Did you hop on the social media bandwagon, only to be disappointed in your efforts, not to mention the results? Were you lured by promises of low cost brand exposure? Are your accounts nearly abandoned or are you overwhelmed by a proliferation of social media accounts for multiple brands? If only B2B social media was as easy as setting up an account.
Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. These problems are common among the B2B marketers we meet with. However, social media isn’t going away. If your business relies on companies finding you through search engines you need to think twice about abandoning your social media marketing efforts altogether. Increasingly, search engines such as Google are using social connections to serve up relevant results. Without those social connections, it may be difficult for potential customers to find you.
Unfortunately, in the rush to get involved in social media, many marketers forgot the fundamentals. So before giving up, I urge marketers to step back and evaluate their efforts with the same level of scrutiny they give to their advertising, trade shows and other marketing efforts.
Identify who you want to reach.
Who are your target audiences and where are they online? Take a common sense approach that prioritizes your markets and the social media sites that best reach them. If you don’t know, look at how publications, associations and competitors in your markets are using social media. Don’t feel obligated to use every social media channel. Focus on the social media networks that make sense for your brand, and those that you have the resources to do well.
Figure out how you can use social media to better serve customers and prospects.
All the social media accounts in the world won’t make customers want to engage with you. Customers and prospects want something of value and it’s up to you to figure out what they need or want. Provide a good reason for people to connect with you. Add value and you will build connections that will enhance your company’s visibility and reputation.
I agree with Jay Baer, who said that ,“The goal is not to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business because of social media.”
What are you good at? What do customers look to you for? Can it be translated into engaging social media content?
Realize that your business may need to create something or take action. While you can leverage content and expertise you already have, social media is not effortless. Whatever needs to be done, it should be good for business and good for your customers.
Recognize that each social media network is unique. Conversations should be customized for the audience as well as the platform. Just as in real life you wouldn’t say the same thing to prospective employees as you would to prospects, avoid pushing the exact same information out on all of your social media channels.
Your plan should outline how you will engage on social media sites: what you will say, how you will say it, to whom, and how often. And not to be overlooked, who will be responsible for what. But here’s the hard part, you must do it over and over and over again.
Create sustainable content
By creating a social media plan for this week, next week and the week after, you uncover the resources needed for sustainable content. Aim for a calendar that features 12 months of potential conversation topics, videos, blog posts, case studies and whitepapers that address your goals and serve your customers. There is always room for modification, but with a carefully crafted strategy and planning process you will ensure that your social media sites don’t become ghost towns, reflecting poorly on your brand’s image.
Are you taking a second stab at social media? What will you do differently this time?