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Social Media in Science and Industry

Social Media - Art or Science?

Marketing has traditionally been seen as a creative industry and within it lies the relatively new discipline of social media marketing. But is it a creative art form or a precise science?

According to Pew Research, nearly two-thirds of American adults use social media. At the same time, 81% of SMB enterprises have a social media presence. Does this trend translate to a B2B scientific environment? Well:

"93% of B2B Marketers use Social Media"

In the fast-paced world of social media, scientific and industrial businesses face special considerations in attracting influential decision-makers. Are you within the 93% of B2B marketers that use social media?

The Average B2B Company Is Active on Six Social Platforms

Social media may seem complex, but by establishing yourself on the big four networks — LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube — you can extend your content's reach to millions of people, including those poised to make and influence buying decisions.

Optimized, easily digestible, short-form “summary” content is the ideal way to capture attention from detail-oriented scientists and start building rapport with your brand. Through targeted sharing of your website’s latest content on social platforms, you can:

  • Propose potential solutions to researchers’ application-specific problems.
  • Drive qualified traffic, leads and enquiries about your solution portfolio.
  • Signpost high-level thought leadership content such as white papers and academic research.

Where do I get started on Social Media?

Let's start at the end. What are your goals for using social media? The ultimate end goal is, of course to grow your customer base. The preliminary steps for this can be broken down into three areas of "top of the funnel" activity.

  • Attracting unknown visitors -  You no longer have to rely on Google to get found. Social Media allows you to broaden your reach greatly within specific groups of people.
  • Raising awareness of your brand - After the initial contact, regular, insightful posts will raise your brand's profile and keep you at the front of your reader's minds.
  • Engaging with your existing audience - Build your relationship over time by asking your followers questions, sharing the latest industry trends and sharing content.

This tweet combines all three of the above steps. Surface Measurement Systems hashtag the topics so people searching for #SorptionScience and #FoodTech can find it. It will remind existing followers of their presence and expertise in the area and also engage both new and returning visitors by providing a reason to visit or return to their site.

Although social marketing takes an up-front investment of time and energy, staying up-to-date on multiple platforms is easier: Sharing a brief update about your latest news, products, or innovations may take only a few seconds.

That said, you can raise efficiency by understanding each platform:

LinkedIn — Today’s #1 B2B Social Platform

Linkedin recently sold for over $26 Billion - And with good reason too! Thanks to its business focus, experts have estimated up to 80% of social B2B leads come from LinkedIn. Posts are most likely to convert between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., reader's local time. Posts asking questions are among those most likely to convert, while the average length of a converting post was just 248 characters.

248 characters, that's only 50 words! Think of the different ways to capture your reader's attention in 50 words:

Linkedin post on email marketing tips

Twitter — Home of 13% of B2B Social Leads

In 2014, it was reported that B2B marketers who used Twitter closed twice as many leads as those who didn’t. B2B marketers surveyed in 2015 named Twitter the second-most important social platform. Twitter’s character limit makes it ideal for rapid release of summary content connecting prospects to interior website pages.

With only 140 characters to play with, the opportunity cost of word length is great:

  • Don't go with your first headline. Write, rewrite and use shorter synonyms where possible.
  • Use simple language
  • Use images that convey meaning, can you incorporate a punchy message within the image?
  • Use hashtags so people can find your content by a specific topic area - Remember #SorptionScience?
  • Tag respected individuals and organisations who you  think would benefit and be interested in your content

You can see from News-Medical's tweet that they tag the MacRobert award for outstanding engineering and ask the question: "Is this the world's most intelligent prosthetic limb?" The more of the above tactics you can implement, the better: 10 retweets and 6 likes in such a short space of time brings with it very targeted visitors and engagement.

YouTube — A Growing Frontier

According to Google, about 71% of B2B buyers start their search with a generic query. They’re looking for solutions, not specific brand names; and your company’s search visibility is a major factor in attracting them. Since YouTube has consistently been rated the #2 search engine in recent years, many initial queries start there.

Video content is growing more important in B2B as more decision-makers go mobile. Other platforms can be used to direct visitors to a webinar or product video on YouTube, for example. At least 42% of B2B buyers use mobile technology during the decision-making process, says Google — a figure reflecting 91% 2-year growth as of 2015.

Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text, and with ever shortening attention spans and so much content available now online, it's not hard to see Why Video is Taking Over. Video can take a lot of time and resources to create, so no wonder Google views it as a quality content signal.

Whilst Youtube is the number one place for videos, many businesses opt for more targeted communities using Vimeo as a cleaner, more professional video hosting platform.

Facebook — The Social Giant

Facebook is an immensely popular platform for B2C marketing and can fit into the B2B mix for many non-technical enterprises. Whilst organizations should have a Facebook brand page with their latest updates, the other networks can offer greater ROI. This is especially true if you're trying social marketing for the first time.

That said, every business is different. With a little research on buyer personas and a changing attitude toward social media usage for work, you will soon discover whether Facebook is a worthwhile investment of your time and resources.

For certain audiences, we use Facebook as a platform to launch relevant, interesting and popular content. This piece about "the differences between Bioprinting and 3D Printing" was shared over 30 times as well as receiving  lots of comments and likes.

Social Media: The Ideal Engine for Your Content

The power to introduce potential buyers to your whitepapers, webinars and other content in just a few seconds a day makes social media potentially the highest ROI marketing you can engage in.

To answer the original question about Social Media, the Art is in crafting posts that capture attention, the Science is in analyzing response rate, behaviour and engagement to aid your future decisions.

With robust, solution-focused content and the right techniques, even businesses completely new to the social world can capture lots of new visitors that will quickly translate into bottom-line results. Contact us for a consultation on your social media strategy as part of your online marketing programme.

Posted by Frank Barker

Having spent his younger years playing Rugby in the sunny climes of Spain and Australia, Frank graduated from Loughborough University with a BSc in International Business before settling back in rainy Manchester. Frank has helped numerous Science, Engineering and Healthcare companies to create marketing strategies that engage with niche audiences. Having started his career in Sales, he now runs the Marketing department for AZoNetwork. He specialises in data management for sales teams, equipping them with the most actionable, real-time marketing insights from the first touch point through to revenue generating opportunity. A sportsman at heart, Frank still enjoys lacing up the boots for his beloved Macclesfield 1st XV Rugby or pulling on the whites to represent the more serious Macclesfield 3rd XI Cricket team.    

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