How To Use Social Media To Engage Your B2B Audience

By John Hogg


Digital Agency Marketing

Social Media Engagement

Go on talk to me… you know you want to!

Hello and Welcome back to our 8 steps to Social Media Success.

So far we have looked at how we need to kick off our social media activity through listening’ and researching’ and then moved on to start raising our social media brand awareness.  Today we will look at one of the most fundamental aspects of your social media - engagement.

Traditionally, marketers were accused of creating clever advertising messages and then broadcasting them as one-way messages - effectively shouting at their audience and running the risk of alienating them.  Not anymore though, the power of social media and the trick to making your social activity a success, is to view it as ‘inbound marketing’ and not a one-way megaphone to shout your message AT your audience.  We need to engage with our audience in a way that resonates with them and keeps them interested.

You may have heard some people talking about the power of inbound marketing but at its heart, in our view, it’s a mindset. Think of it as a switch in your head that needs to be switched over to stop thinking about yourself and shouting your message at the World. Customers now have no interest in one-way advertising messages, nor have they the time to wade through the hundreds of sales messages they receive everyday.  Today’s customer is much more savvy than this!

Today’s customers go online and search for what they want in a bid to educate themselves - and in most cases they do this before they have even spoken to one of your sales team.  This means they are well armed and ready for when they finally talk to you about your best price versus the best price they have already researched from your nearest and dearest competitor.

So as we flick the lever over from outbound to inbound marketing we need to think, what it will take to get our target audience to find us online and visit our site? In addition, to all the SEO techniques and other aspects of digital marketing that we can do to help drive our audience to us (inbound!), social media can play a big part.

Not only will Social Media help with your SEO and build traffic to your site, social media is also a great way to build your online credibility and clout.

...and the way to do this is through Social Media Engagement.

Of course, we could just use our social media in an outbound manner - just because we’re using a new way of doing things doesn’t mean we’re using it right. Social media is just as easily used as a one-way, megaphone to shout your message AT your audience and many people are still doing this! Please, don’t fall into the trap of talking TO your audience - don’t just put your offline marketing campaigns out on social media and wonder why you didn’t achieve much (unless of course you are selling a £10 note for £5!). Think about how you can adapt your campaign to spark a conversation - something two-way!

...and don’t just use your Social Media for your marketing campaigns!

You need to come up with content that is interesting and that your audience wants to read (and more importantly), will come back for more. Choose the themes that are close to your business and close to your beliefs as a company.

In addition to this, we want to write content that will engage our audience. The power of social media is in the engagement and the online conversations we can get in to with our audience about a myriad of subjects all relevant to our area of business.

We have listed five top tips below to successfully engage your online audience:

Follow back and interact: no one likes a one way relationship! It’s really important to be friendly, approachable and chat with your connections. Intelligent interaction through posting, liking or retweeting as many relevant and influential pages and community groups as possible is crucial, this will assist greatly with your audience building. The clue is in the name, it’s a social networking! Incentivising your audience with competitions is another way to keep followers captivated. Polls and opened ended questions are also a good way to interest and interact with the user.

Be careful about your choice of question though, you want to remain impartial!

Keep the social in your social media: your posts should include information about your company as well as social posts which contain interesting and fun information about your industry. Include as many ‘interactive’ posts as possible, polls, videos, questionnaires etc. Basically, you want your content to be interesting and have an audience that want to come back and engage, ‘All work and no play can make Jack a dull boy’, so it doesn’t hurt to include the odd funny or topical post. Why not consider including some imagery and videos from youtube to entertain your audience? One way we do this at Enlighten IC is through our posts about retro TV ads.

Don’t over share: Ever! Quite often we’ve seen posts (and sometimes from people who should know better!) which are completely irrelevant to a company’s area of business.  Your social media platform is prime retail space, why would you want to fill it with drivel about what you’re going to have for your lunch? This only entices people to unlike your page if you’re posting irrelevant nonsense and clogging up their newsfeed.

Be proactive, not reactive: monitor your competitors and other ‘big players’ or brands you admire to take inspiration from their posts. Adding a competitor search element to your strategy is a great way to try and be proactive. We aren’t advocating copying something but quite often it will stimulate a new idea or concept.

Respond to feedback: good or bad. What will you do if a customer posts something negative about your business on your wall? Even worse, what if they post something negative about you? How will you deal with that? It’s easy to just delete the comment and block the user, but shouldn’t you think about your overall approach to contentious situations in order to give a measured and considered response? Thinking it through now and agreeing on your approach will pay dividends in the long run. In doing this, you show your followers that you are able to deal effectively with a negative situation and even better you get to showcase your customer service skills in realtime.

Content, content and more content: At Enlighten IC, we believe it’s true when they say ‘Content is King’ especially when it comes to social media. While it’s important to create fun, exciting and relevant content for your engagement strategy, you must not forget you are still the face of the brand you are representing so approach social media how you would a customer in your shop.

To Summarise

Engaging intelligently with relevant content in line with your aims, objectives, and brand strategy should enable you to build an interactive, informed audience and raise your brand profile successfully online.

We hope you found this blog interesting and informative, we would love to have your feedback and remember if you ever need a hand with your social media strategy, we’d be delighted to help. We’re always available via email, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or alternatively you can pop into our offices in Holywood, Co.Down for a chat and a cuppa.

If you would like to read the next blog in this series of 8 Steps To Social Media Success you can find it here, Social Media Education - Letting Your B2B Audience Know Why You're Top Of The Class. Alternatively, you might like to read the previous post in the series, Listen To What Your Customers Say On Social Media.

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photo credit: StreetFly JZ via photopincc

John Hogg Enlighten IC

John Hogg

John is managing director of Enlighten IC and has been involved in legal marketing and technology marketing for over 25 years. He is passionate about how an inbound approach to marketing can help firms to drive leads and grow their business.

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