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So your company is on social media. Now what?

B2B companies continue to invest more time and money into social media. According to Webbiquity, B2B spending on social media marketing will more than double in the next five years. Some companies are tightly focused on one or two platforms while others operate on several spaces. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or all of the above and more, simply being online isn’t enough.

To drive engagement, leads and sales, businesses must be strategic about their social media presence, starting with the Three D’s.

  • Define objectives and platforms
  • Develop a voice
  • Determine frequency

Define objectives and platforms

Are you looking to build brand awareness? Drive leads and sales? Go viral? Mapping out your company’s objectives is the first step in developing a focused social media plan. It helps ground an initial tent pole around which the plan can be built, and helps determine what platforms to use. Understanding that objectives and platforms are inextricably linked is crucial for social media success.

For companies whose main mission is to capture leads, we advise them to focus on LinkedIn. The networking site shortens sales cycles and drives 60 percent more conversions than other social media platforms. In fact, a 2014 analysis by Oktopost found 80 percent of B2B leads were generated through LinkedIn.

While LinkedIn is the most popular social media site for B2B lead-gen, Twitter and Facebook are the most widely-used platforms overall. If community engagement, brand awareness and a broad digital footprint is what you’re after, it’s wise to leverage both Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, consider what people use the channels for and how that can benefit your marketing program.

Of course, efforts will be fruitless if customers aren’t using the platforms you’re targeting them on. Do some research and go where your audience is. For example, healthcare brands that want to reach the health system C-suite will find LinkedIn effective, whereas Facebook is good for reaching nurses.

Develop a voice

As the old adage goes, it’s not just what you say but how you say it. The impact of an authentic brand voice that resonates with customers cannot be understated. Remember “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Old Spice campaign from 2010? It increased Old Spice sales 107 percent thanks, in part, to popular videos that drove 236 million views on YouTube and increased Facebook interactions by 800 percent.

While most B2B companies won’t use a suave, shirtless man as the face of their campaigns, the payback for developing a unique B2B voice is huge, especially in commoditized industries. Brands that distinguish their messaging from the pack through, say, a humanized voice, make themselves more top-of-mind and relatable than the competition.

Customer research is one way to hone a voice. The feedback provides you with insights into how your brand is perceived and what customers’ needs are, providing a strategic foundation for messaging. Whatever voice brands develop should be consistent across all platforms.

Determine frequency

Companies can be on the right platforms with the right content, but if they fail to execute, it can be all for naught. That’s why determining a consistent posting frequency that satisfies customers is critically important. While the exact number of daily, weekly and monthly posts differs for everyone, and is heavily influenced by where you’re at in your social media adoption, roughly three tweets and two Facebook posts per day is a good general guideline. It’s frequent enough to engage audiences without hijacking their timelines.

If there’s one tip for determining frequency, it’s this: Resist temptation to take a rabid, scattershot posting approach. Quality trumps quantity. People follow feeds that provide them with valuable content on a dependable basis, much like we visit our favorite sandwich shop because it always delivers a satisfying meal.

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