B2B companies may miss out on important opportunities to connect with customers, grow their business, build employer brand and improve their bottom line if they don't have a social media strategy.
While some marketers may consider social media to be a tool better suited for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, a social media strategy is essential for B2B businesses as well. Without a strong social media presence, B2B companies miss out on important opportunities to connect with customers, grow their business, build their employer brand, and ultimately improve their bottom line.
The reality is that there are around 4.8 billion social media users globally, and the number is expected to increase to over 5.8 billion by 2027. For B2B companies, this means it’s time to get fully on board with social media.
Having a strategic social media strategy not only helps B2B enterprises build their brand and connect with customers and other businesses, but it also plays a crucial role in lead generation. According to research by Gartner, 40% of B2B consumers make buying decisions based partly on what they see on social media. To fully take advantage of the benefits of social media, here are five keys to building a strategic social media strategy for B2B brands.
1. Choose the right networks
Before investing in your social media strategy, it is important to know which networks will best support your brand and connect you to your customers, especially since the average person now uses between six and seven social outlets every month, according to Forbes.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) states that the most frequently-used social media outlets for B2B companies include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Each network provides a unique opportunity for growth, so it’s up to you to decide which platforms will best align with your business goals.
If you are looking to boost your lead generation, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have consistently been the networks of choice. As a professional networking outlet, LinkedIn gives B2B companies the opportunity to identify potential buyers and stay connected with them throughout the buyer’s journey. You can also generate high-quality leads through thought leadership on LinkedIn, especially since the platform is compatible with longer-form posts. And if you want to have the tools to target a specific audience to generate leads, Facebook will be the best fit.
Looking to diversify your content with photos and videos? Try out YouTube and Instagram. As a video-sharing platform, YouTube provides a unique opportunity for B2B companies to connect with customers, specifically by promoting educational content. An engaging video showcasing a particular product or solution your company provides also has the power to generate leads. Instagram has similar capabilities, with a primary focus on visual content. Through Instagram, B2B enterprises can create captivating visuals with a cohesive style to build their brand and showcase their company culture.
With these qualities in mind, you can build a social media strategy that effectively utilizes the various networks and serves your business goals.
2. Determine the right content mix
The type of content you post matters when it comes to B2B social media. Traditionally, the 80/20 mix was the golden rule for developing B2B social media content. This strategy directs marketers to post 80% non-promotional or educational content and 20% promotional content on their company accounts.
The idea is that your followers don’t want to be bombarded with self-promoting content that constantly praises your products or services. While these posts can contribute to making important sales, it is also essential to share content that adds value to your followers. This may include “how-to” guides, entertaining behind-the-scenes content, blog posts on industry trends or even a simple employee spotlight.
While the 80/20 rule is a good starting point, it is not foolproof when it comes to posting content. Be attentive to your followers’ needs by checking your post analytics to see which content receives the most engagement. Then, you can adjust your strategy and post the content your followers enjoy the most.
3. Devise interesting content angles
One of the main reasons B2B companies shy away from using social media is because they think their content is boring. These businesses don’t feel as though their products or services would win users over in a space filled with more entertaining and exciting content. B2B enterprises can also have the misconception that their social media content would only appeal to a niche audience. Without seeing the potential to expand their customer base, these companies will miss out on the growth opportunities social media provides.
To conquer these anxieties surrounding B2B social media, you must create content that shows the broader impact of your company’s work and how it affects the entire industry. This is most effective when you think outside the box and post content that no one else does, especially your competitors. Think about what makes the work you do special and see if there are any content areas you can intersect to develop more unique content.
By shifting your mindset on social media content, you will be able to build a social media presence for your company that inspires and connects people to the work you do.
4. Showcase your human side
Many B2B companies gravitate toward a formal approach to social media, but this strategy limits your possibilities of connecting with followers and potential customers. While it is important to maintain a level of professionalism, B2B businesses should also inject their personality into the company’s social media accounts. Not only does this make your account more approachable for prospective buyers, but it also allows you to establish a more well-rounded brand.
One easy way to connect with your followers is to employ a conversational style in your company’s posts. Instead of overloading your content with formal jargon, write posts as if you are telling a friend the same information. To do this, try reading your posts out loud to make sure it’s something you’d say in a conversation.
Another important aspect of showcasing the human side of your B2B brand involves the content of your posts. Your followers want to see the personality of your company and the people who work behind the scenes to make things happen. Discuss the founding and history of your business. Highlight employees participating in teambuilding or community service events. Emphasize the creative benefits or perks employees may enjoy. You can even share your environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.
By making your content more personal, you can build high-quality connections with your followers.
5. Connect with audiences
Engaging with your followers is crucial to creating a successful social media strategy. After all, connection and community serve as the core values of social media. If you want to build a successful social media presence, you want to engage in meaningful dialogue with your followers instead of focusing solely on one-way messaging.
How can your company become part of the important conversations happening on social media? Respond to your followers’ comments to spark discussions. Ask questions on thought-provoking industry topics through polls or quizzes. Share the headlines of the day in your industry to keep your followers informed.
Another approach to connecting with your followers involves creating human connections. Put a face to your brand by highlighting fun facts about your employees, such as their favorite book or latest vacation destination, and encourage others to share their thoughts.
These strategies will allow your B2B brand to build important relationships with your followers and encourage dialogue that will keep your company in the bigger conversations of your industry.
Supporting your social media strategy for B2B marketing with data
With the right strategy, social media can make a serious impact on your company’s bottom line. According to research by Sprout Social, 57% of consumers will increase their spending with brands that take the time to invest in connecting with customers. For B2B businesses, this makes social media a worthwhile investment.
Like with any marketing effort, keeping track of your social media strategy’s ROI in the areas of time and money is crucial. The best practices offered here will help B2B brands embrace the power of social media, improve brand awareness and build customer loyalty. It’s important, however, to find what works best for your business and to have data that supports this and allows you to employ the same social media strategy. Ultimately, your social media presence should have a positive effect on your bottom line.
If you are looking for a partner to assist you with your social media strategy, reach out to us at email@example.com.