Businesses that sell directly to consumers or B2C companies already know that social media is a great platform for marketing products. In comparison, you won’t find too many business-to-business (B2B) companies advertising on social media.
B2B social media marketing is quite tricky. You’re likely talking to a smaller and more specific audience. These are people who make purchasing decisions based on word-of-mouth or more traditional means. But if you skip on social media entirely, you might be missing out.
Think about it: with social media, you can leverage client recommendations and flaunt your company’s expertise in a more modern and accessible way.
As of 2020, almost half of the entire world uses social media. That number is projected to increase in the coming years. So, it’s safe to assume that your potential customers are one of the billions who are already scrolling through those social media platforms. 6.4% of organic posts reach the pages of a business’ total fans, It’s time to capture their attention. Read on to find out how to create a winning social media marketing strategy for your company.
How Social Is B2B?
B2B is actually very social! According to this awesome Infographic from Inside View,
61% of US marketers use social media to increase lead gen,
companies with a blog generate 67% more leads per month,
IBM saw an increase of 400% in sales in a social selling pilot program,
55% of buyers search for information on social media,
75% of buyers are likely to use social media in the purchase process.
B2C Social Media Strategies VS. B2B Social Media Strategies
The main difference between B2B marketing vs B2C content marketing lies in the purchasing behavior of their consumers. B2C and even D2C companies can target customers who are willing to make one-time impulse purchases. Meanwhile, the customer journey of B2B companies tends to be longer and more complex.
Since products of B2B companies are often seen as investments, the decision-making will take much longer. Your B2B content efforts and digital marketing should focus more on educating your target audience about your products and services. Think about content pieces that can help establish you as a thought leader.
More often than not, B2C social media ads will lead consumers to spend money immediately, while B2B ads are more for lead generation. For instance, B2C customers can jump from discovering a brand to becoming a customer in a few minutes. A typical B2B customer will have to sign up for a newsletter or download a case study.
The Best Social Media Platforms for B2B
Linkedin is easily the first social media platform that comes to mind when talking about B2B social media marketing. It’s a platform where professionals and small businesses can grow their networks. It’s also a great space for those looking for product recommendations.
The professional networking platform is considered the most trusted social media network in the USA. This makes it a strategic place to establish credibility and trust with your customer base.
Unlike the other popular social media platforms, you are less likely to come across fake news on Linkedin. It’s a place where users can feel secure and comfortable engaging in conversations. There is trust among members and exchanging essential information is part of the platform’s culture. It’s perfect for B2B marketing.
There’s no talking about social media without mentioning Facebook. The social media giant has about 2.89 billion monthly active users, making it the biggest in the world.
If you want a large audience, you know where to go, and it’s a valuable audience too! According to a report, business decision-makers spend more time on Facebook than your average person. It’s safe to say that Facebook is one of the best marketing channels for B2B businesses.
Use your brand’s Facebook page to increase brand awareness, post educational videos about your offerings, and publish industry news.
It’s close to impossible to grow your page with organic posting alone. To reach more people, It’s recommended to use the platform’s advertising tools. This can help you gather leads faster and more accurately than ever before.
From just a photo-sharing platform when it first launched over 11 years ago, Instagram has become a multimedia powerhouse where businesses can thrive. In fact, 90% of its one billion-plus users follow a business.
B2B businesses on Instagram need to play by the rules of Instagram which means posting stunning visuals and graphics. Use the platform for sharing infographics, employee profiles, and shared content from clients.
Some B2B companies use their Instagram pages for employer branding and to boost their social media presence. Employer branding kills two birds with one stone. It attracts potential hires and shows customers the faces behind the brand.
Your employees can be the best “influencers” for your brand. You can even post live videos on your social media channels to put a face to your company and build relationships with your audience in real-time.
If you create merch and new products for employees and clients, make sure to include these in your content as a way to market your brand.
Since Instagram has been placing its newest features front-and-center, it’s a good idea to experiment with different types of content. Try using Reels, Instagram Live Stories, and videos to increase engagement rate get the most social engagement.
To stand out on Instagram, use photo and video editing apps such as Instasize which gives you one-tap access to unique filters and effects.
Twitter is the place to be to engage in conversations with industry leaders and potential clients. Now with 280 characters per tweet, you have enough space to send company updates and respond to trends.
Don’t forget to follow hashtags and keywords related to your business so you can jump in on relevant threads and tweets. It’s also important to keep an eye out for brand mentions so you can respond immediately.
Many B2B and B2C businesses use the app for customer support, which makes them more accessible and connected to their audiences.
Since every character counts on Twitter, it’s important for your B2B account to have a solid brand voice and identity.
How to Leverage Social Media Platforms for B2B
There’s more to social media than posting photos and videos. These social platforms have special features that are perfect for promoting your B2B business.
Your social media profiles — whether on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram — are tools to raise awareness about your brand and reach out to your current and potential clients.
If your company is well-known, it’s important to use your official social media pages to do the outreach. However, to add a human element to it, an employee can use a separate account with a name and photo attached to it (For example, Kim of Hyperise). This makes the exchange appear more personal rather than transactional.
Someone like Justin Champion (@justinRChampion) can do some outreach on behalf of HubSpot using his personal Twitter account. This is because it’s indicated on his profile that he works for the company.
As an option, you can also send automated messages on Linkedin. This eliminates the wasted time and effort to compose different messages to thousands of contacts, without losing the personal touch. Since Linkedin automation is technically not allowed, it’s crucial to use the right tools that can mimic human behavior.
While organic posts won’t get you as many responses as paid or boosted posts, that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. Use organic posts to create genuine conversations with your customers.
You can use the interactive stickers on Instagram Story or simply ask your audience to leave a comment on your post. Organic posts will also help you determine which of your followers are the most engaged and are more likely to convert to paying customers.
A small yet important reason people tend to overlook organic publishing? It’s completely free! With the right content, great social media management, and strategic use of hashtags, you can get engagement and priceless audience insights.
Pro-tip: Don’t forget to share content that’s relevant to your business! Sharing industry news or other relevant articles is an easy and effortless way to grow your social media account.
Did you just publish a new blog on your website? Got featured in a famous publication or a podcast? Social media is the best place to get more eyeballs on your content.
Every time you have news to share or new content to promote, it’s important to publish it across all your owned channels. This should include email and whatever social networking sites you’re part of.
Pro-tip: Consider including your social media links in the author box under your content so you can drive readers to your other platforms. Make sure to use trackable links to find out how many people viewed your content and where they came from. This can help you determine what type of content your audience is interested in and in which channel they are most active.
Once you find what works for your current audience through organic posting, use it to reach more people through advertising or social media campaigns. Whether you like it or not, investing in advertising is necessary to grow your business. Sometimes, people don’t know what they’re looking for until an ad follows them on social media.
Image source: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-marketing-industry-report-2020/
A report shows that 40% of B2B marketers choose Facebook as their platform of choice for advertising, while Linkedin comes close at 35%.
It takes more than just publishing content on your respective social media profiles to effectively market your B2B business on social media. As discussed above, the customer journey of a B2B customer compared to a B2C customer is much longer. It takes a lot more nurturing and interaction before one actually converts into a customer.
To build communities on social media, you can join relevant groups on Facebook or Linkedin or create your own. Use these groups as an avenue to get more personal with potential clients and leaders from key industries.
Pro-tip: Hard-selling is frowned upon on Linkedin groups, especially if you’re not the one hosting it. Before sharing a post in a group ask yourself: am I bringing anything of value?
Social media makes it so much easier to get a word out about upcoming events that you’re hosting or are a part of. Facebook is the best place to promote your event if you’re looking to invite as many people as possible. You can even promote your event as an ad and capture people beyond your current friend’s list or page followers.
For a more corporate event, however, Linkedin might be the better platform. Creating an event page on Linkedin is designed so that attendees can start networking with each other even before the event date.
Pro-tip: Talk about your event beyond the event page. Make sure to create hype and promote your event across all your channels. To keep the momentum going even after the event, you can host discussions and ask for feedback on the event page. Encourage attendees to share their experiences using event-specific branded hashtags.
B2B Social Media Examples
Neil Wainwright is the Founder and CEO of Personal CRM app UpHabit. He uses Linkedin to talk about his experiences running a startup. By using his personal page instead of the business’s account, he is able to humanize the brand. He is also able to target possible clients by subtly talking about the app’s values and advantages. Neil makes sure to end his posts with trending and strategic hashtags.
With over 4 million likes on its Facebook page, Shopify clearly knows what its audience wants. The e-commerce platform uploads a ton of high-quality videos that both educate and entertain.
There are also regular features of celebrities or successful clients. This serves as a strategy to inspire more business owners to sign up for its services.
Despite already having big-name clients under its belt, HubSpot still uses social media to post informational content that might be of value to its customers.
The Software as a Service (SaaS) company’s Instagram page has a mix of infographics, client testimonials and tips. The content it shares isn’t only on-brand and visually stunning but educational too. HubSpot’s Instagram page is a perfect example of the type of nurturing content that could work for customers in all stages of its sales funnel.
The communication platform, Slack, uses Twitter to engage with current customers and share updates. Compared to other B2B companies — which might lean towards a more formal or corporate tone — Slack chooses to stay casual and fun. The company’s social media posts consist of a lot of share-worthy visuals, gifs, and videos to promote blogs, events, and software updates.
Bringing Your B2B Company to Social Media
While technique and approach may vary per platform, one thing’s for certain: your audience is looking for valuable content. This can be in the form of news, blogs, or how-tos — don’t post for the sake of posting!
Remember that consistency is crucial to the success of any marketing strategy. Before deciding on a social media platform, make sure it’s where your audience is and that it is the right fit for the type of content you plan to produce.
It’s also important to experiment with different content formats to find what works best for your target demographics. Once you find what your audience likes, you can create templates for your social media content to simplify the content creation process.
With these tips, a little practice, and some trial and error, you can use social media as awesome marketing tools to generate quality leads and grow your B2B!
Denise Langenegger is part of the team at Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile.