When most people think about social media marketing, they think about B2C companies selling their products to large groups of consumers. The channel has expanded significantly in the last decade and has become an effective way of influencing purchase behaviours.
Social networks are the biggest source of inspiration for consumer purchases with 37% of consumers finding purchase inspiration through the channel.
However, any marketer that thinks this stat is only referring to B2C consumers is wrong.
Social media reaches B2B decision-makers, with 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers being influenced by social media when purchasing. Other high-level decision makers use social media as a resource to research B2B opportunities by looking at social proof before making their purchases.
Despite the growing trend in B2B buyers using social media platforms, many marketers are lagging behind the trend in adopting B2B social media marketing as an integral part of their strategy.
If you’re one of them, you are missing significant opportunities to build your brand and generate leads.
B2B Social Media Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Boring
Most B2B marketers that shy away from social media say that the reason for doing so is that they are in a ‘boring’ industry and would have nothing interesting to post about. What they are forgetting, is that with over 2.77 billion social media users around the globe, there is bound to be a number of users with an interest in their industry. You just have to find them.
The key to engaging these people is to identify the type of content around your products or industry that your audience is likely to be interested in, rather than being self-promotional. For example, financial services such as insurance can seem very dry and uninteresting, so sharing information about business insurance isn’t likely to get your audience’s attention and drive engagement. Rather than being so focused on the products or services that you provide, think about the audience you are trying to reach. People buying business insurance are likely to be business owners and as such, may be interested in articles about protecting and growing their business. This gives you more scope as to what you can post and focuses your social strategy on your audience rather than your business.
The Basics of B2B Social Media Marketing
Planning and executing a B2B social media marketing strategy that gets results is about generating engagement through interesting content. The following can help you do just that.
Give Your Brand Some Personality
Don’t treat social media as an afterthought, as your posts are likely to lack personality if you do this. You don’t have to be ‘out there’ or controversial to have personality on social media, but developing a consistent social media voice is a great way to ensure you are holding the attention of your audience. Be conversational and ensure you are engaging with your audience rather than just sharing your own message. In addition, if you can get it over the line in your company, try adding a bit of humour to your posts. Social media is a place for users to relax and unwind, so this type of content fits in well. Just make sure you stay on-brand.
Focus on More than LinkedIn
LinkedIn is known to be the most effective B2B social media platform. That’s why more than 90% of B2B companies prefer LinkedIn for their product marketing. While LinkedIn is undoubtedly a powerful platform for B2B marketers and is by far the most likely to generate leads, other social media platforms can be more effective in brand building.
When using other channels, bear in mind that most people spend time on social media to entertain themselves and kill time. If you can fit in, or add to this experience, you will significantly raise brand awareness. In order to do this effectively, first work out where your audience is spending most of their time.
B2B companies are starting to take note of this and expand beyond LinkedIn. A recent report from Social Media Examiner found that:
- 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn
- 88% use Facebook
- 83% use Twitter
- 61% use Google+
- 55% use YouTube
- 39% use Pinterest
- 26% use Instagram
The companies that are on Instagram, YouTube and other platforms that aren’t commonly associated with B2B marketing are harnessing the power of social media in building their brand and online community. In order to work out what channels your audience is most active on, check out these social media demographics.
Have a Dedicated Social Manager
It is vital to have someone responsible for developing and executing a social media strategy. This can be through hiring a social media manager or appointing someone within your team to take charge of the channels as part of their role.
When you are looking for someone to take on this role, ensure they have a bit of background knowledge in social media, rather than an industry expert. Industry experts can help inform relevant content, but the social media expert will frame it in a way that resonates with the audience.
How to Accelerate Your B2B Social Media Marketing Strategy
Once you have decided what channels to be on and you are posting regular content, there are certain things you can do to make your social channels work to their full potential for your business.
Encourage Employee Advocacy
Social media algorithms are constantly changing and it’s becoming more and more difficult for businesses to expand their social reach organically. Taking advantage of the connections of your employees is one way to overcome this. This is as simple as encouraging your employees to share company blogs, infographics and videos, and making it easy for them to do so.
Employee advocacy is all about giving your employees the ability to champion your brand to their own circles. For instance, if your company creates content, make it easy for employees to share it on their personal profiles. As well as increasing reach, if your employees share your content your engagement rates are also likely to increase.
Harness The Power of Social Selling
The buying process has significantly changed as a result of social media, and B2B companies have to take note. Buyers are reading online reviews, searching for solutions to problems on search engine and using social media to vet new companies. 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media, so often by the time a prospect speaks to your company, they are already aware of your products or services.
Social selling is, as its name suggests, using social media to introduce prospects into your funnel. Basically, it is the process of using social media to find people who could benefit from your product or service. You can then build a relationship with them on social media by providing them with valuable content. Very few brands are currently doing social selling, so if your business can get it right, you’re likely to see significant results.
The key thing to remember is that social selling is much more powerful when it comes from an individual profile rather than the business’s page or profile.
Consider User Generated-Content
B2B businesses don’t necessarily think of user-generated content as an option for them. However, when implemented correctly, it can be extremely effective. This is because your prospects are far more likely to be convinced by endorsements from their peers than traditional marketing. In fact, 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations above all other forms of advertising.
A great way to build user-generated content for B2B is to create a user-generated FAQs page on your website, where users can ask and answer questions about your business. Testimonials, in particular, video testimonials, can also be a great form of user-generated content.
Monitor Your Competitors
By tracking your competitors’ activity on different social platforms, you can find out quickly and easily what works and what doesn’t in your industry. This can help inform your own social media marketing strategies. There are a number of social media monitoring tools available that can help your business track competitor accounts to discover posts that get high engagement, the ideal post length, good hashtags to use and the best time to share, as well as influential users who interact with your competitors. This data can help identify how to best engage your audience.
Optimise Your Calls-to-Action
Whether for paid or organic posts, optimising your social media calls-to-action (CTAs) is the best way to get more clicks. Social media analyst Dan Zarrella looked at over 200,000 tweets and found that CTAs starting with adverbs and verbs get more clicks than tweets with nouns or adjectives. By making these simple changes to the way that you write your social media content, you can significantly boost the interaction rates on your account.