No ad budget? No problem! How to leverage an organic social media strategy to drive leads
There’s no denying that social media has become an effective channel for B2B customer engagement and lead gen—roughly 95% of B2B marketers utilize social media as part of their marketing strategy.1 A staggering 4.2 billion people around the globe currently utilize social media,2 spending an average of 2.5 hours each day scrolling social media sites.3 With an audience this enormous, no business wants to miss out on the visibility and engagement potential that social media provides. Yet the reality is, many don’t have the budget flexibility to deploy a paid social ad strategy.
The good news is that—while it may deliver a little less lead volume and reach than a paid approach— you can still take advantage of an organic (or unpaid) social media marketing strategy to increase brand awareness and drive lead gen. In fact, 55% of B2B buyers say they look for information on social media prior to making a purchase and actually prefer to learn about a product or service through content versus an advertisement.4 Leveraging original content—whether a blog, case study, video, webinar, etc.—is a great starting place for driving organic leads. While you don’t need to pay to share content in an organic post, you do at least need an audience. So in order to get a return here make sure you have a decent amount of followers, or invest some time to first build your following.
One thing that’s important to keep in mind when trying to leverage an organic social strategy is that—while you can use it to simply engage potential prospects—in order to actually gain actionable leads from your efforts, your content needs to be gated. Don’t just post your ebook, article, or video directly on your social channel—leave just a teaser with a link to the greater content that they then have to provide their contact details in order to access. And in order to entice them to give up this valuable information you need to make your content highly relevant and compelling.
To help you get started with your organic social media strategy, we’ve compiled some other helpful tips and best practices across the various social platforms:
With more than two-thirds of LinkedIn users considering themselves “news junkies,” 5 you won’t likely find a better place to share your original, informative content to a more eager audience. Sharing an article, infographic, ebook, video or other asset that provides highly relevant, educational, or thought leadership type content to your audience is a great place to start.
Tips & Best Practices:
- As with most channels, video is fast becoming the most consumed asset on social media and can help elevate your engagement beyond just written content. Best practice for video content is to keep it relatively short—post a short snip or segment of a larger video or recorded asset (e.g., a webinar) and then link to the full post or webinar page.
- Get your sales reps involved! Don’t just share your content or post on your main business page, tap into a larger network and reach by having your sales reps share the post and promote it as well within their own network.
- You can target your organic posts so that you’re promoting your content specifically to your most relevant audiences. If, for instance, your audience/followers stretch across regions and languages, you can target a particular post to be seen by users with a specific profile language. Similarly, you can target your post at individuals within a particular industry or company size. This is great opportunity to create separate posts tailored to say the banking industry and the retail industry, and show the relevant one each audience.
- The best times to post organic content on LinkedIn are shown to be 8-10 AM and 12 PM on Wednesdays, and 9 AM and 1-2 PM on Thursdays. Sunday is the worst day for engagement.6
If your original content and target audience is not hyper specialized, Twitter can work well to help you engage with and inform a broad audience, yet you need to have a decent sized following in order for your posts to be effective.
Tips and best practices:
- Leverage hashtags—hashtags are particularly relevant on Twitter and help to tie your content to a larger audience and forum around the main topics in your post, getting far more eyes on your post beyond just your own immediate followers.
- Use images in your twitter posts, not just text with a link to your content. While Twitter limits your post to 280 characters, adding an image is a means of putting more information into one single message (think an image with a few key details or things they’ll learn from reading or viewing your asset).
While Facebook began as a purely personal connection and socializing platform, today it has become a sophisticated marketing engine that thousands of companies are jumping on board with to advertise their products or services. Yet just because paid advertising seems to rule on Facebook, doesn’t mean there isn’t room to still promote your business and generate leads the old fashioned, organic way.
Tips & Best Practices:
- Doing a Facebook Live every week is a great (unpaid!) way to capitalize on one of the biggest trends in B2B engagement today – video. Even better, your Facebook Live can be also published to your YouTube channel, shared as a video on LinkedIn, or you can grab smaller segments of the larger post to create shorter clips that you can share at a later time. The best part is that these live streaming sessions don’t actually have to be live – various tools are available that let you pre-record a video and schedule it to play later on as if it was live.
- Since it is typically seen as more of a personal engagement channel than a business-related channel (think LinkedIn), it’s important to consider timing your posts on Facebook around traditional business hours when users are most likely to be engaging on this platform. The best times for posting are typically first thing in the morning, and in the evenings between 7-9pm.
Want help kickstarting your organic social strategy or developing original content to help grow your efforts? Connect with our social media and marketing content specialists at Cadence Preferred to see how we can help!