Social media marketing forms part of a well-rounded inbound marketing strategy. You can use it to promote your content, boost brand awareness, and give your business a voice.
89% of B2B marketers use social media platforms to organically distribute content, narrowly beating both email and blogging as a preferred distribution channel. This makes sense considering that 53.6% of the world’s population is on social media, so it should be easy to reach your audience… right?
Captivating a B2B audience is more complex. While people are hungry for social media content, effective B2B social media marketing is about more than posting content regularly.
To resonate with your target audience and build brand awareness, you need a strategy that’s packed with unique content and tailored for each platform.
The top 10 methods for increasing brand awareness using social media marketing:
- Understand your audience
- Prioritise platforms that perform
- Customise your social media content
- Create visual content
- Provide value with content
- Combine strategy and action
- Leverage social media trends
- Make influencer connections
- Use your social accounts
- Track your performance
To begin, you should know who your target audience is. If you don’t, developing personas is a key part of a successful inbound marketing strategy. For B2B marketers, it’s important not to make assumptions about the content or social media platforms your audience engages with.
To get to grips with your audience on social media, you should use your chosen social media sites as a search engine. Search for relevant hashtags, take inspiration from competitor channels, and follow thought-leaders to keep up to date with the trending topics in your industry. This will help you build a better picture of how your audience engages with social media.
IT director Dave might not be scrolling through Instagram to find the next greatest IT solution. Or he could be. That’s up to you to determine.
Explore where your audience is spending the majority of their time and stick to these social media platforms. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to how many profiles you should maintain. However, it's more important to make your efforts sustainable and consistent rather than trying to be everywhere at once.
Like travelling to a new country, it’s always best to get familiar with the local culture, language, and currency. With social media marketing, you should do the same. Research the correct character length for your posts, ideal image sizes, and the days or times that are best to schedule your content.
For example, Twitter restricts the length of your message to 280 characters, but Facebook and LinkedIn don't. Similarly, image dimensions vary from platform to platform and the images you use on LinkedIn won't work on Instagram. Get these details right, and you’re one step closer to strengthening your social media marketing.
Getting your content noticed in the noisy world of social media requires eye-catching visual content, including images and video. It's no surprise that social media is a major use case for marketers using visual content; 33% use it for Twitter, 49% use visuals for Facebook, 47% use it on Instagram, and 42% are using it for LinkedIn.
Fortunately, this doesn't mean each post needs to be accompanied by hand-crafted illustrations. Royalty-free stock photos (from Adobe, for example) and GIFs can be used to add a simple visual element to your post, while tools such as Canva and Biteable, allow you to create bespoke images and video content.
Findings show that content that provides value beats content with high production quality. Audiences are more engaged with content that is useful and more 'human' on social media. Instead of focusing on what you're selling, consider how you can educate your audience and address their needs and pain points.
If you've got educational blog posts or e-books, social media is the perfect place to share them. Your audience is more likely to engage with this kind of content, and it showcases your expertise and knowledge.
In addition, you can also use social media to engage with your audience. Answer direct messages, mentions, and comments in a timely fashion.
Don’t fall down the social media strategy rabbit hole. It’s good to follow best practices, set measurable objectives, and stay consistent – but social media is an agile platform.
A quick Google search will suggest methods like 'the rule of thirds' (1/3 of posts promoting your product or services, 1/3 interacting with others, and 1/3 sharing industry news), or tell you that you should be posting to Twitter three times a day.
But take the time to measure what works for you. Try mixing it up in different ways and seeing what reaction you get from your audience.
The trending topics on Twitter and LinkedIn are an opportunity to share content that adds to, or piggybacks off of, larger conversations happening online. This is known as "Newsjacking."
“Newsjacking is when a brand or firm mentions or creates a campaign centred around a major, well-discussed news item.” HubSpot
However, this doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be headline news. It could simply be a topic of debate or a new trend within your industry. HubSpot has some great examples of brands that have done this well.
Every industry has its influencers. Even if you might not expect it. Whether it’s thought-leaders, bloggers, or industry news websites, connecting with non-competing ‘influencers’ is a beneficial way to build your social media following. You can forge joint venture partnerships that are as simple as exchanging content, and at their most evolved, can involve commercial deals or affiliate fees.
When it comes to social media, The New Radicals were right, you get what you give. It's too much to hope that others will like and share your content if you're not doing the same. Rather than expecting engagement without anything in return, try sharing and liking the content of others.
It's also important to free yourself from the expectation of anything in return. If you promote a culture of engagement, then others might do the same for you.
Most social media platforms will provide you with engagement statistics for your posts. Some marketing CRMs such as HubSpot provide in-depth social media analytics reporting options to give you even greater detail. You can also use the HubSpot platform to manage, publish, and monitor your social media content. This includes functionality that automatically creates trackable URLs for you, giving you a wide range of analytics.
Whatever you choose to use, tracking the performance of your social media marketing will give you better insights, so you can learn what works and what doesn’t, and continually optimise your approach.
A robust inbound marketing strategy will pull together your social media, content, blogs, search engine optimisation, and more to build brand awareness and attract new business. If you’re looking to make the first step or want to support your existing inbound strategy, social media is one of the easiest ways to grow. Follow these steps to building brand awareness using social media and you will be rewarded.