Social media is the center of a very big universe, and anyone that exists in that universe is bound to its orbit. Like the sun, it’s become essential for life as we know it. If it all vanished today, our personal and professional lives would be plunged back into the dark ages.
We’ve all experienced this first-hand, and many of us were there to witness the astronomical rise of social media from the level of, ‘Hey, do you go on Facebook?’ to what it is today. It’s evolved from a simple way to keep in touch to the way to drive business, boost sales, and generate some of the best leads you could hope to come by, social media is the mountain summit for any digital marketer.
But it’s not just a tool to leverage for fast, easy, wide-reach, and low-cost opportunities for self-promotion, which means it’s not just a key touchpoint for your marketing team. The entire business, from left to right and top to bottom, stands to benefit from keeping its finger on the pulse of social media publishing. Here’s how…
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Marketers: Mastering Social Media to Amplify Brand Reach
Every business needs a website – that much isn’t news. But a website is owned space in a rural part of town; it’s your brand’s digital home, and growth depends on your ability to drive more and more people toward that space. It’s an ongoing challenge – one that we all know as SEO, that cornerstone of digital marketing.
Social media is the opposite; it’s rented space in a far more public part of the world wide web. Like a New York apartment, it sees a lot of footfall going past each and every day. It’s surrounded on all sides by other rented spaces (your competition), but also by your target demographic.
In other words, on any given day, there’s a strong chance that you’ll find far more leads on social media (if you know where and how to look) than you will in the organic traffic to your site.
This is why social media has risen to the top of the digital marketing pyramid in the way that it has. With the right strategy – one that leverages all the different aspects of social media marketing, from community management to lead gen – brands can amplify reach far beyond their original digital footprint, see more conversions, a higher share of voice, and a strengthened status within their industry.
Combine a strong content publishing strategy with other strategies like B2B influencer marketing and employee advocacy on social media, and your brand will be able to make an impact among a wider array of audiences – many of which will represent high-scoring leads (more on that below) for your sales team.
This is something Corel Corporation uncovered as they worked with Oktopost to bolster their employee advocacy strategy. With a focused, analytics-based approach to diversifying their online presence, Corel saw an engagement rate of more than 40%, and broke their own records when it came to boosting click-throughs. You can read the full case study here.
Leveraging insights to maintain a state of evolution on social media
No social media strategy exists – or, more accurately, should exist – in a bubble. Even the strongest B2B social media strategies operating right this minute are backed by marketers who are ready and willing to change things up in response to insights and action points as soon as they arise.
This is because social media is always bound to change, no matter how popular a trend is, or how many people become invested in a particular conversation.
The good news is, social media generates all the insights and feedback a digital marketer needs in order to match that evolution, and stay ahead of the competition. When your team has the social media listening tools to work in real-time, those actionable insights can be pushed forward as and when they arise, then fed back into social media through your social publishing and interactions.
Sales Professionals: Harnessing Social Selling for Relationship Building
Social selling is one of the best things to come out of the social media boom of the mid-2000s and early 2010s. In fact, it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to the worlds of B2B and B2C – period.
What is social selling? It’s the practice of leveraging social media to boost lead acquisition and conversion. Through content publishing, community management and social listening, maximizing your social media ROI is about much, much more than growing the size and scope of your digital footprint.
Sales and marketing have historically kept themselves separate, despite the fact that they share a key preoccupation: leads. Marketing is all about capturing the eye, the attention, and the heart of leads (and, of course, existing customers); sales is all about…you guessed it…capturing the eye, attention, and heart of those leads and customers.
When marketing and sales come together, the obvious common ground is social media. Why? Because it’s the natural habitat of leads and customers – where you’ll find them ‘in the wild’, and where you’ll best be able to capture their attention authentically and engagingly.
Leveraging social media for B2B lead gen (and lead scoring)
Marketing and sales can (and should) collaborate on lead scoring, and many of the most valuable criteria for lead scoring will be obtained from social insights. You don’t need to develop a 360° picture of each and every lead, but criteria that consider behaviors like follows, interactions, tags, mentions and clicks should be compelling enough to get your sales team reflecting on your social channels.
Salesforce recently found that the biggest hurdle sales representatives face when it comes to gathering social media insights is time. In fact, 77% of sales reps struggle to find the hours in the day. The thing is more time is inevitably wasted if you’re unable to sort the promising leads from the unpromising leads. Close to 80% of new leads don’t end up in a conversion. If you’re not working to filter out unqualified leads, then that’s a lot of time wasted.
With the right social media tools, however, leveraging those insights needn’t be time-consuming at all. A high return for a relatively low investment of time.
If you’re working from a centralized social media management platform, then accessing this information – whether you’re marketing or sales, or anywhere between – will be quick and simple, and far more efficient than running between channels, looking for actionable insights on your own.
Customer Support: Enhancing Customer Satisfaction Through Social Media
More than two-thirds of companies are competing on the strength of their customer experience, according to LinkedIn.
Community management is a key part of social media management. Looking at B2C experiences, Wayne Huang reported that customers were willing to spend up to 20% more from a brand if that brand tweeted a response to their own tweet. If all you’re doing is publishing content and collecting the analytics it generates then, no matter how strong that content is, you’re still going to find that your social media ROI falls short of expectations.
Why? Because, these days, customers expect responses. They expect them quickly, and they expect them to be personalized. It’s a movement that started in B2C social media marketing, but you can bet it’s put down some solid roots in B2B.
Fortunately for your customer support team, the scope for making customers and leads happy through social media is not to be underestimated.
The trick is to make it time efficient, and not a burden. Flipping between social channels, constantly refreshing those notifications for some sign of a customer-in-need (or even just a lead demonstrating interest) is not the way to do it. Good community management in omnichannel marketing begins with a solid social media management platform; a centralized suite where you can monitor those separate communities and respond in real-time.
Best practices for exceptional customer support on social media
- Prompt responses
Email was once the speedy alternative to snail mail, but social media has got it beat in terms of rapidity. We expect email responses to take time – when it’s related to work, the majority of us expect a response somewhere between 12 to 24 hours.
Those 12 to 24 hours seem like a long, long time on social media. Between instant messaging (private), comments (public), and direct brand tags/mentions (even more public), customers contacting you via your social media expect prompt responses. In contrast to email, it’s a matter of minutes – maybe 1-2 hours, but ideally much faster.
- Emphasize personalization to your customer support team
Customers are wise to the time-saving measures brands make on social media, and a generic, copy + pasted response to every relevant comment on a post is one of them.
Personalization goes a long way with customers. You don’t have to go overboard – just ensure your responses prove someone is listening and understanding. With AI-powered content modification tools like our Post Wizard, you can amend texts to create more unique messages to post to social media, ensuring nothing ever gets stuck in the corporate quagmire.
- Resolving issues
Some issues can’t be resolved on social media, and will require you to redirect customers to your site, or a lengthier email chain. But, if you can consistently demonstrate your willingness and ability to resolve smaller issues through customer comments and tags, you’ll inevitably go up in your followers’ estimations.
The business messaging software provider Slack is an excellent example of strong customer service from B2B social media channels. Their responses to customers are prompt, informative, and to-the-point of the customer’s query. As a result, they’re frequently billed as a B2B company that truly cares.
- Leveraging your social listening platform
Not all customers will come direct to you. Some will tweet or post about their frustrations without tagging your brand, which just proves the importance of real-time social listening. If you can put yourself forward as the kind of company that cares enough to respond to indirect feedback with compassion and expertise, then you’ll be able to turn those negative moments (something all brands will experience from time to time) into something far more positive.
Human Resources: Building Employer Brand and Engaging Talent
We mentioned above how employee advocacy is key to amplifying brand reach, and it is – handing the reins of content publishing over to your employees means that your brand’s impact reaches far beyond its own channels, and demonstrates your authority in your industry.
But it’s not just about boosting thought leadership among relevant audiences and quality leads. When it comes to positioning yourself as a strong employer – giving your brand that appeal not just to customers, but to prospective employees and future leaders – employee advocacy on social media is invaluable. Salesforce represents a great example of a brand that focuses its social posting on celebrating company culture, rather than overtly driving sales and conversions. Their Facebook posts feel authentic – the occasional meme or gif keeps them above the ‘corporate persona’ waterline and, inarguably, they represent a strong employer to those on the job search.
For HR professionals, leveraging that potential for showcasing the company culture in its best light is powerful. Provided the emphasis remains on a solid content production, diversification, and approval strategy, the opportunities for social recruiting are there.
Research shows that, in the UK alone, around 79% of job seekers will use social media as part of their search. A brand’s profiles are the best way to gauge what they’re about, what their values are, and the strength of their standing compared with competitors. Higher quality candidates will inevitably favor brands that have a stronger impact in these rented spaces.
Employee advocacy sits at the center of social recruiting. Why? Because, as reported in CareerArc’s Future of Recruiting Study, by far the most trusted source of information about a prospective employer is a current employee – the voice of your social advocacy efforts.
Again, this all hinges on how you encourage employees to advocate for the business. Provided you can establish the framework – what’s okay, what’s not permitted, and what levels of approval posts need to go through before they’re live – then it’ll represent a boon to your ability to engage talent.
C-Suite Executives: Navigating the Social Landscape for Business Success
Stakeholder buy-in is essential for any successful social media marketing strategy. It takes time and resources to get a social campaign off the ground but, once airborne, it proves fundamental to driving business growth and augmenting those connections, all the way up to the business’s c-suite execs.
Thought leadership and industry influence isn’t just a handy edge for your marketing team. Becoming a thought leader represents a profound shift in the company’s trajectory – a major success that brings far more rewards than just extra followers, a better share of voice, and a big boost to lead generation.
Neil Patel is a particularly strong example of the power c-suit executive involvement in thought leadership on social media. As one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices, and boasting almost half a million followers on social media, Neil Patel exemplifies the power thought leadership holds for a brand. His approach to content publishing feels authentic; it comprises genuinely valuable insights and actionable tips and How To guides. The point isn’t to package a CTA and maximize click-through; it’s to spark a conversation.
This is the epitome of thought leadership. There’s tremendous value in sparking those conversations. When C-suite executives are involved, it lends a level of credibility to the business that can’t be replicated elsewhere. In the past, a similar credibility could be obtained from the seminar circuit – from networking events and summits where expertise and industry wisdom could be demonstrated to relevant audiences – but, now, that operates on a global scale, 24-7.
Plenty of C-suit executives are engaging with social media to shape their company’s reputation. Sarah Brazier of revenue intelligence experts Gong has skyrocketed the brand to prominence thanks to her engagement with communities on LinkedIn, while Clari’s Kyle Coleman, who proves how diverse and engaging a scalable content publishing strategy on social media can be.
The Bottom Line
Social media is a universal touchpoint. In fact, for business, it’s the universal touchpoint – a dedicated space where market research, customer service, thought leadership, brand voice, head hunting and recruitment, digital marketing, lead generation, sales and competitive research all convalesce. Of course, it can only work as a touchpoint if you’re working of a social media publishing platform that centralizes and automates key insights, but that’s easier than ever.
Every stakeholder engages with social media in unique ways – a fact which means there are so many unique ways your teams can interact with social media, but also so many unique ways you can engage the teams behind your biggest leads and customers.
These days, recognizing and harnessing the power of social media is the key businesses to amplify their brand reach, build relationships, enhance customer satisfaction, attract top talent, and drive overall business success. In today’s interconnected world, organizations that embrace social media as a strategic tool will thrive in the digital landscape and stay ahead of the competition.
All it takes is stakeholder buy-in, a set of clear, strategic initiatives underpinned by quality and consistency and, of course, passion – and, finally, a commitment to the biggest (and most profitable) public spaces on the internet today.