How you manage your social media marketing strategy can make or break your online presence. Get it right, and your brand can work its way through the digital ranks to represent a major thought leader in your industry; an authority with real impact in relevant audiences. Get it wrong, and you could face an ongoing struggle to get your social media off the ground – and to realize the incredible ROI that those marketing execs are always going on about…
The reality is, that potential is always there, but it needs to be unlocked. Getting successful on social media isn’t about getting lucky. Much to the contrary, it’s about overcoming the unpredictable parts of social media to create a stellar social media publishing strategy.
You don’t need us to tell you why you want to be the thought leader, rather than the social media also-ran, but how do you get there? From creating knock-out content to centralizing everything in the right social media publishing platform, here’s what you need to know.
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Master Content Creation
Good content is the groundwork of all good B2B social media strategies, but here’s the thing: good content doesn’t pour forth from mountain springs. Sure, we could sit upstream and drop New York Times bestsellers into the water, but that’s pretty unlikely to make any real splash (pun intended) with your followers.
Content is fundamental to your social media publishing strategy. It’s as fundamental as the channel itself, or your ability to press ‘Post’. It’s what will engage followers (and non-followers), lead to those invaluable conversions, and build upon your brand’s status on the relevant social channels.
So, what does good content creation look like?
There are tons of benefits to working in batches. Whether you’re baking cookies or creating quality content, batch-working enables you to shore-up your reserves and avoid the ‘create on demand’ culture that saps creativity and quickly derails a social posting schedule.
Batch-working means you can avoid falling behind your own timetable. It means the process of creation and approval stays on a smooth course, and that you’re always ready with the right piece of content when a trend pops up on social media.
Encouraging collaboration has a lot of perks. We won’t wax lyrical about the benefits for office culture (for starters), but we will happily shout about the benefits a collaborative approach to content creation has for your social media strategy.
Your employees have acute insight into your industry’s common pain points and trending topics. After all, they live it every single day, showing ingenuity, perseverance, creativity, wisdom, and insight that thousands of social media users are primed and ready to find interesting.
This is where the benefits of collaborative content creation begin to overlap with the benefits of employee advocacy, and encouraging your workforce to really shout about their expertise.
Leveraging social media requires a certain amount of responsiveness. Through social listening (more on that later) and monitoring, you’ve got to see and respond to trends and relevant conversations as they happen, in real-time. But, in order to do that, you’ve got to be proactive. You’ve got to anticipate those trends and conversations (through your content creation), or you won’t have anything ready to be responsive with when the time comes.
How often do you repurpose content? Be honest with yourself – how much have you (or your team) created, posted, stored, and repurposed somewhere down the line?
Content repurposing isn’t the same as reposting or duplication. It’s a separate practice – one that works by taking strong content, and turning it into something new.
Let’s say you gave a big presentation at a big industry event. Can you turn your speech into a series thought-provoking social media engagement posts? Probably, and without much time or effort. What about all those slides? Can they be condensed down into an attention-grabbing infographic or Instagram carousel? We bet they could – and they’d get your audience inspired, too.
If you can master all those elements of content creation – and inform your creativity with actionable social insights (see below) – then your social publishing strategy can take off into the stratosphere without consuming your marketing team’s manpower.
Use Social Listening to Improve Content Creation
If you can get good at social listening, you can get really good at creating the exact type of content your audience want.
Unlike social monitoring, which is a more reactive practice focused on spotting direct mentions of your brand, social listening has you dropping in on trends and conversations between your customers or prospects – trends and conversations that directly or indirectly relate to your products/services and, in a broader sense, industry.
It’s a case of keeping yourself involved and at the center of things, outside of those times when you’re pressing ‘Post’ or interacting with follower in the comment section.
But why do it? Because it’s the best way to understand your target audience – what engages them, what they want to talk about, what issues they’re experiencing that you can help with, and what they’re not currently getting from one of your competitors (to name just a few).
Commit to Consistency
We’ve already mentioned how batch working is essential to creating (and working to) a content publishing schedule, but why is a schedule needed in the first place?
Regular and consistent social posting builds trust and engagement; it clearly signals to your audience that you are invested in posting quality content to your channels, and consistently builds toward your goal of establishing thought leadership.
Put simply, brands that post spontaneously – a few here and there, followed by gaps of days or weeks when the channel seemingly falls silent – are underutilizing their social media presence. We know the potential ROI that is stored up inside your social channels right now, and there’s no way of unlocking it without a clear schedule for social posting.
The more you allow life to disrupt that schedule, the easier it is to keep letting those disruptions drive a wedge between your brand and your followers. You should plan social media posts like you plan any other marketing campaign.
With the right social media management platform, you can approve and schedule your social content long in advance, providing the whole team with insight into upcoming posts. Scheduling content makes it easier for your team to identify any gaps ahead of time, signaling the need for content creation or repurposing before you’re running up against a deadline.
Engage, then Re-Engage
Social media publishing is the best way to engage followers – obviously. Each post you make will yield a long list of insights – metrics that demonstrate how effective that post was at engaging, garnering interactions, and converting audience members into customers.
But the investment of time and energy into your social channels shouldn’t grind to a halt between social posts. After that post has been made, it becomes a case of monitoring responses and reactions, finding opportunities to join in the conversation and interact directly with your followers.
This is, of course, an incredibly time-consuming endeavor – or it can be, unless you make use of the right tools for streamlining community management.
This is exactly what our social media management platform offers users – a centralized space for interacting with followers across your social channels, so that you can keep on top of conversations without having to move back and forth between accounts. It takes the legwork out of community management, allowing it to become a core part of your social media publishing strategy without representing a major drain on time and resources.
Keep Your Strategy Flexible
The best strategies plan ahead, but that doesn’t mean all those plans need to be set in stone. Social media represent their own unique ecosystems, but one thing that unites all those channels is the fact that things can (and will) change on a dime. Trend cycles are getting faster and faster with each new year, and audiences are ever fickler when it comes to what interests them, and what they simply scroll past.
The most successful branded social media accounts are those that can respond to the ebb and flow of trends as and when they happen. It’s no good to identify a key conversation taking place amongst your target audience on social media, create relevant content, and add it to your publishing schedule so that it goes live six weeks from now. As and when those topics crop up, you’ve got to be willing (and able) to respond.
This is where prewriting and pre-approving content is so vital. It doesn’t need to be fed straight into your publishing schedule; instead, it can wait until the time is right, and push you to the very forefront of the conversation.
Regular and quality publishing on social media is the key to capturing audience’s attention and getting the edge on your competition. The more you post, the more insights your channels will generate, and the more you will come to understand your audience – and the tangible ROI your efforts are generating on social media.