While monitoring social media activity is now a best practice for many consumer brands, Business-to-Business (B2B) companies have been slower to make the connection. However, those B2Bers that are taking the plunge are seeing positive results. Mostly that’s because targeted social media efforts wrapped into a unified digital marketing strategy can help companies get to the heart of their mission faster – building trust with their audience. But, getting social right is also tricky for B2B companies. Current customers and would-be customers today are social savvy. They are wary of brands that don’t ‘stay in their lane’ or those that try to disguise sales messages as quality content. Unless brands can consistently deliver useful, insightful, and value-added content to their audiences, they risk alienating customers. Organizations need to find ways to align their overall digital marketing strategies with creating trust and value. It’s an area that many organizations still find challenging.
Where to start
So, with the stakes so high when it comes to digital marketing, where should companies begin? The answer – social media monitoring. By diligently monitoring how your audience responds to your brand messaging and content marketing efforts, organizations can see what’s building the most engagement and what’s missing the mark. Listening to how customers interact on social media channels can also help build more authentic relationships, giving teams the opportunity to uncover pain points and reach out to customers using their preferred channels. Monitoring content across your social media channels can help organizations identify trends, track competitors, and gain a better understanding of customers.
- Generating leads – Before starting digital marketing campaigns, organizations need to have an understanding of how various types of topics and content are performing within their social audiences. Providing personalized insight and information will go a long way in building customer retention and loyalty.
- Improving competitive strategy – Monitoring what people are saying to and about competitors provides a significant amount of insight. If competitors are falling short, providing assistance to those users can position your brand as a valuable resource and thought leader.
- Enhancing customer service – Businesses should always focus on improving customer service by monitoring and responding to issues immediately. We live in an ‘always-on’ world and customers expect quick, helpful responses to support questions, product inquiries, or a report of poor customer service.
Looking at key social metrics
Social media monitoring can help teams fine-tune their efforts to build stronger connections with customers, inform and educate potential new customers, and even shorten sales cycles. Ask yourself these questions to develop your social media barometer.
- Which blog posts are customers sharing? Or commenting on?
- Which communication channels are generating the most attention – Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or Twitter?
- Which types of posts are bringing your audience back for more interaction. That might include content like Webinars, how-to guides, case studies, offers for consultations, posts from technical team members, videos, live-videos, explainer videos, etc.?
The answers to these types of questions will help you determine the most effective messages and platforms to help you reach your social media goals. Remember, any marketing strategy without data is like driving with your eyes closed – dumb and dangerous.
Automate when possible
Social media monitoring analytics can automate the process considerably, helping to track digital marketing success over time, broken down by critical metrics like audience, activity, and engagement. Effective social monitoring involves filtering conversations happening online about your brand and ecosystem. Finding the right social media monitoring tools gives B2B marketers the opportunity to personalize content for specific audience segments and to identify thought leaders and concepts that will most likely resonate. Tools like Google Alerts, Freedly, or HubSpot help track activities happening around your industry and ecosystem. Leaders can set it up to capture data related to everything from your posts and digital marketing efforts, competitor activities, and other thought leaders in the industry. (Source: Finances Online).
Putting the data to work
Once companies are consistently collecting data about the topics most relevant to their target audience, teams can start putting that data to work. The key is having analytics that can help extract engagement insights from the conversations so that marketing teams can follow up on opportunities. Analytics tools can help better identify conversion triggers and are useful for zeroing in on potentially profitable trends that can help the business stand apart and connect with customers in new and personalized ways.
When organizations can successfully gain insight into both their successes and failures around their digital marketing and social efforts, they can optimize campaigns to improve ROI. If you’d like to help to bring in social media monitoring into your digital marketing strategy, give us a shout! At Carve Digital, we believe social tracking is at the heart of building more transparency and active engagement with buying audiences. Let’s do this!