There is much to consider when launching and growing your SaaS, and your social media strategy for SaaS is an important aspect of your larger marketing strategy that should not to be ignored. Marketing a SaaS product presents its own unique challenges. It is a subscription -not a physical product or software- that can sometimes be difficult to explain or personify. In a very competitive space, it can be difficult to stand out from the noise. Having a social media strategy and using social is a key way to differentiate your SaaS through brand awareness.
Here are some key aspects that should be considered as you think through your social media strategy for SaaS:
- How social supports your overall SaaS marketing strategy – the “why”
- Is social part of your outbound, inbound or ABM strategy?
- What channels should you be on
- What content should you put on social
- How to manage social and not be overwhelmed
- Paid vs. organic
- How to measure success
How Social Media Supports Your Overall SaaS Marketing Strategy – The “Why”
A social media strategy is just one part of the larger SaaS marketing strategy – but necessary! It should complement and support your larger objectives and tactics. Make decisions on how to proceed based on the groundwork you have already laid: who your ideal customer profile (ICP) is, product/market fit, and what stage your SaaS company is in (pre-launch, early, emerging/growing).
Social is another avenue for you to reach your buyers at all points of the decision-making process. There are many good reasons to have a social media strategy for your SaaS:
1. Audiences are diluted but you can find them on social.
The average internet user spends 2 hours and 24 minutes daily on social media in 2020. As audiences disperse across more networks, channels and mediums, social channels continue to have a predictably solid presence in people’s daily lives.
2. A long buyer journey and multiple touchpoints required.
It has now been established that you need many touchpoints to get to a sale – at least seven or eight. Social media is a great way to help you get to that number and spread awareness of your SaaS product.
3. Multiple decision-makers.
Buying decisions – especially B2B and enterprise sales – are no longer done by one person. You may only have one contact at a particular company, but chances are there are another six to ten people within the company that hold some sort of power over the decision. And they span multiple departments – IT, Accounting, Sales, Marketing and the C-Suite. Chances are they are all doing some online research when they are in the consideration stage of buying. Did you know that approximately 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase decision? (Source: Nielsen)
4. Cost-effective opportunity to reach customers directly and build a solid brand image.
Social media is relatively cost-effective, particularly if you are creating engaging content that drives virality. You are able to speak to them directly and reach them in a place they are comfortable – their social newsfeed.
Is Social Part of Your Inbound, Outbound or ABM Strategy?
Your social media strategy for SaaS ties into all of the larger marketing strategies you are trying to achieve. And in fact, it is an excellent way to drive lead generation. Social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rate. (Source: HubSpot)
Your inbound strategy needs to attract your customers into the sales funnel by providing relevant knowledge, expertise, and solutions – and social helps you do this. Social is a prime location to attract your audience and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. You can drive traffic into your website, repurpose your blogs for additional views, share lead-generating gated content, and feature third-party assets like reviews and testimonials posted on other sites.
Outbound is where you push your message ‘out’ to the world and may interrupt your audience with content they don’t always want or are seeking. One way to do this is through social media paid advertising. Many of the platforms have very precise targeting where you can drill down and target exactly who you are trying to reach – by demographics, location, company, job title, etc. It is important to pinpoint your target audience precisely to ensure you are getting in front of the right people.
ABM and Your Social Media Strategy for SaaS
Social has a place in your ABM strategy for SaaS as well. Developing multiple relationships across the organization increases the ability to influence buying decisions and speed up the sales process. Start off by identifying them – if you have their contact information, you can build audiences for your accounts. Using social media, you can then target these contacts, multiple departments, or job titles within an organization using paid content. There is the opportunity in rolling out content that specifically addresses their concerns, interests, pain points and their perspectives. For example, if one of the many decision-makers is in Accounts Payable you can target and address them with points that address your cost and ROI.
Social is also great as a listening tool to give you an insight into what is important to them. What are your accounts talking about, sharing, hashtagging? What language do they use? What are their customers talking to them about?
What Social Channels Should You Be On?
This is an important question and the answer should be driven by what your product is, where your customers are, and what the channel itself excels at. There is no need to be on every channel. A little research will indicate where you should spend your time. Research where your competitors are, the type of content that you plan to produce and where they work best, and the demographics of the channel compared to your ideal customer profile.
Certainly, Facebook is the most widely-used channel and rated as the one that gives the best return on investment per Hubspot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report. LinkedIn is also an important channel to be on – particularly for B2B SaaS. In addition, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are all potentially useful channels for B2B. Start with Facebook and LinkedIn, and go from there. (Also, not part of this topic – but don’t forget third-party sites like review sites, or location-based like Google My Business. They are also a key part of your online presence.)
What Content Should You Put On Social?
Social media is generally meant for ‘soft’ sell content. Following the 80/20 rule where 80% is not about selling is an important rule of thumb. However, that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be related to your brand. The content that you post should serve multiple purposes: establishing yourself as a subject matter expert in your industry; showcasing your authenticity and transparency, and giving your brand a human voice and personality.
Social is highly visual – so make sure to always have images. Video performs better, so it is important to include that in your plan. Here are some content ideas for your social media strategy for SaaS to get you started:
- Product demo videos
- Tips in simple formats
- Share quotes, case studies, and testimonials
- Behind the scenes and employee culture
- Industry and company news and trends
- Explainer videos, short demos, infographics, FAQ’s
- Send referral traffic to your website – through blog posts and other content
- Fun Stuff – keep it related, but light-hearted; people want to be entertained
Social is all about connections and conversations. While posting good content is important, it is what happens after in terms of engaging with comments and responding to messages that is important. Social is where a community of engaged advocates for your product happens. People expect responses within an hour on social media and to know there are real people behind the curtain.
How to Manage Social and Not Be Overwhelmed
It can be easy to become overwhelmed by social media management- particularly if you are trying to do it all across multiple channels with multiple types of content. For that reason, use the tools at your disposal and follow some best practices:
- Use Scheduling tools and a Content Calendar: While posting about relevant trending topics is always a good idea, plan for ‘evergreen’ content that can be written and scheduled in advance. Set aside a creative time and a posting time each week and schedule some content for the upcoming weeks. Life gets busy, so it takes the pressure off by having content already arranged. Use a tool like Hootsuite, SproutSocial, Agorapulse or Hubspot to map out your content ahead of time and to schedule regularly. Social channels penalize you for being irregular. At the bare minimum, plan to post at least 3-4 times per week at regular intervals.
- Use Tools to Help with Content Creation: There are a bunch of tools out there that will help you create great visuals and content. Some are free; some are paid. You definitely need something like Canva, Visme, Adobe, or BeFunky for your graphics. There are free photo sites like Pexels and Unsplash where you can grab creative commons photos. For Video, try Animoto or Kapwing. For infographics, there is Piktochart. There are many tools out there that will help you speed up your efforts.
- Repurpose existing info. If you ran a webinar, pull out several key points and make them into posts. Take the old blog post or case study and pull-out interesting points and refer them to your website. Save your posts in a central location so that you can potentially reuse them in the future. Eventually you will have a large database from which to source and reuse.
Paid vs. Organic Social Media Strategy for SaaS
There is definitely a place for both organic and paid efforts in your social strategy. Organic helps with building brand awareness, establishing your brand and voice, engaging directly with customers and those in the buyer’s journey, and educating your audience and establishing thought leadership.
Your Company page/profile on each channel is an extension of your website, and should be filled with valuable content and fully optimized. Also, organic is a great way to test your messaging and see what resonates. Take those best-performing pieces of content and use them for paid ads, knowing that you are putting your best foot forward.
Paid social is ideal for generating leads and demand and promoting new events and products. Social ads are generally very affordable, and you can get highly granular with the audiences you target. Some keys to being successful with paid social media ads:
- Make sure that you have targeted and built your audiences correctly and that you are working with quality data.
- Keep optimizing: look at what copy and visuals are and aren’t working and refresh.
- Have compelling offers and landing pages that keep the success going.
How To Measure Success
Like any marketing effort, measuring success is critical. Your efforts should be measured monthly and annually to spot trends. As part of your annual review, look at some of the larger reports put out by industry experts like HubSpot’s annual Social Media Trends Report and their annual review of the State of Marketing to compare against your performance and spot trends for the future.
There are many metrics to track, but not all of them are important to your ultimate business goals. Make sure you are following the ones that matter. Some of the key metrics you should be tracking:
- Engagement– this demonstrates if your content resonates, if your followers are your target audience, and their willingness to be associated with your brand.
- Traffic – how much traffic social refers to your website and how many people visit your social page/profile.
- Conversions and full funnel – make sure you are integrating your social efforts into your CRM and using attribution and utm parameters to track the success of your efforts, and how they contribute to opportunities and deals. Tracking how many (and the cost of acquiring) contacts, leads, and MQL’s is critical to justifying spend and establishing ROI.
Having a social media strategy for SaaS built into and aligned with your larger SaaS marketing strategy is critical for every SaaS company, particularly B2B. Social provides the opportunity for brand awareness, customer support, research, lead generation, demand generation, and more – and with very minimal costs.
If establishing and executing a social media strategy for SaaS still seems like more than you have the bandwidth for, a SaaS marketing agency will be good at generating and converting traffic across multiple channels in integrated campaigns, with a focus on acquisition metrics and goal-driven strategies.
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