If You Have Nothing to Say, Change Your Social Strategy! Here's how.

    What do you have to say? Your social marketing and PR strategy depends on the answer,

     As a marketer or a public relations professional, at a particular time or for a particular client, you either have news to promote or you don’t.

     As obvious as that statement is, it’s an important distinction to make when you engage in social media marketing and PR, because your efforts should be divided on that basis. Your goals are different, so your strategies and tactics should be as well.

     To demonstrate, what follows is a “how to” on doing social media marketing, showing the different approaches for what we refer to as routine social media marketing (no specific news to promote) and news-dependent social media marketing (when publicizing specific news, an event or other information).

     Due to the huge amount of social media usage, doing B2B social media marketing effectively requires technological help. For more on the available options, see this post. For the purposes of this blog post, we are going to examine the different social media marketing approaches through the use of social “conversation” analysis software. This type of social listening and engagement software listens to and analyzes the social conversations happening among journalists, analysts and social influencers in the B2B marketplace on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as related blogs and online news stories.

     We’ll begin with routine social media marketing. The goals here are to stay up-to-date with the news and social conversations taking place in your market; to participate in the social conversation, thereby expanding your company’s or client’s online visibility; to add to your network; and to discover opportunities to write or publicize existing content by finding hot topics.

     The process is relatively simple. Here are the steps we do each week for clients and for our own company. To do this, we use SocialEars HR Edition, social “conversation” analysis software:

    1.    Search for three or four specific topics that apply to your business. The results will return articles, blog posts, tweets, retweets, Facebook posts and other online conversations, sourced to journalists, analysts and social influencers. Examine the results and select the ones that are most relevant. Read the applicable articles and blog posts and comment on them (keep it non-promotional). Retweet them. Reference them in a blog post. Connect with the authors on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter. Trust us, doing this a few hours each week has a snowballing impact on your brand visibility and social footprint. 

    2.    Monitor Trends for your industry (or for a custom network of influencers important to you such as a geographic region or your favorite online influencers) to see if any topics applicable to your business are trending up. If any are, it’s a good time to write or publicize content related to those topics. Piggybacking on hot topics is a proven way to improve your social visibility. When publishing this content, share it with the people currently talking about it (see step 1), and transition to news-dependent social media marketing (see below).

     3.  Check the trending hashtags. Click those that are applicable to your business and see the latest tweets using those hashtags. Many tweets feature links to more valuable content to read, and you can choose to communicate with the authors via Twitter or email. And you can start using these hashtags in your own tweets to expand your social reach.

     Now we get to news-dependent social media marketing. You take advantage of some of the same tools, but in different ways because you have a different goal. The following are the steps we recommend (again, using social “conversation” analysis software).

    1. Identify the primary topics discussed in your latest content (blog,white paper, article, news announcement) and search those topics to find people to connect with and share your content with. You can also do searches to find the most popular content being shared on these respective topics — this can help you research and write your own content, and thereby develop thought leadership.

    2. Check the trending hashtags to find more people to share your news with. Then use these hashtags when tweeting your news.

    3.  Use the “What’s Trending?” information to see if there are any trending topics to incorporate into your content that can expand the interest of your content and make it relevant to more influencers. In other words, piggyback on what’s hot.

    4. Put your content into SocialEars’ Content Analyzer (beta) to discover other keyword topics that you might want to include in your release use software like SocialEars’ Content Analyzer that identifies the trending topics used in your content (e.g., mobile recruiting, open enrollment, etc.) and points you to the people currently discussing those topics on social channels. The Content Analyzer also tells you what other trending topics  your content relates to that you did not include in your content (e.g., employee privacy, social screening, etc.). You can then tailor your content and SEO strategies to these newly discovered keyword topics and share your content with the people writing about those topics online.

     A final thought on the “how to’s” of social media marketing: Like any marketing, the quality of you results will largely be determined by 1. The amount of intelligent effort you put into it, and 2. The quality, relevance and usefulness of what you have to offer, whether it be news or commentary. If you combine intelligent effort with quality, relevant and useful content, your rewards can be great. Check back soon to see how a PR professional used social media marketing to deliver a client high-profile article placements.

A new white paper by HRmarketer titled “Want People To Hear You? Then Listen” goes into more detail about using Social Listening technologies for marketing and PR pros. Get it here.

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