My last blog explained how using social media to teach your customers tough questions to ask you and your competitors is a powerful social media marketing hack, especially for B2B and B2G firms.
Now I want to get more strategic. What are some simple rules to get started in social media, esp. if you are a small b2b or b2g firm? To answer that question I went to B2B social media expert Jessica Steele Menard.
Jessica has provided social media marketing advice to B2B tech firms BroadSoft, Apcela and Millenial Media and a host of smaller firms. She’s also AGX Marketing’s social media marketing practice lead.
AGX: I think a lot of small-to-medium size B2B and B2G CEO’s, especially non “techies”, look at social media marketing and ask “where’s the ROI?”
JSM: We are almost at the point where social media is like a website or smartphone: if a business doesn’t use it, it can be a red flag. It raises questions about your business’s sophistication and resources.
Some statistics from Hubspot about the growth of b2b social media:
32% of all employed adults in the U.S. use LinkedIn.
74% use Facebook for business or professional purposes.
Those percentages are growing and equate to hundreds of millions of people that expect to find your business on social media.
So rule #1: establish a presence. For most B2B companies that means LinkedIn and Twitter, at a minimum.
AGX: Ok, so there is no avoiding social media.
But it can be exhausting. And repetitious. We joke about Cats in B2C social, but there are also overused themes in B2B social. Below are three I see ALL THE TIME on LinkedIn:
“Let’s beat up on millenials for their lousy work habits and attitudes” theme:
JSM: Great point. Your next post can be “How Steve Jobs and Navy Seals Teach Millenials Social Media Basics”.
AGX: Not bad. Probably would get a great click through …
JSM: Seriously, this brings me to rule #2 – the 80/20 rule.
About 2o% can be promotional or call-to-action type messaging: we’re launching a new product, we’ve won an industry award, try our product for 30 days for free, etc.
Roughly 80% of what you post should be informative and relevant to the reader and not an overt sales pitch.
AGX: It’s not always easy to create content for the 80% category. Can you give some examples of what you mean?
JSM: Sure. Here’s some sources of inspiration:
- Repost a news story about the problem your product solves
- Thank a mentor, team member, partner
- A list of three important trends in your industry last year
- Advice on how to use your product more effectively
- A list of the most common questions people have about your product before they buy
Another important point: there is no law that says you can’t tweak, repurpose and repost content.
AGX: And rule #3? This is the last one — make it a good one.
JSM: Rule # 3: Frequency — not size — matters in social media marketing.
Spend your time putting out short posts OFTEN.
Don’t wait weeks to post short links. Get your content out there.
Here’s why: People like to dip in and out of social media. They are periodically checking their feed of information.
But unlike other sources of information – websites, magazines – social media feeds are updated constantly. So if you wait months between posts, you’re posts can get lost in the noise.
Aim for 1 post every two weeks. Once you get the hang of it, you can increase the frequency.
Focus on ONE social media platform. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram have amazing functionality but it takes time to learn how to use them well. You’re better off focusing on using ONE of them.
Social Media Practice Lead
Jessica Menard is our lead partner for social media marketing solutions. Prior to founding the Steele Social Media agency, she worked for Apcela, BroadSoft and Millennial Media. Jessica has an MA from Georgetown University in Culture, Communications & Technology and a BA from Gettysburg College in English and Writing