Social media, love it or leave it, is hard to get away from. What started as digital networks where like-minded users could connect and share information has grown into a multi-billion dollar network catering to sophisticated brand advertising and user generated content.
Each platform has its own particular tone and style. Understanding this allows for social media content to be developed to show a more human side of the brand or a more technical competency based on the objectives of the social media effort.
B-to-B brands seeking to use social media for engagement need to understand the strengths and limitations of their selected social platform. Where Facebook is perceived as a more B-to-C retail platform, there are numerous examples where B-to-B brands have used the platform to connect with rural outlying communities where their facilities are located.
Objectives can include the following:
- Community relations
- Health and safety
- Product comparison
- Thought leadership
- New product introduction
- Forwarding of content via social network
- New business inquiry
Achieving any of the above identifies content that is conceptually sound, produced with a purpose, and deemed valuable by its intended audience.
Content that lacks strategic direction is hastily cobbled together, short on authenticity, and not tied to a specific objective is probably a waste of time and resources.
Key take away: Having a platform presence without a strategy is not sustainable and will quickly lead to abandonment.
Integrating social media content with other marketing tools
Social media content, when used as an integrated marketing tool, can extend the reach of advertising. This complementary function is much like the support of public relations. Done correctly, social media content can capture an influencer’s attention, leading to additional content generated with the appearance of endorsement.
Key take away: Social media content is a complementary tool not intended to carry the entire marketing load.
How much social media content is needed to be effective?
The internet is a content eating machine. In order to stand out in the sea of sponsored display advertising and user generated content, advertisers should be prepared for a long term commitment to social media content development and treat it with an evergreen journalistic approach.
Key take away: The best strategy is to develop a library of content that has a long shelf life.
Social media has its limitations
The one thing social media can’t do is provide sustainable scale. By its very nature, it is fragmented – subject to the reader’s value system and point of view. Accuracy of regenerated content cannot be guaranteed and may do more harm than good.
The use of social media by B-to-B brands is accelerating. Taking a strategic approach to integrating social media into the marketing mix requires creativity and a willingness to try something different.
Please leave your comments or thoughts below.