Most B2B businesses have at least some sort of social media presence—even if it’s not actively maintained. This means that at one point they found value in social media marketing. And they were right.
There is a ton of value to having a great social media presence, but with that value comes great responsibility, and it involves a whole lot of social media planning. I suspect that’s where many B2B companies’ social media excitement diminishes. I’ll admit, it’s a lot of strategic and busy work, but it is well worth it. Why, you ask?
Why Social Media Planning Should Matter to B2B Businesses
- It’s FREE to use. Creating accounts and leveraging social media platforms is completely free. Now, if you’re interested in advertising on these networks, that’s another story, but a great use of social media nonetheless.
- It keeps you relevant. Out of sight, out of mind. Stay in front of your prospects and customers by feeding them great content on a daily or weekly basis. This content should include relevant industry and company news, interally created content like blog posts, guides, videos, infographs, eBooks (and the list goes on!), and posts that paint a picture of your unique company culture.
- It makes you look good. When prospective B2B buyers are doing their research, it’s just about guaranteed that they’ll check out your online presence, including your website and social channels. Of course, you want to make a good impression (you know who else has an online presence? Your competitors.) Curate or create valuable content and you’ll not only look good to your current followers, you’ll also look great to your target buyers!
Need a little more convincing? Check out 4 Reasons to Take B2B Social Media Marketing Seriously to learn about why your B2B business should be getting social.
How to Streamline Social Media Like a Marketing Agency
We know effective social media planning takes up a good chunk of time, so we’ve highlighted a few ways you can cut down on those hours while maintaining the quality of the content.
#1 - Start with strategy. Your social media strategy is going to set the tone for all of your social channels. Make sure to focus only on the most popular channels for your specific audience. Moreover, you’ll want to set certain guidelines so that you provide a pleasant and consistent experience across the board for your followers. Determine your voice, image style, and posting frequency - and stick to it! What type of language is going to resonate best with your customers and prospects? Keep in mind that these guidelines can be a little flexible depending on the channel. On Twitter, for example, it’s best to post multiple times per day. On Facebook and LinkedIn, once a day should suffice.
When it comes to what you're choosing to publihs, keep your posts primarily educational, with a few promotional posts sprinkled in between. We recommend abiding by the 80/20 Rule. No one wants to constantly hear about how great your company is. Delight them with quality solutions-oriented or educational content (content that presents a fix for a typical industry-related issue, for example) about 80% of the time.
#2 - Execute with tools. After you’ve determined your social media planning strategy, it’s time to implement it. Lucky for you, there’s an app for that—multiple apps and tools, if fact. They're designed to help lighten the social media execution workload and provide some pretty handy analytics. Pick the one that best fits your strategy and budget (although many have a free version). Some of our favorites include:
- HubSpot: The social media platform allows you to schedule posts in advance to multiple social media channels, including your personal accounts (if you like). It also allows you to build targeted social streams to monitor your audiences and competitors. But it’s so much more than a social media tool. It’s an all-in-one marketing automation tool.
- Hootsuite: This social media dashboard is one of the most widely used, and there’s a free version. Hootsuite lets you schedule posts to multiple platforms, provides analytics, insights into ideal times to post, and allows multiple integrations—including an RSS feed integration from which you can pull content for your third-party posts.
- Buffer: Another popular tool that allows you to schedule, publish and analyze all in one place. It also has a custom image design tool, Pablo.
No doubt, there are MANY more social media tools out there. To help you make the right decision, here’s a comparison chart that sheds some light on your options. While it does not include a complete list of all of social media tools, it provides a nice overview of the various features these tools provide.
#3 - Fall into a rhythm. Once you’ve completed your strategy and picked your tool, you’ll want to set a schedule for gathering the content to be posted and scheduled. We suggest setting aside a couple hours at the end of every month. Or if there’s a lot going on in your company, maybe every two weeks.
Make sure to account for upcoming conferences you’ll be attending, any events your company will be hosting, and holidays, which always make great fodder for social media posts. Remember, not every post needs to be serious in nature. For instance, your followers are sure to appreciate a clever holiday Facebook video featuring your team!
What's more, leave yourself a little wiggle room in your schedule for publishing real-time posts (timely pictures while you're attending an event, a comment on breaking industry news, etc.) Planning is critical, but that doesn't mean you can't post on the fly, too! And when you start seeing engagement from your fans, you'll need to allocate some time to respond and contribute to the conversation.
Follow these social media planning steps and you’ll be on your way to creating a great social media presence that’s easy to consistently execute! Need more help? Download 7 Social Media Questions You Must Answer, a step-by-step startup guide to conquering your B2B social media program without going crazy!