It wasn’t long ago that brands could get away with building a B2B social media strategy on the fly – or not building one at all. As long as you were present on social platforms, you were part of “the conversation.” Right? Not really. And definitely not any more.

Today’s B2B social media strategy must move beyond existing. Brands must align their social strategy with company-wide goals. With a well-designed plan, you can invest in platforms and initiatives that produce clear and measurable results.

Here are four tips to creating a winning B2B social media strategy.

Define success.

The first step to any strategy is to understand what you want out of your efforts. So, what do you want to achieve through social media? It might seem simple, but setting goals is critical to success.

To help you answer this question, here are a few others to consider:

  1. How are your customers using social media, either during work or in their spare time?
  2. How are your competitors using social media? Is their strategy successful?
  3. What can you offer your customers on social media that they won’t receive through traditional marketing channels?

Create goals that align with the goals of your marketing funnel. For example, if you want to build brand awareness, build a B2B social media strategy that will introduce your products to the consumers who need them. If you have a strong brand and want to use social media to drive sales, you can build an advertising campaign that brings customers to your website through, for example, exclusive promotions.

Know your audience.

When you have a clear understanding of who you want to reach on social media and what you want to tell them, you’ll have a strong foundation for success. Buyer personas are a great place to start. Using these personas, map out a buyer’s journey rooted in user experience.

Whether you’re attracting new customers or maximizing leads, remember that your audience on social media is not radically different than buyers you’ll meet offline. The key is to see your social media presence through the eyes of your user and create clear calls to action for your buyers at every point in their journey.

Track your progress.

Now that you know what you want to achieve through B2B social media, it’s time to determine how you’ll measure your return on investment.

If you’re building an awareness campaign, set some benchmarks to track the reach of your social media content. Every three months, review your content to see if it’s 1) generating awareness about your brand, and 2) reaching a growing number of people. Tracking engagement (likes, comments, and shares) will confirm whether your content is interesting.

Embrace the unexpected.

Companies that live in fear of a bad review or ill-spirited comment on social media are missing an opportunity. Unlike any other marketing effort, social media offers invaluable, real-time feedback from your customers about their experiences with your campaigns and their expectations of your brand.

Social media offers invaluable, real-time feedback from your customers about their experiences with and expectations of your brand.Click To Tweet

Instead of fearing feedback, embrace your customers’ engagement—all of it! Use negative comments as an opportunity to show that you value your customers. Proactively ask for opinions and use responses to create even better content.

When in doubt, use your answers to steps one and two as a litmus test for your social media innovation. You’ll find that within these boundaries, you have plenty of room to be creative in the content your produce for social media.

Stay focused.

And finally, don’t abandon your goals. While it is good to know what other brands offer on social media, it is counter-productive to measure your own success based on the standards of others.

If you’re starting fresh on social media, you won’t have the biggest fan base or, likely, the biggest team to create content. But if you stay focused on the unique value you offer your customers on social media and off, then your unique community will follow.

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