Social media is often overlooked or not planned properly when it comes to social media marketing. Many companies assume that social media is not an efficient way to market B2B products and services. The truth is that social media can be a great way to grow a B2B business, generate leads and improve on branding efforts as long as there is an established plan and brand protection in place. Below I have listed a few of the necessary steps to take in order to properly prepare your B2B social media marketing strategy.
Build Brand Awareness
We are constantly being told that social media is for brand awareness, but rarely does anyone discuss how that can be beneficial for our brand. The truth is that brand awareness will not only drive sale, but it can also be the driving force in proactive online reputation management. The best way to increase brand awareness is not to constantly pump out content about your brand, but to find companies and people that would be willing to talk about your brand in a positive light.
How to do it?
When dealing with B2B, however, this is easier said than done. In order to efficiently find those potential brand advocates we need to use tools like Socedo. This tool allows us to sort people by career, region, bio, etc. and make the brand advocacy outreach much easier. Socedo will search Twitter profiles, compare your followers to other brands, and allow you to follow people right within their product. If you follow them, share their content and then reach out these users will be familiar with you by the time you have contacted them. This will increase their brand awareness and allow you an opportunity to ask them to take a look at your product to share or talk about. You can even offer these influential users a free trial or service to entice them.
Keep a Content Calendar
This is part of the social media process that is almost always overlooked by all companies, not just B2B. Making a clear schedule of what content you are going to post, who you are going to target and when will give you a better perspective on where to add new content, mentions, shares, etc.
How to do it?
Keeping a calendar can be done on a spreadsheet or Google Doc, however, if you want the added capabilities of sharing your content through the calendar and monitoring it’s success I would suggest tools. Coschedule and Oktopost are both great social media calendar tools to use to keep track of your content and content success. In Oktopost you will have the capability to monitor feeds, post to your social media accounts, schedule your calendar and export reporting. CoSchedule is unique as well, because it will connect directly with WordPress and allow you to schedule blog content, social media posts, and assign tasks to team members. So depending on what your content needs are, one of these tools will be able to help you.
Be Proactive About Your Brand Reputation
A lot of times people are so focused on what the brand is saying that they forget to look at what people are saying about the brand. The most important thing you can do for your brand (especially if you are B2B and operating with several sales people) is to add brand monitoring and protection.
How to do it?
There are many ways to monitor your brand, and the type of monitoring you do should depend on your business’s size and number of employees. Tools like Nuvi and Mention will allow you setup alerts for your brand mentions, have them delivered to your inbox and give you sentiment value. For more robust protection, and to prevent employee posts from causing problems whether they are positive or negative, tools like SecureMySocial are best to use. SecureMySocial will not only monitor and address posts that employees make related to your brand, but it will also notify employees in real time if they are making other kinds of posts that may be problematic: such as giving away sensitive information, saying things that could help competitors, making posts that break laws, or even giving hackers information they need to hack you. Alerts will be delivered privately to the employees and let them know that the content they have posted may be potentially harmful and ask them to remove it, or, if you authorize SecureMySocial to do so, it can even automatically remove such posts immediately. For larger businesses, SecureMySocial is a must.
When marketing a B2B brand on social media we must be aware that we are dealing with intelligent people and companies that have several employees. Do your due diligence and find your audience, create your content calendar and protect your brand’s reputation. If you have those three things in order, everything else will be much easier and more effective moving forward.