The Essentials for A Social Media Strategy in the B2B World
The B2B sector has long been plagued by the myth that social media simply isn’t an effective tool for their brands. Karina Welch, Corporate Marketing Manager at Blue Fountain Media defies that myth and dives into exactly how B2B brands can leverage social media as a tool for their brand
The B2B sector has long been plagued by the myth that social media simply isn’t an effective tool for their brands. Maybe that was true in the very early days of social media, when the only users were young, early adopters who were just there to have fun. But these days, of course, we know that everyone is on social media — from the teenager sharing photos at a party, to the parents researching products for their kids, and yes, even the high-powered executive looking to follow the most recent industry news.
In recent years, B2Bs realized that their audiences are indeed spending time with social media and they have begun to embrace it as an indispensable marketing channel. In fact, 84.2% of B2B marketers now report using social media to acquire customers (eMarketer).
Still, it’s been an ongoing process for B2Bs to find their footing in the social media landscape and to develop the expertise necessary for success. Despite a growing number of B2Bs embracing social, there are still many common mistakes and missed opportunities that we see again and again. With that in mind, here are the essentials for B2B social media success.
1 – Go beyond LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the undisputed king of B2B social channels. It boasts a large and engaged audience of professionals — precisely the types of users most B2Bs are hoping to target. LinkedIn has proven itself to be a valuable platform and it makes sense for B2B marketers to focus on it. But focusing on LinkedIn shouldn’t act as an excuse for ignoring all other platforms. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube can all be harnessed in service of B2B goals. Diversifying which platforms you target will allow you to reach broader audiences and to develop a range of content tailored to speak to more specific user groups.
2 – Develop a voice
One big mistake B2B brands make on social media is speaking with an overly stiff or formal voice. Social media simply isn’t the time or the place for corporate speak, which can be a huge turnoff to users. For most users corporate speech equates to boring content, even if what you have to say actually is interesting.
If you want to avoid coming off as boring — and if you’re going to be successful on social media, it’s essential that you do — then you have to develop an approachable voice. That voice can still be professional, but it must also be engaging. The key is to speak like a human, not a corporate entity.
3 – Hire an expert
Your company is filled with industry experts in your field. Your employees have a wealth of expertise and experience that can be translated beautifully into social media content. But if those employees don’t also have expertise in social media marketing, they probably aren’t the best people to manage this marketing channel on behalf of your company.
Social media strategy and management requires bona fide experience and qualifications. If you underestimate what a serious job it is, you do so at your own peril. Hiring an expert — either agency or in-house — to manage your social media channels ensures there are clear lines of responsibility and consistent quality of work, and that management doesn’t get pushed down the to-do list in favor of other, “more important” priorities.
4 – Target influencers
Influencer marketing is another one of those things that is falsely believed to only operate successfully for companies in the B2C sector. The truth is that the use of influencers can be a tremendously powerful tool for B2B social media.
Influencers have a lot of authority within their sphere of expertise, and by partnering with them B2B brands benefit from a natural boost in their own authority. Influencers also lend authenticity to brand content because they are not employees or company “insiders”, and thus achieve a semblance of impartiality that company spokespeople never can.
5 – Invest in video
Social media is crowded with brands clamoring for attention from users. It takes a lot to stand out these days and the brands with high quality content are the ones that ultimately get noticed. Introducing video as part of your social strategy is a great way to diversify your content and set yourself apart from competitors.
B2B brands often struggle to find ways to introduce more visual elements to their content. Video can act as a solution to this perennial challenge. Case studies and testimonials come alive when they’re conveyed through video. Helpful use cases can be demonstrated more effectively than through written content alone.
6 – Amplify with advertising spend
The days of unlimited organic social reach are long behind us. Increasingly, social media is becoming a pay-to-play environment. So you can’t assume that just because you posted something, it’s necessarily going to reach your audience. It’s absolutely essential to put advertising dollars into your social media strategy to promote and boost your posts.
Social media can and does work for B2B. It’s an effective channel to create the engagement that is a necessary first step towards developing leads. Effective B2B social strategies focus on creating content that’s interesting to their audiences and on developing that content in a voice that’s approachable. As B2B companies become more effective with social media, we can expect competition for attention to become even greater. It’s essential to establish a foothold now to avoid being falling behind in the future.