If you’re like most professional services marketing teams, you’re probably running pretty lean. This article offers some best practices your lean team can use to help give your firm a solid presence on Twitter and LinkedIn.
So you’re in charge of managing your firm’s social media accounts. Simple enough, right? Take your team’s thought leadership content, share a tweet on Twitter, post an update on LinkedIn and you’re good. But simply doing that isn’t going to get you much traction. Sure, you may get a like here, or a retweet there. But you’re probably not going to create a healthy following or generate much awareness for your firm’s thinking this way. Over the years, I’ve managed a number of our clients’ corporate social presences. As I see it, there are 7 things to keep in mind if you want to have success in this seat.
1 – Start with a strategy
Having a set of goals, objectives and tactics will go a long way in helping you succeed with social media marketing. While social media is a great place to experiment and test to see what works and what doesn’t, you should still establish objectives for what you hope to accomplish. Start by asking yourself why you’re using social media in the first place. Is it to grow your followers so you can extend the reach of your thought leadership? Is it to drive people to your website? Is it to generate leads? Is it something else? Answering these questions will help you set goals for what you’re doing and objectives to measure success.
Your strategy may shift and evolve over time as you learn what resonates with your audience and what’s realistic for your marketing team to maintain on a regular basis. Social platforms also change and shift over time, so have the flexibility to adapt your strategy based on those changes. Here is some information about Twitter and LinkedIn to help inform your strategy for posting to each one.
Twitter – People come to Twitter to discover something new. That makes it a great platform to share insights from your thought leadership research or information about your upcoming event. It’s also best to be conversational in tone and even experiment with changing your tone (i.e. be a little edgy or witty) to interest users. Coming off as too formal or too promotional isn’t natural and Twitter users will sense that and easily tune you out.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the best B2B platform, as it’s geared toward business professionals. It’s a great platform to connect with other companies and professionals who share your interests and it is where you want to be sharing all of your thought leadership content. It’s also a great platform for generating leads. And while LinkedIn is more professional in nature, use it with the mindset of sharing insights that your audience will find helpful to avoid coming off as too promotional.
2 – Post with purpose
One of the most asked questions around social media is, “How frequently should I be posting?” The short, but probably not so helpful, answer is there is no perfect number. You will need to determine the best cadence for your firm based on your goals, which may take some time and testing to find.
When it comes to Twitter, the range of how often companies tweet is pretty wide. Some companies share upwards of 30 or more tweets a day, and some companies share as infrequently as 1 – 2 times a week. For LinkedIn, most sources recommend posting a few times a week.
What it really comes down to is making sure you’re sharing quality content on a regular basis. Sharing more frequently doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Robert Rose, Chief Content Advisor at the Content Marketing Institute advises to “Publish as little as you can and still have the impact you desire.” In other words, focus on sharing quality content over sharing more content.
3 – Curate content from other sources
Sharing a mix of your own content, as well as curating content from other relevant sources, like influencers and other people in your industry, is good practice. It’s also a great way to grow your audience and to keep up with a regular frequency of posts instead of needing to wait until a new blog post or article is ready from your team. When sharing content from other sources, always be sure to mention the original source in your post, as this could get you a follow in return or a retweet out to their audience, expanding your reach.
One way to find content from other sources is to create a list of topical keywords to monitor and share relevant posts that align with your strategy or that you think will resonate with your audience. Rather than simply retweeting something or posting it as an update on LinkedIn, share your firm’s perspective on it.
You can also build a list of influencers in your industry and make sure you’re following them on Twitter and LinkedIn so you can see when they post new content that’s relevant for you to share. Visit their websites frequently as well so you’re up to date on any new thinking they’ve posted that you can share with your audience.
4 – Spice it up
As the saying goes, “Variety is the spice of life.” Experiment with sharing a variety of content—articles, video, infographics—and use compelling images for each of your posts to attract attention. That said, every post doesn’t need to have an image. Experiment with sharing text-only posts by asking a question or sharing something interesting you learned to spur engagement.
If you can, take a step further and share video directly on each platform, which can get you even more engagement. Tweets with video are 6 times more likely to be retweeted than tweets with photos. And with LinkedIn’s new native video capability (introduced about a year and a half ago), the company is now more likely to feature posts with videos. Reports also show that people on LinkedIn are more likely to share posts with video, than posts without video.
5 – Enter into conversation
If you’re investing any time in social media, it’s worth your while to do it right. Social media is meant to be that…social. If you’re simply promoting your content and leaving, you’re missing out on the beauty of the medium.
On Twitter, you can start by establishing some keywords that are topically relevant and monitor them on a regular basis to see where you can share your firm’s expertise or relevant content. Tools like Hootsuite or ManageFlitter allow you setup and monitor keywords relatively easily.
On LinkedIn, social listening does take some extra work. LinkedIn is fairly closed with its information sharing so there aren’t too many systems you can use to monitor LinkedIn outside LinkedIn itself. You can join relevant groups and monitor conversations that are happening within them to see where you can enter into the conversation. Or use the search tool to search a topic and see what’s being said by others and where you can insert your firm’s thinking.
On the flip side, be the one to start the conversation. It can be as simple as asking a thought-provoking question or sharing something new you learned. This can work especially well on Twitter, where people are in a discovery mindset and looking to engage. And if someone does engage, follow up with them!
6 – Do some paid promotion
Healthy social media accounts use a mix of organic posts and paid promotion. With the heavy use of both Twitter and LinkedIn and most companies doing some sort of paid campaigns, it can be hard to get traction without doing some paid promotion as well. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Advertising on Twitter is actually quite affordable, costing between $.50 and $4.00 per engagement. To start, you will have to choose an objective for you paid campaign, whether it’s to generate awareness, grow your followers or drive people to your website. If you want to do all three (and who doesn’t), you would need to setup three separate campaigns, as Twitter optimizes your posts based on the objective you’ve chosen. From there you can setup targeting to reach your ideal audience, whether you’re after people with certain behaviors or interests, people who have searched specific keywords, or even people who are similar to a list of accounts you upload yourself.
Paid promotion on LinkedIn can be a little more costly, averaging around $5.74 per click, but you can narrow in much more specifically on your audience by choosing between industry, seniority, job function and company size. You can also target known accounts or contacts by uploading a list directly, which is helpful if you have specific companies or people you want to target. LinkedIn’s objectives are a little more narrow than Twitter’s (you can choose between website visits, engagement, or video views), but you can also choose to capture leads on LinkedIn, which is a unique objective they offer.
When it comes to advertising on either platform, you can start by experimenting with a small budget to test what works and try again at another time after making adjustments based on what you learned.
7 – Monitor and measure
Bring it all full circle by regularly monitoring your accounts and tracking to see if you’re moving closer to your goals. It can be helpful to setup a monthly review and track things like engagement, impressions, followers, and website clicks. If one of your goals is to grow your audience by 20% by year’s end, track how many new followers you gained during the month. If you continue that trend, will you reach your goal by the end of the year? If not, adjust some of your tactics for next month to see if that makes an impact.
When it comes to tracking performance, you can review monthly analytics inside of Twitter and LinkedIn directly, or within a platform like Hootsuite. It’s a good idea to also keep an eye on Google Analytics to see how much traffic you’re getting from each channel and if that traffic is trending up or down.
Having a solid presence on social media does take more than just posting your thought leadership here and there. Start by putting together a set of goals for what you hope to achieve and objectives to help you know when you get there. Then, have fun experimenting with what resonates with your audience. Track your performance regularly so you can learn what’s working and what’s not and make adjustments to your tactics to help move the needle toward reaching your goals.