Where did your GDPR journey begin?
Let me guess…at the challenges, the concerns, the downsides?
When diving into the details of GDPR, it can be hard to pinpoint the opportunities. GDPR gets you so wrapped up in the issue of consent – how to gain and prove it – that you end up completely ignoring an equally important opportunity. That is, to find alternative channels for strengthening audience communications!
With GDPR around the corner, you no longer have the luxury of generating leads through automatic opt-ins. Nor do you have the freedom to drop cookies across your audiences’ web pages. As a result of these changes, social media is where you should be placing your bets.
Why? Because GDPR is less likely to have a direct effect on your social media marketing. If you think about it, on every social media network – be it Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter – consent is automatically present. Your audience proactively initiates the first point of engagement by liking, following, or connecting with your page. Yay for that!
So what’s next? Does this mean you can blast out tonnes of content to social like there’s no tomorrow?
If you really want to win the so-called “GDPR battle”, you must have a bullet-proof social media strategy. One that cuts through the noise, engages communities and drives your social selling in ways like never before. A half-baked social media strategy isn’t going to pass.
In this article, we offer practical social media strategies that B2B marketers can implement to mitigate the impact of GDPR. Fasten your seatbelt, because your GDPR journey is about to take a whole new direction that could boost your audience engagement:How to prepare for the #GDPR battle? 4 social media strategies you cannot miss! Click To Tweet
1. Uplift your Company Presence
Even in the post-GDPR era, building an engaging company presence on social media remains a top priority. The problem is, B2B marketers suck at social media because they use it as a broadcasting channel, blasting out tonnes of blog posts, webinar invites, eBook downloads, and press releases, which say nothing more than “look at me, look at me”.
Instead, let’s focus on the basic fundamentals of social media – the need to drive engagement, create conversations, and inspire dialogues. Whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, maintaining an engaging presence requires a number of things.
Highly Targeted Audience
First, you need to establish a highly targeted community. People who genuinely care about what your company has to say and offer.
Say you’re an agency offering basic digital marketing services. And your audience is in need of such technical solutions; they realize the impact of social media but have zero expertise in those fields, so they come to you.
My 76-year old grandma loves the idea of social media but is having trouble setting up her Facebook profiles. Within the circle of our family, she’s in need of technical social media help. But does that make her part of your target audience? Doubt it.
To build a highly targeted community, you need to know who your audience inside out; who they are, where they’re from, and most importantly, what they care about. Their interests, their needs, their pain points. What they struggle with, what they dream for their role or company.
Highly Targeted Content
To build such a community, you need to provide highly relevant content that delights and sparks conversation. Most B2B companies fail at this because they treat it like advertising, focusing on self-promotional content that doesn’t fit their audience.
The truth is, social media is designed to amplify your messages – so the only way to achieve this is by offering information that commands your audience’s attention. If people don’t find your content to be relevant and worth sharing, then your messages are slowly going to fly under the radar and into a dark hole.
The types of content you should be sharing don’t necessarily have to be written by you. In fact, it’s highly encouraged that your company curates content from third party websites that target a similar audience with similar needs. Content curation goes a long way in establishing yourself as a trustworthy source of information.
Speaking of trust, you can’t win your audience’s trust with one post. No matter how engaging your content is, social media is a fast-paced environment, which thrives on fast-paced sharing activity. Everytime time you refresh your newsfeed, you expect to discover a new piece of information, which not always appeals to your interests. The same applies to your social profiles. The only way for you to build trust and an attentive audience is by constantly sharing valuable information, every hour of every day until you finally capture their attention.
Monitor & Engage
Next, be sure to monitor. The most important aspect of maintaining an engaging presence is first to listen, and only then, to talk.
Nothing could be more detrimental to your brand than leaving negative feedback with no responses. If complaints, or any type of feedback, are starting to litter your social feed, it could drastically lower your engagement rates, or worse yet, damage your reputation.
Another example of creating engagement is by tapping into your audience’s wisdom. You may have hundreds of connections on social media, so why not discover what content ideas they love? Simply posting a question like, “What are your top social media challenges?” and waiting for your audience to comment their responses, could inspire your next article!
2. Leverage Employee Touchpoints
Social media isn’t just about establishing an engaging corporate presence. Once you have a determined target audience, a strong content strategy, and a motivated workforce, the next step is to roll out a company-wide employee advocacy program.
In the face of GDPR, empowering employees from different teams and departments to actively share content across their personal social networks, creates new touchpoints between your company and its buyers.
As your ultimate brand evangelists, employees not only amplify your message, they also help to drive stronger relationships with both customers and prospects. You must understand that a healthy brand is reflected by your employees.
When your company culture thrives on happy, passionate, and engaged employees, this positive energy is automatically transferred into the social media space. Employees will willingly talk positively about your company to their network, piquing the interest of other thought leaders and potential clients.
But as with any strategy, employee advocacy needs planning and structure. Getting employees to contribute isn’t always as easy as giving them content to share. A successful advocacy program starts with a pilot, training, and a social media policy.
The pilot run onboard a small group of social-savvy employees, typically from customer-facing roles, who already have a social media presence and are familiar with the company’s content. As the key players of your program, you can bet on them to see results and gain executive buy-in.
Of course, once you are seeing positive results, it’s important to diversify your program by onboarding employees from different roles, generations, and cultures. At the end, their group synergy is what’s going to strengthen your program’s overall performance. To create a thorough action plan for implementing a healthy and diverse employee advocacy program, check out this humorous article.
Training is the most critical step in getting employees excited and highly involved. At Oktopost, we created a 10-day guide called “Launching an Employee Advocacy Program: How to Train Employees in Less Than 2 Weeks!”. From understanding social media best-practices to adopting a new employee advocacy platform, this article will walk you day-by-day on how to align everyone’s skills to ensure a smooth onboarding experience.
Social Media Policy
Don’t assume that everyone knows how to behave on social media. As part of your 10-day training, it’s important to provide employees with a Social Media Policy. This should be a formal document that clearly outlines the rules guiding responsible employee participation on social media, such as what networks to use, how to avoid conflict, and how to correct personal mistakes. At Oktopost, we have created a Social Media Policy template with custom fields for your company name, goals, and roles – the rest is completed for you!
3. Experiment with Paid Social
When GDPR comes into effect, it’s going to positively impact social advertising. How can we be sure? Well, in case you’re not aware, Facebook has recently announced its compliance with GDPR by rolling out global privacy settings. This major release will create more transparency in terms of what data consumers give and what data marketers can collect. In addition, you can expect audiences to be much more receptive towards the ads they see!
Diving deeper into retargeting, tools like Adroll and Facebook are also in no threat under GDPR. These solutions enable marketers to reconnect with audiences who have already shown interest in your business. Using data from your CRM, marketing automation, or any customer contact list, you can build custom audience groups to target with relevant ads.
Therefore, the only effect that GDPR proposes for retargeting is an increase in engagement and conversion rates, as ad personalization continue to improve. As long as audiences are in complete control of what data they provide, as a marketer, you have limitless access to audience data in a GDPR compliant way.
4. Integrate Social Media Data
GDPR serves as a wake-up call for many B2B marketers to focus more on targeted content. Instead of blasting out an email campaign to every single person in your marketing automation database, you should tailor your messaging to a few, specific individuals. To “buyer profiles”, if you will.
In this way, GDPR presents an upside, which may feel like a restriction. Although you’re going to see fewer people appearing in your marketing automation list, those that do appear are going to be far more interested in receiving your communication. That said, you’ll need to invest more time personalizing the conversation with them until they’re ready to buy.
Simply creating a lead nurturing campaign that relies only on basic information such as, the prospect’s name and his or her email address, isn’t going to be enough to push a lead down the funnel. With fewer prospects in the pipeline, you’ll need a smarter and laser-focused approach. One that leans on behavioral data from sources outside your email and website, for example, social media. After all, social media is the 3rd largest engagement channel, which means there’s a lot of relevant data that cannot be ignored!
By connecting social data with your marketing automation platform, you can gather tonnes of relevant information about what content your audience is clicking, sharing, liking, commenting on, and converting through. Using this data, you can then:
- Segment your audience based on their social media behaviors, such as the content topics or social networks that they’re most engaging with. For example, if audiences are frequently clicking on posts about ‘social monitoring’, you can strategically place them in a bucket where they will be served more content on ‘social monitoring’.
- Deliver highly personalized content based on social media actions. For example, whenever leads show high interest in a certain topic by frequently clicking on it, you can trigger an email campaign with content around the same topic, ensuring much higher open and click-through rates.
To learn more about the many ways you can leverage social data to supercharge your marketing automation programs, check out this article.
Turn GDPR into an Opportunity
The good days aren’t over unless you let them be!
Although GDPR takes away the freedom of communicating with prospects unless they opt-in, social media offers plenty of opportunities to make up for those lost contacts. By investing time in creating an engaging corporate presence, building up your employees as brand evangelists, experimenting with retargeting, and using social media to fuel your nurturing campaigns, you’ll be able to provide audiences with real value.
Remember, although you have fewer connections, this is your chance to use social media to make every interaction count.The good days aren't over! Even after #GDPR, social media offers plenty of ways to win back your audience engagement! Click To Tweet
To learn more about how you can turn GDPR from a problem into a potential, be sure to join my webinar with Adam Dore, Head of Technology Services at Successflow! We’ll be discussing how GDPR can help your marketing team stay on the right side of GDPR by targeting 7 main areas where you can introduce change.