Last week, we identified five things brands should always avoid in their B2B social media strategies. Now, read on in Part 2, with five more things B2B brands should never include in their social media strategies.
1. Don’t Ignore Imagery. Social media is very visual, no matter what industry you’re in. A well placed image can make content more shareable, whether it be a photograph or an illustration. A general issue many brands find is there just isn’t the budget to buy stock imagery or hire a photographer. But fear not! Many brands are finding that a smartphone and apps like Instagram are all that are needed to create vibrant, shareable images. For some inspiration, check out the San Diego Zoo and General Electric Instagram feeds. Then take the best practices and apply them to your industry.
2. Don’t Focus on Quantity Before Quality. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that more fans and followers means you’re doing social media right. And the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from knowing you have more fans and followers than your competitor is really reassuring. However, numbers aren’t as important as the quality of your fanbase.
In the beginning, you’ll find it’s easy to gain fans through giveaways and promotions. Giveaways and promotions are great tactics to reward your fanbase — sparingly. Should these be the only tactics you use, you’ll find your fanbase is only there for the free stuff and will bolt as soon as you stop the giveaways.
Instead, lean on organic and very targeted paid fan growth tactics. Add your social channel URLs to your promotional materials (business cards and email blasts are great locations) and cross promote your channels (Do your Facebook fans know about your Instagram channel?). And for B2B brands, letting your clients know that they can find valuable information about your products and industry on your social channels is a great way to keep clients invested and your brand top of mind.
3. Don’t Forget Your Research. Each social platform has its pros and cons, and before you start on a channel, you need to understand why your consumers use those channels. B2B social media strategies, in this respect, tend to be a bit different from B2C brands. Instead of Pinterest, you may be on LinkedIn.
Prior to starting on a channel, you should research your target audience. This includes monitoring and listening to the existing conversations on a variety of channels. How do you do this? Here are some samples:
Search.Twitter.com – Search relevant hashtags, keywords, your company’s name and even competitors’ names. Jot down hashtags you see used frequently; you can then use these later in your posts.
Pinterest.com Search – Much like Twitter, you can search pins by hashtags, keywords or by source (using http://pinterest.com/source/website.com/)
Sites like Repinly provide lists of influential pinners and boards in a number of categories
Statigram provides insights on popular hashtags and engagement
When you’re evaluating platforms, look for ones where your consumers are active, not just present. And once you’ve gotten started on a new channel, the monitoring continues after launch. There are three categories you should continually monitor: your company, your competition and your industry. As you consistently monitor, you’ll pick up on new tactics and ideas that you can fold into your social media strategy — and avoid ones that don’t work.
4. Don’t Forget to Plan. Promotions, when executed properly, can be a great way to share your message, reward loyal fans and increase your overall engagement. But as you plan your promotion, make sure to keep best practices in mind. Such as:
Platform – Know if your desired platform allows you to hold promotions on it. Twitter and Instagram are more lax in their rules, however you can’t run a promotion on Facebook without using a third party, so that “share this picture to win” or “comment to enter” are not allowed and can get your page in serious trouble.
Rules – Always have official rules for every promotion. If you can’t afford a lawyer to help draft some rules, look to similar promotions for ideas and verbage.
Fulfillment – A great prize is useless if the winner can’t get it. Be up front if you require your winner to pick up the prize or have similar stipulations.
5. Don’t Forget Your Analytics. This means you need to track your progress regularly, whether it be daily, weekly or monthly. This includes fan growth (and loss!), trends and engagement. And you don’t need to depend on paid tools. Free tools like Google Analytics, Wildfire Monitoring, Facebook Insights, Statigram, Pinterest Analytics, and Simply Measured will give you a variety of free analytics for lots of platforms.
Once you have analytics, you need to know what to do with the numbers you just received. Optimize or die should be your mantra. Establish benchmarks to compare your results; a good benchmark is generally your previous performance. If you’re optimizing and comparing to benchmarks, you’ll find that social media success will be easier to find.
How are your B2B social strategies developing? Let us know in the comments!