Most B2B businesses maintain that social media is not top on their list of preferred marketing channels because they think it only works for B2C brands talking directly to their consumers.
What they don’t realize is that social media is one of the most powerful tools in their marketing arsenal. Why? Because it helps convey your brand’s personality which can result in developing relationships with new prospects and a more engaged customer base. Striking the right balance between being human and promoting your product can seem tricky but done correctly can translate into significantly more sales further down the line.
Here are our top 5 B2B social media strategy tips to help your brand talk to the right audiences and get social.
1. Know What You Want
As with most business activities, it’s important to set out clear KPIs for your social media campaign to determine how you will measure success. Remember, the primary purpose of your social media account is to give your brand a voice and engage with prospective customers and other brands.
If your business is relatively new to the social media scene your initial objectives might be building up your fan base by a specific amount each month and analysing the types of people and businesses interested in following your brand.
If your existing audience is not engaging much with your posts and your fan base has plateaued over a long period of time, your objective might focus on accumulating more shares for your content. The ultimate goal is to drive people to your website and generate more customers so keeping tabs on where your traffic and conversions are coming from is key. The more popular and engaging you become, the bigger your reach across social networks will be. This should result in more click-throughs and hopefully more conversions.
2. Humanize Yourself
The biggest misconception is that brands who operate in the B2B space need to be more conservative on their social media campaigns than those working in B2C. As nifty as your brand’s new drill might be, your audience will be more interested in seeing the people and faces behind your company and your opinion on related business issues.
Some B2B companies humanize themselves through congratulating employees on big personal achievements like Salesforce, who recently tweeted about their staff completing the AIDS/LifeCycle event.
If you believe your employees are one of your greatest assets, consider how you can promote them on social media. Your customers want to hear more than why your product is the best on the market - they can look at all your sales collateral for that. Use this opportunity to showcase your brand’s fun side - your audience will appreciate it a lot more.
3. Offer Value First and Then Your Product
If you’re a data-driven company communicating with people who are in one way or another interested in you, provide them with insight into what’s going on at your end. This shouldn’t be too difficult: it’s likely you're sitting on a ton of information just waiting to be worked into shareable content. Have you conducted a survey that produced some interesting findings recently? Get it mocked up into an infographic for people to learn from - visual content is highly shareable and looks awesome.
In addition to that, spend some time listening to your audience and learning what they want. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all provide user-friendly analytic tools that can help you measure the success of your posts and tweets, and there are several other independent services offering you the power to find and engage your perfect audience.
One very simple yet overlooked approach that works well for brands with a large audience is to ask direct questions. You’ll get insight into what you’re doing well and what could be improved, from the people whose opinions you value. In exchange, they engage with a brand they are interested in and want to help. Easy wins don’t get much easier.
4. Diversify Inspiration
Are you looking to cement yourself as a thought leader? If so, it’ll help if you take a bit of time exploring new channels before others do.
As a B2B marketer, there are a few social channels that can provide foregone conclusions, but as social media is dynamic and transitional, you must be as well.
Gary Vaynerchuk said he was convinced Snapchat will become an “excellent place for B2B players,” and there’s no harm in expecting similar developments for other social media channels in the near future. Sure enough, HubSpot was quick to introduce Snapchat into their marketing mix, saying “we’re using it to serve as both a marketing and a recruiting channel -- a place where we can showcase our unique culture and perks, our awesome employees, and the inbound philosophy.”
One example that could be an invaluable resource is reddit, depending on your industry. On the site, you’ll find a multitude of people writing anonymous opinions and regaling others with stories about anything from CRM software to learning Java. From that, you could move on to other similar online forums like Quora. Before you know it, you could have a wealth of qualifiable information about your product or brand.
The point is: if you want to be a thought leader, you’ll need to spend time evaluating the usefulness of paths that are less established than others.
5. Be Opportunistic When It Makes Sense
Having a social media content calendar is useful because it ensures you have a clear strategy in place which can make everything far less daunting, but instead of focussing just on how frequently you should be posting, your primary objective should be posts that are relevant to your audience. Sometimes this means breaking out of your social media schedule and it can reap great rewards. If you post five times on Twitter and each time it gets a sizeable amount of “Retweets” and “Likes,” keep doing it.
Be reactive: if your consumers are proving to you in real time that the content is well-received, why stop? Get away from the thought process that one social channel has a standardized minimum and maximum amount of posts and listen to the very people you’re trying to engage.
Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?