Whatever your social media marketing goals – driving traffic, connecting with influencers, nurturing leads, or grabbing some brand awareness – unless you are sharing the right kind of content you may as well just frame it on the wall of your office – because no one else is going to see it.

As we discussed picking the perfect platform in one of our previous posts, let’s assume that you know who your target audience is and where to find them. So what comes next?

A common preconception that many B2B marketeers need to shake off is that social media is just a free platform for self-promotion. Rather than a tool for pushing out overtly promotional material, social media for the modern B2B marketeer should be viewed as a platform designed for engaging with an audience or community – an ongoing conversation.

Your social media posts should be about your audience, not just about your business. Getting the balance right is the key to success.

Fortunately there are many ways to keep sharing on social media that can foster engagements without triggering people’s subconscious ad-blocker and position your company as a useful contributor and voice in your industry.

  • Stay relevant

Tap into the wider topics and currents in the industry that will resonate with your target audience. Why not share some genuine thought leadership exploring some of the industry’s hottest topics? Sharing a well placed magazine article adds that valuable 3rd party endorsement.

You could always highlight the latest findings from surveys and analyst reports which align with you message, or start a conversation on LinkedIn about the changes in your market. Just remember, you’re not playing the role of a salesperson!

  • Share some #TopTips

You’re the experts, so share a little of that knowledge with your prospects online. Not only does this make their lives easier but it starts to position you as the expert – the go-to resource in your field. Video guides, how-to blogs and top tips are a great way to demonstrate how you can provide value to your audience, and ultimately your sales prospects.

  • Show what else your company is doing

Step away from the product page! Instead think about whether your company is engaging with the community in any way. Is it undertaking any charitable works? Are any of your colleagues? It’s not a bad idea to show your human side once in a while.

  • Respond and re-tweet

It’s not all one way traffic, and just as you like it when your posts get noticed, others do too. You should be following the key players and personae anyway, so keep an eye out for posts you can comment on. Don’t just flood people’s news feeds with re-tweets and fatuous posts –try and add value to the conversation with additional insights and perspectives.

Social media can be a powerful force multiplier as part of a PR campaign – but only when applied correctly. When you start to think beyond the hard-sell, social media platforms offer the chance at genuine online engagement and the opportunity to deliver key messages that position you as the leading player in your field with interesting ideas on every major new topic and the right comment on every development as it happens.

James Rose is Head of Content Strategy at IBA International

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