Looking to develop the ultimate social media marketing strategy? Maybe you built an organic social media content calendar or ran a few paid social campaigns – and you’ve seen some success, but aren’t sure what will take your program to the next level. The key to a winning strategy is an orchestrated combination of both, with a clear vision of what constitutes success. Your social media strategy should include a clearly articulated business objective, aligned to S.M.A.R.T. goals and driven with relevant KPIs. Examples of social media business objectives are:
- Drive recruiting campaigns by increasing prospective talent engagement through illustration of company culture
- Promote Corporate Social Responsibility programs to increase brand awareness
- Establish thought leadership in the “your-technology-here” market by posting disruptive and/or provocative ideas that will cause engagement among supporters and/or detractors
Let us paint you a common scenario that business-to-business (B2B) organizations often share with us:
“So we know to hop on the social media wave, but how can we grow our social media followers quickly? Share our technologies and solutions with a targeted audience? Establish ourselves as a recognized and trusted brand in the industry? Inform our content marketing initiatives by social listening to see which topics trigger engagement? Capture leads?”
Those objectives can be accomplished with a thoughtful social media marketing strategy that combines compelling organic social content with relevant paid social ads. Need a guide on your social media journey? We’ll break down the differences between organic vs. paid social and how to fully optimize both.
The B2B Social Media Experience
According to HootSuite, “Organic social media refers to the free content (posts, photos, video, memes, Stories, etc.) that all users, including businesses and brands, share with each other on their feeds.”
When it comes to social media and business, you might initially think of a popular consumer brand account. For B2B organizations, organic social media is executed a bit differently. We break down how content, brand voice and employee engagement differ with B2B below:
- Content is typically focused on thought leadership and subject matter expert insights, technologies and solutions, events, and industry news or trends
- The posting cadence is typically one to three times per day across platforms depending on the volume of content available. A content calendar is created weeks to a month in advance to drive a broader campaign strategy
- While it can be challenging for organizations to incorporate humor like B2C accounts, there are plenty of ways to creatively and strategically share your brand’s message such as looking for opportunities to creatively articulate your value proposition – Can you tie into the latest social media trend? These are opportunities to engage your audience in a novel way – but should be used thoughtfully. Regardless of how “stoic” your brand may be, humor almost always has a place in social media
- While Twitter has character limits, B2B can often benefit from LinkedIn as organizations can incorporate longer form copy as they look to jump start industry engagement, start conversations or explain a complex solution
- Hashtags can and should be used to engage in relevant industry discussions and trends
- B2B organizations can benefit from creating employee perspective posts for employees to discuss topics they feel passionate about and share their unique insights as an employee. You can also use Twitter Chats or LinkedIn live to showcase your employees’ expertise and encourage industry discussions.
- Tagging relevant employees in articles or work they are quoted in boosts engagement on an organization’s posts while increasing visibility for company SMEs. Additionally, encourage your employees to share your company’s social media posts for additional engagement and visibility
Organizations should look for ways to be creative and engage key audiences by incorporating customized graphics and videos to promote campaigns, since users are 65 percent more likely to remember information that includes an image.
Establishing a foundational organic social media program and populating your page with a broad spectrum of topics to measure consumption patterns across various demographics is a critical step before starting paid social media campaigns. We recommend having a few weeks worth of content on the page – that way when new users click on your profile, they can explore the existing content.
Power Up With Paid
It’s important to remember that because less than 10 percent of your audience will actually see your organic posts, and even less will engage with them, exponential social media audience growth can’t happen with organic efforts alone. Think of paid social as a “level up”. Paid social media allows organizations to share content on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram with targeted audiences through boosted posts or advertisements.
Once you determine key considerations like target audience, content to promote and visuals, you will need to establish the paid social campaign objectives. Examples include:
- Create ads to increase followers to your company page
- Build a target audience for ads to reach new users in your industry. (Note: The best targeting options are on LinkedIn)
- Don’t solely focus on paid. Keep new followers interested by continuing to post valuable organic content at a regular cadence
- Drive web traffic to new content (blog, podcast, media coverage, etc.)
- Show your community that you’re active and an expert in the industry
- If you have created a great piece of content, give it a boost
- Capture Top of Funnel leads for assets (ebook, white paper, report, etc.)
- Increase registration for an event
- Create lead form campaigns in LinkedIn and Facebook
The goal of a combined organic and paid social program is to use existing content and assets that are already posted organically and boost visibility to a curated audience. Play them against each other by experimenting with (and measuring) the effectiveness of different styles / themes / visuals to gain deeper knowledge of your market. Promoted assets need to focus on thought leadership and education to provide value to the user versus solution briefs and a sales focus. Ultimately, compelling content will fuel a social media marketing program that combines organic and paid social – driving engagement, brand awareness and lead generation.
A hybrid social media program that incorporates both an organic and paid strategy will take your B2B organization to the next level by elevating brand awareness and driving lead generation. If you’re looking for an agency to help you with your social media initiatives, please contact us.