Social media is popular among B2B marketers. Partly because that’s the main question they’ll be asked in their next job interview, part because it’s considered free (that’s not true), and part because, well, it can be exciting. But without a strategy, it will fail.
As with any other marketing channel, before you take a deep dive into social media strategy, you need to decide on your goals. Do you want greater engagement (Likes, Clicks, Shares, Comments) or are you looking for leads? Or maybe something else?
Personally, I don’t appreciate engagement on social media. I think the “likes” are largely a measure of vanity. It’s proven that a person who likes your social media posts is no more likely to buy from you than a person who doesn’t (see “Stop counting likes – that’s a waste of time “).
Where I think social media is making a mark is in paid lead generation (mainly LinkedIn), as a research tool (LinkedIn and Twitter), and as a development tool for those who are not. still ready to buy (positioning you as a subject matter expert).
Before starting any campaign or program, I hope you will do some market research to understand the needs, wants and pains of your target audience (s). LinkedIn is great for B2B market research, and Twitter is a quick and inexpensive alternative.
Both allow you to ask a single question but with limited multiple-choice answers. It is precious. Especially since the results can sometimes form the basis of a content (blog article, video, etc.)
LinkedIn currently limits the length of your survey to 2 weeks, and you only have 140 characters for your question. In addition, you can only list 4 possible answers (see example).
Plus, you can’t pay to promote your survey. Its success will depend on your personal popularity on LinkedIn and the popularity of the survey question.
(Your personal popularity will depend on how much original content you’ve posted on LinkedIn, whether you comment on other people’s posts, and how consistently you engage on the platform.)
However, you can copy a link to your survey and then create a separate post inviting people to engage. This post can be a paid promotion to a targeted audience 🙂
The other good news is that LinkedIn’s algorithm seems for the moment (January 2022) to be very fond of polls. Polls appear to be better disseminated than other publications.
I love Twitter polls. They are inexpensive, targeted (depending on your audience) and fast. Great when I need statistics to save an article I’m writing. Typically, you can get over 100 responses in two days for £ 20-50.
The limitations are that you only have 280 characters for the question and only 4 possible answers (see example), and your survey can only last a maximum of 7 days.
However, you can pay to promote it to a targeted audience. Although the success of targeting varies. Targeting HR executives is relatively easy (targeting HR Magazine or Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development followers), but identifying Office Managers is virtually impossible.
Whichever method you use, make sure the results are valid.
Subject matter expert
Your organization will no doubt have experts (maybe you are one of them), and your market research may have revealed an interesting fact that you can tell the world. Now is the time to post your thoughts on social media.
Delivering your content on social platforms will not necessarily generate a sales lead. It is possible, but it is not its goal. The goal is to position yourself as a thought leader and subject matter expert with those who are not yet ready to buy. You feed the purchasing team.
Sometimes the sales process can be lengthy and you need to keep your organization’s name in mind. Content that teaches the buying team something they didn’t already know has a role to play.
You can of course distribute the content via other channels (email?). But successful marketing has always been multichannel; for example, a mix of email, Google ads, and social media makes sense.
LinkedIn in particular allows you to target specific people in specific businesses with your content.
Imagine that you contacted a senior executive at British Airways, but indicated that the company had a contract for the next 6 months. You will become a nuisance if you call them monthly, so target them (and their fellow buying team) with your content.
For example, I just launched an example campaign via LinkedIn targeting department heads and directors of British Airways. The total was 600 people in the UK.
A single ad image promoting content would cost between £ 23 and £ 100 every 30 days. LinkedIn estimates that the campaign would produce 30 to 98 engagements every 30 days (an engagement is a share, like, comment, view, click, or follow)
Generation of paid leads
Generating organic leads on LinkedIn takes a long time. Want a shortcut to sales leads? You have to pay.
Organic leads are often viewed as free, so there is a temptation to ‘give it a try’. But they are not free. The time you’ll spend creating and submitting articles (and your time comes at a cost) means it’s actually quite expensive for sporadic reward.
(If you insist on trying the bio, the best times to post are 7-8am and 5-6pm)
All social media platforms have become monetized. They changed their algorithms so that paid posts generate more leads than organic posts. They want you to spend money.
But the cost is not prohibitive and the targeting can be very precise.
If you wanted to target UK-based airline directors and C-level executives, LinkedIn says its total reach is 10,000 people. It would cost you between £ 290 and £ 1,178 every 30 days for a single ad image, and LinkedIn estimates that it can deliver up to 30 leads every 30 days for the duration of the campaign.
LinkedIn lead generation campaigns are frictionless for your audience. They see the ad, click a link, and navigate to a pre-filled form that they can choose to submit (or not).
Connect the dots to form a strategy
So the strategy I often use is to start by understanding my audience through social media research. What are their needs and wants? What pains are they discussing in the forums? What topics seem to be in fashion?
Armed with this idea, I can start creating relevant content that can be used to nurture existing leads (who aren’t ready to buy), and also attract new leads looking for an expert.
To generate leads within a specific time frame, I pay for lead generation. Granular targeting by domain, industry, job title and interests, plus a host of other options to make sure I’m delivering the most relevant message.
Photo by The Creative Exchange