Some businesses question the value of social media; is it merely a trending topic, a platform to connect with prospects, or does it aid development of meaningful relationships?
In response to this question, Hootsuite and We Are Social released ‘Digital in 2017’, a report on social media and digital trends around the world, examining data from 238 countries. The research shows that there are 2.7bn active social media users worldwide. Businesses can take advantage of this opportunity in today’s digitally connected world by sharing relevant, engaging and value-adding content with the right audience to optimise reach and awareness. In turn, this has the potential to amplify brands, building trust, credibility and relationships at scale – it’s a no brainer.
According to a Hubspot report this year, 66% of businesses are using social media as part of their core strategy, showing considerable change in the way it has been used in b2b comms. In the science sector, for example, it wasn’t so long ago that businesses had only a few ways to share their technologies and new research with the world. Presenting at a scientific meeting can give limited exposure but, today, with a robust social media strategy, businesses can share research within their field globally and more easily find collaborators.
The significant value social media can add to an organisation is increasingly recognised. It is now heavily relied upon by organisations to uniquely engage visitors, converting them into leads, customers and, eventually, advocates.
But, in order to establish a clear direction for your social media strategy, it is important to first set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. From this, a robust social media content plan can be created. The plan should outline the pieces of content to promote and establish the channels, for example webinars or blogs. The content should:
- Be helpful
- Add value to audience members. A good example is a webinar on an industry-wide topic, with a link to an informative, relevant landing page
- Provide consistently high quality content. This is key to provoke interaction with your brand, be it through likes, comments or shares.
Pick your platform
The choice of platform is important to evaluate, as each platform provides a different social experience and therefore requires a specific strategy. In order to optimise your key message, you must understand how the audience will interact with the content: will it be through their phone, and will they ‘like’, comment or share? A 10-minute video, for example, could be posted on YouTube and then the key points could be summarised on LinkedIn. In order to establish a strong social media presence, quality content needs to be published regularly and consistently.
Visuals are also shown to drive audience engagement significantly. Research from The Content Marketing Institute showed that content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. Ultimately, a clear message can catch people’s attention when delivered with the use of appealing images, through the right platform, to peak interest and engagement.
Optimisation will not only drive traffic, but also gain new audience members and establish a strong social media following.
These efforts must always link back to ROI, to determine the value connected to the overall achievements of the activity. This can be measured by metrics such as the reach, engagement and audience growth as well as direct enquiries or leads captured.
If you are interested in developing a robust social media plan or amplifying your content on social media, please contact us at [email protected] or call us on +44 1477 539539.
By Katie Hall, Junior Account Executive, The Scott Partnership