Why Social Media for Tech Brands is Underrated
As a Director of Marketing for B2B tech for many years, I’ve seen social media be an underutilized tool by B2B tech brands. The fact that it can’t be directly attributed to revenue is its number one downfall and likely the reason it’s overlooked.
Marketers are very data-driven.. this isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes it causes us to ignore things we can’t measure. It’s like we have this aversion to things we can’t track. I’m guilty of this too!
But the reality is, social media can get us mega exposure to a relevant audience for FREE. Not only this, it’s our owned channel, giving us the ability to build trust with a loyal fan base through multiple touch points. This then leads to referral/word of mouth business, which marketers generally agree is the most powerful source for growth with its high conversion rates. It seems obvious that social media for tech brands is a must, yet it still gets heavily deprioritized in marketing strategies.
Think about all these channels we pay a lot of $$$ for just to get in front of an audience one time, ie – paid publications or paid ads. Do you think those audiences will remember you a week, or even a day later?
While building a brand on social takes time, it is like SEO in the sense that it has exponential growth potential and is a long term, sustainable investment. As a side note, you can learn more about how to do SEO on a budget for your startup here.
So, let’s get into how B2B brands can maximize the value of social media.
Step 1: Understanding Your Audience
Understanding your audience is the single most important part of your social media strategy, and entire marketing strategy.
A lot of marketers rush through this process, but they shouldn’t. Take time to list out everything you know about your ideal customer type (ICP):
- Job titles
- Job responsibilities
- Goals and KPIs
- Knowledge gaps
- Knowledge strengths
- Topics of interests
- Social platforms used
- Publication and blog preferences
It’s that simple. Use this information to create a content calendar full of different, relevant topics that your audience will love. You should also use this information to find your relevant audience and follow them on the social platform(s) they use the most often.
Create Engaging Content
It sounds cliche, but yes.. the content you create needs to be engaging and it needs to resonate with your audience. The tech industry is fast moving, there are always new technologies, softwares, strategies, news, etc. The tech industry also values innovation, and new ideas. Try to work in new concepts or thought provoking opinions into your content. Offering a different perspective is how tech brands can build thought leadership and gain new followers.
Engage with Content
Building your B2B tech brand on social media isn’t just about creating engaging content. Algorithms have become very smart and they require brands to not just offer valuable content, but also require them to engage with other content that isn’t yours. They want to see brands be part of the conversation outside of their own bubble. This encourages more connections, more discussion, and ultimately more activity and usage on the platform… which is the main goal of any social media platform. Knowing this, it’ll be very beneficial to your brand to engage with other content, but make sure it is still relevant content.
If you find it’s a struggle to find relevant content to engage with content, you may need to do some cleanup, let me explain… Do you see content that isn’t relevant in your news feed? If so, you’re probably following the wrong people, or not enough of the right people. You need to grow your network with more of what you want. Follow the titles that you want to target, but also the publications that talk about your industry, and other brands that are in your industry.
Not gonna lie, this part of the strategy is extremely time consuming, and it’s mind numbing work. You can easily outsource it to a social media agency (like us). We’ve built our strategies specifically for tech companies, and part of all our strategies is engaging on each social platform for at least 2 hours per week. This is what it takes, and there are no shortcuts, but there are solutions.
Social media for B2B tech isn’t just about creating your own content. Leveraging influencers is a great way to grow your audience faster. Find others in the space who cover the same topics and have a large network and following. If you’re able to, find a way to partner with these influencers, either through co-created content or featuring them in a webinar. If you get them to participate in something like a webinar, make sure that part of the agreement includes them promoting the webinar on their social channels.
These types of initiatives can bring even more than just new followers… If you’re partnering with an influencer to promote gated content, this often results in SQL’s at a very low cost per lead. I’ve done this many times in the past at tech companies, and in some cases it resulted in over 500 leads per campaign. All through organic Linkedin promotion, and the CPL was somewhere between $8-$10.
How to find Linkedin Influencers
I have to admit, influencers can be difficult to find, as Linkedin doesn’t have a way to search for “influencers”. Here is the criteria I have used in the past for my manual research:
- Personal brand
- Between 70-200 engagements per post (More than this and it will be harder to get a reply)
- Talks specifically about relevant topics in the industry you’re targeting
- Share the same audience as your brand
You can also check out this article to learn more about how to find influencers on Linkedin.
Once you have a good sized list of Linkedin influencers, it’s just like planning an outreach campaign. You need a good hook, and a good offer to capture their attention. Influencers thrive on providing valuable content and sharing their expertise, so try to offer them an opportunity to do this, ie. a webinar or podcast episode.
My only other advice here is to create a clear document or contract outlining the expectations of the partnership. Be sure to include social promotions from both sides, as this is the key to gaining new exposure. As a side note, it’s always good to ask if they have an email list where they can also promote. While email isn’t social media, it’s additional reach, so why not throw that into the deal.
Payment. Believe it or not, you shouldn’t need to pay an influencer to parter with you on your campaign. In fact, most influencers don’t like accepting payment because they don’t want to compromise the integrity of their content by making it paid content. Influencers are much more likely to be incentivized by a topic that they are passionate about.
- 2 or 3 times per week on your social channel
- Answer questions and comments that people leave on your posts
- Build your personas
- Research topics that will resonate with your audience
- Write thoughtful, valuable content that is different from everyone else’s
- Create image and video content
- Become part of relevant groups
- Post additional content in those relevant groups
- Find relevant influencers, connect with them, and engage with their content
- Find other companies in your industry, follow them and comment on their posts
- Do a lot more stuff than is mentioned in this list
Analyze your Results
As mentioned, there is no short cut to social media brand building for tech or any other business. It takes time, grit, commitment. There are, however, effective strategies you can implement to ensure you aren’t wasting time or efforts, because it is a lot of time and effort! Don’t expect significant progress at the very beginning, this is by far the hardest part. But once you hit a certain threshold of followers and engagement, growth can take off fast. Be consistent, be thoughtful in your content, and don’t forget to spend a large bulk of time engaging. If you want to outsource your social media strategy for a price that fits your budget, Techspin Marketing is specifically designed for tech startups, and we’re here to help. Book a consultation here.
Alison Fisher, Founder and CEO @ Techspin Marketing Group