Before we start, B2B social media does not need to be boring! Even if your product is highly technical and somewhat confusing.
The beauty of a well planned B2B social media strategy and strong content will enable your followers and potential fan base the ability to absorb the information in an interactive and engaging way. It’s time for B2B to have its fun in the sun.
Why is social media marketing important for B2B?
Times are changing. Both technologically and as a society.
If we are talking technology, your business and personal life can all be conducted in the palm of your hand — doing your grocery shopping and choosing a new vendor for your company can happen on the same device.
In a recent survey from Gartner, it was found that 27% of the purchase consideration time for B2B buyers is spent in researching independently online. A considerable difference to the 5-6% with any sales rep. Dig a little deeper and we see that 44% of millennial B2B customers prefer to not speak to anyone from sales…at all.
This is the societal change we speak of millennials and even Gen Zs entering decision-making roles. In any marketing strategy, your goal is to reach your audience where they are rather than make them come to you. For these increasingly-important audience segments, social media platforms are a daily visit.
Building a B2B social media strategy will help ensure you’re in front of these decision makers, and speaking in their language.
Difference between B2B and B2C social media marketing
The end goal is the same between B2B and B2C - whether it's building brand awareness, generating sales, or nurturing relationships, to name a few.
It’s the tactics used to reach the end goal that differ between the two. This can include the best way to engage the audience, the social media platform used, the tone of voice and type of content.
B2B social media marketers need to communicate with multiple stakeholders and address their specific needs from the product or service to prove the value throughout the customer’s journey.
B2C only needs to inspire the single customer into purchasing.
At the end of the day, B2B social media managers need to be more strategic about reaching and speaking to multiple decision makers, to then be able to nurture the relationship, leading to large purchase agreements.
Three questions to ask when starting your B2B social media marketing strategy
Am I on the right channels?
If you’re on the wrong channels, you’ll reach the wrong audience. Simple as that.
In a recent Marketing Trends survey, surveying both B2B and BrC companies, the top social media platforms with the biggest return on investment were Facebook closely followed by Instagram. On top of this, 25% of social media marketers say they will invest further in Facebook in 2022.
B2B marketing has a place on any social media channel. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the channels to focus on.
You don’t need to join them all. Unless you have the social media resources, it’s important to pick 1 - 3 channels where you can master the content and workload associated with it.
The right channel is dependent on your brand, budget, objectives, goals, customer demographic, competitors and even your audience’s location.
What are my goals?
Focus on what you want your B2B social media platforms to achieve, and link them back to your companies’ business objectives. Social media will not work in your company's favor without a plan, and definitely do not create a social page “just because”.
The key reasons why B2B social media pages are created include:
Creating community / nurture relationships
Build credibility and trust
Educate audience / content distribution
Once your broad goals have been decided, it’s time to turn them into something specific and measurable. Otherwise, how else are you going to be able to track your success!?
Using the S.M.A.R.T paradigm when building out your goals has always proved to be very helpful and intuitive in creating achievable, clear-cut goals.
Using the above, we have provided a few examples of B2B Social Media goals:
Post a minimum of 3 times a week on all social media channels for the remainder of the year.
Recruit 30 organizations to follow our LinkedIn Business Page each month.
Improve social media click-through-rates by a minimum of 15% each quarter.
See how each goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
What metrics will I be measuring?
Now your S.M.A.R.T goals are locked in, it’s important to keep record of your metrics across all your social media channels. At the end of the day you want to know whether your B2B social media plan is doing what you intended it to do. So, where do you get this info from and with so much data available, what’s important?
Each social media platform has their own data analytics section, but if you are not a fan of visiting each individual social platform, then using a social media publishing and insights tool, like Loomly, will be very helpful in pulling all your metrics from each social channel for you.
There are three umbrella themes for the key metrics needed to measure success for your B2B social media plan. They are reach, engagement and conversion.
Reach: the estimated number of unique viewers who saw a post.
If one of your key goals is building awareness, then reach is the metric for you. It will allow you to measure performance of your posts, gain insights on your brand perception and evaluate your efforts.
Reach is calculated using your followers, subscribers, connections as well as visibility percentage. The latter is the approximation of the audience who usually sees a social media post on the specific platform.
A key metric to be included under the umbrella term reach is follower growth. While it is also deemed as a vanity measure, it also provides insights into whether the reach of your brand is expanding as well as catching the attention of new potential customers. A high follower count brings with it a certain level of brand credibility.
These metrics can be found in the analytics section of all social media platforms.
Engagement: the customer activity and follower involvement of posts.
As a metric to follow, engagement is your #1 when it comes to social media. Engaged customers interact with brands through the means of liking, clicking, commenting and sharing the content.
At the very core of it, there's a few things needed to gain a high engagement rate - purposeful, fit-for-platform content that catches and keeps your audience’s attention.
It’s worth mentioning the algorithm here. This automated calculation determines which social media posts appear in your follower’s feeds and which don’t.
Each social platform has a different algorithm and it can be hard to keep up with the changes. But, at the end of the day, regardless of the platform or the algorithm changes happening within that platform, the one thing you can rely on is that the platform wants the audience to spend more time on the platform.
Just like any other business, the more time a user spends on the platform and the more friends they refer to the platform, the better off they are. This is where engagement comes in — if you’re creating content that stops followers in their tracks, prompts them to watch, share, like, and hit your profile to discover more, that content will be prioritized by the algorithm.
Every company is aiming for high engagement rates, as this will specify;
Your follower / fan health (responsiveness and highlights the number of ‘real’ followers)
The effectiveness of your content including the type (video, gif, static) and;
Your brand awareness.
Conversion: the customer visiting via a social media channel then taking an action (download, purchase, etc)
Sometimes the term conversion gets swept up with the ecommerce meaning of a monetary transaction. For B2B companies, however, conversion may be more about generating leads through a landing page or signing up for a 14-day trial. Tracking conversions is made easy with UTM Tracking and a traffic analytics program, a popular one being Google Analytics.
Your click-through rate (CTR) will be your other key indicator for tracking your conversion. As it compares the amount of clicks on your post to the number of impressions received. (a.k.a the number of times your post was viewed).
You’ll be aiming for a high CTR.
Just to note: social channels such as Instagram and TikTok can not have clickable links within the copy of the organic post. To direct your audience to take the proposed action from your post, include the link within your business bio, located on your profile page. Tools such as Linktree create a home for all your links, becoming a one-stop-shop for your audience to take the next step. And don’t forget to add “link in bio” in your copy.
Like most metrics, it is far more beneficial to look at a combination of B2B social media metrics, rather than focusing on one or two. Having this holistic approach will help in providing context before making any big strategy decisions.
B2B social media marketing examples
The best way to get your creative juices flowing is to look at your favorite B2B social platforms. What do they do well, or what are the content pieces that need a bit more work. It’s also important not to simply limit yourself with B2B, looking at B2C social platforms and even your favorite content creators is an excellent way to gain inspiration, to then add your brands spin on it.
Zapier is an automation tool to make the lives easier for all online users. Their use of hot tips, how-tos and funny on trend memes created to fit in with their product offering is a breath of fresh air.
Listening to customers' pain points and product feedback is an excellent idea factory for creating content. Figma have done just that with how-to videos based on the release of new templates or product features.