The rise of B2B social media marketing: why now more than ever is the time to get social
As more and more brands add content marketing to their communications arsenal, getting your message seen is becoming increasingly difficult. In the first of our blog articles for 2015, we ask… Could social media marketing help you cut through the clutter?
Would learning that 58% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing spend in 2015 prompt you to fire up Facebook and delve into the latest trending social topics? The chances are it wouldn’t – but that’s exactly what’s happening as 2014 draws to a close.
That’s because today’s content marketers know that their content can only work its magic once it has reached the right people. For them, the challenge no longer lies solely in publishing the right content; it lies in getting it seen – and B2B marketers are increasingly turning to social media to help get their message out there.
Can social media work for your brand?
Anyone who has ever come across a desolate Facebook business page with a few dozen likes and a conspicuous lack of updates will know that harnessing the power of social media isn’t always easy… and that unless done correctly it can be more effort than it’s worth.
But the fact that 65% of B2B’s claim to have acquired new custom through LinkedIn just goes to show that social media can work for B2B brands… as long as it’s done correctly.
How to win at social media
As with so many things in life, the difference between the success and the failure of a social media strategy often lies in the planning. Before doing anything, it’s worth doing your homework.
Look first into which social platforms will work best for you. There are now a myriad of social platforms out there – where are your prospects gathering? Facebook? Twitter? A specialist social platform such as 2degrees?
The results of your social media efforts will vary depending on which platforms you choose to promote your content on, so put some serious thought into where you need to be before going ahead.
Listen before you speak
Once you’ve set yourself up on your selected social platforms, it pays to be patient. Study what others are doing. What sort of content is taking off? What do prospects ignore?
Content marketing – and in fact all marketing – is all about your prospects. Working out what makes them tick is more often than not the key to success. So study their social media habits and remember that this is their territory. They won’t appreciate you turning up uninvited simply to ram your message down their throats.
Comment, like, engage and participate
Once you’ve spent some time learning a few basic rules, it’s time to join in.
Begin by commenting on relevant topics, which, on many of the B2B platforms, will be neatly classified into relevant groups. Like and promote the stories you agree with. Respond to comments and queries – social community members are there to socialise and will often reciprocate the likes, comments and retweets you offer, so get involved and you’ll start to build your social following without having to give it too much thought.
Share, share and share again
Finally, when it comes to promoting your own content, don’t hold back. Share it on each platform you’re set up on – then share it again and again. There are always different groups, lists and prospects to target, and sharing the same story multiple times is common practice (especially if it’s relevant, useful information) so don’t be shy here.
Try to seek out influencers (people in your industry with a large social following) then approach them with your message. If your content is right for their audience it’s entirely possible they’ll share it for you, which grants you access to a whole new set of prospects.
Share, share and share again. It’s this mantra, alongside participating in active discussions and nurturing your own community, that gets your content seen in an increasingly competitive battlefield.
Social media: a silver bullet?
Precisely how much resource should be allocated to social media marketing is something that’s yet to be determined, but it’s worth noting that very few B2B’s are taking a social-only approach when it comes to distributing content.
Whilst social media distribution certainly appears to be the way of the future, it would be unwise to see any one marketing channel as a silver bullet. A social approach does have the potential to attract a significant level of interest, but that doesn’t mean traditional distribution methods should be overlooked altogether.
Finding the right balance between the two will be a key challenge for brands as 2015 unfolds.