B2B Social Media Can Deliver a Strong ROI – But It Needs to be Defined

Source: TATA Consultancy ServicesMany B2B marketers still struggle with social media despite the fact that social conversations continue to dominate Internet traffic. They operate social channels with a set-it-and-forget-it mentality, or push the responsibility down to entry-level staffers – far from the strategic decision makers with a pulse on business objectives. The truth is, even B2B brands need a strong social media presence to drive awareness and engagement with customers on a long buyer’s journey.

Simply existing on social media is not enough. Communities need to be well-managed. Content needs to be compelling and, above all, sharable. And the right audience needs to be targeted to get the most impact and visibility.

This is why social spending will continue to increase, but marketers still have a difficult time showing ROI for their efforts. Creating a strong social media program can help nurture customers and find new ones. It can help drive business objectives and deliver a strong return. It doesn’t have to be difficult to create a program that works for your business and your customers. It’s simply about identifying the right benchmarks, and committing to a program to meet them. Here’s our approach:

Understand Your Baseline

A strong social program starts with a comprehensive evaluation of your channels as they stand now to understand where they need to go. Are the basics covered? How do you compare to the competition? What’s your share of voice in relevant social conversations? Who are your followers, and are they different across channels? Take a deep look to identify strengths and areas of opportunity.

Commit to a New Program

Whether starting fresh or starting over on social media, it is important to first determine what you want your new program to achieve. Determine which business objectives are important and then identify benchmarks. Which KPIs matter the most? Shares, click-thrus, retweets, downloads, share of voice? What will help to drive leads or sales? Determine which measures will offer the most impact for your business and work backward from there.

Post, Post, Post!

Once key metrics have been determined, it’s time to start executing on the new program – but social media doesn’t function in isolation. This is the phase where an integrated content program is firing across all media channels – paid, earned, shared and owned. Create a content calendar and use your social media channels to amplify your message and increase brand engagement. Leverage paid programs to target the right audience, and post content that is useful and actionable.

Measure Your Performance

One great benefit of social media is the wealth of information and analytics available related to your channels. Use that data to measure against the KPIs identified in the beginning. Determine what’s working well and what may need adjusting. Evaluate performance across channels – including other marketing efforts. In today’s digital ecosystem, everything’s connected.

Revise and Repeat

Hopefully you’ve seen your social performance increase at this point. Once you have evaluated and analyzed your results, take those key learnings to determine next steps and strategy shifts. Look back at KPIs and set new ones as appropriate to meet new objectives. Focus resources on tactics that performed well, and continue to measure performance moving forward.

Social media programs are completely measurable, so it’s all about determining what actions will have the most impact for your business. A continuous approach of setting and evaluating KPIs will not only improve the performance of your social channels, it will ultimately help marketers determine ROI for their efforts.

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