When we hear ‘account-based marketing (ABM) strategy’, social media might not be the first channel to come to mind. Perhaps you believe it belongs in the B2C playbook. Time for a renewed perspective.
84% of C-level and VP-level buyers are influenced by social media when purchasing. (Articulate)
Dynamic content on the web and in emails are a great method to reach out to specific accounts, but adding social media to your ABM toolkit can only increase engagement.
Social media is fit for building relationships, sharing information, appealing to prospects, and earning trust with customers. It also provides companies with real-time information and insight on the expectations, needs, and wants of potential customers.
Facebook (89%), LinkedIn (81%) and Twitter (75%) are the three most used social media channels by B2B marketers. Instagram is up and coming. (MarTechAdvisor)
If social media isn’t a part of your ABM plan, you should strongly consider including it. Here are some tools and best practices to create a social media strategy for ABM success.
Start a Conversation on Social Channels
The best way to learn and understand your audience is to be a good listener. Marketers are often eager to get started immediately. If you don’t move at the speed of change, you could be left behind. Because things are fast-paced, it’s important that you speak to the right audience at the right time.
Social monitoring is a method of “listening” to conversations about key terms, topics, or hashtags on social channels. This gives insight into what people are interested in as it relates to your business. A great automated tool can take a lot of the guesswork out.
So, where do people talk about you?
Find the right channels where you may be discussed. There are several options on social media. It’s best to research the social channels to identify where your company is being discussed. Take note of what they like and dislike about your business and industry.
Go beyond the obvious by using enterprise social monitoring tools to help find discussions about your brand and uncover smaller sites that aren’t on your radar. Here are a few other places to look:
- YouTube, Pinterest
- Review sites
- Comment sections on industry and trade publication websites
Create an Industry Influencers List
Every industry has influencers with a large social media presence. Make a list of them!
They’re talking to your customers and potential customers so find out what they say and how people respond. Follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn and read their blogs. This is how you glean information to help you go social. For example, here is a list of our Salesforce MVPs and our Marketing Champions list you can follow on Twitter.
Connect with the influencers, share their content, and be active in the conversation. Take it a step further and offer influencers exclusive content, news, and product deals. You can also give them a behind the scenes look at product development and your team. This promotes awareness.
The data you gather is meant to enhance engagement with your audience. Now that you know a lot more about them, find the best way to use it!
Use Listening Data as Your Guide
Now that you have listened to several sources across social media, you should have more than enough data to extract useful information. Try putting together the following:
- Sentiment analysis
- Total mentions
- Active networks
- Pain points
Ask yourself data-related questions, such as, “Are mentions going up or down over time?” Or “Is positive sentiment increasing?” Place it on the calendar to do a listening data check regularly.
Car Loans Canada used Social Studio, to gain a competitive advantage. They became actively engaged in conversations with customers who fit their company’s profile. Read about their success with using data when going social.
Social the Conversation
When you start social publishing, there are some best practices to keep in mind.
- Maintain a consistent brand voice. Publish organic content and campaigns to create awareness and connect to your audience in a meaningful way. This is a great way to establish brand tone, demonstrate thought leadership, share industry news, and keep customers and prospects engaged.
- Share the wealth. As experts in your industry, share the wealth of knowledge you have about products and services with your audience. Include your customers and community when sharing what you know and have learned from them. Post success stories.
- Give an answer. Answer as many questions as possible. Add any new questions to the FAQs section of your website. In fact, post an FAQ link for commonly asked questions.
- Hire or assign a designated responder. It is a good idea to have a trained and designated responder for your social posts. This ensures that customers are given the attention they deserve. Learn and grow from their feedback.
- Engage the C-suite. It isn’t often that customers get to hear from the C-suite. Have the CEO post once a month or quarterly to answer questions or share a story. It makes your company feel approachable. Social publishing should involve every department within the company.
- Be Intentional and inclusive. Don’t make assumptions about who might receive your content. For example, if you’re sharing a video, make sure it has closed captioning.
- Be transparent. It’s very important to be open, especially with the new normal. BART did an excellent job at this while getting their message out to its customers about transportation.
- Make sharing easy. Make sure you provide people a way to share to their own networks easily.
- Recycle and Experiment. Create an infographic out of an old sales presentation or whitepaper. Audit your emails and find a customer inquiry to use as a blog topic. Experiment with different headlines and types of posts to find what is most effective.
- No oversharing. Create a content calendar to schedule posting and stick to it as much as possible.
Following these tactics will lead you down the path of productive social conversation.
Track Engagement from Key Accounts
Knowing who your prospects are on social platforms and their content preferences can help you track how they engage with your company’s organic content.
On Twitter, for example, it’s easy to set up a list — a curated group of Twitter accounts. Lists enable you to view tweets from only certain users, and they can also be used as helpful reminders for you to engage with specific accounts.
When publishing post links, use a tracking code, such as those found using Google Analytics. The tracking code feeds back into an overall database, helping you follow which social networks are driving the most traffic. Use this as your guide for your posting strategies and campaigns.
Add Paid Ads to the Mix
84% of B2B marketers use paid distribution channels (like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and more) for content marketing purposes. (Content Marketing Institute, 2019)
It’s important to post organic content that is relevant to your prospects needs and pain points. To more effectively develop your ABM strategy on social, investing in social ads is a great way to reach target accounts.
On LinkedIn, you can deliver ads to audiences who have a particular job title, company name, or industry.
There are so many advantages to adding social media channels to your ABM strategy. If you follow these best practices, your customer engagement will increase and communication with existing and potential customers can open new doors for your company.
To learn more strategies for ABM success, join our webinar.