by Katie Jordan, Principal

Up until a few years ago, when I would think of social media, I would think of my friends’ vacation pictures on Facebook or people posting their meals on Instagram. But as social media marketing has rapidly advanced, I now see social platforms as valuable marketing tools for B2B organizations. If managed properly, social media can exponentially expand your brand’s visibility, ultimately leading to increased market share and revenues.

How do you optimize social media for a B2B environment? You should begin by creating a strategic plan. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Set your goals – What are you looking to achieve? Do you want to enter a new market or promote a specific product? Make sure your goals align with your overall company vision, mission and marketing strategy.
  2. Identify your audience – Whom do you want to reach (customers, partners, potential employees, etc.) and what do you want them to do? Do you know what platforms your target audience is using? You may need to tailor different messages for different platforms based on the audience you are targeting and which platforms they use.
  3. Conduct competitive research – Make sure you know what your competitors are doing (so you can do it better). You should take note of the type of content they are sharing, which platforms they use, how often they are posting and how they engage with their audience.
  4. Choose your platforms and develop a process – Based on steps 1-3, which platforms should be the highest priority? Do you need a scheduler like HootSuite or TweetDeck? Who within your organization will be doing the content research, approvals, scheduling, posting, measuring and reporting?
  5. Establish your voice – Go back to your goals and audience when doing this. Social media is an opportunity to connect and engage as an individual or company with people in your target audience. Remember the “people” aspect – in most B2B environments we buy from people, not from companies. Consider the following categories when establishing your voice – character, tone, language, and purpose – identify 1-3 words in each of these that represent your brand.
  6. Create or optimize profiles – Are your profiles complete and consistent with your brand? Would a new visitor follow you after seeing your profile? Are you using relevant hashtags in your Twitter profile description? Make sure you do your hashtag research so you don’t accidentally associate yourself with something potentially embarrassing or inappropriate. Are all of your employee LinkedIn profiles consistent with the company brand/image?
  7. Set goals for frequency – LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, FaceBook, Pinterest – they all have different recommended frequencies depending on your audience and the purpose of your social strategy, but consistency is key. Once you set your frequency, stick to it.

What’s next? Launch your strategy and start engaging your target audience with quality content. We’ll save content strategy for another day, but be sure to avoid exclusively sharing your own content and always remember to be authentic. Listen to and engage in conversations in your industry and do it with consistency and frequency. Establishing and following a well-defined social media strategy will keep you and your company top of mind, create brand awareness, generate leads and lead to increased market share and revenues.

Good luck and have fun!