Today more than ever, social media is being used as a way of finding information and answering questions. Many people turn to social networks because they want a more human response and the opinion of others, particularly their trusted networks.
But it’s not only questions that can be answered and opinions shared; social media has evolved into a space where people go to consume news, find content and conduct research on topics or products that interest them. In fact, according to this infographic from LeadSpace a 72% of B2B buyers use social media to research solutions and 84% of B2B executives use social media as a source for making purchase decisions.
At Tribal we often advise both individuals and brands that it’s important to not spam your audience with purely product focused or promotional posts. Instead, share content that your audience will find useful and either help to solve their issues or aid their learning on a certain topic.
Using Social Media to Increase the Customer Experience
Of course, social media can and should be used for promotion - according to polling by Regalix, LinkedIn is now the #1 platform used for product launches among B2B businesses. 81% of B2B businesses say they use LinkedIn for launches, 71% use Twitter and 54% use Facebook. However, promotion should be done in a way that speaks to the customers’ needs and how your solution can assist them. If you know your customers and know what they need, you’ve got that part covered.
All very well, but here’s the scenario; you’re asked to create a social media campaign/ posts around a product or service, could be a new product, could be a directive to promote an existing solution. You have a social media strategy, goals are set, you know who your target audience are, but where do you start? How do you go about crafting engaging social posts?
Identify Key Hashtags and Keywords to Optimise Your SEO
Hashtags and keywords are important here. Why? Well, firstly hashtags are no longer confined to Twitter - according to research by Agorapulse, a LinkedIn post containing just one hashtag has on average 29.59% higher impressions, which means they should undoubtedly feature in both brand and personal LinkedIn posts. However, the two platforms are still vastly different so hashtag stuffing a LinkedIn post isn’t a good idea. This blog from Hootsuite covers how to use hashtags on LinkedIn in more detail.
As for keywords, it makes sense to research the topics and phrases your buyers are using to find content and answers, then use these keywords in copy for social posts. Even more so because social network search functionality is getting more sophisticated. For example, type a keyword into Twitter and it will return results for that keyword even if the hashtag version wasn’t used.
So, there is the ‘Why’ but what about the ‘How’. Back to our scenario; you need to create engaging social content around a product/ service/ solution – these steps will help you:
1. Read Existing Content Around What You’re Promoting
Yes, it’s an obvious one but getting a better understanding of what the product/ service/ solution does will put you in good stead to be able to write about it. Sure, you may know what the snazzy new widget you’re promoting does, but do you understand the features, benefits, why it’s so special and most importantly why people should care, how it solves the buyer’s needs etc. Basically, do your research.
2. Note Down Key Messages/ Benefits/ Most Frequently Used Keywords
Whilst doing your research as per the above point, pull out key information and frequently used keywords. You can use this list of phrases, words, messages to inform your social content and commentary.
However, remember to pull out information that your target audience will find useful, for example how your widget provides a solution to a specific problem you know your target audience frequently encounters. Don’t pull out brand crafted promotional statements that’s won’t mean anything to those without vested interest!
3. Turn Your Keywords Into Hashtags
You’ve now got a list of keywords and those keywords can translate into hashtags to help your posts/ content get found by the right people on social, however there is no point using hashtags if no one is following them. You might think your product/service/solution hashtag (#SnazzyWidget) is great, but it can’t be the only one you use if no one is following it and you want to get your content in front of people who don’t know your brand.
We recommend using Hashtagify. This is a fabulous tool which shows you a % of how commonly used hashtags are (ideally opt for hashtags with a score of at least 40%), it then gives you a breakdown of associated words so you can see which other keywords you could also use in your posts/ blogs etc. A sure-fire hway to turn people off is by stuffing hashtags into a social post that shouldn’t be there – make sure the hashtags you’re using reflect the content you’re posting.
4. Check Out Other People’s Blogs/ Content
It’s important to keep up to date with what others are doing, even if they are competitors. As much as you may want to, don’t pretend their content doesn’t exist – use it to keep informed about your industry. Of course, it doesn’t just have to be competitors’ content – set up a content stream (for example, Feedly or Flipboard) so you can continue to read and learn about similar products or industry news. And if you don’t already, start social listening!
Follow the hashtags you’ve identified using Hashtagify, follow competitors and thought leaders. Look at what social posts are getting the most traction on which channels and use this information to inspire and create your own content.
5. Use Other Online Tools To Help Track Down Content/ Influencers
Below is a list of additional tools (and description of what they can be used for) to aid your research:
6. Put It All Together
You’ve done your research, you’ve got your keywords and hashtags, now put it all together by crafting posts around solutions to the key issues which lead people to look for you/ your product. Create content around how you can help them, provide evidence of how you have done this in the past (customer testimonials?) and most importantly, add value.
It’s okay to promote something on social but to rise above the noise of other promotional posts, provide genuinely useful tips or information alongside.
7. Optimise For Different Channels
And finally, make sure the content you’re posting is optimised for each social channel. What works on one won’t necessarily work on all. Here’s some tips on optimising content for different social networks from Social Media Examiner. Overall, make sure your social content is engaging, eye-catching, well thought out and using relevant hashtags.