I’m often asked how a B2B company should start building a social presence. My consultancy works with many start-ups in the ad technology and digital media space, developing their go-to-market strategies and often launching their first marketing campaigns.
As B2B start-ups focus on building products and securing clients, most of these companies (rightly) don’t give a thought to social media until they already have significant revenue. Then, all of a sudden, they realize they need to have a social following, so they can distribute a press release, so they can spread the word about an event they are hosting, or to generate leads. But, they have zero followers, and it can be hard to know where to begin.
Below, my tried-and-true 30-day plan to help get your social media presence respectably up and running.
1. Decide Where to Post
There are myriad social channels, and experts will tell you it’s not an “either-or” game but a “yes, and” game. Still, you’re just getting started, and you don’t have unlimited time. Concentrate on being where your audience is. For B2B brands, that’s likely Twitter and LinkedIn. Post everything you create to both places, with longer copy and more links in your LinkedIn posts.
2. Set Your Frequency
How often should you post? The “right” number of posts each week will depend on your industry (check how often your competitors post to get a sense of range) as well as your resources: if you have a junior marketer who can “own” social, you can do more than if you are handling it alone without help. The important thing is to commit to a cadence that can be maintained, as consistency is the bedrock of an effective social media presence. You want to train your audience to expect five posts a week, or five posts daily, not confuse them by sharing 10 posts one week and nothing for the rest of the month. Use Buffer to load all your “evergreen” type posts at once, and schedule when you would like them to be published.
Once you’ve selected your channels and set your frequency, the next question is, What should I say?
Since you’re just starting out, you likely don’t have a brand voice yet. If a junior marketer is manning the wheel, he or she probably isn’t in the best position to define it. So, start in these ways:
3. Follow the Leaders
Set a goal of following 10 to 20 relevant industry figures daily – by the end of the month you’ll be following 300 to 600 people, a healthy figure for any brand starting out. Follow fellow employees, your clients and their brands, your potential clients, your competitors, and any relevant trade organizations, publications, or leaders in the space. Twitter is a give-and-take platform, so don’t forget to follow everyone who follows you!
A word of warning: Don’t front load and follow them all the first day! One of my clients once did this and Twitter thought their handle was a bot, shutting down access to the account for several days until the problem could be corrected. You need to mix passive following with active posting as you build your presence.
4. Curate the Conversation
Since you’re just beginning to build your social strategy, you likely won’t have much original content to share. Instead, curate the conversation for others. A good rule of thumb is to post one-third industry articles, one-third retweets, and one-third company news or insights.
- Share industry articles that are relevant to your business. A best practice is to take the most interesting quote or stat from a piece and post that, along with the link (use bit.ly to shorten) and the Twitter handles of those referenced in the article. In this way, the people you mention in your post will see your tweet, and hopefully grow your audience by favoriting or retweeting it to their audience, or by following you themselves. Bonus points for checking the relevant hashtags (popular topics) related to the article and including those in your post, as well. By including relevant hashtags, your tweets will be found when users search those topics, and they will hopefully follow you, as well.
- Retweet interesting posts by folks you follow. You’ve been following 10 to 20 new people daily. Pick three to five posts that you think are interesting and retweet them. Don’t forget you can retweet what your own company’s leadership team is tweeting, too! Add a company lens or personal take on what you’re retweeting when you share.
- Post your company news. Highlight what’s new in your business. Do you have an upcoming event? A new product? A blog post worth checking out? Is your CEO speaking someplace others should attend? Share this news, along with relevant media (e.g., videos, photos). As your content marketing efforts grow, you can use these platforms (especially LinkedIn) to post infographics, research reports, whitepapers, and slideshows.
5. Don’t Buy Followers.
There are many companies out there that promise you Facebook fans or Twitter followers for a nominal fee. Don’t take the bait! Phony followers dilute your brand metrics, and don’t help you learn what’s resonating with your audience. By following the game plan above, you will have grown your presence with relevant content and followers organically and authentically. You can rest easy knowing that your followers genuinely care about what your brand has to say, and will help distribute your message in the future.
6. Check Your Progress and Set Future Goals
As the month draws to a close, check your progress so you can set benchmark goals for the future. Hootsuite lets you track audience growth, tweet reach, and which posts generated the most engagement – useful information to inform your future editorial strategy! If you have a bit of budget, I like SimplyMeasured to track posts across multiple social platforms, including LinkedIn. Some good, realistic monthly goals are to grow posting frequency by 20 percent (until you reach a steady state) and to expand your audience by 15 percent.
Good luck! Follow me @kristinkovner and tweet me to let me know how this #bestpractice plan works for you. I’ll be sure to return the favor to help you grow your audience!
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