To set smarter social media goals, think like a B2B marketer.

One of the great challenges of social media marketing is to make sure your time and resources are being used effectively.

It’s all too easy to put a huge amount of energy into social media, across multiple sites, and then scratch your head and wonder whether your hard work actually made a significant difference.

Social media activity is always open-ended. There are always more sites you could become active on, and there is no limit to the time you can spend on the sites where you are already engaged.

Hence the need for a strong strategy and clear limits.

If you work for B2C companies, it can be tough to set those limits. And that’s why, even if you don’t have B2B clients, I suggest you create a social media strategy for an imaginary B2B client. Just as an exercise.

For B2B it is somehow easier to set limits.

Let’s imagine you are working for a company in the food services industry that specializes in selling frozen goods to independent restaurants and bars.

How might you help them with social media?

Here are some options I might explore:

– Look for vertical social media sites which serve restaurant and bar owners etc.

– Search for and join relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

– Create an account on Twitter and engage prospects, thought leaders, food journalists and other influencers.

– Create a geolocation based campaign to implement at hospitality services trade shows and other relevant events.

– Reach out to restaurants and offer to sponsor local, geolocation based deals and offers.

That will do for now.

Each option is fairly clearly defined. Each has a specific purpose. Each is looking to engage with a specific group of people.

It’s this kind of clarity you want to apply to any social media work, especially for B2C clients.

What you want to avoid is goals that sound like this: “Reach out to as many new prospects as possible.” Or, “Use social media to better establish our brand.”

These are very open-ended goals. There are no boundaries or limits. You could spend forever on them, and probably with a very poor ROI.

One way or another, whether you do my B2B exercise or not, create social media strategies and campaigns that address a specific audience, for a particular purpose, within a specified time frame.

Do that, and you’ll be able to apply resources where they matter most, and measure the results you achieve.

Above all, avoid vague, open ended strategies and campaigns that will be a drain on your time and unlikely to achieve tangible results.

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