Account-based marketing (ABM) seems to be on everyone’s minds as we move into the new year. There are endless ABM tools and technologies to evaluate, events around ABM best practices, and strategies that can be put in place to grow your ABM program. In this post, we're going to delve into one piece of the ABM puzzle: social media.
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If you’re reading (or listening to) this, you probably already use social media to share your content with relevant users, build your network and thought leadership, and research prospects and buyer personas. Now it’s time to apply some ABM-specific strategies to your social media marketing.
Why Social Media and ABM
According to FlipMyFunnel, “Companies using ABM generate 208 percent more revenue for their marketing effort.” What if you could expand these results with social strategies aimed at ABM?
Social media fits perfectly into ABM goals around building relationships and developing trust with the right people. More specifically, you can use social media to:
Identify key decision makers
Identify their pain points.
Deliver the information they need in a way they understand and embrace to guide them toward making a purchase or decision.
There are several strategies and tips that you can apply to best inform and grow your ABM strategy that we’ll touch upon.
HubSpot Academy "Prof Tip"
"An important part of any marketing strategy is making sure you're engaging with people in the way they want you to. There's an important difference between providing a surround-sound experience to someone versus overwhelming them with messages in every possible channel. This becomes an especially fine line in ABM, when you're focusing intensely on a small number of accounts. Make sure you're using only the channels that are most effective, rather than trying to use every channel that's available."
- Kyle Jepson, Senior Inbound Sales Professor
Social Media Strategies and Tips for ABM
1. Have a Sound Content Strategy in Place
As with any social strategy, it all starts with content—if you don’t have great content that aligns with your buyer personas, go back to step one, conduct thorough buyer persona research, and learn how to tailor content to those audiences.
You want to be sure to have a robust library of content to pull from when engaging target accounts. Consult the below resources for building an ideal content strategy:
Side note: If your marketing and sales goals are not aligned, aligning them is a critical step 0.
For those of us who are past these steps and have a solid foundation of goals and content to work off of, let’s move on.
2. Identify Real Users
Using social media to identify the real people who are the decision makers at your target accounts can be challenging, but worthwhile. Imagine a Twitter list made up of all of the key decision makers at your target accounts.
Chances are that you already have a list of people at your target accounts. If you do, it’s easy to find these people on LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other platform your personas spend time on.
If you don’t have any idea of where to start identifying decision makers, I’d recommend starting at the target company’s LinkedIn page and clicking on the right-hand side at the top of the profile where it says, “See all employees on LinkedIn.” This will take you to a list of their employees, and you can scroll through to view job titles. You can also use LinkedIn’s search function to search within your network for users who work at specific companies and at specific locations.
Once you have a list of people, it’s easy to search for them on Twitter and build a list of prospects within the social platform.
3. Listen to and Understand Your Target Personas
Some social media sleuthing can help you uncover detailed information so you can better understand decision makers. Key pieces of information you can gather from your prospects on social media include:
What they complain about
Who they follow and interact with
Hashtags they’re using
The type of content they engage with and share (topics, format, and so on)
What their customers are expressing about their company, support, services/products, and so forth
HubSpot user tip: HubSpot makes it easy to monitor any Twitter streams you create to pull in hashtags, brand mentions, and more. Head over to inbox streams to view all interactions and conversations across the social channels you have connected. This is ideal for finding and jumping into relevant conversations.
4. Use the Information You Gather to Build Better Personas and Target Account Profiles
As you gather this information, take notes and use these notes to better flesh out your buyer personas and insights into key accounts. Remember that your buyer personas are never set in stone but are constantly evolving.
5. Create and Post Authentic, Relevant Content
Not only are your personas spending time on social media (which means that you should too), but over half of B2B buyers use social media to inform their purchase decisions. This makes social media an ideal place to share the content your team spends time creating and curating.
Don’t simply share a link with boiler plate body copy—write a thoughtful, personalized post as if you are speaking directly to your target buyers. It’s not always necessary to include a link either. If you enjoy writing, craft a story that resonates with your personas. This works particularly well when shared on personal LinkedIn profiles. Are you into video? Make quick but personal videos using your smartphone to share.
6. Get Personal
Speaking of being authentic on social media, following and interacting with target accounts from your company’s social media channels is great, but it’s a lot easier to make real connections with other users from your personal accounts.
That being said, now would be a great time to update and optimize your personal social profiles. Update that LinkedIn profile, revamp your Twitter bio, and don’t forget to make it clear from a single visit to your profile how you can help your ideal buyer personas and why they should follow you.
7. Test Paid Social for ABM
If you’re serious about using social media for ABM, creating a paid social strategy to support your ABM efforts is key. LinkedIn offers account targeting where you can target a specific list of people or even a list of companies with additional filters (such as seniority and job title) layered over them. Terminus is another platform that can help you identify and engage your target accounts. Always evaluate paid strategies and tools based on what your goals are.
Now it’s your turn. How are you using social media to support your ABM efforts?