With an unprecedented amount of information and connectivity at our fingertips, social media has become a pivotal tool that has changed the way businesses of all shapes and sizes communicate with customers and prospective customers. This includes a company’s public relations (PR) strategy and their marketing tactics. A study conducted by Hootsuite shows that approximately 50 percent of the global population uses social media, and 43 percent of Internet users claim to use social media to research products and services before making a buying decision.
For business-to-business (B2B) companies, however, it may be more challenging to create a compelling social media post about a warehouse management system that attracts the same excitement and attention as a direct-to-consumer (D2C) post promoting a new line of sneakers. Yet, generating informative and attractive content is simple and feasible, as long as you understand the different expectations of your audiences across the various social media platforms. Here are a few tricks, and tactics we use with some of our clients to help your company become a valuable online resource for prospects and customers in every stage of the buyer’s journey.
The most widely known social media platform, Facebook has over 2.5 billion users in search of quick, accessible snippets of information about people and companies. This is why Facebook provides specifically designed pages for businesses that allow you to share your company’s story and differentiate you from the competition. Interested prospects can casually preview your company’s mission, offered services, related events and gain insight into company culture even before advancing to the company website.
You will want to post content that your target audience can relate to. Behind-the-scenes photos and relevant socials stories demonstrate to users that you’re not just a business—you’re a part of the community. By personalizing your company and engaging with prospects and customers, you can encourage and build brand loyalty and awareness.
In addition to creator-controlled tabs, Facebook’s instant messaging extension, Messenger, is also quite popular for consumers to use. Hootsuite reports that nearly 65 percent of people prefer to reach out to companies over Facebook Messenger rather than picking up the phone or sending an email. Businesses that regularly interact with their prospects and customers through comments and private messaging will be more available and prepared to guide users to the appropriate resources or offer further assistance depending on their needs, resulting in more organic traffic to a company’s website.
Traditionally, LinkedIn was regarded as a career resource for job-seeking professionals and companies posting job opportunities. However, employers and prospective hires alike began to crave something more from the platform for professionals. LinkedIn has evolved into a social media resource for B2B enterprises across myriad industries to connect, share ideas, and grow.
When it comes to content, LinkedIn’s professional atmosphere breeds an expectation of experienced leadership and innovative thinking. In fact, LinkedIn users claim that they find material written on LinkedIn to be more reliable and accurate than other sites. This creates the perfect environment to write and promote thought leadership content to position your company’s decision makers as authorities within your industry. Cash in your wealth of knowledge and post articles that customers and fellow industry members alike can benefit from, such as inspirational leadership tactics and insights from your years of experience.
And be sure to ask your employees to engage with the content. Employee interaction not only helps provide faces to the name, but also demonstrates that your employees are well-informed resources, proud to work on behalf of your company. To help make employee engagement a regular occurrence, LinkedIn has created a button that makes starting a company conversation as easy a click of a button. On your business page posts, simply find the button marked “Notify Employees,” to let them know when new content is published.
The fastest moving of the social sites, content on Twitter is constantly evolving. With only 260 characters reserved for Tweets, it’s easy for users to fire off several at a time. This increased speed of content production greatly affects how quickly users and potential customers absorb information on their feed. Along with keeping posts concise and precise, companies can keep up with the large volume of information that users consume by incorporating relevant hashtags so that content is easy to find and on-topic with current trends and conversations.
Along with speedy and purposeful Tweets, Twitter users also tend to appreciate company accounts that appear transparent and relevant. Twitter consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of whom their money and participation benefits. In response, companies must assure these socially conscious customers that their company culture and practices are ethical and compatible with their interests.
The most artistic of the group, Instagram may be the most challenging of the social media platforms for B2B companies to conquer. Even if your content is enticing and engaging on paper, it may not appear as exciting when faced with an all-visual format. Instagram’s reliance on photos and videos has pushed consumers to demand entertainment from company accounts along with a purposeful message. Instead of tacking your text to a blank photo, reimagine your content’s format so that it is readable, attractive, and intentional.
Instagram is also the most successful platform for influencers, otherwise known as users with a high volume of followers that help promote brand awareness. Collaborating with these individuals demonstrates your familiarity with current trendsetters and allows your company to reach new communities and niches through a trusted source.
While not every company needs to have an active account on every social media platform, interacting on multiple social sites allows you to tap into different sources of potential clients that don’t necessarily overlap. Understanding the purposes, audience expectations, and formatting of each site not only allows you to best determine which sites fit your company’s goals and market but also provide you the opportunity to rethink your content in new and exciting ways.
Amy Myers is an Account Coordinator at DPR Group.