Social media can be one of the most successful channels for B2B lead generation, but many companies still jump into a social network to have a presence for presence sake. If your company is on a social network, there must be a purpose behind being there. For B2B marketers, that purpose is most likely creating demand that will drive leads and sales.
Depending on your marketplace, a focus on social demand generation could require being on just a few or a number of social media sites. Either way, you’ll have to go in with a plan to make sure each of those networks produces results. Here are six important ways your company can build a social media machine that generates leads while having some fun:
1. Find Important Social Channels
Not every social media channel is made for your company. While Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter are universally necessary, where else should you go? Reddit? Tumblr? Instagram? Check out the social network referrals report in your Google Analytics to see what social network is already driving traffic to your website, and make decisions based on that.
2. Create a Plan
Going into social media without a plan on paper is just like giving a presentation without practicing—you can’t afford to wing it. Each social network you decide to be engaged with should have everything from the voice and audience to when to post and how to respond to questions in one master document. With this plan in place, it’s easier to point team members in the right direction from the start.
3. Empower Leaders
Each social network should have someone responsible for that network’s success. And each person in charge should be empowered to recruit contributors and make sure those contributors are participating—even if the person is normally above them in the company hierarchy. An added benefit is each leader can communicate with the owner of another social network to find out what’s working and share both content and ideas.
4. Set Goals
There’s no point in building up your team unless you give them something to achieve. For B2B marketers, those social networks serve as valuable referrals to your website. Setting SMART traffic and lead goals will give the team numbers to focus on as they plan their posts. Plus, it might just inspire a little friendly competition between the team leaders, boosting everyone’s success.
5. Give the Team Flexibility
It’s important to remember your team will always have to play by the community and the social network’s rules. Have them follow trends and encourage them to be a little experimental. You may have a social media plan, but a little divergence from that plan is what keeps your social networks lively. (And with the rapid change going on, you should regularly revisit your plan anyway.)
6. Create Ad Budgets
Social media isn’t free. Not only do you need manpower, but given the noisy nature of the networks, it helps to provide a boost with advertising. Facebook’s promoted posts and sponsored stories are likely to be the model for social advertising going forward. (Tumblr is doing it, too.) That means the people in charge of your social content, should also be in charge of your ads. This gives the owner a chance to maximize his or her chances of reaching the goals you’ve set.
Making your social media team accountable doesn’t mean that social networking can’t be fun. But it’s still important to remember that, as a B2B marketer, you have KPIs you need to focus on. If your social channels aren’t supporting those efforts, then something needs adjusted.
photo credit: Rosaura Ochoa