Social media marketing is the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites. A few commonly utilized social sites are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Everyone you know, including yourself, most likely has personal accounts on multiple social media platforms and can be caught scrolling through their news feed in their spare time or quite possibly spending arguably too many hours a day checked out of the real world and logged onto a social account. Truth be told, social media is a powerful tool. Think about the number of cat videos, celebrity Twitter fights, or even the yodeling child who has gone viral because the social community found them humorous or entertaining in some way and shared with their friends.
So, just how influential is social media? Well, Instagram has continuously grown by over 100 million new users each year since 2014. Nearly ¼ of social media influencers believe Instagram is the prime choice for influencer marketing strategies and this social network continues to drive the most engagement. 79% of U.S. internet users regularly log onto their Facebook account, holding its title as the most popular social network, and over 50 million businesses are utilizing a Facebook Business page. You should unquestionably be one of them. 47% of marketers selected Twitter as the best social media channel for customer engagement. But, how does all of this influence your business?
What is B2B social media marketing and how is it different from B2C?
B2B (business-to-business) social media marketing is more crucial than you may believe. Social media is more than just personal entertainment, in fact 92% of B2B marketers are using social media as a marketing tactic to promote their product or service to other businesses. Social media marketing may be a more obvious choice for B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing simply because of the monumental number of society members using social media daily for personal use, however, the purpose of utilizing social media as a business is to establish your social presence and build relationships with potential customers.
B2B markets typically require some level of expertise and tend to be well thought out, long-term purchases. So, post a how-to video or educational blog post about a product occasionally as well. Help your followers get to know you and take the time to understand what they want. There are over 2 million businesses advertising on Facebook, make sure you’re one of them.
Why is a social media presence important? How does it benefit your business?
Your social media presence helps your business establish authority and trust. Think about this; when you are considering a new product to purchase and begin researching different brands, are you more likely to buy from the company whose social media posts you come across almost daily, or the company you’ve never heard of before? You and 7 in 10 Gen Xers are probably going to choose the brand which pops up on your news feed regularly and whose post you liked last week. This can be one reason that companies try to increase their Instagram followers to therefore have their posts experience high engagement numbers, further increasing their exposure to new prospecting customers across the media platform.
Social networks allow you to reach out to hundreds or thousands, even millions of customers at one time from anywhere in the world. In addition to reaching more customers, engaging your customers, and generating leads, you can also use this powerful tool to monitor your competitors. What are they doing on social media? Is their strategy working for them? If it is, you can mimic their social media strategy in a way and tweak what didn’t work for them. Monitoring your competitors as well as your own website’s traffic and social engagement can be done easily with one of the many social media management tools.
Remember, your purpose through social media should be to engage your potential customers and increase brand awareness. Increase brand awareness by boosting Facebook posts to reach a larger audience or investing in paid ads and promoted tweets. Engage your followers by posting a variety of content, videos and images perform better than text posts, and ask them questions, create polls, ask for their advice or opinion, etc. Encourage them to comment, like, and share your posts and create content that they will want to click on.
What type of content should I be creating and posting and how do I promote successfully to other businesses?
Another worthy benefit of utilizing social media is for content inspiration and promotion. If you don’t already have a company blog, you should definitely create one for numerous reasons and benefits which we won’t get into right now. Creating the perfect blog content can be tricky. It needs to relate to your business, engage and entertain your readers, teach them something, include graphics, be personalized and relatable, and encourage shares and links. Social media is a great way to determine what type of content is performing the best and is the most popular. I use Buzzsumo to find the best performing content related to my keywords, however, there are other tools out there.
After you’ve discovered which content will perform the best and you’ve written and published your high quality blog post, use social media to promote that content. You can post content more than once, however, refrain from posting back to back or even in the same week to avoid seeming spammy.
Additionally, if you’re active in forums or Q&A sites and you come across a question that one of your blog posts might answer, include a helpful link in response to someone’s question. Again, avoid coming across as spam by contributing to general conversations regularly.
Other than promoting blog content on your social media accounts, you should also be alternating between a variety of content such as videos, pictures, funny memes or gifs, polls, Q&A’s, ads, product promotion, etc. A variety of content will keep your audience entertained and allow you to determine which type of content performs the best. Also include links in your posts back to your site to drive more traffic to your site.
Keep in mind, it’s not all about advertising your own business. In fact, 46% of people will unfollow a brand for posting too many promotional messages. Build relationships with people instead. Here are a few tips to help you create a successful social media strategy.
- Create a social media budget in order to invest into paid advertising, boosted posts, and sponsored posts. You’ll reach a broader audience and increase your traffic.
- Make your content actionable by asking or encouraging your audience to click, comment, share, or like. Ask them to do something after reading your post.
- Post a variety of content that is both entertaining and educational. Create share-worthy content.
- Share and like others’ content as well. Put time into building relationships.
- Build relationships with industry influencers. If they share your content, they will most likely expose it to a much larger audience than you could have.
- Join relevant groups that converse and ask questions about a topic or product that your business offers.
- Invest in a social media management tool to save you time and help you reply to comments and questions in a timely manner.
- Plan out each post and make note of which posts perform best. Don’t go in blindly.
- Humanize your posts. You are posting as another person, a member of the community. Not every post should be an advertisement; your followers should relate to you, agree with you, and want to read what you have to say.
- Include keywords and links in your post to generate more traffic to your site. However, not every post has to include a link or keyword, this will seem too spammy or promotional.
89% of social media messages to brands go ignored and the average user will only wait four hours for a brand to reply to them. Be different from your competitors, put your social media followers first and they will become your loyal customers. Social media is a powerful tool. Remember, your customers are likely to share their experience with your business on their social media accounts as well. Social media posts spread much faster and reach many more people than word-of-mouth. Take advantage of the impact that social networks have on today’s society to grow your business.