A lot of the business world considers social media as a business-to-consumer (B2C) strategy. When you look up social media marketing, it’s all about helping companies reach the individual end-users of their products and services.
Social media is an incredible business-to-business (B2B) strategy as well, however. And it’s not just about networking on LinkedIn, although that’s important. There’s a lot of depth in social media marketing for B2B companies in all industries.
How can you succeed? Here are the tips you need.
How is B2B Social Media Different Than B2C?
All social media marketing is about building relationships with the individuals who make buying decisions. However, B2B is very different from B2C. The biggest difference is the power of the decision-maker. An individual consumer can make very quick decisions; they can buy a gadget from Facebook within minutes of seeing it. They generally don’t have to get approval from anyone else and can act immediately.
In B2B marketing, the decision-maker has influence but generally can’t act alone. They need support from a team or other stakeholders before they can move forward. Also, the financial commitment of a business purchase is generally higher than a consumer purchase. As a result, you need to nurture a longer relationship in B2B in order to succeed. That’s where social media shines; it’s all about building relationships.
What can a B2B company do to succeed with social media? Here are some tips.
Have a Marketing Mix
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that social media and digital marketing are an all-or-nothing approach. You don’t have to give up your traditional marketing methods if they’re working for you. Do cold calls convert? Do business conventions and networking breakfasts bring in business? Is it helpful to belong to the Chamber of Commerce?
If so, then keep doing those things!! But mix social media marketing into your strategy. You can start with a single platform if it helps, but as social media grows in effectiveness for your company, you’ll be able to prune other marketing outreaches that don’t have such a good conversion rate.
Decide on Your Goals
Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 B2B Content Marketing Report has a wealth of information about how B2B companies approach marketing on blogs, social media, and other platforms. One of the biggest decisions you need to make is what goals you’re trying to meet through social media. The top goals among B2B companies last year, according to Content Marketing Institute, were creating brand awareness (86%), educating the audience (79%) and building credibility and trust (75%).
Once you have an audience, you need to nurture them. At that point, you might shift to building loyalty, getting sales, and getting more folks onto your email list. As you build the relationship, you’ll have a much easier time converting your audience into profit on your bottom line.
Once you have a strategy, decide how you’ll measure your progress. Write the social media strategy down so that everyone on your team is on the same page and moving the same direction.
You may also decide to hire a social media specialist to help move your marketing forward. Rider University pointed out, “Social media specialists interact with the public in various ways, from fielding criticisms from users to reinforcing relationships by responding to positive feedback.” If you’re concerned about your social media initiative falling through the cracks, having a dedicated specialist can help.
Prioritize Relevant Content on the Right Platforms
The Content Marketing Institute, cited above, found that 88% of top B2B performers in content marketing prioritize their audience’s informational needs over the company’s sales and promotional messages.
It’s vital to know what your customers need and what part of the sales process they are in. If they are near the top of the funnel, you want to do more to raise awareness of your offers and share informational content to build the know, like, and trust factors so prospects will be ready to do business with you.
For instance, a company that offers business insurance might keep their social media feed updated with articles about how to weather a crisis and what resources are available to small businesses during the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is what is on business owners’ minds right now, so it’s highly relevant and shows that the company cares about prospects and clients.
Just because you aren’t a B2C company doesn’t mean you should be dull and uptight. You need some personality on your social media accounts. Of course, this should match your brand, but don’t be shy about having fun and using humour.
Be conversational. Answer comments and engage with your audience. You might even consider using appropriate memes. They bring in a lot more business than you think!
Not every company can pull off the snark of Wendy’s Twitter account – and that’s just fine, but putting some personality and humour into your outreach will help build your brand and make you more relatable to your audience. Even lawyers like to laugh.
Expand Beyond LinkedIn
You might have noticed that a lot of the tips so far are focused on non-LinkedIn platforms. That’s intentional. Too many B2B businesses believe that LinkedIn is the only B2B platform that matters.
Of course, LinkedIn is a great place for B2B marketing. Senior-level business influencers and decision-makers spend time there. If you have no social media outreach at all, LinkedIn is a great place to start. However, there are also a lot of influencers on Twitter and even Facebook.
Remember that you need leads, but you also need to build your brand. Take a look at Salesforce’s Twitter account. They share a variety of images, videos, and other impactful content on what’s normally considered a “text-only” platform. Not good with images? No problem. Software like Canva or its alternatives make it easy to create professional, high-quality graphics quickly.
Use Social Media to Showcase Social Proof
Social proof shows prospects that other customers have bought from you and found a lot of value from that purchase. It’s an opportunity for your happy clients to share their experiences so that others can understand the power of your product or service.
Social media is a great place to showcase social proof. You can share user testimonial videos, reviews, or other user-generated content. You can also get experts to review and evaluate your products and services. Social proof helps build the credibility of both your brand and your product and makes your marketing more effective.
Keep Your Response Time Low
One of the things about social media is that, well, it’s social. When someone starts a conversation with you, they expect you to respond fairly quickly. Keeping your response time low is a major factor in how prospects view your customer service and overall brand.
Whether it’s a social media mention or an email, don’t be the company that takes over 24 hours to respond. If you really want to shine, be like the 10% of SaaS companies that replied to contacts in less than 10 minutes.
The quicker you respond, the better, so don’t shy away from having a dedicated specialist or team for social media.
Social Media Makes a Big Difference For B2B Marketing
Whether you’re looking to build awareness, drive sales, or something in between, social media is a powerful marketing method. It’s not just for B2C, and you don’t need to limit yourself to LinkedIn. B2B marketing can even use strategies that normally belong to B2C, like influencer marketing, memes and humourLuke Smith.
Set your goals, think outside the box, and measure your results. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference social media marketing can make to your bottom line.
With Crowdfire, you can find curated content, schedule your posts, engage with your audience, deep-dive into analytics and create custom reports. Now introducing Social listening. Try it for free.