BlogTagged , , , , , ,

Social media for B2B marketing: A whistlestop tour – Part 1

Are you using social media as part of your marketing strategy? Or more to the point, are you using social media effectively to promote your business?

Many B2B businesses assume that using social media isn’t relevant to them or it is an afterthought, just putting out a post on LinkedIn because it seemed like a good idea.

According to research, 84% of B2B executives use social media as a source for making purchase decisions, 92% of B2B buyers use social media to engage with industry thought leaders and 72% of B2B buyers use social media to research solutions. So whilst you are unlikely to go viral or ‘break the internet’ a la Kim Kardashian, social media can and should be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Ignoring it or doing it half-heartedly could mean your company misses out on relationship building opportunities and in the long run, sales.

Whether you use social media successfully, badly, or not at all, this blog series will outline the key areas of consideration and some useful tips on how to plan and execute social media for your business.

Have a plan!

The first consideration for any social media activity is to have a plan. Like any other aspect of your business plan, social media deserves a strategy and goals too. Think about which channel/s you should use.  There is no point starting an account because everyone else has one or choosing TikTok because it’s where the cool kids are. Each channel has its own audiences (which will change over time) with its own benefits and challenges.

Think about the resources available. If you can’t keep up with creating content and posting regularly, you won’t achieve anything other than a neglected, out-of-date feed that reflects badly on your business.

LinkedIn should definitely be the starting point for B2B marketing.

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) state that 97% of B2B companies use LinkedIn and 80% of marketing leads come from this channel. LinkedIn is designed for business and has several features that can be utilised, from video content, articles, event listings and job adverts to its newsletter feature as well as the ability to use it for paid advertising.

Twitter follows as the second-best channel, with 82% of companies using Twitter for B2B marketing and attracts a different audience to LinkedIn and other channels. Twitter users like insights from industry thought leaders and since most people tend to use Twitter to find the latest information about many topics, including B2B information there is little focus on product specifics.

It’s important to do your research before you make a decision on which channel to use – and start with one or two channels to focus on and then decide if want to investigate other channels. You can repurpose the same content for different channels but keeping the objective and audience of each channel in mind.

It’s worth remembering that the greatest benefits of B2B social media marketing are:

  • Creating Brand Awareness
  • Educating Audiences
  • Building credibility and trust

Generating revenue, is much lower on the list of benefits, but don’t let that deter you. You can use social media to get your brand out there, become a though leader within your industry and enhance your reputation as a forward thinking, proactive, professional, friendly (or whatever your goals are) firm.

Go back to marketing basics and create SMART goals, know your target audience, decide on the content mix (more on that later) and ensure you have measurable KPIs. Then you need to actually follow up by analysing what does and doesn’t work.

Every post should have a purpose and should ideally include a call to action, whether a visit to your website, signing up to a newsletter or downloading a white paper.

Play The Long Game

“When I hear people debate the ROI of social media it makes me remember why so many businesses fail. Most businesses are not playing the marathon. They’re playing the sprint. They’re not worried about lifetime value and retention. They’re worried about short-term goals.” — Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, and author

It’s vital to remember that social media is about building relationships, especially in B2B. You aren’t selling cupcakes or cool T shirts that people will order immediately on a whim. Whilst you may consider your target audience to be C-suite or company decision makers, remember that people in their early career will one day be those decision makers and have influence over purchase decisions or move into new roles which will require your services. Nurturing relationships with industry professionals at all levels will pay off in the long run.

Likewise, when you start a social media account your only followers may well be your employees and your mum and when you start posting you may feel that you are shouting into an empty canyon and the only person who likes your posts is your mum, who doesn’t even understand what you it is you do!  Don’t be disheartened, it takes time, effort and persistence. Start by making sure you follow people/companies, comment and share their posts and keep at it. By curating your following, who can be individuals, companies, journalists, suppliers, potential clients, competitors and news accounts you will start to not only get return follows, but shares, and comments but also inspiration from them.

Regularly post interesting, engaging content and you will build relationships, enhance your brand, and demonstrate who you really are as business and as someone people want to do business with.

In my next blog I will focus on content – what you need to consider when creating content, and why it does not necessarily have to be as time consuming or as expensive as you might think.

 

 

Get in touch

+44 (0)203 393 0858

Get in touch to book a free 30-minute needs assessment. You can also email us at info@mdconsulting.com.


Close