Social media

Extend Your Content Marketing Reach with Social Media

Decide on a clear role for social media.

Get employees, executives and sales involved!

Are you getting everything you want out of your company’s social media activities? If not, below are some tips on how to harvest more business benefits from social media.

Decide on a clear role for social media. What will you use social media for, primarily? Research and listening are the best place for a company to begin. Learn what customers are talking about before you join into the conversation.

Decide whether your brand will focus on producing original content (such as blogs, infographics and videos), whether you will curate others’ content, or both.

Identify the resources that enable you to interact with customers and address their questions in social media in real time. Remember, 2 out of 3 customers expect brands to respond to their social media posts on the same day. Be prepared to respond quickly to customer posts.

Set a company policy for social media. Social media policies often look like a set of common sense guidelines, but you can’t afford to presume that everyone understands what’s expected. Put a social media policy in place for your company, and make sure your employees understand it.

Here are examples of social media policies you can use as a guide to write one for your company.

Decide what role(s) employees will play in social media. Social media usually starts up as an activity in marketing or communications. But the most effective programs go well those walls. Great social media programs involve people from the executive team and from sales, customer service and the product side.

For example, you can recruit and train employee ambassadors to post on the company’s behalf. Start with your most social media-savvy employees, those who have the biggest networks.

You’ll need to deliver a steady stream of content for ambassadors to share, with a regular cadence. The payoff: Employee ambassadors can double, triple or quadruple your company’s reach.

Have you trained your executives in social media? It’s a great way to gain executives’ understanding and gradually win their support. Start by helping execs turbocharge their own personal profiles.

Is the sales force trained to use social media for social selling? Help them use social media to research customers. Provide content and insights they can share routinely.

Focus on a few platforms at first. Since there are so many social media platforms, focus on a few, rather than trying to cover the whole waterfront.

Which social media platforms do your customers regularly use — Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or others? Focus where your customers already are. Here are insights into what people do with social media today.

One dilemma is that, on average, customers expect brands to appear on 3.4 platforms. But they won’t follow brands on that many platforms.

On the whole, it’s better to do fewer social media platforms with higher quality than to pursue more than you can handle. You can always add other platforms later on.

The best content is custom-made for each platform. By their nature, Instagram and YouTube demand visual content. Text content feels more at home on Twitter and Linked In.

That said, all your social media posts get a lift when you include links to visuals – photos, infographics and videos.

First, win 7 seconds of attention. In social media, you don’t have long to catch a buyer’s attention – only a few seconds, since attention spans are so short. Make sure your message can convey “What’s in it for customers?” in 7 seconds, 23 words or less. Post content that’s helpful to customers and save the selling for later.

Once you have a 7-second message that cuts through, then “ladder up” to longer-form content that takes 2 to 5 minutes to consume. Gradually, you’ll earn the right to share longer content such as technical guides, case histories or white papers that take 20 minutes or more.

Build the connective tissue to link social media to content marketing to sales. Social media ultimately serves to get people interested in your longer-form content. Make sure that your long-form content requires registration that enables you to capture customers’ information.

Marketing automation can help you qualify customers for demand generation. Note customers’ budget, authority, need and timeline (BANT) or similar criteria to qualify leads in marketing before you hand them off to sales. By tracking these leads, you’ll find that content marketing often leads to a phone call or a face-to-face meeting with sales.

For example, here’s how a white paper on Linked In drove sales and revenue for Tellabs.

We’ll discuss these topics and more on social media at the B2B Marketing Executives meeting on Tuesday. Join us!

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