The second in a series of guest blogs by Sian Ediss, Digital Marketing Manager, Pixel8 Ltd, on social media marketing.
Missed the first post? Here's Part 1.
According to a research from Regalix, 92% of B2B marketers said that their social media campaigns have generated increased exposure for their businesses, while 64% are using social channels to build loyal customers, according to a study from FollowAnalytics.
Each social media platform is unique, and each attracts different levels of audiences. The real challenge here is how to create appropriate engaging social content across all platforms, successfully. Businesses ultimately want to achieve positive results across the board which include increased exposure, lead generation and development of loyal customers.
So B2B brands need to adjust marketing messages and align to each social network. And it all starts with creating social media content that will encourage your target audience to engage.
#DigiEveolution Twitter Chat - Creating Engaging Social Media Content
Following BGH’s Twitter Q&A on this very topic, I’ve pulled together a hit list of targets for B2B businesses, which they need to consider in their social media content strategy to boost audience engagement.
First of all, what makes engaging social media content?
You know the ones, the brands that light up your newsfeed and make you stop, look and listen. As a result you react with a retweet, a Like, or a Comment - this is engaging social media content.
There are certain ingredients which make a piece of content interesting. If you can entertain and educate your audience at the same time then you’re on to a winner. Using expert citations and of-the-minute statistics is a key driver for engagement. Combine this with a smattering of creative and imagery to lure in your audience, then expect a reaction.
It’s key here that you optimise your creative content for mobile. According to social media marketing expert, Jeff Bullas, there are 1.65 billion active mobile social accounts globally. If you’re using design that’s lost on mobile, then your piece of content can’t go viral.
The Art of Social Media - How to Find your Inner Picasso
Images and original social design are an essential part of engaging social media content. Visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content, according to social scheduling platform Buffer. Now your job is to find your inner Picasso as a non-designer and create social imagery, at speed.
My top recommendation for creating visual content is a platform called Canva. With Canva, you can design to specific templates which meet individual social platform size requirements, and include your brand’s colours and fonts to ensure you are meeting your brand guidelines.
Social Content Scheduling: Cross-promote, don’t cross-post!
Now you have a beautiful piece of visual content with an educational yet entertaining headline, so it’s time to share it on your brand’s social platforms.
If you’re a seasoned social marketer, you’ll have a social scheduling platform such as SproutSocial, Hootsuite, or Buffer in place. These are essential if you want to save time and schedule content across all your brand’s social channels. But have you ever created your content, clicked a button and then scheduled it across all of your platforms at once? Yes? Well this is cross posting and there are tell-tale signs that brands have done this to cut corners.
A stray hashtag on LinkedIn (they don’t support the hashtag trending function), an unusually cropped image on Twitter, or a link on Facebook instead of a link preview - these can all lead to a negative perception of your brand, especially if your B2B audience are digitally savvy.
There are techniques to remedy this, but firstly, I’d recommend that you take time to clue up on each social platform’s nuances, and make sure you check in on a regular basis to see if functions have been updated. Out of all the social scheduling platforms, I believe that Buffer have this down to a tee. With every update, Buffer takes each individual platform into consideration and generates a link preview, or allows you to attach multiple images, which is really handy for Twitter.
Buffer can schedule across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (company and personal page), Pinterest, and Google+ brand pages. I recommend Buffer as a key tool for social content creation - its analytics and reporting functions are fantastic, too.
How do I encourage more engagement for my audience?
Now, you might be sharing this fabulous social content, but are you dedicating part of your social media resource to interactions and actual conversation with your audience?. Interactions which include a re-tweet, alike, a mention, can be craftily focussed around your target audience - this is where Twitter Lists come in really handy, see my last blog for more details.
Creating a genuine and thoughtful conversation with your customers via your brand will add personality and build loyalty and trust tenfold. You can even use tactics such as Twitter Q&As, clever social campaigns, and calls-to-action which will bring your targets to you. Just remember to be on hand to manage your audience’s expectations. If you don’t reply typically within an hour, you’ve missed your sweet spot and lost that conversation. This is why some of the biggest B2B brands have 24/7 dedicated social media customer service representatives on hand at all times.
Creating Engaging Social Media Content
When planning your social media content, you need to hit the mark on the following:
- Is your social content entertaining and educational?
- Have you included an interesting quotation or statistic?
- Does your message have a complementary image or designed creative that’s on-brand?
- Have you thought about the differences across all your brand’s social platforms?
- Are you including conversation and interactions as part of your social media marketing strategy?
- Are you driving discussion with your target audience with Twitter Q&As or a clever social media campaign?
If you can tick at least three of these requirements, you’re on the path to social media content engagement success! If you can plan to meet all six, expect your social metrics to raise the roof.
You can find me on Twitter @foxcreativeart. If you’re interested in finding out more about creating engaging social media content and how other types of digital marketing can help you to grow your business, contact the Hub on Twitter @BizGrowthHub, email email@example.com or call 0161 359 3050.