Recently we went waltzing around Social Media Week Bristol 2019, attending a wide variety of talks and presentations on everything from the changing landscape of Instagram stories, the death of the news feed or how social media is being used as a modern platform for activism.
One talk that really captured our attention was ‘B2B Social Media is Hard,’ hosted by a panel of U.K. marketers and experts, sharing their opinions on how to make social media work when you’re selling a product or service to another business. While opinions in the room were mixed, the talk sparked some lively debate and action points for anyone looking to use social media in the B2B industry.
Where Should my Company Start With B2B Social Media?
As the name of the talk suggests, managing social media for a B2B brand is challenging. Unlike B2C where the consumers are one individual browsing their social networks, engaging with posts and potentially making a purchase, B2B consumers represent entire companies, and it can be hard to see how that plays out on platforms designed for our personal lives.
There will never be a one-size-fits-all approach for every business and starting in the wrong direction could be disastrous and make senior stakeholders wary from the outset. To avoid putting a bad taste in their mouth, put your best, most strategic foot forward.
Ask yourself: Why does my company want to invest in social media? Then, set goals. Second, acknowledge the fact that while you’re selling B2B, your primary contacts and key influencers within companies are people using social media. Figure out a messaging strategy to fit your business goals as well as the person-to-person interactions happening on social media.
Once you have a “why,” you need to find your “where.” Not all social media platforms are created equal.
Which Platforms Should You be Using?
This choice comes back to who you are targeting and where your audience is most likely to be.
Certain platforms have specific use cases that can be right for the problems your B2B business is trying to solve. Do you find that you are currently receiving a lot of questions or support inquiries for your products? Use Twitter as a real-time customer support platform. Do you have plenty of quality blog articles on your website that are valuable to your industry? Use LinkedIn to your advantage and become the authority in your field while connecting with professionals on a network designed for business networking. Even Instagram can be useful for sharing photos to show off your company culture and recruit top talent.
Again, focus on what is right for your industry, your specific offering and make sure the content on each platform is relevant to your audience. Just because some brands have a profile on every social platform available doesn’t mean it is right; don’t use a social media platform just for the sake of it!
What Should You be Posting?
Posting on social always comes back to one of three things: is it entertaining, is it useful or does it give you status? If you are not offering one of these elements, you are more than likely going to see your post lost in the vast amount of content we consume daily.
As a B2B enterprise, focusing on entertainment or humour might not be in line with your brand, but the majority of B2B brands have content and information that others don’t, giving you distinction over competitors. Finding opportunities to promote your business as a thought leader in your industry will make others confident in your business and see you as an authority figure.
Above all, add value. Make your content practical so that you are giving you audience something to take away or to learn from. That can be the greatest challenge for any social media manager—B2B or B2C. How do you continue to add value to the lives of your followers day after day?
When Should You Pay For Social Media Engagement?
It’s no secret that due to algorithm updates and the way content is shown, it’s getting harder to get your organic content in front of existing followers, let alone reach new prospects who might need your services.
There is an argument that you should only be paying for engagement when there is a clear call to action or a conversion point that you want to drive your audience to. Makes sense, right? It is easy to track your ROI on these actions. However, this kind of activity is not as successful if you haven’t previously introduced your brand and nurtured followers to make them want to take action.
The point is: you need organic and paid social media to be successful. You need to nurture your followers, get them emotionally invested in your brand and then serve up ads to convert them to customers.
So, Should You Use Social Media For B2B?
The simple answer is yes, BUT you need to be able to put in as much as you hope to get out of it in order for it to work for you. Before you rush headfirst into setting up social media profiles across the internet, ensure you have clear goals and a content strategy in place. Be strategic about the platforms you choose to use; find out where your audience is and understand what audiences are looking for from that channel.
If your organic strategy gains traction, try your hand at boosting posts and even paid ads. Be sure to test your audiences and creative and have the capacity within your team to optimise, listen and report on the results because otherwise, you can find yourself wasting time, resources and more importantly, money.
Need help launching your paid social media strategy? We have extensive experience developing strategies, designing and writing ads, and optimizing paid campaigns for clients around the world. Let’s chat.