Smart steps to leverage social media
by Brian Key
Over the past several years, we have been asked to assist many of our clients with establishing and managing their social media presence. With thousands of various social media outlets vying for our time and resources, below are four initial challenges many businesses face in using social media.
What channel to use?
Choosing your social channels relies much on the type of business you are and the audience you are trying to target. As a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) company, you may choose to use Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat or Pinterest. If you’re a Business-to-Business (B2B) company, you may decide to focus on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. At Copperwing, we use five primary outlets: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. These mediums best bring in our target audience of marketing executives and marketing directors while including social outlets that reach the design community.
For both B2C and B2B, you will need to choose the outlets that target your appropriate audience.
When a B2C targets millennials, the audience will be found on Instagram, SnapChat and other up-and-coming outlets. According to a recent Forbes article, “In a recent survey, 41% of millennials still use Facebook every day; however, Facebook was found to be more popular with non-millennials. Every other measured social media platform (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn) was found to be more popular with millennials than non-millennials.”i
On the other hand, a B2B targeting business decision makers would more likely find them on LinkedIn and Facebook. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 66% of B2B marketers ranked LinkedIn as the most effective social media platform for B2B. ii
Your choice of social channels will depend on the goal of your B2B campaign. For example, an HR campaign targeting employment opportunities within your business may use LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to spotlight your unique workplace culture and promote recruiting events.
Any company starting out in social media should only choose the outlets it can manage. If you only have the time and resources to manage one outlet, choose the one that fits your immediate needs best and slowly add additional outlets as time and resources become available.
What content do I share?
The types of content you share will be based on the type of business you are. No matter if you are B2C or B2B, keep in mind the primary reason people are following is that you provide some value to them individually or professionally.
Five key types of content are:
- Thought leadership – These are articles or blogs providing original content produced by your business. These share ideas and thoughts that set your company apart from your competitors.
- Industry news/trends – These are links and recaps of industry-related news and trends that you want to share with your followers.
- Company highlights – These could be new projects for your B2B company or new inventory items for your B2C business.
- Special offers – These are offers you provide only for your social subscribers.
- Office events – These include birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas parties and other celebrations.
No matter what types of content you use, be sure there is a good balance based on your company and audience.
How to gain more followers?
Typically, most companies are going to gain followers over a period of time, attracting them according to the services/projects you offer. If your current followers like, comment or share your social post with their own followers, you increase your reach while having a creditable source referring you.
Below are a few recommendations on how to gain followers:
For a B2C company, you may offer social-only promotions or special offers to your followers. You may share product releases or new offerings through videos and graphics, demonstrating how your product or service can benefit your potential customer.
For a B2B company, you can develop and share case studies on your customers or project highlights through videos or written articles. You can also write white papers or industry-related stories to share with your customers. As you become a thought leader in the industry, people will begin to pay attention to you and your company.
How to engage with the followers?
For many companies, this is one of the toughest challenges. With easy access to each social outlet on mobile, followers expect a quick response to a comment or question they post. Additionally, responding to a negative comment quickly allows your company to better stay in control of the situation.
According to recent study, “More than 80% of customers expect a response within 24 hours to their emails and social media posts.iii
It’s also a challenge for a start-up or small business to dedicate a staff member to respond to these items. Setting up notification and alerts often help, but assigning a staff member to monitor your social outlets on a regular basis is important. Depending on your type of business, you may be able to have a staff member review social media a few times a day. Starting off with the right number of social outlets will enable you to engage with your customers in the most effective way.
Since 1999, Copperwing has developed design-driven strategic marketing and communications materials for local, regional and national clients. Let me know if we can assist you with developing your social media plan or content at firstname.lastname@example.org.