Welcome to our “B2B social media marketing tips + tricks don’t really exist” blog.
[Whew. I feel better. Just wanted to get that off the table before we dig into this B2b social media tip sheet.]
Authenticity and quality content reign supreme online. Think of an approach to building leads as awareness & education-first, transaction-second. Most importantly, a B2B social media content strategy & tactical plan should be focused on engagement. We’ve organized some content ideas around how you can communicate with your followers as they align to in each of the 4 phases of the buying cycle / search process.
WHERE DO YOUR TARGET PERSONAS FALL WITHIN THE RACI MATRIX?
Your main objective is to build awareness by reinforcing the brand and reputation for the company’s goods and/or services. In order to build a high-functioning marketing funnel for all phases of the customer journey, you’ll want to first take a look at your personas during the strategic planning phases. Bottom line: you want to target direct decision-makers as well as influencers, at a minimum, and the messaging that resonates with different personas should differ (because their needs differ).
Not sure of whom to target or where your target personas fit on the decision-making matrix? Check out this quick whiteboard animation video on the RACI matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed). This is a handy tool for understanding and defining the various customer roles with whom you interact in a business initiative, program, project, organizational leadership hierarchy, or corporate communications process.
As with any framework, there are alternative versions and titles. that you may have heard or used previously. For example, you may know it as the Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) or the RACI Model. Like any good tool or framework, organizations may also customize the roles to fit within their own structure like RASCI (Responsible, Accountable, Supporting, Consulted, Informed). If this is a tool that you would find helpful in your own organization, I encourage you to define a RACI structure that best supports your specific business model.
With persona demographics in-hand and a RACI template saved to your desktop, you should be ready to develop marketing personas and then include their level of influence on the RACI matrix – to address the audiences during each of the four phases of buying cycle that we’ve outlined below.
HOW CAN YOU DEVELOP CONTENT THAT ALIGNS TO THE 4 PHASES OF THE BUYING CYCLE
B2B social media accounts are an invaluable way to build awareness and connect with leads in all 4 phases of the buying / search process and customer journey.
- Phase 1: General info (awareness only)
Users gather massive amounts of general information on a topic for which they have identified a problem
Example content: business-related cartoons, shout-outs (“who do you know that’s working hard today that deserves a shout out or some public recognition?”), facts and figures about general topics of interested related to the company
- Phase 2: Industry-specific (awareness only)
Users begin to distill massive amounts of general information into an industry-specific quest for more insights
Example content ideas: business-related cartoons, shout-outs (“who do you know that’s working hard today that deserves a shout out or some public recognition?”), facts and figures about general topics of interested related to the company
- Phase 3: Service or product-specific (awareness + consideration)
Users in this phase are closer to the decision to buy and are considering all options
Example content: facts about the products or services you offer; profile people behind the products or services; persona-based polls on “what products or services do you need to go from good to great” or “imagine the future team and tools – what would it include?” (think: ideal state)
- Phase 4: Company-specific (consideration, conversion, loyalty)
Users filter service-specific information by company name and reputation for consideration to convert into a sale
Example content: white-papers and thought leadership around how you helped other people; ratings & customer reviews or quotes; polls about “how can we be a good partner for you” or “what are customer service your expectations”?; questions about past positive experiences prospects or customers have had (“tell us about a time when someone gave you great customer service?”
PUTTING THE PROCESS INTO PLACE
Once you’ve done the diligence to uncover and align your goals and strategy to each phase of the buyer process, you’ll want to transition from strategy into the execution of your B2B social media marketing campaign/s. Here are some ideas on how to manage your internal process of putting your ideas into action.
- Align social media campaign/s to strategic initiatives. This is critical for stakeholder buy-in and planning. Revisit your strategic initiatives for customer engagement and retention, and you’ll have the beginnings of a human-centered, insight-led approach to B2B social media marketing.
- Conduct gap analysis for future state planning. Once you’ve wrapped up your strategic insights, you can review your social media accounts to determine what is working, what isn’t (we call this the gap analysis between who you are and who you want to be).
- Establish qualitative and quantitative metrics. Now that you know what the end-goals are for your future planning, look into critical success factors (CSFs) and key performance indicators (KPIs). That way, you’ll be ready to use CSFs and KPIs to get back on track to having a measurable, performance-driven social media marketing campaign.
- Develop quality content (over quantity). Last but not least, I’d encourage you to put some thought into your content strategy so that you have 2-way conversations as much as possible and limit the talking “at” social media followers.
Over the next few months, I encourage you to revisit your strategic initiatives for customer engagement and retention. How do the two align? Is your engagement – or lack thereof – revealing an opportunity for you to improve the customer journey lifecycle?
When you’re ready to take your marketing funnel to the next level, let’s chat. We love helping our clients maximize their opportunities to build loyal fans in every phase of the customer journey.