Social media marketing is often an afterthought for many B2B companies.
I talk to so many business leaders who wonder if it is worth dedicating time and money into a few posts when you are trying to influence the purchasing behaviour of users, influencers and decision makers in a B2B products or services sale. Aren’t there better ways to spend our time and money they say – social media is only really for consumer marketing isn’t it…my brand is too serious/boring/complicated for social media….wrong, wrong, wrong!
Even in B2B marketing, you are still trying to reach people. And in Australia alone almost the entire population uses social media for large portions of time every day. By implementing a well-executed social media strategy, your B2B brand can benefit from more engaged prospects, who already know who your brand is and what its about. They’ve already developed a sense of trust and familiarity with your brand when it comes time to talk to you – ultimately social media can help you to increase sales and increase marketing ROI.
Maybe you have dipped your toe into the world of social media, only to have little to no return. Well don’t give up – as with any marketing investment, getting results from social media takes time. It requires a well-rounded strategy that considers who your target audience is, taps into their needs and motivations, offers them value and is relevant to what is going on in their sector and business. So let’s explore some of the key reasons you must consider social media marketing in your B2B marketing arsenal.
From bland 2 bold
It’s a common assumption (misconception in fact) that B2B marketing needs to only be logical, safe, and a bit bland. Wrong! Your content can be professional and on brand, but it will be more effective if it incorporates emotion, energy, fun, and dynamism. Even when acting on behalf of a company, people are people – they are influenced by their emotions, relationships, beliefs, values and cultural fit just as much as logic, price and features/functions.
Still not convinced. A recent survey showed that 27.6% of people discovered new brands through social media ads, while 22.8% of people heard of a new brand through recommendations and comments on socials, and an additional 16.5% of people found brands through the brand’s social media updates . Social media is allowing B2B companies to connect with the right people at the right time on a whole new level.
B2B content marketers should be focused on creating brand awareness, building trust and credibility, and helping and educating their target audience. Generating sales and revenue comes after achieving these three goals. By the time someone enquires about your product/service, requests a meeting or indeed makes a purchase, they have usually done an inordinate amount of research through search and social and they have a pretty good idea whether you are the supplier/partner for them. For someone to get to the point they contact you about your product or service, they need to have seen easy to find and valuable content from you or about you while conducting their own research. The buying journey has changed, and it’s time our marketing strategies reflect this. Content should nurture your audience through the funnel, becoming a solution to their queries rather than expecting immediate action.
Is social media right for you?
Social media is a powerful B2B marketing tool. 55% of consumers learn about new brands on socials – that could be your business brand.
By the start of 2022, Aussies were spending more time and money online than ever before. In fact, our uptake of social media is now disproportionate to the total population growth .
Determining whether social media is a right fit for your business can sometimes be difficult – especially when you require management buy-in from people who are not natural social media users themselves. It’s important to understand why you are on certain social channels and how this can benefit your organisation. Understanding how other B2B organisations are using social platforms will help to guide your decision. You may even discover that you are on a social platform that offers little to no benefit for your B2B marketing.
Let’s break down the top platforms.
LinkedIn: Widely recognised as ‘the ultimate B2B network’, LinkedIn is the place for thought leadership content, employee engagement and strategically targeted ads, sponsored content or lead gen campaigns. The potential audience that LinkedIn reports can be reached through ads is 13 million.
Facebook: B2B marketing on Facebook is heavily centred around ads, with carousel ads being the most effective as they are more interactive. It’s also a great space for employee-centric, non-promotional content. The potential audience that Meta reports can be reached through ads is 15 million. Facebook is often overlooked for B2B Marketing though, with LinkedIn considered the darling…now while we definitely recommend LinkedIn for B2B we want you to give Facebook another thought – it is still one of the most heavily used platforms and people who use Facebook are usually absorbing content; as opposed to LinkedIn where people are more likely to be promoting themselves or finding BD connections.
Instagram: The go-to platform for visual and culture-centric content. Think infographics, fun Reels and short how-to guides. The potential audience that Instagram reports can be reached through ads is 12.75 million.
Twitter: If you’re looking to spot trends and interact with customers, industry media and businesses alike, Twitter could be the place for you. The potential audience that Twitter reports can be reached through ads is 3.70 million.
TikTok: Breathe life into your social media strategy by engaging and connecting with your audience through fun, creative and relatable content. The potential audience that TikTok reports can be reached through ads is 7.38 million.
What should your social strategy cover?
It all starts with asking why. Why are we on socials and what are our goals?
Just like any B2C marketing strategy, your B2B social media plan should answer the following questions:
- What are your company’s business objectives?
- How will B2B social media marketing help achieve them?
Once you understand your why, you can start to answer the more detailed questions like:
- What do you know about the trends in your target audience?
- What does success look like and how?
- What matters to your audience in the context of your business?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What do you want your audience to do?
- What are the overarching themes that need to go into your message/content?
- What are relevant (non-branded) hashtags for your sector?
- Who are the influencers in my sector?
- How should we engage with them as a brand?
We have created a social media strategy canvas to help you kickstart your social media strategy. Our social media strategy canvas will also help to identify what social platforms you should be active on and the best timeframes to post.
What about resourcing?
Now that you have an idea of your social media strategy, you will need to determine resourcing.
Luckily, this isn’t as difficult as you may think. Most social users have begun to crave raw, unfiltered content. This is known as Authentic Content. Candid or informal content, such as ‘behind the scenes’ videos, photos or interviews, creates an opportunity for brands to appear more genuine. With people being faced with multiple options in their purchasing decisions, it helps if your content can create a genuine connection.
As for skills, it really depends on how big your social media program is. You will need someone who can create graphics/photography/videography, manage copywriting, schedule/plan the posts, and perform data analysis to track your social performance and make recommendations for continuous improvement.
An organic social media strategy takes time. You may not see results instantly, but if you keep at it, you will reap the benefits. Be prepared for 6-12 months of constant, relevant and valuable organic and paid social media investment in order to really reap the benefits for your business.
Our final social tips to simplify your life
Here are a few additional tips and tricks to make socials simpler.
- Regularly monitor social media channel analytics.
- Create simple graphic templates that can be reused.
- Know your tone of voice, brand style and key hashtags.
- Research, research, research!
- Talk to people in the industry.
- Know what your audience wants to see.
- Have an experimental mindset – don’t be afraid to test a variety of content types to see what works best.
Don’t put it off any longer – start your social media journey today!
 We are Social – Digital 2022 Australia: Online Like Never Before