Have you included social media as a line item in your B2B marketing strategy, but not sure of the approach? Brent Walters (pictured below), founder of B2B Digital, provides a few handy tips.
You’ve decided your company needs a social media marketing plan… so now what? Breaking the tasks into bite-size chunks will make it less daunting and reduce errors. Here are the steps you need to take:
- State your goals. The objectives should contribute directly or indirectly to your business plan. Is it to drive revenue from new customer acquisitions, increase revenue from cross-selling to existing customers, increase brand awareness, or something else? Most likely, you’ll have a list of goals – all of them desirable. It’s important to prioritise them to make it easier to measure your success.
- Who’s the target? You already know who your customers are, but are you clear about your prospects? It’s vital at this point to have a clear understanding of customer segments. Thoroughly conducting a customer segmentation analysis will lay the framework for achieving the goals. You’ll probably have most of the information you need to segment your customers by company metrics – revenue, number of staff, industry sector, and so on. However, it’s also important to segment your customers by key stakeholders – your buyers and influencers. You will, after all, deal with these companies on a person-to-person basis.
- Choose your poison. Your customer segmentation will give a clear idea with whom you need to be engaging. But first of all, your customer segments, particularly the people in target companies, need to be aware of you. So, since you need to fish where the fish are, that means determining which social networks they’re on. Is it LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, other? It’s most likely LinkedIn in the B2B world, but don’t make assumptions – check if they’re there.
- Reach out. So, by now you’ve figured out you need to engage. But to engage, you need to be connected, so introduce yourself properly. If they’re on LinkedIn, reach out and invite them to connect. Found them on Twitter? Follow them. Ensure you’re using proper etiquette, as everyone loves good manners – offline and online.
- Engagement time. So, your prospects are aware of you… what now? Well, bring something to the table. How? Be a valuable resource, someone who is helpful, has interesting insights, knowledge of what’s going on the industry, now and possibly in the future. This is best done by sharing content – interesting articles, case studies, whitepapers, and any other type of content your prospect likes and cares to engage with. Your customer segmentation will have provided a guide about your content distribution plan, and the intel you gathered along the way will have refined it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you shouldn’t expect your content to win clients over in the same timeframe either. Consistency and relevancy are the key takeaways here.
- Gauge your activity. Measure your achievements against your goals. Was it to increase brand awareness? If so, market research will shed some light. Was it to increase revenue? If so, once your prospect has been exposed to your content over a period of time, it will be time to request to meet. When you reach out to your new connections, you won’t be a complete stranger this time. Some will have seen your content. Once again, use proper etiquette. Being relevant in your request will show that you’ve done your homework.
So, you now have a few ideas for your B2B social media marketing plan. Taking a methodical approach will make it easier to complete each task successfully, and contribute to the likelihood of achieving your objectives.