With over 20 years of foodservice marketing under our belt, we know a thing or two about the B2B space here at IN Food. And, as social media plays such an enormous role in marketing and brand awareness today, we would be remiss not to share some of our tips, tricks and trade secrets. Here are 10 things to consider when leveraging social media for B2B marketing:
- A/B Test. Social media channels are a great way to conduct A/B testing—you can post variations on the same content more than once, it’s easy to review analytics and paid social actually encourages A/B experimentation. Plus, you’ll be generating more content for your followers to enjoy. (Can you say win-win?)
Test different types of posts to find out what gets people to your website. What types of images work best? Do certain calls-to-action generate more clicks? Do questions perform better than statistics? Compile and analyze your results, and then use the data to inform other parts of your business: email subject lines, paid media headlines, article titles and more.
- Be creative. Show your company’s personality! Social media is a casual space, and the more personality your brand conveys, the more authentic appeal you will command. This isn’t to say that all companies need to be delivering hysterical one-liners 24/7 (see @Wendy’s hilarious twitter account), but with a strong brand identity you can push the boundaries of conventional business messaging, whatever angle you take.
- Interact with other accounts. There are millions of users on social media, to differentiate yourself from the masses, you need to make—and interact with—friends. Say it with us: The key to good social media is engagement. It’s imperative that you reach relevant accounts—interact with influencers, customers and industry publications to build your following and your credibility. Respond to their posts, share their articles, and tag them in your posts.There’s a reason social platforms are referred to as communities. By definition you can’t create a community on your own. Reach out! Be social!
- Offer something of value. Why should followers care about what you’re saying? People at work are busy and not eager to add extra clutter to their days. Think about how you can make following your accounts worthwhile for target audiences by sharing industry statistics or trends that will make their jobs easier, providing a free downloadable item or even a rebate.
- Repurpose content. Not everything that you post needs to be brand new—your team will burn out. Conduct a content audit and find new ways to share existing content. You can even experiment with new ways to position the same article to find out what makes people click. For example, we could share this article in the following ways:
- 10 Ways to Maximize Your B2B Social Media
- The Do’s and Don’ts of B2B Social Media
- Here’s how to reach your B2B audience without paying a dime
- 5 things to avoid when you’re a B2B social media community manager
- The list goes on!
- Be a megaphone! If you’re constantly sharing your products, your ideas and your news, your platform is all about YOU, not your audience. Cultivate authenticity and build credibility by making it all about THEM. Share industry articles that make their jobs easier. Lead with the benefit, not the product. B2B social media best practices suggest that you have no more than 30% of your content promoting your products or services.
- Forget analytics. Track, track, track everything! Benchmarks vary so much from industry to industry, company to company—you are your own benchmark.
Where do your followers live? You won’t know until you start tracking. A few basics to watch: followers, likes/favorites, retweets/shares, comments and mentions. You should be keeping an eye on these at the bare minimum, but you should also consider incorporating tracking URLs for even more detailed analytics on your posts.
- Plan out everything for the year. Social media is real-time and current. It allows you to respond to things as they happen. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you like to fly by the seat of your pants!) this means you can only prep so much in advance. We recommend planning posts in two-week intervals, supplemented by regular community monitoring and sharing of articles in real-time. Sharing and posting about industry events in a timely manner (preferably while they’re happening) is also a great way to engage with your followers.
- Allow just anyone to post. Give thorough social media training to whoever is in charge of posting. This helps ensure that brand standards are maintained and messaging is appropriate. Nonetheless, it’s wise to have an escalation plan in case something goes wrong. Involve your PR team and leadership in addressing problematic situations.
- “Set it and forget it.” Have a dedicated community manager who monitors notifications and is responsible for responding to people who interact with your brand.
Use these Do’s and Don’ts to increase the impact of your B2B social media. We’re confident you’ll be impressed with the results.
That said, keep in mind that social media is an ever-changing beast. Skilled wranglers of social platforms must be flexible, adaptable and open to new things—an attitude we’ve adopted and embrace every day here at IN Food.