Social media is a big part of many businesses marketing strategy, and it can be really effective if used well. But if it isn’t, it can be a huge drain on time and resources with minimal return.
In the latest It’s a B2B comms thing LinkedIn Live with fellow B2B comms professionals Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake, we discussed using social media for B2B business, what’s hot, what’s not and how to use it effectively.
Here are some edited highlights, and you’ll find a link to the full discussion, which includes audience questions at the bottom of the post.
Why are you and your business on social media?
Emma: I see lots of businesses chasing social media accounts with no real idea of what they’ll share or are trying to achieve. I use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
I use LinkedIn for finding interesting people and engaging with them, connecting after or before meetings and events, and keeping in touch – it is really good for that.
Twitter I use pretty much solely for [promoting] podcast content, and I’m a bit more cheeky on there. I think we all feel we have to be a bit better behaved on LinkedIn for some reason.
But it’s completely different people engaging on there, and it’s good for generating traffic to my podcast.
I do have a Facebook page for the podcast, and their analytics are really good for directly targeting people.
Me: I only use LinkedIn for business. I have a work Twitter account as a hangover of my days as a journalist, but I don’t really use it.
I’ve fallen out of love with Twitter over the last few years. And if I’m going to be on there, I need to invest a lot of time, and I’ve just not got the time or energy.
When I first started writing my theatre blog 11 years ago my headlines were rubbish.
I was trying to be clever or witty, sometimes using puns or a play on words.
But the more I learned about writing online content, the more I realised my approach was entirely based on what worked in print rather than online.
My experience and background was magazine journalism after all.
An article in a magazine or newspaper has images, graphics, tables, box-outs, subheadings etc. which help grab attention.
And an article in a magazine may already have context.
If someone has picked up a copy of ‘Window Box Weekly’, they are probably interested or at least curious about window boxes.
Try to find your own content
A big test was trying to find my own theatre blog content using Google. I knew I’d reviewed a particular production, but my ‘clever’ headlines meant it wasn’t coming up in searches – certainly not on the first few pages of results.
For example, I saw a play called Grief by Mike Leigh, and the headline of my review was ‘Good Grief?’
See what I did there? It might work if the piece sat in the theatre review section of newspaper or magazine, alongside a production photo and a subhead.
But out of context and with just two words to go on, it didn’t work so well.
Getting savvier about online search
As I started to understand how people find stuff to read online (search engines, social media etc.), I realised my headline style needed to change so that people could find my blog posts.
Promoting your content on social media can be a great way of increasing engagement with your B2B content but there is an art to writing posts that get people to stop scrolling and click through to your content.
Think of LinkedIn or Twitter as like a huge crowd with everyone shouting to be heard. You need to craft a few sentences that stand out and grab attention.
It’s not simply a case telling people you’ve written something and they will click through and read.
Doing this just lets down all the hard work you put into your creating your B2B content.
Look at it this way. If you were selling a book door to door, you wouldn’t simply say: “I have a book, do you want to buy it?”
You’d talk about what was in the book and why it was interesting or useful.
And yet it isn’t unusual to see a social media post that says something like: ‘Our latest report on the office market is out’.
Now context, the business brand or person writing the post might help.
But it may not.
And if you are relying solely on who you are to ‘sell’ your content to potential readers, then you are missing out.
Hint: People may not know who you are or have read anything you’ve written before.
You want to make people stop and pay attention and to do that you need to capture their interest or intrigue about your content, so people want to click through and read it.