We are officially nearly 1/3rd of the way through 2019. Since we’re trucking through the year at an unbelievable pace (can you believe we’re nearly in May?), now’s as good a time as any to reflect on what we’ve learned so far in 2019.
2018 was a year of craziness. As far as social media goes, Facebook dealt with multiple lawsuits and outages, President Trump blocked several Twitter users, Snapchat managed to run an ad promoting domestic violence, and the internet trolls were, well, trolling, but this time they were Russian and using social media to influence politics. It seems that no social media channel survived unscathed. Even the usually well-behaved LinkedIn faced its own misinformation hardships.
After the insanity occurring around the world of social media in 2018, marketers are still trucking along, learning (or recovering) from last year and applying it to this year. In the B2B sphere, we’ve managed to test out a few new tips from 2018 in 2019.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far.
Quality over Quantity
There is such a thing as over-posting. Don’t lose your engagement stats in the hunt for impressions. Yes, posting more often can get you more impressions. But it also annoys your audience, lowers your engagement, and doesn’t help your page in the long run. Posting highly engaging content will always trump churning out fluff pieces or repeating articles.
While there is value in your reach, keep in mind who you’re speaking to. Do you want to talk to your Aunt Susan, Uncle Joe, and Neighbor Louise from down the street? Or are you targeting local sales professionals?
If your impressions are going down, but your engagement rate is only increasing, that tells you that you’ve found your niche. You’re reaching a highly-targeted segment that relates to your posts.
B2B social media is extremely different from your average B2C. Attempting to catch the eye of government CISOs, of which there are very few, is much harder than targeting teenage girls who want boho t-shirts (of which there are very many). B2B products and services aren’t for everyone. Your social media should reflect that. Measure your success by reaching and engaging with the right people, not by reaching everyone and their grandmother.
Do Your Research
Even if you’re posting fewer posts per channel to avoid over-posting, maximize the success of those posts by doing your research on your audience and platform statistics. There are plenty of studies out there about what time you should post where. It shouldn’t surprise you that the time of day when most people are on Twitter is not the same time that most people are on LinkedIn. The two platforms have different demographics who lead different lives. Even if they are on both platforms, Twitter and LinkedIn are used for different things.
Always rely on your data.
Take advantage of the analytics already provided to you by Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Make note of what your best posts were, any similarities between them, and why they performed so well. Remember that your B2B audience is going to behave differently than anyone else’s audience. You can’t rely on generic studies alone but have to pay attention to what’s happening immediately on your pages.
Never Forget Who You’re Speaking To
This was a recurring theme of 2018. You can never forget who your audience is. But first: do you know who your audience is? Who are you speaking to?
From your images, to your formatting, to what platform you use: Every. Little. Thing. that you do online should reflect your audience. We’ve been striving to reflect that in the first four months of 2019.
It’s tempting to just post photos of cute dogs and celebrate #NationalPetDay on your business account. And you may get some results- heck, you may get a lot of results. But are you reaching the right people? Don’t let your Facebook page reaching out to government contractors turn into the boho stylist page for teenage girls. It’s surprisingly easy to do.
I’ve seen many accounts start off one way only to morph into something entirely different just to get results. Yes, it’s easy to get results with general interest stories. But these stories need to be used strategically to occasionally garner a larger audience. Think of the occasional dog or holiday post as casting a wide net and hauling up a lot of fish, only to keep a few and throw back the rest.
You can’t be all sales, all the time. Remember: social media is online networking. You wouldn’t go to a networking event only to talk about yourself the entire time, and insist everyone you meet sign up for an introductory phone call. Well. I’m sure some people do, but they most likely aren’t very popular.
Use social media as an opportunity to discuss what’s happening in your field, the latest news and be truly helpful. Your audience rewards well-intentioned (and well-executed) content. A big part of that is being authentic. Was it bring your dog to work day? Post a picture. Does your team attend a book club together? Grab a pic.
Don’t be afraid to show some personality on your social media accounts. People connect with truly authentic people. Not a sales person parroting tag lines.
Have a Strategy
Throwing content out into the void of the internet and hoping that it fairs well is not considered a strategy.
Every piece of content you create should have a purpose, even if its only purpose is to be a general interest piece. The best way to develop a strategy is to plan out your posts a month in advance. See where everything falls into place. Where the holes are in your posting and where you go too many days without making a post.
So far in 2019, we’ve learned that your strategy needs to be locked down and specific to your business. Don’t expect someone else’s strategies or techniques to work for your audience.
Veronica is a University of Maryland graduate and passionate equestrian. She focuses on creating audiences on social media and on maximizing the value of public relations to make New North clients famous.