Some B2B marketers are still treating social media as an add-on that isn’t properly integrated into their other marketing channels, and that’s a mistake. “If you’re using social media haphazardly, you don’t see the results,” says Marx, a featured speaker at B2B LeadsCon in New York, Aug 14-15. “Social can’t just be it’s own island by itself—that’s the biggest missed opportunity of all.”
Where is the best place to start if you want to create a B2B social media plan?
Do an audit. Marx suggests doing an audit of where your customers and prospects are spending their time online. While LinkedIn and Twitter are usually where you’ll find critical mass for many markets, don’t forget Google+, which is excellent for SEO purposes. “Do anything there and you immediately see a bump,” she notes.
Follow and listen. Follow prospects, clients, industry media and analysts strategically, says Marx. “Be smart—this can give you a Superman-like vision that will allow you to see your space and audience in ways you could never see before, and learn what they are doing and thinking about.”
Set your goals. Then, determine what your goals are in social media. “Ideally, we advise using it as a combination of thought leadership and as a way to drive traffic to your website, blog and landing pages,” Marx says. “You want social to not just be a place to hang out but ultimately be a lead generation channel.”
Create a calendar. Integrate your social plans with your other marketing efforts. Focus on keywords and topics you want to optimize on, and create hashtags for these terms, to use in social media. You can then highlight them when you’re launching new products or running events like webinars.
Be consistent and interact with your audience. You can’t just create and account and then only post occasionally. “You can’t have a one-way conversation,” she says. “Make sure you’re interacting in a meaningful way and building relationships with thought leaders, prospects and clients—and promoting them in social as well.”
Watch the numbers. Creating a winning B2B social media plan isn’t just about trying to win a popularity contest to see who has the most friends or follower, notes Marx. Just because someone liked or followed you doesn’t mean they’re engaged with your brand. Think about what metrics really matter for your brand and monitor social to make sure your efforts are living up to your goals.