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Your Presence is Expected. Your Strategy is Essential

Jan. 1, 2021
Before you post anything, recognize that social media platforms are means for communicating, so determine your brand message and identify the audience. All the other details follow.

Apart from your logo, your social media "presence" is the most visible part of your brand. Maintaining such a presence is not difficult but it must be well-planned, as part of an overall marketing strategy. Your social-media message depends on your brand strategy, and who your target audience is.

A marketing strategy follows from a communications strategy, not a platform. (Consider: One does not have a Tik-Tok strategy. One has a marketing communications strategy, which includes digital media and social media platforms.) After you determine your strategy is, then you can determine which social media platforms advances that strategy, and how your business will show up on that platform.

A strategy begins with what you want the brand to accomplish. For example:
• We want to be an employee-focused brand;
• We want to be the knowledge-leader in our space;
• We want to sell more widgets than any other company on the planet.

The strategy will inform what you say, and to whom. Is your audience other businesses (B2B), or consumers (B2C)? There’s not a huge difference because in both cases your audience is human. The main difference the tone you set: the B2B tends to be more formal, while B2C tone is more personal.

Where you post your social media message is critical. Who is your audience and where will you reach them? In addition to the usual B2B channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook), consider alternatives like forums or speciality platforms. The choice is not about your preferences or your industry, but rather where your target audience (businesses, employees, or customers) are likely to be spending time. Your business needs to be where they are, consistently.

Next, develop posts that match your strategy.
• An employee-focused brand might post employee anniversaries on Facebook or LinkedIn, or maintain an employee-only Facebook group.
• A knowledge-leader firm would post articles or blog content for the industry on LinkedIn or Medium, or perhaps have an on-going series of explainer videos to share knowledge.
• A sales-focused company would share pricing news and special offers on the social platform most likely to match the audience’s interests.

Some examples of typical B2B posts include:
• Behind the scenes info (a great Instagram or Facebook story);

• New staff announcements (casually on Facebook, or formally on LinkedIn);

• Class or workshop announcements (Create them as events on Facebook; Announce them on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram);

- Pre-event. Build interest by showcasing speakers, by announcing sponsors, by announcing the number of tickets or sets left, by announcing special offers (first 100 enrollees get x or y), etc.

- Post-event.
Cultivate interest for the next event by posting more behind the scenes details, and start an e-mail waiting list for notifications.
• Blog or content articles, for Facebook and LinkedIn, or even Medium;

• Holiday hours (on all your social media and update your Google My Business page);

• Industry events you will be attending;

• Client testimonials or case studies;

• Client content to showcase client success stories

• Helpful content from others (if you take the curation route, commit to it. Consistency is crucial.)

Never lose sight of the fact that social media is social. Spend as much time listening to your industry and audience as you do advertising to them. Ideally, your team spends more time listening and interacting than posting.

Scheduling tools will help you post with consistency. No more posting when you have time or someone thinks of it: Create a schedule and stick with it. Facebook allows native scheduling for Facebook pages. For the other platforms, there are numerous scheduling tools available, from free (Hootsuite) to agency-level (SproutSocial). Decide whether a single person will post for you, or if the content creators will need oversight before posting. There are scheduling tools to suit all these needs.

Remember, the various platform algorithms mean social media posts are not seen by ALL of your audience (right now its 6% for Facebook), so repost! Think of fresh things to say or say things in a different way (use different pictures and hashtags; post at a different time of day) for the new posts, because not all your audience caught the first post.

In addition to scheduling tools, there are tools to spice up the post type. Ripl is one of my favorites to take still photos and stitch together a quick Facebook video. Plann is a great tool for planning out Instagram posts in advance. Tidings can turn your Facebook or Instagram posts into a newsletter. Digital tools help support the digital platforms, and make the job of social media more manageable.

B2B social media does not have to be intimidating or require hiring four additional staff members (strategist, content writer, graphic creator, and a coordinator to wrangle it all.) Start where you are with what you have, while being strategically focused on the target audience for your marketing message.

Alexandria Trusov is the Director of Marketing at Euthenia Manufacturing Group and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies. Contact her at [email protected] or visit www.truinsightsconsulting.com.

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