Why Social Media Has To Be Part Of Your B2B Marketing Plan
Do you tend to put social media on the back burner because you’re in the B2B space? Do you feel social media is not crucial to your B2B marketing strategy?
Company decision-makers are often on social media. In fact, IDG Connect found that 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers are influenced by social media when making a purchase. It’s imperative to incorporate social media in your B2B marketing strategy. Here’s how…
Table of Contents:
- Consider your marketing objectives
- Do you have a target audience?
- Key platforms you can leverage on
- Ace social media with these steps
- Measure success to prove your efforts
Consider your marketing objectives
It wasn’t that long ago that brands could get away with building a B2B social media marketing strategy on the fly – or not have one at all. As long as you had a presence on social media platforms, you were part of “the conversation.” Right? Wrong. And that’s definitely not the case.
Brands must align their social strategy with the overall business strategy. With a well-thought out plan, you can invest in platforms and initiatives that produce clear and measurable results.
Grow brand awareness
For payments platform, Assembly Payments, they utilised Twitter to share their brand name change to raise awareness that they’re still the same team but with refreshed branding.
— Assembly Payments (@assemblypayment) March 3, 2017
Drive traffic to your website or company blog
The telco giant boasts an active blog, Telstra Exchange, which features varied articles on company news, industry updates as well as employee advice. All of which is regularly shared across its social media channels.
Fear. Shame. Courage.
ICYMI, this is how Transformation and People Executive Julian Clarke learned to lead fearlessly. https://t.co/BT25hnq9nV
— Telstra (@Telstra) March 2, 2019
Establish your company as a thought leader
Energy supplier, AGL Energy actively promotes their thought leadership by sharing its expertise in the industry through content on LinkedIn.
Gain your customers’ trust
As one of the biggest banks, ANZ constantly uses social media to show how it’s making banking different in order to bolster consumer trust.
Generate more leads
With fun, engaging content, Xero utilises social media effectively to promote its 30-day free trial in an attempt to generate leads.
A report by Social Media Examiner also found that more than half of all B2B marketers are more likely to use social media to form partnerships and gain competitor insights as compared to B2C marketers.
Ultimately, your objectives will determine the metrics you need to measure. If you want more leads, you might track link clicks, number of leads and cost per lead coming from social media.
Do you have a target audience?
You have a target audience in mind but how well do you know this audience? Do you know what they think of your business? Do you know what social channels they visit?
Given that B2B marketing relies on building trust and credibility, it’s important to appeal to the hearts and minds of your target audience.
Your prospects will likely base their purchasing decision on rational thinking and logic, as well as their perceptions of your company as being trustworthy and credible.. It’s important to help them understand that your service or product will assist them in overcoming their pain points or challenges.
Get to know your audience to help inform your strategy, content and the social platforms you utilise for future marketing activity.
One way to understand your audience at a glance is to utilise Meltwater’s Social Influencers tool. For instance, you can see for advisory firm, Gartner, a large portion of Twitter followers in 2018 are from the 25-34 year old category, with a majority being males at 64%.
Age group and gender demographics for Gartner’s Twitter followers in 2018, taken from Meltwater’s Social Influencers tool
For marketing professionals in Gartner, they can now translate this demographic data into actionable insights and influence upcoming marketing strategies with targeted content to further reach this group of users.
Key platforms you can leverage on
To get started with your B2B fsocial media marketing plan, identify the social media platforms to use. While it’s not necessary for you to establish a presence in more than one platform, be wary of not spreading yourself too thin and losing focus.
In the same report by Social Media Examiner, it’s found that Facebook and LinkedIn are top platforms of choice for B2B marketing. More than 90% of B2B marketers use Facebook and nearly 80% use LinkedIn as their primary channels.
Don’t think of LinkedIn as a platform to just headhunt. Consider it a platform where professionals live, where decision-makers are hanging out, where potential sales could occur. It’s ultimately the most effective platform to generate leads and develop thought leadership.
According to LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn and 94% of B2B marketers use the platform as a content distribution tool. In addition, on average, LinkedIn is responsible for 46% percent of social media traffic going to B2B company sites.
However, LinkedIn can also be used beyond lead generation. Xero is a prime example of just that. They actively show empathy on social media to better connect with their audience.
For instance, the company wrote a blog post (which was shared on LinkedIn) to stand in solidarity with those who lost loved ones in the attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Go beyond LinkedIn
LinkedIn is not the only platform available to B2B marketers. While it might be the most popular, several other platforms can also be leveraged to further drive your message. It all depends on the delivery and type of content shared on each platform. So consider adding Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Quora to your plan.
Instagram is a great platform to showcase some creative visuals with storytelling. ANZ Australia does this by combining a mix of images and videos covering fun tips, current events, partnerships and social causes. This is how the bank showcases a fun side to their industry.
Another way to identify which platforms to leverage is to consider where organic conversations are already happening. By taking note of which is the most active platform for your business currently, you can focus your marketing strategies on that channel in the initial stages.
Looking at social coverage for Gartner in 2018, Twitter was the most popular social channel accounting for the bulk of overall brand mentions signifying that it might be worthy to focus marketing efforts on Twitter.
Top social media platforms with Gartner mentions in 2018, taken from Meltwater’s Media Monitoring tool
Ace social media with engaging content
Most B2B marketers won’t even go close to social media because they think either:
- Their industry is too boring for social media
- Social media is just another lead generation platform
While the latter holds some truth, social media still offers a platform to do a whole lot more. It’s also the chance to show a less corporate side of your B2B company.
As for being boring, that’s only true if you make it boring. While B2B marketing content is generally more information-driven than B2C, it doesn’t have to be uninspiring. All you need is the right strategy and content that’s relevant to your audience.
Use creative visuals, storytelling and compelling headlines, along with clever use of humour. This helps to form relationships with your audience without compromising on delivering important information.
You see a perfect shot. We see data.
— IBM (@IBM) April 11, 2019
IBM is a prime example of how to use catchy copy around big events as a way to present the company’s data capabilities on Twitter.
Alternatively, co-working space, WeWork utilises Twitter to showcase their various properties as part of their interior roundups. This essentially helps potential business owners to visualise how their workspace could look like.
— WeWork (@WeWork) April 14, 2019
It also helps that they have a #dogsofwework hashtag that would appeal to business owners who are also dog lovers. Essentially, with this content, WeWork is able to present themselves as a pet-friendly space in a fun manner rather than promoting it explicitly.
— WeWork (@WeWork) April 13, 2019
One way to tell if your content is relevant is to ask yourself if you would engage with the content if you were not working for the company. No? Then it’s time to re-evaluate your content mix.
Measure success to prove your efforts
Once you’ve given time for a B2B social media campaign to run its course, it’s time to analyse everything to understand what worked and what didn’t base on your objectives.
Quantify leads generated
While leads are not always the immediate focus of a B2B social media marketing campaign, they are a good way to monitor progress. Use analytics tools to measure clicks, engagement and social media leads to discover how much your social media campaigns have helped your company’s core objectives.
Analyse social mentions
One way to determine if you’ve created some buzz on social media is by using a tool to track, measure and analyse mentions of your brand on various social channels. This will help you to track the conversations and identify avenues to engage with your audience or produce content according to what they’re looking for.
Meltwater’s Social Listening tool is one such platform that does all that. Simply set up specific searches with keywords relevant or important to your brand and create easy-to-understand dashboards to monitor over time. Some keywords to consider in your searches are your company name and any possible short forms, hashtags or your company’s social media handles.
Once set up, you can start social listening and monitoring what your audience is talking about and where. All of which will provide valuable social insights for your B2B marketing plans.
A dashboard of media monitoring widgets on Meltwater’s Media Monitoring tool
Additionally, you could even set up crisis alerts so you’re always on top of things if social conversations were to turn awry. This helps you curb negative sentiments and react in a timely manner.
Ultimately, social media is about building relationships and creating a sense of connection. If done right, the results can be tenfold. The reality is by not being on social media, you’re likely hindering potential business growth.
So are you ready to take on social media?
Want to find out how Meltwater can help in your Social Media Marketing efforts? Click below!