ACCORDING TO HOOTSUITE’S DIGITAL 2021 REPORT:
31.3% of global Internet users use the Internet for business-related research.
22.7% of Internet users use social media for work-related networking and research.
So where are you? Or rather, what’s holding you back?
Social media marketing is not just for B2C.
We forget that B2B is selling products to decision-makers who happen to be people. And, in 2022, those people are spending more time on social networks getting their news, having conversations, and sharing recommendations, that have nothing to do with your business. But they could.
SO WHAT’S YOUR B2B SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY?
Align your goals and business objectives
Just like any robust B2C strategy, every B2B social media plan starts by answering the questions:
- What are the company’s business objectives?
- How will B2B social media marketing help achieve them?
But there’s a slight difference. While B2C uses social media to drive sales, B2B marketers need to focus on longer-term business objectives that includes short-term gains and long-term growth. This will likely include goals like:
- Brand awareness
- Build brand trust and credibility
- Educate audiences
- Thought leadership
- Lead generation
KNOW YOUR CHANNELS
LinkedIn will most likely be your starting point. Followed by Twitter, but also Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and maybe even Tik Tok (depending on your business.) Separate channels (eg news, careers, etc) might also be relevant for different verticals, products, and markets. That, again, depends on your business size and industry focus.
If you choose one channel, it’s most likely to be LinkedIn because:
- 96%of B2B content marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing.
- 89%of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for social media B2B lead generation.
- 80%of LinkedIn members drive business decisions.
These stats are according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ “B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Insights Report”.
But Google around and you’ll find similar stats and trends that evidence:
- LinkedIn is where all the B2B decision-makers live – around 46 million of the 760+ million users and is the platform for business professionals to engage with other business professionals and leaders.
- Twitter is a great platform for maximizing brand awareness, as well as tracking conversations and sentiment around your brand and its competitors.
- Facebook, or rather Facebook Business Pages, is still a relevant channel for most brands, with around 65% of B2B marketers using Facebook ads.
- YouTube will continue to grow in relevance as video content becomes more popular and video podcasts start to move into the thought leadership/brand conversation space.
- Instagram should always be included in the marketing mix if visual storytelling is part of your brand voice/identity.
KNOW THY COMPETITION
Social media is a competitive landscape. Keeping tabs on your competitors is less about knowing what campaigns they’re running (successfully) so you can copy their strategy and more about identifying missed opportunities. Being involved in the same industry will lead to a crossover of audiences and interests. If your competitor isn’t responding to trending news, your brand should be.
CONTENT ISN’T KING, IT’S EVERYTHING
B2B social media is all about starting conversations and building relationships that will ultimately lead to sales. But followers aren’t going to stick around long enough to become buyers if your content doesn’t interest or engage them. So you need to think about the types of content that will make your followers’ lives easier (eg how-to information, industry news, trends, tips, strategy, etc) and ways to make it engaging.
6 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR CONTENT STAND OUT:
- Be original and authentic: In a world of curated content, original stands out. But make sure it is original and creative and not something you posted just to be active on the platform that day. Audiences know authenticity and originality when they see it. Creating audience and buyer personas will help you create social content that speaks to real people.
- Quality not quantity: If you’re having trouble coming up with original content every day, scale back and spend time on the channels where your audience is the most developed. Also make sure you are consistent. Posting every day to every channel takes time, content creation and planning. Instead of posting average posts every day, create smart content that adds to your audience’s feed and post weekly (but consistently). And whatever you do, be sure to bring in some form of video content – it drives engagement five times more than any other content.
- Use multimedia to create interest: Each channel has its own unique multimedia formats (Instagram stories, Twitter polls, LinkedIn documents) that create an interest factor to help you earn your audiences’ attention. Livestreaming on LinkedIn is a great tool to build awareness to boost visibility on the platform.
- Showcase your employees: This is a great way to personalise your brand. Tell employee stories. Highlight their accomplishments. Employees make your brand voice appear more human and will even boost your recruiting efforts. Just make sure to get your employees involved and sharing. Don’t waste the opportunity to increase your reach and engagement, by getting your employees to share these employee posts with their personal networks.
- Engage in conversations that interest your audience: Your brand won’t be able to connect with your audience if all you’re doing is pushing your product at them. The key is to engage in conversations your target audience is interested in having, even if it is only distantly related to your product. A good example was when HubSpot asked its audience what they thought about Facebook’s plans for cryptocurrency. It had nothing to do with their product and everything to do with knowing their audience is interested in tech. Plus, it showcased that the brand is current and relevant.
- Measure your efforts: What metrics and data you use (impressions, engagement rate conversions, sales, etc) will depend on your business, benchmarks and achievable goals.
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…
For effective use of LinkedIn Live video events and infographics.
For tailoring content to different social platforms instead of simply cross-posting (ie not just copying but tailoring copy to each platform).
For proving that B2B social communication can be playful as well as informative. Follow @TwitterMktg
For using stories and insights from their employees, clients, and interns to make their content more personal and exciting.
For their use of customer success stories and delivering content in a very casual (and thus unique) tone in the B2B world.
For producing highly viewed How To videos and tutorials for aspiring entrepreneurs and owners of digital businesses.
For using design creatively to stand out from the competition.