Like any business endeavor, an effective social media strategy requires knowledge and planning to be successful. Business-to-business marketing can be enhanced through social media communications, but only if you know what’s being said about your company on various platforms, understand how to respond and develop appropriate tactics to make sure your messages gain their rightful place in the conversation.
To help avoid becoming overwhelmed if your company is just now jumping into the fray, the following three-step process can ensure that you and your staff are ready to take advantage of the opportunities of social media marketing. These are the Three “L’s” of social media strategy:
- Listen. The best way to know what’s being said about your company (and your competition) is to do a social media audit. This involves monitoring the conversations about your company and your competitors on a variety of platforms over a significant period of time – at least a month or longer. A comprehensive social media audit can help identify what your company should be doing to protect and enhance its brand, reputation and effectiveness in the social media space. The audit should include an analysis of the content of conversations related to your company and your competitors. From this analysis, opportunities will arise that can help your company distinguish itself through actions such as taking ownership of important topics, participating in key conversations or promoting specific products.
- Learn. Once the social media audit is complete, it’s time to gather your forces and determine the best ways to invest your time and resources to get the most out of your social media program. A workshop is an effective setting to educate staff on social media best practices, significant trends and key platforms, as well as surveying associates to learn from their own experiences and opinions. By combining what is learned from the audit and the workshop, you should be ready to create a roadmap for putting your company’s social media activities to work.
- Leverage. To help your team stay on track with your social media program, you’ll need a “playbook” that builds on all of the information previously gathered and sets the standards for how your communicators and marketers can leverage this information to advance your company’s business goals. Any one of your associates should be able to pick up the playbook and follow the social media guidelines that have been developed. The book should be organized into chapters, covering topics such as trade shows or community relations, that provide step-by-step instructions on best practices and tactics for social media to reinforce your corporate and brand messaging.
After this process is complete, a fourth step is necessary, and it’s an ongoing one – Listen Again. No matter how active you are in the social media space, it’s important to have an ongoing monitoring program to quickly identify and address any issues that may arise. Conversations should be monitored daily to pinpoint any new trends, topics or other items of discussion that require a response. Relevancy and transparency are two key components to any successful social media campaign, and ongoing monitoring can help you adjust your activities as needed.
For more information on setting up an effective social media program, call Lisa Zone at 216-241-4629 or visit www.dix-eaton.com/b2bsocialmedia. For more on the latest developments in social media and marketing communications, follow Dix & Eaton on Twitter @d_and_e.