartphone. While she’s not a B2B marketer, the lesson learned here is that sometimes a simple, emotional video is more. Facebook Live has already generated 8 billion video views per day, and on the heels of this, Twitter announced live streaming platform Periscope would be integrated directly into its timeline. Try creating a live video for your brand when you know your target viewers are most likely online the most, like weekday afternoons for Facebook.
  • Publish directly on social sites: In addition to creating content on your blog or website and amplifying it on your social channels, think about publishing new content directly on social sites themselves. LinkedIn,Facebook Instant Articles, and Slideshare are just a few examples of native content mediums that grow your brand’s reach and engagement on individual social media sites. If you decide to repurpose existing content for these publishers, take some time to make it unique for each platform and format by changing up the text and images – this also helps original to avoid SEO conflicts and site penalties.
  • Build relationships with influencers: When it comes to B2B social media marketing, some of your biggest lift can come from other people in your industry. Forming relationships and earning interest from top influencers can result in published content about your business (either content that you write or content that’s written about you), shared or retweeted content, positive brand mentions, and more. All of this can add to your social media inventory and propel your business into social media success.

5. Not Paying to Play

So, you’re regularly publishing content on social media – but you’re not really moving the needle. Do you still refuse to consider that today, a successful social media strategy involves paid content and advertising?

To reach both your existing fans and followers and new audiences within your target market, you need to invest in advertising or sponsored content on a variety of social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn all offer native advertising solutions, and Instagram ads can be delivered through the Facebook power editor. But, not all of these sites will be lucrative in the B2B market. For the sake of this post, we’ll continue to focus on Facebook for B2B marketing, although depending on your industry, you may want to test the effectiveness of Twitter or LinkedIn advertising solutions.

Facebook offers two paths for promoting your content: boosting posts or running targeted advertising. Both can effective but have different results for your business.

  • Know your goal: If you’re relying heavily on content marketing in your organization, you can reach a broader audience by boosting a popular post from your Facebook page. You should only pay to promote pieces of content that already have a good amount of reach and engagement, since the traffic you generate organically is a good indicator of whether or not your content will continue to perform well when you promote it. If your goal, however, is to drive a true conversion, such as a website download, a call, a contact form inquiry, or an online purchase – you’ll want to create an ad to promote your offer on Facebook that uses the right call to action to encourage viewers to take a specific action.
  • Use the right targeting: Whether you’re boosting an organic post or creating an ad, Facebook provides an abundance of audience targeting options to help you reach and engage just the right users. For B2B businesses and brands, it’s in your interest to identify and build a target audience similar to people who already like, engage with, and buy from you. There are a few ways you can create a niche target audience on Facebook:
    • Upload an existing customer or prospecting list (Excel or CSV file)
    • Create a lookalike audience with traits similar to your current customers
    • Target specific employers, job titles, industries, and business locations
    • Select demographics like gender, age, and income
    • Specify employer and/or job title
  • Keep your budget in check: Even as a B2B business, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on Facebook. You can start with a small budget and build on it if you see good results from your efforts. Keep in mind that the narrower the audience you target with an ad, the more it will cost you. If you’re not entirely sure who you’re trying to reach and are comfortable casting a wider net, start with a broader audience, and use Facebook’s optimization technology to help your ad reach the most engaged users.

6. Keeping your Social Media Separate from SEO

One important result of social media that many B2B leaders often miss is the organic traffic and leads you can capture outside of the social media site itself. In fact, robust, optimized, and active social media profiles for your business or product are likely to show up in natural search results, especially for searches for your business name, so failing to integrate these efforts could have a negative impact on your business.

In addition to your social media pages, individual posts and content like videos, images, tweets, and articles can also populate in SERPs for your business name or keyword searches. Interested prospects may find and check out your social media pages, company profiles, and more when researching your company, so it’s important that they are up to date and portray a positive view of your business. This also means ensuring you’re also taking note of comments, mentions, and reviews on social media and responding accordingly.

Go Forth & Be Social!

The most important thing to remember is no matter what you’re doing on social, be active. One of the top mistakes B2B businesses make is simply failing to be social. Because social media is so fluid, you have a lot of opportunities to try new strategies, test tactics, ask for feedback, and be more agile than you can with some other marketing methods. Even if you think you’re just selling boring software, social media can your chance to dedicate some of your most creative minds, time, and budget to your efforts.