Guide: How to Do B2B Marketing on Social Media
Social media is a critical arm of any business’ marketing strategy. No matter whether your business is in the fashion industry or an accountancy firm, social media isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.
With 31.3% of global internet users using the internet to conduct business-related research and 22.7% of people using social media for work-related networking and research, social media marketing is a no-brainer.
Yet businesses often struggle with how to market their B2B business on social media. In some ways, food companies, fashion retailers, and travel companies have it easier. They can share fun, entertaining content with appealing photos that drive consumers’ emotion-driven decisions.
But what about when you’re trying to market to other businesses? It’s a little less straightforward. It’s hard to get someone excited about a piece of CRM software. You can’t typically rely on FOMO to get a company to buy your financial services.
With B2B social media marketing, you have to potentially convince enough decision-makers in a business to part with their cash. Those decisions are (usually) strategic, budget-focused, and not made lightly.
So, how do you win over businesses with your social media strategy? Be strategic.
How to build a B2B social media marketing strategy
Get clear on your goals.
Social media marketing is like any other arm of your business. If you want something to happen, you’ve got to set clear goals and draw up a plan to achieve them.
Your goal to increase followers, traffic, or even sales means nothing unless you have a specific idea of what you want and how you’re going to get there.
Don’t set vague goals (e.g. we want to boost traffic.) Set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. (e.g. we want to increase traffic by 5% by next quarter to our X landing page.)
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Align marketing goals with the rest of the business
Social media goals work best when aligned with key business objectives. So, take a look at what KPIs your company has as a whole and then decide which goals you’d like to prioritize in your marketing push.
Some popular B2B social media marketing goals include:
- Building brand awareness
- Improving engagement in your community
- Increasing website traffic
- Boosting conversions
- Generating leads
There’s no right or wrong goal unless it’s not in line with what the rest of the business wants to achieve.
Align your goals with the sales team
If you’re unsure what goals you should be setting, then look beyond marketing. Your sales team has a pipeline to nurture. They have their own goals and KPIs, so rather than working against them, marketing teams should be aligned with sales.
Both teams can work more effectively when supporting each other, rather than working in parallel.
The sales team usually has the first direct contact with a potential customer. They know customers in a way marketing often doesn’t.
If the goal on social media is to boost conversions, then speaking to the sales team about their interactions with customers can shed light on what customers want. Speak to them about common customer pain points, and then target your messaging to address those.
Remember, you’re talking to people, not just businesses.
B2B marketing is indeed a little different from C2C. But one thing it has in common is that you’re talking to real people at the end of the day.
Yes, you’re marketing to businesses, but businesses don’t make decisions. People do. So, don’t talk to a faceless institution. Make sure all your content and engagement is targeted with people in mind.
Build customer profiles and try to envision the types of people who would be interested in your products or services. Your discussions with the sales team can help fill in the blanks when building customer profiles.
Once you have a clear idea of your target customers, put away the robot-speak. Speak instead to the people behind the logos, the decision-makers. Aim for conversational language that’s both professional and approachable.
Look beyond the pipeline.
The sales pipeline is important, but there’s more to social media marketing than getting people through the funnel. Social media marketing isn’t just about sales or conversions; it’s also about brand recognition, building trust, positive PR, and SEO benefits.
Don’t just focus on pushing out content that asks people to visit your website and buy from you. Explore other types of content that educate or entertain your audience, and create brand awareness.
According to Google, the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is the moment when customers make a buying decision online. This does not happen when a customer first hears about you. The customer buying journey now involves lots more research and consideration.
The average customer will interact and engage with a brand multiple times, through multiple means before a decision is made.
Social media may be one of many customers’ touchpoints with your brand. It’s important to make a good impression and understand that when potential customers see your content, they may not be ready to buy. Giving them educational or entertaining content keeps them engaged and interested in the meantime.
Adapt your content for each medium
What works on LinkedIn doesn’t always translate to Twitter. And yet a lot of businesses will throw the same content out on each platform and experience mixed results.
Creating content for each platform can be a huge time sink, but it’s also going to increase the value of each post you put out there.
A text-only post can offer depth and drive engagement on LinkedIn but will fall flat on Instagram. Experiment with different content types and multimedia posts to see what works best with your audience on each platform.
Keep an eye on the competition.
One of the great things about social media marketing is that everything’s out in the open, making competitor research a little easier. Keeping tabs on what your competition is doing can teach you a lot. You can learn what your similar audience will and will not respond to.
This doesn’t mean copying what they’re doing. You might spot gaps in their strategy to focus your campaigns on. For example, if you see your competition isn’t using multimedia, that might be where you focus.
Don’t leave B2B social media marketing on the back burner.
The best B2B marketing on social media is not haphazard. It’s based on customer research, specific goals, and KPIs– all built around a solid strategy.
Social media is often considered less than other forms of marketing such as email, paid advertising, pipeline marketing, and SEO. Still, it’s a crucial pillar that can support your overall marketing efforts.
Written by Kara Copple
Kara Copple is a freelance content writer specializing in business, finance, and marketing content. She helps businesses turn complex topics into easy-to-read guides and blog content. She’s been featured on Bankrate, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Thomson Reuters, and more.