How-To: Enterprise Social Media Marketing
You need to be on social media. Social media gurus keep telling us it’s the premier marketing and CRM platform. Use it to drive leads and increase conversions and web traffic, they say. They measure performance with something called social ROI, which is largely abstract and elusive. Without a social media management tool, which will be covered in the conclusion of this post, enterprises are left groping for evidence substantiating a social media marketing budget. Social media is not the overnight enterprise solution it is made out to be. If, however, you’re willing to make a long-term investment, then below you’ll find a realistic how-to enterprise guide for Facebook and Twitter.
There are over 1.1 billion users on Facebook to date. Facebook allows businesses to pay for ads and target content at specific audiences. As an enterprise, you’re likely targeting users aged 25 and up, which make up the bulk of Facebook accounts. Let’s take a look at ads and sponsored content in a B2C environment.
A bike shop opens in the Castro district of San Francisco. The shop owner creates a Facebook business page. Then he/she creates an ad. The business owner can target this content at those who live in San Francisco and who enjoy cycling. This is how B2C Facebook marketing functions. Enterprises, working on multi-million-dollar accounts, won’t necessarily target content at prospects this way. So what’s a B2B to do?
Facebook for an enterprise means competition. It means linking frequently to a thought-leadership blog. It means, unfortunately, you won’t be able to post that collage of yawning kittens. Occasionally, post softer content that showcases company culture. But, remember, you aren’t running a who’s-cuter campaign. Post product updates and customer-pertinent info. Your Facebook exists solely to present a professional, enterprise face to prospects.
It is common knowledge Twitter can support customer engagement and brand visibility. You tweet an interesting article a partner or the CEO of your company authored and people re-tweet and/or favorite it. The tweet goes viral and Twitter users make it over to your website. It’s great engagement and brand visibility. But, it does not deliver quantifiable ROI. How many leads were generated? How many conversions? As stated in the beginning of this post, enterprises cannot rely solely on social media as your only marketing solution. So, what can a B2B accomplish on Twitter besides engagement and visibility.
The first thing enterprises will have to do is cultivate a following. To do this, follow quality users who will then follow you. Notice the words cultivate and quality. That doesn’t mean going out and following Joe Shmo from down the street. It means strategically analyzing who in the space is reputable and will add value to your enterprise account.
Next, broadcast and share. Broadcasting means linking to thought-leadership pieces hosted on a company blog. All too often, this is where enterprises stop. They treat Twitter as a megaphone. And anyone unlucky enough to find himself/herself in front of a megaphone knows that it is not a pleasant experience. Users don’t just want to hear what you have to say. They also want to know whom you surround yourself with. This is sharing. Re-tweet and favorite your followers’ tweets. Link to their blogs. Create a network that will provide your followers value.
To be clear, unless you’ve invested in a social media management platform, you won’t have access to in-depth metrics that substantiate social ROI claims. You’ll know vaguely how many people engaged with a particular tweet or update. But what has that done to meet your bottom line? How many of those users resulted in conversions? How many leads did your social media generate?
These are all questions that need to be answered. And for the most part, social media gurus have not addressed these concerns. They’ve lauded engagement and propped up brand visibility on a pedestal. These are nice to have but at the end of the day, if your social media efforts aren’t bringing in cash, then what’re they worth?
What can a social media management tool produce? Along with all in-app publishing, reporting, monitoring, and analytics, SMM is moving toward predictive social analytics. This means that, using specific keywords, marketing teams can produce quantifiable figures on the success of their social media with X number of leads and X number of conversions. This sort of insight has never been available before.
As mentioned in the opening of this post, the answers here aren’t quite clear. Until we have them, however, enterprises shouldn’t go rushing out of doors to hire the next social media guru. Resources might be better put to use elsewhere–a marketing automation platform, for instance. In closing, if your enterprise hasn’t made it onto social media yet, don’t freak out. Conduct a SWOT analysis and find out if it’s a cost-effective solution. Demand clear metrics to support any claims. Ensure that it fits within your overall brand strategy. Otherwise, you risk having the wool pulled over your eyes by social media gurus simply trying to hold onto their jobs at the expense of company success.
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