In this post I will be sharing the things I learned from my first year of social media marketing.
I was a junior in college majoring in Communications and Religion. If I wanted a job when I graduated I needed to get an internship and get one fast. After making frantic calls to friends and family I was lucky enough to land an internship with Atlanta b2b marketing company MLT Creative.
On May 12th, 2014 I started my internship as the company’s social media manager. I didn’t know diddly squat about using social media for business. I felt like I was in a canoe in the middle of a choppy ocean trying to figure out where shore was. Luckily under the patient guidance of the MLT staff, and some of Hubspot’s certification courses I learned the basics quickly and managed not to embarrass the company too bad. I steadily stumbled along trying not to fail, and unsure of what failure and success looked like. Gradually I went from a mere social media marketing ignoramus to a… less of a social media marketing ignoramus. The world of b2b social media marketing is ambiguous and full of foggy ROI.
On Monday the 11th I started to work full time with MLT! I guess I did something right. Tuesday marked a full year of managing social media for MLT. From here forward I hope to learn from my mistakes and increase my successes.
In the spirit of transparency and hopes that these insights will point you towards land as you paddle around the ocean of social media marketing yourself, I have decided to give you a look under the hood of MLT’s social media efforts with screen shots of the year’s report:
I posted the most to Twitter overall. The sheer volume of tweets that shoot across people’s Twitter feeds allows companies to post more than they would on other social networks without over saturating their audience.
So there are some interesting takeaways from this metric. My first thought is: “hmm, better than 40% isn’t too good.” But according to Hubspot’s Social Media Benchmarks Report, marketing services is the industry with the second highest overall number of social media posts and the 8th highest number of interactions per post. So of all the industries using HubSpot for social media, marketing services has the second most oversaturated audience (second to real estate). So, maybe better than 40% isn’t too bad.
This can be seen pretty clearly in MLT’s posting habits. In April, the month I posted the second least, had more clicks than any other month that year! It’s almost like people were thanking me for freeing up their timelines and twitter feeds. Most of MLT’s followers are people who are involved in marketing to some capacity. Marketers are posting the latest marketing advice and the only people its reaching are other marketers who are also posting the latest marketing advice. Ironically content marketing has made it hard to do content marketing.
Takeaway: In b2b marketing, it’s about quality not quantity. If you are having trouble getting people to care about your posts, post less. You’ll be doing your audience a favor by only giving them the best you have to offer.
Ok, so here is proof that social media is unpredictable. Also, that interactions are a lousy way to measure success. November had the most interactions by far, but it was also one of three months that MLT got zero new contacts from social. Clicks and website visits also seem to be unaffected by the friendly retweets and favorites.
Don’t oversaturate your audience
With the rise of content marketing it is more difficult to cut through the noise than ever. If you just curate a million semi helpful articles every day your audience might drown. Figure out what’s right for you. This may require testing. Post frequently one month and then take it down a few notches the next and see what happens.
Use the 80/20 rule
No one wants to just hear about you. Try and make sure that only around 20% of your posts are about you and the other 80% feature other people. This will help build trust and show that you care about your audience, not just making a buck.
Don’t chase butterflies and rainbows
Likes, follows, retweets, and favorites might make you blush, but they probably don’t have much effect on attracting people to your company. Marketers are notorious for liking or retweeting an article that they haven’t read (I might be guilty). Clicks, website views, and contacts gained through social are much more helpful gauges of success. Fame is a fickle friend.
People don’t get on social media to be sold to by robots. They get on to interact with people. Whether its Linkedin or Facebook, people appreciate humanity, and ultimately want to do business with other people. Make sure your social media presence is relatable.
Measure, Measure, Measure
You can’t know how your doing without having a solid grasp on analytics and what those analytics mean.
This year we will be looking at posting less, and more relevant content for our audience and engaging with them in a more personalized and immediate way. We will also be stepping back and analyzing our efforts more frequently.
Keep running the social media race! Many times you don’t see real ROI until much farther down the road. I believe in you.