Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.
Professonal services social media success doesn't take place over night. It's a cumulative process that produces success with persistent and consistent execution. Your first step in social media marketing is to develop a strategy that defines your target audience and how you will reach them. Once you've developed your social media marketing strategy, the success of your efforts is dependent on your execution. Here are 7 hot tips for executing your professional services social media marketing strategy.
1. Spend time every day executing your social media strategy
Like anything else, success with your social media marketing requires effort. You can't post a few social media updates and expect the leads to flow in. You need to make someone at your firm responsible for your social media marketing and it should be a daily part of their job duties. Don't think you can make your receptionist responsible for your social media marketing because she's got a rockin' Instagram account.
The person managing your social media marketing needs to know your value proposition and how to effectively communicate it. She needs to know how your marketing content fits into your strategy and how, when and where to promote it. She needs to know who your target audience is and how to communicate with them.
If youre not investing, at a minimum, the equivalent of 25% of a full-time employee daily to execute your social media marketing strategy, you likely will not get the results you need and expect. Your social media manager should be measuring, communicating, posting, responding and analyzing your social media marketing every day.
2. Develop a 3-Month editorial calendar
Now that you know who you want to reach and where you plan to find them, you need to develop an editorial calendar that identifies the content and message you want to communicate over a 3-month period. Your social media editorial calendar should be developed hand-in-hand with your content calendar, promoting the blog posts and content offers that you will be publishing.
While you have a 3-month editorial calendar, it's important to execute it daily so that your communications are timely and reflect the current news. If you plan to tweet about the latest feued between Kanye West and Taylor Swift next month, people will already have forgotten about it (like you probably have!) On the other hand, evergreen marketing content can and should be promoted regularly.
3. Use the 50-50 Rule
When we originally published this post, we recommended that businesses use the 10-4-1 rule for social media posting (see italicized text below.) We now recommend the 50-50 rule for businesses that have a deep library of marketing content. The 50-50 rule simply states that half of your posts should promote your own marketing content and the other half should share information from third parties that your audience will find useful.
In our case, we have almost 400 published blog posts and over 25 premium content offers. We review the older content we've created that still generates traffic to our website and re-share it on social media. This, of course, is done after we have updated the content to reflect current circumstances.
Your audience will quickly tune you out if all you talk about is YOU! While its entirely appropriate to share your blog posts and landing pages on social media, you need to be helpful above all else. How can you do that? Simple post interesting content from other sources (trade journals, business press, etc.) that your ideal customers would find valuable.
Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey Cohen, authors of the B2B Social Media Book, have developed a formula to optimize your social media posting called the 10:4:1 rule. For every 15 social media posts, 1 should be a link to one of your landing pages, 4 should be links to your blog posts and 10 should be helpful content from other sources. This is a good mix of content that lets you sell and promote your solution without coming off like a used car salesmen.
4. Involve your sales team in your social media marketing
Many businesses create content and post it on their company social profiles to promote it. That's great and you should do that. But consider this: a LinkedIn company page with 400 followers is considered a decent-sized page. Most firms have several individuals with literally thousands of LinkedIn connections.
That's whey it's a good idea to have your sales and management team amplify your efforts with their personal accounts. For example, encouraging your sales team to share a new blog post on their personal LinkedIn accounts is a win-win proposition. Your sales team is trying to sell and the content youre producing should help them generate leads and develop a reputation for thought leadership.
One of our customers recently sent an email out to their team and encouraged them to share it on their personal LinkedIn accounts. They even gave them a one-sentence post to include with the content. The result? A 61% increase in social media traffic to that post.
5. Make it easy to share your content and follow your company on social media
Social media is all about sharing. Make sure you have "follow" buttons on your website, email signatures and marketing collateral. Make sure to include share buttons on your email marketing, landing pages and blog articles. Most email marketing and internet marketing software products have share and follow modules that make it easy for you to include them. Take advantage of them!
Most importantly, create shareworthy content! Creative content that helps your target audience solve problems will get shared.
6. Follow your customers and key prospects on social media and monitor regularly
What better way to learn whats important to your prospects and customers than to see what they say on social media? Follow your customers on their social media networks and see what they have to say. This will give you insight into whats important for them in running their business.
Share their content. As someone who produces a lot of content, I guarantee that my team knows who's sharing our content and appreciates it. Make sure your customers and prospects see that you're helping their content get more distribution and ultimately helping them get new customers.
We highly recommend HubSpot Sales Pro, which gives sales professionals insight into their top prospects.
7. Review your analytics monthly and adjust tactics as necessary
Look at your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) every month to see whats working well and what isnt. Some of the KPIs to monitor include:
leads generated by social media network
customers produced by social media network
new followers/likes by social media network
social media mentions
shares/retweets by social media network
blog posts published and views/comments/shares by blog article
This will help you see the return on your social media marketing investment. Remember, it takes time to develop reach and social authority. The importance of KPIs will change over time. For example, growth in your social media followers is probably an important metric early in your social media execution. As your audience grows, KPIs like share and retweets and eventually, leads and customers, will become more important.
These metrics will help you determine which social media networks work best for your business. Do more of whats working and either jettison or reconfigure what isnt.
While social media marketing is a boon for professional services firms, your success will depend on how well you've formulated your strategy and how effectively you execute it. Follow the 7 tips we've shared with you above and you will get the business results you're targeting. Want some actionable tips on social media marketing strategy?