Building a B2B Brand Social Media Strategy: Part 3
This is the third and final chapter in our series titled “Building a B2B Brand Social Media Strategy” in which we have given an overall rubric that any B2B brand marketer can use to plan a successful social media strategy.
In part 1, we pointed out how dangerous it is for a large brand to ignore the benefits of social media. Referencing Jim Collins' book “How the Might Fall,” and his hypothesis called “The Five Stages of Decline,” we looked at the first stage, “Hubris Born of Success” in which Collins focused on how successful companies fail to innovate. If a brand isn't using social media and their competition is, they will eventually fail.
In part 2, we highlighted best practices of social posting, including which social channels to use and how to best leverage them.
In this installment, the last in our three part series, we are going to discuss specific content promotion campaigns and how to best carry them out. We will also discuss an aspect of social media that brands must embrace in order to fully maximize the potential of their distribution channels – employee advocacy.
Writing content, promoting events (live or online), putting together case studies – these are all mainstays of any content marketing strategy. But what happens next? How, after putting all that time and effort into writing, can you make sure that your content actually gets seen?
In terms of organic social posting, a campaign refers to the promotion of content through various social channels. In this post we will be discussing organic social promotion. That is, promoting content through social media without paid ads.
Here are a few types of promotional campaigns a B2B brand marketer can carry out through social media:
In the new world of content marketing, content no longer needs to be just written work – there can also be visual and audio content. As such, webinars are the ultimate form of visual content. What better way to engage an audience than through an interactive discussion about a topic (or topics) relevant to them?
— Oktopost (@oktopost) January 23, 2015
The preparation for a webinar should begin well in advance; we suggest at least 5 weeks. Why so long you might ask? In order to build velocity. This will allow for your social posts to be shared and gain traction. In addition to social, you will want to run an email campaign prior to the event – at least 2 invite emails should be sent to your list.
When creating the content for your social campaign, you need to think strategically. That is to say, your messaging should be relevant to the time period it is being sent. For example, social posts about your webinar in the first week of your campaign can have a more casual tone – eg “we have a great webinar coming up.” The final week of your social promotion, however, should have a tone that conveys more urgency – something like “don't miss this great event! sign up while you can!”
Social posting around a webinar doesn't stop once the webinar begins. If you truly want to make it an interactive experience, you should have a community manager on hand to answer tweets in real time during the event. The best way to do this is to create a catchy hashtag for the webinar. Mention at the beginning of the webinar that if anyone wants to comment they can use the hashtag. The community manager should also regularly tweet with quotes from the webinar while it's going on.
Don't forge the follow up! A good webinar should be recorded, gated, and offered to the public. Once you have a landing page created, make sure to promote it through social media.
2. White Papers
Of all the types of content that marketers create, white papers (and eBooks) are the most labor intensive. Research, writing, and graphics are all aspects of white paper creation. After putting in all that effort, it would be a shame if no one downloaded and read it!
— Oktopost (@oktopost) October 17, 2014
Social posting is an effective (and cost effective) strategy to promote a white paper. There are some best practices to follow in order to get the most out of social media promotion of your white paper:
- 6-12 month social posting campaign
- Utilize LinkedIn Groups
- Don't be overtly promotional
- Add social sharing buttons on landing page
- Create hashtag
3. Blog Content
Keeping an active blog is an absolute must for any B2B brand, they are the voice of the brand and where potential customers go to in order to learn about it. Having an active blog (2-3 times a week) is great, but it's equally important to have a solid strategy on getting blog content seen by as many people as possible.
As mentioned previously, 87% of B2B marketers already use social media as a distribution for their content. If your brand is not already doing so then you might be falling into the Hubris of Success – not a good place to be.
Assuming you follow best practices and write 2-3 blog posts (at least) per week, you will want to create a set of social posts promoting each one individually. A big mistake many brands make is to schedule all social promotions for a day or two after a blog post has been created – don't do this. Each piece of content that is created on a blog should have a social promotion campaign that lasts 1-2 weeks.
The social media strategy for distributing blog content should focus on all the major social channels; Facebook, Twitter, and most importantly for B2B brands, LinkedIn.
Scheduling posts on social to go out over a period of time can be cumbersome. It is suggested that a B2B brand marketer utilize a third party social media management platfrom such as Oktopost. This will make it possible to easily create social messages, schedule them to be posted on various social channels, profiles, and company pages over a period of time. Creating a social editorial calendar is crucial for distributing blog content through social.
Many marketers will shy away from posting their blog content on LinkedIn Discussion Groups. They rightly assume that promotional posting on Groups will be flagged as spam. The key to distributing blog content through LinkedIn Groups is to use social messaging that doesn't come off as promotional. Asking questions is the most effective strategy for distributing content in Groups.
4. Case Studies
Can you guess what the most effective form of content for lead generation is? You may be surprised to find out that it's actually case studies.
Promoting a case study is similar to promoting a white paper, namely the social promotion campaign should take place over a long period of time (several months). Given that case studies are such a powerful tool for lead generation, you are going to want to be able to measure how many leads have been generated. In years past, measuring leads generated from social was impossible, but using Oktopost's conversion tracking and lead capture technology will allow you to see exactly which social posts have generated leads from your case study.
B2B brands, in particular, are leaving money on the table by not tapping the greatest resource they have – their employees. Utilizing the power of employee advocacy through social media can catapult a brand’s marketing efforts to the next level.
In a world in which social media has become ever-present, each employee within a company has his or her own social following. Being able to tap into the power of those social channels can get your brand further reach than any other social strategy.
Obviously, there are some complications with blindly asking employees to share content on their own. Utilizing a platform like Oktopost that allows a marketer to choose exactly which social posts will be shared by employees, but giving the employees the option to share or not, is the best and most effective way to conduct an employee advocacy strategy.