Activating Content Through Social Media – The Who, What, When, Where and Why
Posted on 5th October 2016 by Rosie Murphy
"With networks changing every day, it takes more than an occasional tweet or scroll through Facebook to be a social media guru. Rather than leaving it up to the intern, it’s time for marketers to ensure their social presence matches the expectations of their customers."
Social media can be oft-forgotten or underused when activating B2B marketing content, but with the average Briton spending 80 minutes a day using social sites, this channel can no longer be an afterthought. When coming up with big ideas, it’s not enough to just expect them to spontaneously go viral – for content to really take off and gain traction among your target audience, the only way is strategy.
When activating a great idea, we believe it’s the marketer’s role to make these big ideas travel. But with networks changing every day, it takes more than an occasional tweet or scroll through Facebook to be a social media guru. Rather than leaving it up to the intern, it’s time for marketers to ensure their social presence matches the expectations of their customers.
In order to properly target your prospects, you first need to understand who they really are, what interests them, and where they consume content. If you’re unsure, start by asking your current clients where they are most likely to spend their time online. Developing highly-specific personas of the types of users you’d like to attract can be a great way to determine exactly where these potential clients exist in cyberspace.
Paid posts on social media are now the norm for many B2B businesses who know that in a noisy environment, every little helps in catching the eye of your consumer. LinkedIn in particular is excellent for close targeting – matching prospects by seniority, company name, industry, and business size to ensure your messages are hitting the mark. Decision makers are more likely to engage with content that is hyper-relevant to their needs and interests, and targeting with useful and insightful content is the first step in accessing this switched-on audience.
Once you’ve decided who to target, the next step is figuring out what to share with each network.
In the crowded world of social media marketing, one way to ensure you don’t get lost in the noise is through the use of on-brand, eye-catching imagery. With Twitter announcing that images, gifs and videos no longer take away from the 140-character limit, tweets can be more visually engaging than ever – without subtracting from supplementary insights. Short infographics, designed quotes and visual statistics are all useful for giving followers a taster for what’s to come.
Of course, there are many social media platforms out there, and no one-size-fits-all approach.
The most popular channels for B2B businesses tend to be:
- Twitter for frequent ‘bite-sized’ content and conversations with industry influencers;
- LinkedIn for less frequent but more in-depth blogs and shares of industry-specific articles;
- Facebook for eye-catching content focusing on company culture, recruitment, and informal discussions that connects with your audience in their spare time.
But as the number of channels increases, some businesses are turning to the likes of Instagram, Snapchat (or ‘Snap Inc’ as it has recently been rebranded), Medium, Pinterest and YouTube to connect with tech-savvy consumers. With millennials growing in prevalence in the workplace, it’s never too early to become familiar with the communities in which they seek inspiration, knowledge and news.
Research from B2B Marketing found that social media takes up 12 per cent of the marketing budget, but ⅕ of marketing’s time. For many, social media is often the first port of call when researching a company, so it’s important to invest the necessary time, money and energy to make sure profiles reflect your company in the most positive light. It is not a case of “If you build it, they will come” – it takes dedication, strategy, and expertise to reach its full potential.
When launching projects via social media, a big bang should never be followed by silence. Ongoing ‘always-on’ content fuels a launch beyond the lift of an embargo, and helps to carry interest and enthusiasm as months go on. Developing a rolling bank of content such as case studies, blogs and news articles that tie into your big idea help to create a steady stream of social media activity.
Quality over quantity is the key to resonating with industry experts when it comes to creating content. But, on channels such as Twitter, users expect a high frequency of posts, and there is a real benefit to sharing content multiple times. To avoid audience fatigue, consider how to repackage insights to connect with each demographic, at every stage of the decision making journey.
There’s no set amount for how often you should be sharing, platforms such as LinkedIn or Instagram should be targeted less frequently. There’s a fine line between prime content and spam – so take time to review analytics to uncover which posts peak at the best times – and for each location.
Social media is a key tool for informing current and future consumers of the benefits of your business in an environment that doesn’t rely on pushing the hard sell – but to maximise its reach, you need to gain support beyond the main company account. One step in amplifying this across the business is to reassure internal brand ambassadors of the benefits of sharing to their own professional networks – both for the business, and for themselves. A consistent tone of voice and clear guidelines for sharing are key to helping employees feel confident in sharing company messages – and feel united in their goals.
Having a social presence should be the norm for B2B companies, but without a clear direction that is understood and shared by every member of your team, you run the risk of confusing your audience with muddled messages. With everyone competing, it’s essential to remember that there’s a huge difference between winning and merely taking part – and placing social at the heart of your marketing strategy is the only way to ensure the messages fit the medium in the end.
To find out more on using social media to amplify your content, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org