Social Media Marketing has never been more essential for B2B businesses. According to data released by Hootsuite, 22.7% of internet users turn to social media for work-related networking and research while some 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for social media B2B lead generation. It is also estimated that by 2025, 80% of all B2B sales interactions will happen through digital channels. Hence having a strong B2B content strategy across all digital platforms is the need of the hour for B2B businesses that want to thrive in this changing digital environment.
So, for B2B businesses looking to take their social media marketing game to the next level in 2022, here is the step-by-step process for creating an effective B2B social media strategy for the upcoming year:
1. Start by Conducting a Social Media Audit
A social media audit is a great way to understand what works for your business on different social media platforms. It is the process during which you study various business metrics to get a clear idea on what kind of content strategy has helped your business grow, brought in new opportunities and also given you insights into what can be done to improve social presence for your B2B brand in the upcoming year.
To conduct your social media audit, study the analytics of your social media pages; make a list of the posts that performed best and make notes about the kind of content the post had. Was it a video or an infographic? Was it educational, promotional or entertaining? This data will help you understand what kind of content works best with your audience and you will want to create more posts like those in the future.
Another key insight to study is the demographic data. Understanding your audience is key to creating content that engages them effectively. The demographic data will give you more details on the age group of your audience, their location and gender. This will help you create campaigns that are more relevant to your audience.
2. Establish Your Goals and Objectives
Next, you need to set clear goals and objectives for your social media marketing efforts. These will be required for you to give direction and measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts. Based on the data from the 2021 Sprout Social Index™, this will increase brand awareness and engagement. Other goals for your social media efforts could include generating sales and leads, building trust, growing your audience and driving traffic to your website. Based on your goals, you will get a clear idea of what important metrics and KPIs you would need to track to measure the success of your social media campaigns.
Once you are clear on your goals for your B2B social media strategy, you will have a good measure of how much money, time and energy you will need to create campaigns that help you reach your goals.
3. Align with the Business
After you’ve set your goals, you need to ensure that they align with your business goals for the year. You should also audit and ensure that your business is present on the right social media platforms that add value to your business. Once you’ve checked to ensure that your goals align, you can move on to the next step.
4. Research your Target Audience
Knowing your target audience is the most important part for any business. Hence before starting on your social media strategy, it is a good idea to research your target audience and to understand them better. You should go on to social media and see what kind of posts they like and what content they usually engage with. Insights from your research will help you while creating your social media content strategy in the later stages.
5. Conduct Market Research
Once you’ve taken a closer look at your target audience, it is time to understand your niche better. You can do so by searching different hashtags in your niche and seeing what kind of content is being created on the platforms in your niche. It doesn’t have to be from competitors, but from other related partners in your sector. This research will help you come up with new ideas for your content strategy and will help you understand what works best for your sector on social media.
6. Competitor Analysis
Next, you will want to have a look at what your top competitors are doing on their social media channels. This will give you a better idea of what topics can be touched upon and what kind of creative content can be used in your particular field. The idea is not to copy their strategy, but to gain valuable insights that could help you while creating your own strategy.
7. Plan Your Content Strategy
Once you have studied your target audience, market and competitors, you are now ready to plan your B2B content strategy. Based on the goals you have listed above, you can think of creative ways to achieve your goals. Think of how you could use different formats of content like infographics, videos etc., to help you get your message out there effectively. There are various content strategy templates that you can use to help you plan your content strategy for the upcoming year. You can choose to focus on all your goals at the same time or divide them up every quarter. Make sure you leave room for change as you might alter your strategy based on various trends and events in the industry during the year.
8. Plan Your Ad Strategy
In order to reach your goals, you should also take into consideration your social media ad strategy for the year ahead. At this stage we recommend allocating your ad budget for the year and deciding on which campaigns will help you get the maximum ROI for your goals. This will ensure that you plan your ad budget for the year correctly and allocate the right budget to the most important campaigns you have planned for the year ahead.
9. Leverage Your Employees
Your employees are the spokespersons of your company and you could leverage this by featuring them on your social media channels. This will help you to humanise your B2B brand and also encourage them to share the content on their social pages which would increase your brand visibility organically.
10 Define a Reporting Mechanism
Lastly, you will need to define how to measure your social media success for the year ahead. Based on the goals you decided upon, you will need to identify various metrics and KPIs that reflect the growth of your brand on your social media channels. You could also create a particular report format that you could use to create timely reports to understand what worked best for your brand. Measuring your B2B brands’ success on social media is extremely important as they can give you valuable insights into what converts best for your brand across various channels.