How do you measure your social media marketing success? Many companies base it on the number of “Likes” or “Followers” their pages get or the reach, impressions and engagement of their posts. The arena has become highly competitive, and marketers are battling it out to have the best-looking page and the largest following. If this is what your company does or aspires to do, you’re doing it wrong!
When it became apparent that LinkedIn and later Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites were going to become mass aggregators of audiences, marketers responded in droves. It was the next big thing in marketing. Social media was perceived as a way to not only compile a massive number of followers but also engage with them — all on the same platform. In fact, lots of companies even built their entire business models around publishing on social media platforms and pushing their information out to their followers.
Don’t get us wrong; social media can be leveraged to capture the interest of massive audiences. According to Statista, there are currently more than 191 million Facebook users in the United States, 128 million LinkedIn users and 66 million Twitter users. However, the problem with communicating with your audience on the social platforms themselves is that the platforms can change the rules at any time. You are not in control, so the takeaway is: don’t build your house on rented land!
Marketers used to have a little more power. When social networks were in their infancy, they made it easy for marketers to reach the audience because they needed help gaining traction and growing. Once the audiences were established, social media began to make it a monetized space, and now business is booming! Today, if you expect a post to simply take off and make a noticeable impact on your audience, you’re wrong. The algorithms are not going to let your message be pervasive throughout the platform unless you pay for it. There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s just business.
Pay to Play
It’s time to change your mind about social media. Your mission should be to get the right people on social media to pay attention to you. You should already know who the right people are if you’ve done a good job targeting during the development of your marketing strategy. It should not be your goal to communicate with everyone. Going viral doesn’t deliver the ROI you would expect. In addition, your job as a marketer is not to rely on social media as your forum to engage leads. It’s to exploit social media to harvest audiences and bring them over to your forum where you are in control. Just know going in that the only way to get the attention of the right prospects, if you’re a B2B brand, is to pay for it by advertising. Regardless of the platform, the first step (if you haven’t done so already) is to create an advertising account. From there, you can upload attention-grabbing content and target specific audiences to direct to your platform(s). Here’s how it works:
Facebook ads can be targeted by age, location, interests and more and appear in a user’s news feed among the various posts of their friends and liked pages. This makes the ad appear very organic as opposed to more obvious forms of advertising like banners or pop-ups. There are a couple ways to segment an audience:
- Segmentation Tool – Once you have identified your best potential customers through targeting, you can select their attributes to advertise to users who meet the criteria. You can define your audience based on their location, age, gender, industry, interests and more.
- Look-Alike Audiences – Facebook makes it very easy to use one of your existing lists (or even your entire database) to target similar users. All you need to do is upload your list, and Facebook’s algorithm will search its database of users to find more with very similar characteristics. It will analyze name, company, job title, location, etc.
Unlike traditional forms of advertising where there is a specified fee, Facebook advertising works like an auction. You specify a daily budget for the ad, which is the total amount you want to spend. Then, you choose a bid, which is the amount you’re willing to pay per user click, impression or action. The bids come into play if there are multiple advertisers that want their ad to display to the same audience in the same real estate. If there are more advertisers than available space, the ones with the highest bids will take priority over the ones with lower bids.
Although the details vary on how advertising on each specific social media platform works, the general concepts are similar. For instance, LinkedIn and Twitter, the two other networks you are most likely to use, also utilize audience segmentation tools and bidding processes.
Control the Conversation
Once again, the goal of social media marketing is not to engage with targets on the social platforms. You want to direct people to your website, and social media should just be the invitation. How do you get them to leave the social site and visit your company website or landing page? By using strong hooks and calls to action.
The most effective ads offer valuable, relevant content. In the ads, it should be apparent to the user what the offer is and how they can get it. For example, “Must-have checklist for reducing waste at your business. Click here to download.” The offer could also be something tangible like a promotional product. If this is the case, make it something your targets will actually use. They won’t engage with you if they aren’t getting something good in return. For business professionals, maybe it’s a coffee mug, calculator or something even more industry-specific. Be creative and brainstorm some ideas that will get users off social media and onto your real estate.
When a user clicks on your ad, it should direct them to a landing page where they are asked to give their contact information and other relevant information like interests, a timeline of when they plan to purchase, etc. in order to receive the offer. Once they submit, they’ll receive the offer, and you’ll have plenty information to be able to nurture them and continue the conversation. This is easy if you utilize a marketing automation platform, which just needs contact information in order to deploy additional messaging on channels ranging from direct mail and email to SMS and retargeting. A less high-tech approach would be to simply have a salesperson or customer service rep reach out to them. Regardless, the next step is to begin the sales process and get the lead to start going through the sales funnel.
Social Media Success
Taking this approach to social media marketing really does work. We have our very own success story to prove it. We helped one of our clients, SINKSNMORE, drive traffic to their website and subsequent landing page using a variety of channels, including LinkedIn ads. Each channel was assigned a unique URL so that we could use Google Analytics to track which channels were most successful at getting prospects to visit the website. The LinkedIn ads outperformed all other channels and even resulted in a 600% boost in followers. Yes, we said not to worry about your number of followers. We just want you to be aware of the kind of impact social media ads can make.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the go-to social media networks for B2Bs. However, you could also utilize photo-based Pinterest if you have a certain product or line that goes directly to the consumer market, if it gets to the consumer via a distributor, and especially if it has nice visual appeal. In addition, you could venture into YouTube to tease how-to videos or product demonstrations. If you’d like assistance putting together and executing a social media marketing strategy, give us a call at 815-431-1000.
In our next post, we’re getting back into the SEO discussion by providing some strategies and tactics for improving on-page SEO.