Why Social Media is important for B2B companies?
Social media plays an important role for B2B companies because it is not only a communication tool but also an excellent way to promote your business.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn allow you to reach a wide audience: both your customers, people who already know your brand and potential clients.
Social media is an important part of inbound marketing. Although social media communication is dominated by B2C companies as communication is addressed to individual customers – it shouldn’t be ignored by B2B businesses as their social media presence is significant.
However, B2B marketing is considered to be difficult, labor-intensive, demanding and gives us new opportunities for implementing a marketing strategy that works.
Increasingly, you can see that B2B companies are successful in the world of social media!
According to the statistics, social media helps B2B companies with gaining new customers, therefore, it’s worth to invest your time and effort creating social media strategy. 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level or vice-president executives take social media into account when making purchasing decisions. (source)
The importance of social media in B2B communication increases in the times of digital world the business press volume is systematically decreasing and the newspapers no longer have that much attention.
Social media has opened up new marketing opportunities for brands, so are you already taking action in your company?
There are many benefits of having social media channels. Creating a social media strategy will not only help you shape your conversation with your community, but also will build loyalty and attract new customers as well as partners. It also will help you build brand awareness and expand other marketing efforts through social media (blog posts, surveys,etc.).
It should be obvious that social media should not replace other marketing methods such as e-mail marketing, blog articles, participating in events etc. but it can be used as additional help to share and promote your content, drive traffic to website and create your very own company presence online which results in more leads and possible sales.
The strategy of using social media has many advantages:
- Increase customer loyalty and trust
- Build customer relations
- Create effective word-of-mouth
- Grow a larger audience
- Increase brand recognition/visibility
- Attract partners
- Entice customers
- Increase interest in company services
- Enhance the credibility of a brand
- Increase website traffic
- Generate more leads/sales
Social media helps to shape the personality of the product, service or the company. Give your brand a voice and be exactly where your audience already is. It can also boost your word-of-mouth marketing.(source)
People who are having a good feeling and experience related to social media service with a brand are more willingly recommend it to others or to share with their audience! According to HubSpot, Happy Customers Are the Biggest Marketing Opportunity.
The best Social Media channels for B2B companies?
There is no clear answer to that question. It’s very hard to determine which social media channel is best conducted when it comes to B2B communication. It is important to actually start with a question: Where are your customers?
Also, the choice of social media channels should follow the consequence of the adopted strategy, assumed goals, your expectations and testing of course! LinkedIn can be a leading channel for one B2B company when for other Facebook will perform best!
The choice of Social Media platforms is very variable depending on the industry and your goals.
For example, at AccuRanker we noticed a huge activity on LinkedIn – as this channel really is an excellent platform for B2B marketers. We also found out that in the search industry, the SEO professionals tend to be quite active on Twitter – so that is the reason why the company focus is mostly on Twitter. However, that doesn’t mean that AccuRanker shouldn’t use different social media platforms.
The purpose of each of the channels should be different. It is important to find the balance between the commercial, informative and social part of all of the accounts.
A crucial part is to define the purpose for each SM channels that you decide to use. There is no better method other than testing and doing research! For different companies, different social media channels will work.(source)
Each of the social media platforms that should be used for conducting B2B marketing depending on the company, industry and the target market. It is worth to analyze the pros and cons of each of them before making a decision. I’ve prepared a brief description of a few chosen platforms, which can be helpful in the decision-making process.
No other platform will beat Facebook when it comes to the number of users! Facebook is the most commonly used social media channel and probably the most important for your social media strategy as it’s not only for personal use anymore. Facebook has a lot of data useful for you in advertising.
Why? Because of advertising. You can advertise through their other services, i.e. Messenger or Instagram.
The purpose of having a Facebook business page:
- bring traffic to the website through organic and paid posts
- promote business and product
- creating and interacting with communities on Facebook groups – of course, groups for a specific industry, like for search industry: White Hat SEO
There are many different options that you can share your content with your audience through posts with photos, videos, carousel photos, just with text or even a stories and live videos.
See how Evernote gains engagement by sharing a different type of content.
LinkedIn is the platform where the quality is the key. There is no other platform that will provide us with such an effective access to the specific group of people, business decision makers (specialists, owners and decision makers). It is used for recruiting but it is also a great way to get a really good relationship between B2B company and professionals.
Why? It’s necessary for all business profiles and it’s powerful employer branding tool! Besides it’s excellent for B2B industries. The purpose of having a LinkedIn business profile is to:
- Raise awareness
- Drive interest in our company (it may bring traffic to the website)
- Build trust and company brand
- Recruit or attract employees
It’s important to not spam here, instead share less frequently but high-quality content.
I would advise you to focus on your brand – tell your story here, share successes, employee – and influencers- created content, share cases with your partners or testimonials of your customers.
For example, sharing your success stories as we do at AccuRanker on LinkedIn:
LinkedIn is perceived as expensive when it comes to advertising, however, it offers unique and detailed targeting options when it comes to B2B.
Twitter is a great way of communication between B2B companies and their communities! I must admit that it’s hard to find a better tool for connecting with industry specialists, experts, people passionate about their profession and of course influencers and possibly future brand ambassadors. It’s a great platform to engage your audience directly. The sale is the last point here.
Why? To let people know about your product/service and brand in order to grow your business presence and brand awareness. The purpose is to:
- Interact with people within your field
- Be active and discuss the news of your industry – don’t just talk about our product or company itself
- Share your and other blog posts
- Global brand awareness
You have to earn the engagement and interest of your followers – don’t wait too long to reply to their comments. Interact with your followers and industry enthusiasts, contribute to their tweets and be active when they start a conversation.
Try to start a conversation yourself by running a poll or asking questions. Share the news, ask questions, share meaningful articles within your field, be active out there.
Instagram has become a very popular social media platform and might be useful for your business. Think of a fun and relatable way of showing your brand so the followers can “feel” the atmosphere of the company. Content might be different so it is up to you if you choose more informative, friendly or funny way of brand exposure.
Why? Surprisingly engagement there is higher than any other social media, as the brand you can build trust and show the company culture. Purpose of creating an Instagram account:
- Build trust
- Show company culture
- Brand awareness
- Engagement with people in a more personal way
- Share quotes or testimonials
Take a look on HubSpot Instagram
Youtube is an enormous social network, where you have the possibility to reach even bigger audience. It is also the second largest search engine (behind Google), which means you grow your awareness and traffic if you use it right.
Why? It’s an easy way of explaining your product for people who would like to know more besides what’s in the company website. The purpose of this channel might be:
- How-to guides
- Webinars and Q&A sessions
- Interviews with your industry leaders
There are a lot more opportunities out there! Just look below – there is so much going on, so many active users on Internet – who might be your targeted audience. It sounds like a good opportunity, doesn’t it?(source)
Where to start?
Social Media provides a great way to communicate with our audience and industry specialists directly. The importance of social media for B2B companies is getting more and more significant for businesses within various industries – even you might consider yourself as “boring” company or industry social media wise – just find an interesting angle for your audience and try different techniques – I am sure at least one of them will work. I will give you some tips.
Let’s take a closer look.
#1 Know who your dream customer is.
Define your target audience demographics like age, gender, interests and create a buyer persona. You have to know your market so start with the research and learn about your audience – try to understand them or even get into their mindset – you will be able to determine which social media platform you should use and create useful content for them.
Also, you will be able to target advertising to the right audience. You don’t want to spend money spamming people who are not interested in your service or product, right? There are plenty of ways to get to know them better, for instance through performing surveys, collecting feedback or replying to their comments and questions.
#2 Understand the impact of Social Media listening and engagement.
Gather information about follower trends, get to know their interests by tracking, measuring and analyzing activities on multiple social networks. You can use social listening with tools like Hashtagify, Social Mention, Twitter Tweetdeck or even BuzzSumo.
- Check how often your brand was mentioned and engage with those people – give them attention and it can come to you again with double strength
- Keep an eye on your content and investigate what type of content performed the best and also which one performed the worst.
- Check how well your posts are performing and analyze them step by step
- Find out when your audience is the most active on social media – specific days and hours – and on which social media channels they are active more often.
- Spy on your competitors and track their performance on social media – see what is well performing for them
When you are just starting out – monitor your social media and maybe focus on the channel where your audience is the biggest – start with baby steps. In testing phase be like a detective and resolve the mystery of your perfect audience!
#3 Get your voice heard
Communication to an individual customer and to business requires a specific tone of voice and often they vary on a company to another.
However, social media allows more freedom of expressing emotions or presenting content with creativity, maybe it is worth considering to make it in a more fun way – the possibilities are endless!
Everyone likes to laugh a bit at work, I am guessing you too? When you see informative but presented in a fun and relatable way post, it will stay in your mind and it is more likely that you will share it with others. Tell the story and encourage your followers to share their experiences with your brand – they are your best brand advocates!
For example, I noticed that for B2B companies sharing customers experience really works! It’s important to gather and share customer opinion about your business and use their quotes for brand recognition and WOM (word-of mouth) marketing.
#4 Set up Social Media goals
Marketers for B2B companies track various parameters and set different goals – for some, the goal may be to increase community involvement, expand awareness or increase the reach of content – and for others, engagement is important, but it might not be their goal.
Social media marketing activities focus on creating content that will attract potential customers and for example, drive traffic to a specific website. You should decide what exactly you want to achieve and what you’ll call a success for your brand on social media. To define goals use S-M-A-R-T method as you want them to be:(source)
Once you know what you’re aiming for you should start measuring your social media ROI by tracking relevant KPIs, for instance, organic or paid reach, clicks. engagement, impressions, conversions or follower count depending on your goals. There are a lot of platforms out there to get an overview and create reports to keep an eye on your data. For example: dashthis.
#5 Pick the best time to post
It’s crucial to share your content at a specific moment during the day. Analyse when your audience is active and choose the right time and days for posting your content. It may vary on different social media platforms.
When you find the peak time of your active followers maybe get them used to your posting time and days. Like Digital Olympus is doing it with #DigitalOlympusChat – they have a chat once in a week on Thursdays with different topics hosted by professionals.
#6 Plan your content and create a Social Media Strategy
You should think of sensible and strategic social media content strategy. You have to find out what content performs best across different social media platforms as each channel requires a different kind of story telling.
Gather data and analyse which type of content performs best on each channel. Make spreadsheets with social media metrics for each platform, this will help you to have a clear picture of posts that you should create for the future.
#7 Do not post the same content across your all social media platforms
Don’t repeat yourself. That is true that a part of your followers who are on Facebook doesn’t necessarily have to look into your LinkedIn or another way around so they should get your message, however, what if your viewer follows you on all your social media channels?
Don’t you think it will be boring for him to read multiple times the same post? Try to change captions at least or if on one platform videos performed better then go for it! See how HubSpot is using the same image but different captions on different channels:
#8 Be consistent!
Think of scheduling your content and create a social media content calendar. Start with the dates with which you are confident that the dates won’t change, like Awards celebrations, events, that you want to take part or holidays – check out if there are special days connected with your industry, for example: if you are a software company you can celebrate programmers day like IMB did on Twitter:
Or other holidays that you identify yourself with, like Oracle with Father’s day on Instagram:
#9 Follow the latest trends
B2B social marketing is more demanding than B2C, therefore, you should create interesting and useful content for your audience. Your recipients are more aware, they are often experts in a given field, which is why we have to take special care of the quality and professionalism of the created content.
The risk of losing or destroying the image of the company due to mistakes published by marketers for B2B is very high. If you make a tactical blunder it can damage your reputation but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the end. Learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them! Don’t be scared of trying different approaches, test all your ideas and analyse results. Take advantage of user-generated content.
#10 Find your industry influencers
Influencers and people who are talking about your brand cannot be underestimated. Cooperation with them has become a common phenomenon because they effectively engage their followers and are often viewed as more credible and trustworthy than a brand. The greatest benefit of cooperation with influencers is reaching the right target group.
Where to find an influencer for your brand? How to get information about him? Outreach.Buzz and BuzzSumo are platforms that can help you find them and establish cooperation with them.
#11 Align your social media strategy with business objectives
Relax, take a cup of coffee and try to come up with ideas for social media that can help you achieve your goals. You want your followers and viewers to become your customers, right? Then analyze your objectives in terms of relevance and decide what is crucial: set priorities based on the importance.
#12 Find your #hashtags
Hashtags are used for different purposes and in various forms by individuals and companies on social networks, they have become a way of communication in the Internet society. Search for relevant hashtags for your industry, check which ones are the most suitable for you, and prepare a hashtag strategy.
Use them in your social media channels, they might be handy when it comes to running a campaign or a competition or just follow trendy hashtags from your industry.
Hashtags should be:
- readable and friendly
- accurate and as precise as possible
- coherent with each other
- easy to remember and unforgettable
- follow the conversation with a specific subject
How you can use hashtags in B2B businesses? You can create your own hashtag like Digital Olympus did as I mentioned before. You can also follow the approach of admirable IBM Tweet which raises the engagement of their audience during Halloween:
Isn’t it cool?!
#13 Video, visual or an infographic?
Working for B2B companies marketers have a lot of possibilities when it comes to forms of content presentation, you can share reports, create infographics, good quality videos, visuals, carousels, presentations – they are all interesting ways to show surprising statistics of any data that could be of interest to your target audience.
Think of visuals that will bring value – we are all visual addicts – so make your content that is eye-catchy and try different approaches. Maybe it will be worth to spend a little bit more time and create a useful infographic or an informative video.
#14 Be active!
Be active on social networks every day, follow trends and reply to all messages from customers or followers that you get. Try to join the conversations within your industry and don’t forget to be yourself.
#15 Stand out from the crowd – use your creativity!
The companies from above might be considered as boring B2B companies when compared to many B2C companies, when it comes to social media but it is incredible to see how they can implement real life into their social media that actually connect them with their community. Look how creative and fun a B2B social media post can be.
See how Oracle wishes Happy New Year in binary on Instagram!
Check out also IBM idea for Halloween on Twitter!
Are there any inside jokes from your industry that your community would find fun and shareable?
Any company with not well described or unclear B2B product or service must develop angle understandable and attractive to a wider audience. This will allow you to create an idea or initiative that can gain traction in social media.
#16 Act as human
The truth is that we are expected to speak a “human voice” as we are talking to humans! Well, let’s take it from this point of view – our target groups even though they are companies but when you really think about it – it turns out that we are aiming to reach the decision-makers who we want to encourage to become our customers or partners!
So whenever you are preparing a campaign or content, keep in mind that you do it for people, whom you might help with your service or product. Try to surprise them and engaged them, offer them a bit of humor!
TOP TIP: Do not make a mistake of treating your social media accounts only as an advertising space! It is especially important for B2B companies to build a relationship with a customer and let them get to know your brand.
Don’t treat the user as a potential lead – instead, offer him interesting and valuable content that he can educate himself and use it, share it etc.
More and more B2B companies are moving to the online world and implementing their social media presence. But the secret of how to do this lies between creating relevant content and keeping certain goals in mind. Social media are successfully carried out by B2B companies who are identifying with their audiences by keeping content relevant and useful.
Social media is a great way to engage with your audience directly and it’s a huge opportunity to develop a good relationship with your community.
It will improve your reputation and build your brand awareness. You can provide additional value to your audience, increase customer loyalty, expand your reach and Word-of-Mouth. People are more likely to engage with you and promote you if you provide them with great experience.
It is an ideal place to promote published content, and the use of viral marketing, faster access to sharing content, will allow you to reach a huge number of recipients.
It is worth investing in an active and dynamic profile of your company in social media to constantly arouse interest in your business. Positive customer relationships through social media communications affect the growth of your sales.
Moreover, you can improve your company’s image by being active on social media and get feedback from your customers. Consumers who have had good experience with social media services of a brand are more likely to recommend it to others.
Keep in mind that social media alone is not enough without a content that is interesting for the followers and readers.
Content must be created in alignment with your strategy, without this, all social media efforts may prove to be ineffective. The choice of social media channels should be the consequence of the chosen strategy and depending on the goals that we would like to achieve.
Therefore, it’s up to you to incorporate social media into your inbound marketing strategy.