B2B social media marketing is often written off as boring or unnecessary. But if this is your company's mindset, it could be missing.
Just take a look at Adobe. The digital media company credits its LinkedIn marketing efforts with closing 42% of its deals in 2018.
Not only that. B2B marketing helps Adobe get bigger deals. According to LinkedIn data, deals impacted by marketing on LinkedIn were on average 161% higher than those that were faked offline, in the boardroom, or otherwise.
Do you need a stronger business model to get on social media? Here's how to use social media for B2B marketing, social selling, customer service, and more.
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to plan your own strategy quickly and easily. Also use it to track the results and present the plan to your boss, teammates and clients.
Why use social media for B2B marketing?
Wondering if B2B social media marketing is right for your business? These are some of the reasons why you should think about it.
Your top competitors are already
Don't you think B2B social media marketing is worth it? What about your competitors?
When the competition is on a social level, it connects to an important segment of customers that you may be missing out on. And this social segment is key. They are often one of the loudest and most persuasive customer groups.
Your customers are looking for service on social media
Customers have high expectations of brands in both B2C and B2B. Many of your customers go online to share feedback, reviews, and opinions, and to ask questions. Don't let them down. Use the best B2B social media tools so that you can be seen when prompted and when you don't.
Awesome, thank you!
– Josh Stevens (@ Josh_Stevens87) September 23, 2020
You may be missing leads and opportunities
Don't overlook the opportunities for B2B lead generation on social media. Social media is a crucial area for promoting sales prospects, from determining purchase intent to social selling.
A survey by IDC found that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of executives use social media to make purchasing decisions. Buyers are also receptive to community engagement. According to LinkedIn, 76% are willing to start a conversation.
You shouldn't ignore social insights
Any B2B social media plan should go beyond marketing.
Find out what your customers are interested in by participating in online discussions. Listen to what people are saying. Read customer reviews and comments and use these insights to make strategic business decisions.
As you can see, we build in public.
Which other companies / founders are doing the same? Tag them here, we'd like to follow them.
– Fast 🚀 (@fast) September 28, 2020
How to create a B2B social media strategy
No matter the size or scope of your business, it is important to have a B2B social media strategy.
According to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 52% of B2B marketers say that all marketing for their organization is done by a small or one-person team. On the other end of the spectrum, large multinational companies can have hundreds of people, partners, and other parties involved in social media marketing. In both cases, having a clear strategy makes defining scope and achieving goals easier to manage.
In addition to a content calendar, team structure, brand voice, and best practice guides, your B2B social media plan should include:
Align goals with business goals
Just like a good B2C strategy, any B2B social media plan should answer these two questions:
What are the company's business goals? and how will social media marketing help achieve these goals?
The S.M.A.R.T goal or the goals and main results sections provide a good framework for this.
A strong B2B social media plan outlines where the opportunities lie. Start with a competitive audit to discover them. Use the S.W.O.T. Framework for determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the competitive landscape. Or create a competition matrix that applies to your industry.
Develop buyer personalities
All marketers should know who they are trying to reach. B2B social media marketing is no different.
Create target group and buyer personalities. Your company structure probably already fulfills these personas. For example, a design firm may create for commercial, public, and residential clients, and will likely have team members or industries that specialize in each category. Your B2B social media marketing should do the same.
Focus on the right platforms
Pay and Spray is never a great approach – especially not for a B2B social media strategy. As a rule, you should be where your customers are. If you're not sure where that might be, take a look at the social audience demographics.
Or you could just ask. According to Hootsuite polls on LinkedIn and Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the best platforms. In this order.
According to LinkedIn, 97% of B2B marketers use the network for content marketing. You can find more B2B social media statistics here.
Plan how you will measure your efforts
Schedule proof of return on investment. Identify how you will measure the performance of your efforts. What metrics and data will you be monitoring? This can include anything from response time to impressions and engagement rate to conversions and sales. Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), then set benchmarks and achievable goals.
Don't ignore other barometers like customer satisfaction ratings, qualitative reviews, and your Net Promoter Score. Also, consider other factors that reduce recruitment and customer service costs.
Be realistic about what efforts you have hard numbers for and what efforts have value that is more difficult to quantify. Remember, just because you can measure something doesn't always mean you should. And just because you can't measure something doesn't mean it's not worth it.
5 Best Practices for B2B Social Media
Refine your approach with these B2B social media best practices.
1. Talk to your audience
When it comes to B2B social media marketing, scope creep is real. Do not try to speak to a general audience. Use the language, slang and acronyms used in your industry.
That doesn't mean you should be blocking social copy with unnecessary technical jargon. This is not about showing off. Marketing is about communication and connection. Social messaging should always strive for clarity. Sometimes it means you don't have to spell things out.
For example, what is a BeFi barometer? Most RIAs (Registered Investment Advisers) know that this is a way to measure behavioral finance trends. And that's important for Charles Schwabs @ Schwab4RIA's Twitter account.
The BeFi Barometer 2020 survey examines how and why consultants are using behavioral finance to help clients in times of uncertainty. #BeFiWeek https://t.co/190qXP4May pic.twitter.com/r6gR4Ry8Bl
– Schwab4RIAs (@ Schwab4RIAs) September 8, 2020
Occasionally you may be asked to explain what something means. That's okay. Treat these moments as an opportunity to connect. Don't put anyone up for questions.
B2B stands for business to business
– Twitter Business (@TwitterBusiness) October 11, 2017
2. Create separate channels
As your social audience grows, various social media accounts may need to be created. That way, you can share the right content and message with every audience.
If you offer customer service, start a dedicated support channel so your primary account can focus on other initiatives. Separate channels can also be relevant for different industries, products and markets. Depending on the industry and size of your company, news and career channels can also make sense.
Salesforce has no fewer than 10 official Twitter accounts. Companies such as Adobe, Microsoft, Pinterest and Google use showcase pages on LinkedIn to address different communities. With LinkedIn these pages can be linked in the profile area "Connected pages". Accounts can be linked on YouTube in the "Selected Channels" section.
3. Personalize your offers
B2B can mean business to business, but a little personalization can go a long way. For example, according to LinkedIn data, more than 62% of B2B buyers respond to sales reps who connect them to relevant insights and opportunities. "Relevant" is the key word.
Social media ads allow marketers to target hyper-specific groups. Take advantage of this to tailor messages to people in specific jobs, locations, stages of life, and more. There are also ways to personalize organic messages. Use buyer personas to compose and personalize LinkedIn InMail messages.
Personalization is more than just pinning a person's name on a message. With separate social media channels, you should create content that will appeal to every audience. For example, Recaro makes seats for various industries, including the automotive and aerospace industries. Generic news about chairs doesn't appeal to an audience. However, content about jet lag to reduce seat lighting may speak to airlines.
@recaro_de and @jetlite_de are the first to present an innovative concept for individualized human-centered lighting, with which #Passengers can fight #jetlag and achieve their #goal to execution. https://t.co/R2GcwnspDU # AIX19 # AIX2019 #aviation pic.twitter.com/c0170F8yfA
– RECARO Aircraft Seating (@recaro_as) April 2, 2019
4. Provide valuable content
We are all inundated with content from B2B and B2C brands. Boost your B2B social media marketing to stand out from the crowd.
To do this effectively, you need to understand the value your customers find. This often means identifying their weak points, learning about their business needs and the needs of their customers.
The following example shows Intercom, a company that provides enterprise messaging tools, understands and provides solutions to the challenges that support teams face.
Leverage market research, in-house expertise, and other resources to create blog posts, white papers, webinars, and other content to share on social media. The return on these investments might not seem obvious at first, but building trust, reputation, and authority has long-term benefits.
With the right strategy and follow-up, you can generate leads, create follow-up opportunities, and learn more about the information your customers value.
5. Retarget with B2B social media ads
Organic B2B marketing has its limits. Most social platforms operate on a brand pay-to-play model. This is where B2B social media ads come in.
Social media ads are especially helpful when it comes to tracking. Unlike B2C, the B2B sales process requires time, persistence and buy-in from multiple parties. In an episode of the Re: Growth podcast, Jackie Davis, former senior marketing manager at HelloSign, notes that potential buyers visit a website between five and ten times during the viewing process.
Using Facebook and LinkedIn, advertisers can create custom audiences to target people who are already familiar with your business. Personalize an ad message or present a value proposition to someone who visited certain web pages or engaged in your page.
When the French government announced a new payroll law, payroll software company Sage took the opportunity to run an awareness campaign. In the second phase, prospective customers who originally got involved were offered a downloadable compliance guide – an incentive that both sweetens the deal and established Sage as an industry leader.
B2B company with great social media
Learn from the pros. Here are some of the best B2B teams that are leaders in social media.
Adobe operates several social media channels for various industries. The company's marketing shows what its tools can do and provides insights that customers may find valuable.
The marketing teams behind this product roadmap and marketing planning software company adhere to a simple B2B social media philosophy.
"We're used to seeing blatant ads for direct clicks and frightening target options," says Joon Shin, group leader for digital marketing at Aha !. "We think that in the future it should be more about publishing meaningful content."
As the world's most popular search engine, Google shares trend analysis and expert tips that appeal to the company's customers.
Although technically a non-profit organization, companies and brands are a key target audience for B Lab. B Lab unites a community with, among other things, market-specific channels, up-to-date content, testimonials and events.
Slack remains an outlier in the social B2B space, also because of its approachable and talkative brand voice.
In an episode of the Re: Growth podcast, Holly Chen, the company's former Group Growth Marketing Manager, questions the notion that B2B marketing has to be boring and emotionless. "When we market to a company, we end up still talking to a person," she says.
Hello you! You are doing a great job.
– Slack (@SlackHQ) April 17, 2020
For fans of the organization, ClickUp's highly consistent Instagram feed strategy is a sight to behold. The company's William Hague quote said, "There is only one growth strategy: Word Hard."
This leader in renewable energy operates multi-language social media accounts, live events and awareness campaigns that have reached more than 1.2 million relevant professionals.
Content marketing is one of the most important ways intercom drives brand awareness and increases visibility in the messaging industry.
Fast is quickly becoming a leader in B2B marketing, one hoodie, one space helmet after another. With a quick response time and an even faster joke, Fast proves that the right brand voice can sell a brand promise.
Please ignore any typos in our tweets and replies. We type pretty quickly.
– Fast 🚀 (@fast) September 10, 2020
As a full-service agency for branded content that wants to work exclusively on dedicated projects until 2021, Republik is focusing on its values with #ShoutOutMondays and more.
Salesforce's social media strategy spans everything from customer support to live events that draw millions of viewers.
Learn more with us about https://t.co/SdcqGlnByw and check out the new apps, guides and solutions that will allow us all to reopen safely. Discover all the ways any business can build the trust of employees, customers, and the wider community. #SalesforceLive https://t.co/TbwvYNteMg
– Salesforce (@salesforce) August 12, 2020
Unsurprisingly, one of their favorite B2B marketing channels also knows a thing or two about B2B social media strategy. This is how LinkedIn dominated LinkedIn.
It's easy to forget that Twitter also tries its hand at B2B marketing. Follow @TwitterMktg for pointers in theory and practice.
According to @ AlysonGausby.pic.twitter.com/qROSoD75zI, this is the perfect time for brands to capitalize on their creative side
– Twitter Marketing (@TwitterMktg) September 10, 2020
Best B2B social media tools
Set up your brand for success with the best B2B social media tools.
Get a complete picture of your B2B social media activities with Google Analytics. Track where your visitors are from and what they are doing when they visit your website. Use this knowledge and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Deploy code for you. Keep track of the links you've shared by adding UTM parameters. These snippets work with analytics programs to provide more detailed information about your traffic sources.
Multiple team members can use Hootsuite to manage multiple accounts in one place. Track customer inquiries and assign messages so that the right person on your team can respond, whether they are community managers or salespeople. The Hootsuite dashboard also makes it easy to get a full view of analytics and prove your ROI.
With more than 95 million online sources, Brandwatch gives you the complete picture of online conversation. Track mentions, competitors, customer sentiment, and more, and use your analytics to educate everything from product development to other business decisions.
Save time managing your B2B social media presence with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule posts, respond to customer inquiries, measure results, and more.
Free 30-day trial