Get Social: Develop, Manage, and Analyze Your Brand s B2B Social Media Strategy

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Get Social:

Develop, Manage, and Analyze Your

Brand’s B2B Social Media Strategy

AUTHORS: ALESSANDRA & TATIANA CERESA

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Social Media:

Why it’s

crucial for

your brand

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What the Experts Say

Let’s get straight to the bottom line: effective use of social media generates leads. Of course, generating leads through social media takes time, so forget about instant gratification. But, aside from generating leads, what are the other benefits of social media?

• Increase brand exposure

• Create a human connection between business and all stakeholders (both internal and external)

• Establish an image that aligns with your business’ identity Social media is a cost effective strategy to boost your brand, close more deals, and provide a superior customer experience than your competitors.

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“We don’t have a choice on whether we

do social media, the question is how well

we do it.” “Study your

competition and watch where they participate in social dialog. Don’t

reinvent the wheel.” “Every business has a

story. What’s yours? Share it in a way that attracts clients and encourages prospects to take action.”

Erik Qualman Rebekah Radice,

Social Media

Strategist Founder of Social Mike Stelzner, Media Examiner

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Picking social

channels:

Which platform is

best for your

business?

Choosing which social media platforms to use can be difficult, which sometimes leads businesses to either postpone creating their accounts, or create accounts on every social media platform that exists out there. Both equally as detrimental. Our number one rule of thumb: quality is always better than quantity.

With new social media platforms popping up every year, it is important to identify the big players and what each can do for your business. There are four primary social media platforms that remain the most powerful in social media marketing: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn (or

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Facebook

It is important to go where your customers are, and for many, that means Facebook. A Facebook page acts as a community forum for your business. It is a place where you can share important updates, information, events, promotion, and valuable content with your existing clients and potential

customers. It is also a place for your customers to engage with your business on a more personal level, providing customers with a more intimate forum.

• Business Humanization: Facebook business pages evolved from personal profiles, but having a defined personality and voice has not disappeared. Your business Facebook page is a place for you to connect with your customers on a more

authentic, genuine level. People are more likely to connect with a personality than a static brand.

• Drive your Facebook fans to your website: A Facebook page is just another place for you to promote your website.

Always make sure your website is visible in the ‘About’ section of your page, so that it appears on the front page of your timeline.

• Client/ Customer Retention and Loyalty: Facebook offers your business a direct way for you to address your client’s questions, concerns or praises. Having the ability to connect on a more personal level develops more solid relationships, resulting in client/customer retention. Having loyal

customers means you are creating a trustworthy brand.

• Customer engagement: Monitor how your clients and

customers view and interact with your business. The more compelling information you push out there, the more likely they are to engage with your page and share it with their contacts resulting in a viral effect.

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Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging site, which is unique in its type of content. It limits messages to 140 characters, encouraging small spurts of information. Unlike Facebook, there is no difference between a business profile and a personal profile. According to a study done at the University of Massachusetts, 73% of Fortune 500’s have an active Twitter account. As this study shows, Twitter has gone from being a niche-marketing tool to an integral part of a company’s overall marketing strategy, no matter what the size of the company.

Monitor and engage in real-time conversations:

Twitter is a great tool for monitoring your brand and engaging with anyone from media, leads, clients, or

influencers. Use keyword searches to monitor what people are saying about your company and industry in real-time. You’ll want to be in the Twittersphere to keep track of what is happening.

Drive your Twitter followers to your website


Twitter is for sharing information and updates. What better

way to update your followers with new information than on Twitter? It is a great place to share other people’s content as well as your own.

Boost business relationships


We are no longer in the business of pitching and press releases. We are in the business of relationship nurturing and ego boosting. Twitter is now a media and industry influencer hub. Get your business noticed by engaging in Twitter engagements with journalists, bloggers, and other influencers in your niche.

Customer acquisition and retention


Using Twitter hashtag monitoring, you can track specific keywords associated with your brand. This will allow you to target possible leads and interact with industry

professionals.

Increase brand awareness


Just like anything else, the more visible you are online, the more brand recognition you’ll receive. The key here is to find your target audience on Twitter. Tweet with a goal and your target market will come to you, follow you, and become acquainted with your brand.

Improve customer satisfaction


There are so many outlets for customers to engage with your brand, and Twitter is a big one. It’s the perfect place to

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Either way, the transparent nature of Twitter will improve customer relations, and ultimately customer satisfaction.

If you’re not sure what your goal

is, here is a tip to help you out:

Look at your brand’s mission

what is your company trying to achieve?

Connect your social media goals to the

overall business objectives.

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LinkedIn

With more than 300 million users (source), LinkedIn remains the social platform for business professionals around the

world to connect and network virtually. Because of its

business centric model, LinkedIn is a great place to network and interact with businesses and business professionals to build relationships, provide new opportunities for your brand, and enhance your reputation and thought leadership.

Contribute or start a LinkedIn Discussion and Group: Establishing a LinkedIn Discussion or Group can

position your brand as an industry thought leader. Many groups and discussions are open to all members, allowing for a potentially large reach. These are great places to

demonstrate your expertise in the field, building credibility for your brand.

Some tips for publishing on LinkedIn:

• Publish interesting content (not just your own)

• Start a discussion surrounding a particular topic instead of limiting your posts to self promotion

• Inspire people to comment, like, or share your posts

Increase traffic to your website: LinkedIn provides yet

another place for you to showcase your website. Drive traffic to your website by posting updates that link back to your site. LinkedIn is also highly favored with search engines, and LinkedIn profiles often come up in search results.

B2B and B2C Networking


Whatever type of business you are in, you are in the business of people. It is all relationship based and whether you are interacting with businesses or customers, you are still

speaking with humans. LinkedIn brings the two categories together. We go to networking events to meet people in certain industries. Well, LinkedIn brings that networking online.

Tips for enhancing your exposure on LinkedIn:

• Upload files and links to your work

• Include visuals

• Optimize your profile and summary for your business

Competitive Analysis


LinkedIn is the perfect platform to check in on your

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types of content your competitors are publishing. But, LinkedIn attracts a more business minded audience,

therefore, the content should be somewhat different. Always check in on your major competitors to get ideas on how you can improve your presence and interactions to gain more leads on LinkedIn.

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Google+

Google+ is only one part of the Google ecosystem, but it is now a very significant element to your business’s online

presence. With more than 343 million active users, Google+ is now a big player, and you better jump on board to get ahead of the curve!

You should all be on Google+.


Consider it as part of your SEO efforts.

• Take advantage of Google Authorship as it will link your profile to the content you publish.

• Use Google+ Hangouts to host and participate in

discussions surrounding your industry. Use your voice and get your name out there!

• Integrate features such as communities and video for a more dynamic user experience.

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Outsource or

In-house

Determining whether your company

should hire an in-house social media

professional or outsource the task is a

topic of much discussion these days.

Small business owners are already

responsible for most operations, and

social media adds yet another daunting

undertaking to the list. Enter the

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Outsource vs In-house

While outsourcing may seem beneficial because of their social media expertise, hiring an in-house social media exec means you are giving the job to someone that is completely and utterly devoted to your business instead of five. There are definitely pros and cons to each. Here are some benefits for both:

Top three reasons for keeping your social media in-house:

• They know and are an integral part of your business, team, mission, vision, values, and culture.

• They are more passionate about your business and serving your customers than any outsider.

• They are more efficient and get their stuff done quickly because they are only focusing on one account

Top three reasons for outsourcing your social media:

• Designated and experienced professionals develop and execute proven social media strategies.

• Outsourcing provides one less thing for you to worry about, saving time and potentially money.

• Save your in-house resources for business development, sales, etc.

If you decide to outsource, it is crucial that the undertaker goes out of the way to understand your business model, marketing strategy, and target market. Meeting employees and becoming an expert on the product or service you are selling is the only way that an outsider can achieve success with a social media campaign. You should also be sure that you have a consistent flow of communication with the

individual handling your account, so you are always in the loop.

Keep in mind that social media marketing is about engaging with people. Your brand’s story, personality, and voice should come through in every piece of content. Social media must align with your website and blog because they are intricately connected. If you have someone in-house responsible for website and blog content, then make sure they are

coordinating with the person in charge of social media—this way your messaging will be cohesive and consistent across the board.

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Social Media

Behaviors

Every piece of content you share is a direct reflection of

your brand. Let’s look at the four main social media

behaviors (as defined by Shift Communications)

These three behaviors are at the core of social media

and we must understand how they work before

publishing any content. We want to maximize all three

of these behaviors, but we need to know what type of

content will elicit those actions!

1. Voting behaviors

2. Engagement behaviors 3. Sharing behaviors

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Voting Behaviors

Voting includes likes, favorites, and +1’s. This is the most

passive voting behavior, but also the most common. While, we aim for sharing behaviors, voting actions are still important. Why? Because the more people that like or agree with your post, the more popular that piece of content will look in

Google’s eyes. Also, it’s a way of saying, “I trust you,” which is ultimately what we want from our audiences—trust.

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Engagement Behaviors

Engagement behaviors demand a little more from people because they require some thought and time. A comment starts a conversation that can potentially prompt others to comment. A good way to elicit a comment is to ask a question or have some call to action in your post. People will usually respond, you just have to ask!

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Sharing Behaviors

People only share content that is so good and so relevant to their lives, that they feel the need to share it with their friends, family, and/or colleagues. Here is an analogy I like for sharing behaviors. So, you have your grandmother’s secret recipe for decadent chocolate brownies. You measure each ingredient perfectly and mix them all together. The batter is now ready to go in the oven. But, you get busy doing something else and take them out 10 minutes later—they’re burned. So, you had the perfect recipe, but you got the timing wrong. The same goes for your content. It must be relevant and timely for your target audience for it to be effective. Create great content directed toward specific people and you will most likely get those sharing behaviors.

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Creating

Content for

Social Media

With most business online and participating in social

media, it is vital that you, too, are actively

participating. With so much content being pushed out

into the digital milky way, it often gets lost. But, that

can be fixed if you know who your audience, where

they are, and what they want from you.

Some of your Twitter followers may not be in

Facebook, while many people on LinkedIn may not be

active on Twitter, whereas some people may be active

on every platform! So, how do you segment and target

your content for each platform? Here, we’ll go through

the best content for each platform.

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Facebook

Facebook’s new timeline demands more visual content. Posts and updates with images receive a higher view rate resulting in greater engagement. Facebook also does not limit the numbers of characters per post. Your post can be an essay or one word. However, shorter is usually better than longer!

When creating content for Facebook, it is important to keep in mind the following:

• Don’t overpost or underpost. If you are constantly posting, some of your followers may get overwhelmed with the

amount of content you are sharing. The result? Unfollowing your page and/or unsubscribing to your updates.

• Always have a visual attached to the content, whether it is an article, video, or link to a blog. This is a must.

• Include a call to action. What is the goal for your post? If it is for your follower to attend a webinar, then tell them to click the link and register! You will be surprised what people will do if you just ask.

• Stick with the 70/30 rule. Not all of your posts should be about you! It’s like a friendship, you don’t like people who only talk about how great they are, right? If you stick with 70% of your content as industry news, interesting articles, inspirational quotes, etc, and 30% focused on your product or service, you will be in the clear.

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Twitter

Twitter allows you 140 characters to get in everything you have to say. That is not a lot of space, so keep it concise! This is the platform where you have to attract your audience with a headline and a link to great content! Here are a few things to keep in mind when posting on Twitter:

• Keep tweets short and sweet. I mean, it’s not like you can make them long. Make sure they are straight to the point so your target audience sees the benefit of the content and clicks on it!

• Tweet often. If you don’t have a consistent stream of tweets then your brand won’t get noticed. Twitter’s fast-paced

nature demands a 24/7 online presence. But, don’t tweet too often or your content will become noise.

• Schedule tweets and tweet in real time. It’s important to schedule tweets throughout the day. Like Facebook, Twitter should not only be self-promotion. It should be a good mix of sharing quality content and engaging with your

community. Be relevant by tweeting in real time, but also schedule tweets to stay top of mind throughout the day.

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Google+

The biggest advantage of posting on your Google+ page or communities is the SEO element. Maximize your visibility on search engines by following these few steps when posting on Google+:

• Complete your Google+ profile with photos and links to your content. All of this will contribute to your organic search ranking. Make sure to use rich keywords to attract more clicks.

• Create your Google authorship and connect it to every piece of content you produce. People like people and put simply, the photo associated with Google Authorship on search rankings will increase the chances that searchers will click on your content.

• Publish and share a variety of content. This is true for every social platform, however, social recognizes and rewards authenticity and variety. Make sure you are mixing it up!

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LinkedIn

As we went over in the beginning of this book, LinkedIn is the go-to professional social network. Naturally, the content you publish on this network will be geared toward industry

professionals and your target audience (if you’re B2B). Here are a few tips when posting content in LinkedIn:

• Limit posting to 3-4 times per day. Because professionals are hard at work, they don’t have time to engage with a lot of content. If you have the right amount, you will most likely get more engagement/post.

• Keep a professional voice. Of course, your brand voice should come through in every piece of content, but on LinkedIn, you can use industry keywords and more complicated language because your target audience is probably more educated in your industry.

• Get in group discussions. This is a great way to become a thought leader in your industry. The more discussions you engage in, the more LinkedIn presence you will have. It is a great way to make new connections and build a following.

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Tracking

your Social

Media Efforts

Many think they should track their social

media efforts with vanity metrics. Vanity

metrics include likes, retweets, and new

followers. While these do matter short

term, it is more useful to look at your

engagements and shares.

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Track your brand

Track your brand using keywords and hashtags compared to your biggest competitors. This will give you a good read of how your brand compares to others in your industry.

Marketers have been struggling with finding ways to measure social media, with little consistency. GreenRope developed a series of metrics to better help marketers determine where they stand in the social media game. These metrics give businesses the ability to track and measure the effectiveness of their social media campaigns for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The new app offers several valuable insights, including:

Conversation – Measuring the number of replies to your

posts across your social networks is a good way to determine if your message is engaging your listeners. The

"Conversation" metric will give you a base number that

determines how effective your message is at garnering responses from your listeners.

Amplification – When your listeners are engaged, they are

more likely to share your posts to their friends, and the "Amplification" metric measures how effective your posts are at eliciting shares and re-tweets.

Applause - A lesser measurement, but also very insightful,

is the number of "Likes" or "Favorites" your posts generate. This metric, dubbed "Applause", provides a way of gathering insight into your listeners' do and don’t like.

Impact - This is a weighted average of Conversation,

Amplification, and Applause. It also includes additional calculations that take into account several other factors to provide a solid metric of the overall impact of your

messages. This will enable you to evaluate your posts and decide what people best respond to.

Interest - This metric identifies how much your listeners

click on your links. The other measurements point towards your likeability and basic brand image, but "Interest" shows you the bottom line: Are your posts driving traffic to your sites?

With GreenRope’s Social Media feature, business owners and marketing and social media experts will have access to

information that will allow them to evaluate their social media strategy with measurable data, allowing them to fine-tune

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their messages and more effectively reach their target audiences.

Social media is called so because it is supposed to be social. These measurements point towards your likeability and basic brand image. The higher the score the better, but it is

important to also take into account the quality of your fans, followers, and conversations. Often times in social media, quality can trump quantity, but it is important for you to

know where your numbers are. That being said, quality can be directly correlated to quantity because the more valuable and relevant content you broadcast, the more likely you are to get engagement from your fans and followers.

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Conclusion

Now that we covered the basics of social media marketing (mostly for the B2B business), it is time to speak with your team and construct a social media strategy that fits into your overall business goals. Here are some questions to consider before taking the plunge:

• What is your current approach to social media (if you have one)?

• What is your company mission and how will you connect your social media goals to that mission?

• What are your social media goals?

• Does each piece of content support at least one of those goals?

Remember the golden rule:

Create and share great content that people would be willing to pay for. The rest will come with time.

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About the Authors

Alessandra Ceresa (Marketing Director / Sales)

With an iPhone, MacBook and iPad on hand at all times, Alessandra’s enthusiasm for marketing and social media landed her the position as the Director of Marketing for

GreenRope. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Alessandra gained years of experience as a Public Relations executive in both San Diego and Los Angeles. She was responsible for developing and executing marketing campaigns, both online and offline, for numerous companies across multiple industries. Her passion for small business and online marketing led her to her current position.

Tatiana Ceresa (Marketing Coordinator)

Tatiana recently graduated from Boston University with a Bachelors Degree in Communications and Art History. As a native San Diegan, Tatiana made the decision to escape

Boston’s extreme weather and move back to SoCal. She served as GreenRope’s social media-marketing intern, which sparked her passion for social media, content marketing, and writing. After graduating in May, Tatiana came on as the GreenRope marketing coordinator. She also loves to ski, swim, horseback ride, and eat great food in her free time.

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