The Content Marketing Institute found that 91% of organizations in the B2B sphere use content marketing for outreach and retaining a well-defined audience.
However, they also found that of the B2B respondents who had greater year-over-year success, 78% attributed it to simply creating higher quality content as opposed to just 50% for knowing where and how to target and distribute B2B content.
Content marketing for B2B can be a difficult nut to crack because while the goals can actually be clearer than B2C, getting engagement in the B2B sphere is perceived as harder to accomplish since there’s often less “street cred” deployed there unlike a B2C Instagram or YouTube channel.
In addition, B2B prospects simply have less time and propensity to engage than consumers in general. Creating good B2B content and putting it out there isn’t enough: What about finding the right people to engage with and the right social channels?
Creating good B2B content and putting it out there isn’t enough: What about finding the right people to engage with and the right social channels?
What Is B2B Social Media Marketing?
In contrast to B2C social media marketing, the term “B2B social media marketing” describes leveraging social media to market a brand, product, or service to other businesses.
In fact, marketing to other businesses on social media actually has a lot in common with the process of marketing to everyday consumers and households. Similarities include but are not limited to objectives like:
- Encouraging better brand awareness
- Generating high-quality leads likely to lead to valuable contracts
- Actively engaging with existing and potential customers
- Brainstorming and creating relevant high-value content
However, B2B social media marketing differs from B2C in some crucial ways. Potential B2B clients are generally making business decisions on behalf of an entire team or company, and social media marketing content needs to reflect that difference.
Content may also differ according to the target audience’s interests and goals. A marketing team’s ideal platform of choice may differ, as well — LinkedIn or HubSpot, for instance, instead of TikTok or Tumblr.
Why Should B2B Companies Invest in Social Media?
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that social media marketing is only for brands looking to sell to everyday consumers. It’s an important part of any comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
These days, everyone is on social media. Everyone uses it to research purchase decisions and keep up with brands they’re interested in, including your next round of B2B clients. The following are some key benefits of embracing it as part of your marketing strategy.
It can save you money on content promotion
Although you have the option of paying for social media advertising if you wish, social media marketing, on the whole, is an incredibly cost-effective way to get your best content in front of the right audiences.
Smart posting and audience building are often enough to build a high degree of organic reach, especially if you also stay on top of engagement. This makes social media marketing a viable option even for small to mid-sized businesses on tight or non-existent budgets.
You can drastically expand your brand’s reach
Close to half the people in the world use one form of social media or another. Most social media users are also on their favorite platforms daily and use them for multiple purposes, including business research, so it’s an ideal opportunity to build brand recognition and reach new audiences.
All it takes is a working knowledge of your platforms of choice and the features your target audience uses most.
You can establish and nurture valuable business-client relationships
It isn’t just everyday consumers who prefer to feel a connection to the brands they buy from. B2B customers value solid business-client relationships, as well, especially when they’re trusting a brand with a really big job.
Social media offers a brand countless chances to establish and nurture the kinds of connections with customers that really last. Examples include mutually stimulating industry discussions, valuable direct message threads, and exciting events that include user-generated content.
It can teach you a lot about your audience
B2B social media marketing also has tons of potential value from a market research angle. Techniques like social media listening can reveal what your existing and potential target audiences care about. You’ll learn what they talk about, when, why, and in what contexts.
You’ll discover a lot simply by engaging directly with your audience, as well. You can then use what you learn to adapt not only your digital marketing approach but your products and service offerings, as well.
It takes the guesswork out of customer care
Around 35 percent of modern consumers actually prefer getting assistance with an issue on social media as opposed to over the phone or via other avenues. It feels more personal, and in many cases, it’s faster and more effective.
Incorporating social media into your marketing strategy also allows you to address important feedback as soon as possible. Examples include on-page service reviews, comments, and ongoing conversations.
Best Practices for B2B Social Media
B2B social media content that resonates strikes a solid balance between capturing people’s attention when it counts and blending into the larger social media experience the rest of the time.
Remember, no one likes feeling like someone’s only interested in selling them something. Even though B2B customers tend to be more no-nonsense than the average consumer, they still like to feel like people first and customers second.
Nailing the right content approach is the key to making this happen, especially within the B2B niche. Here are some best practices to know and keep in mind.
Play it SMART with your marketing goals
B2B social media marketing aligns with every other type of digital marketing in that proper goal-setting is crucial. That means going in with a solid understanding of what you want to accomplish and which key performance indicators (KPIs) you should use to get you there.
Remember, SMART goals are always:
So, avoid setting vague goals like “driving more website traffic.” Instead, decide on a specific percentage by which to raise your traffic. Decide which pages you want to drive it to, as well as set a method for accomplishing your goal and a deadline.
Make original content your mainstay
One common mistake many businesses make – especially within the B2B sector – is over-relying on other people’s content to keep their social media feeds full of interesting material. Granted, reshares and retweets are great ways to add variety to your feeds, but they shouldn’t be your mainstays.
B2B brands that succeed on social media are masters at creating fantastic original content that’s in line with both their unique brand voices and the needs of their target audiences. They’re also as focused on becoming industry authorities as they are on closing sales, and it shows.
Don’t feel as if you need to handle the entire job of brainstorming and creating original content on your own, though. Consider building a team of content writers, social media content creators, and other pros who can help you stay on track without having to cut corners when it comes to quality.
Develop your brand voice
Remember, people don’t follow or engage with brands on social media to feel sold to. They do it to be entertained, stay informed, get inspired, or all of the above. That said, canned, generic-sounding social media content isn’t good enough to make the grade.
You need to develop your unique brand voice and see to it that it’s consistent across not only your social media profiles but your website, product packaging, and sales material, as well.
That said, determine what your brand’s personality is like. Is it breezy and carefree because yours is the type of company that can simplify even the toughest problems? Maybe it’s about being the brand with all the industry answers, no matter how obscure.
Not sure what your overall brand voice is? Have a good dig into your company blog, landing page copy, email marketing content, and so forth. What emotions and approaches stand out and are consistent across all of your content?
Embrace multiple media types
The most successful B2B brands on any platform don’t simply post the same type of content again and again. They mix things up, embrace multiple media types, and go out of their way to keep their feeds interesting for their audiences.
So, experiment with multimedia. Alternate text-based posts and link shares from your blog with video content, memes, photos, and informative infographics. When your social media platforms of choice introduce new features, embrace them and develop new content especially for them.
Keep track of which media and types of posts resonate the most strongly with your audience, and then do what you can to duplicate those successes in the future.
Put some faces to the brand name
The better you are at humanizing your brand, the easier it will be to establish connections with your customers that last and last. People love being reminded that even the biggest brands are run by real humans with real goals and feelings, just like them.
Shining a spotlight on some of the individuals behind your brand is a solid way to accomplish this. So, occasionally include social media posts that highlight the accomplishments of some of your employees.
Sharing portions of the story behind your brand and taking your audience behind the scenes once in a while are also great ways to engage your audience on a new level.
If content is king when it comes to great B2B social media marketing, then consistency is queen. But staying consistent is one of the bigger challenges of managing a branded social media page, as it takes commitment, planning, and creativity.
Optimal posting frequencies vary from platform to platform, and they represent a great place to start when planning your posting strategy.
But given the choice between quality and quantity, it’s always better to choose quality. Posting just a few social media golden eggs a week is preferable to filling your feed with low-value content just for the sake of staying active.
Strike a better balance between the two with a content creation calendar that lets you plan awesome posts plenty of time in advance. Create your content in advance and schedule it to post when your audience is most active and present.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to experiment, even once you hit on a system that works for you and your brand. Try different ways to engage your audience. Test-drive new content types. Experiment with techniques like emoji use, mix up the link position in your link shares, and try different hashtags on for size.
Sooner or later, all the most successful B2B brands go off-script with their B2B social media marketing strategies and come up with unique best practices of their own to supplement what they already know.
10 Social Media Content Ideas for B2B Companies
We’re all familiar with the shooting stars, like NASA’s #AYearInSpace campaign, and we can’t forget Oreo’s Super Bowl famous “dunk in the dark” tweet, but what about the brands that are killing it on a pretty regular basis?
Take a lesson or two from these top B2B social media campaign leaders – so you can kill it on social media too.
1. Leverage your employees as brand advocates: Dell – Facebook
Technology company, Dell, is one of the social media pioneers, including employee advocacy. Employees are encouraged to share their own content in addition to what the company’s marketing team provides.
The Dell social media goal, according to program head, Amy Heiss, is for 80% of posts to be employee-generated and reflect what is important to them and relevant to Dell customers while 20% is directly about Dell.
2. Let your customers know that you get them: Salesforce – Twitter
Put your customer in the spotlight and you can’t go wrong. Salesforce asked a simple question: how did their cloud solutions change their customers’ lives? They mentioned that they would be featuring customer stories and the campaign took off.
Not long after that initial tweet, the company started creating inspiring stories of the real people behind the product, the customers. People love well-written human interest stories and that shows in the incredible engagement that these posts attract.
3. Find the story in everything: Intel – YouTube
The chip manufacturer shows that no matter what, in everything, there is a story. The thousands of videos on their YouTube channel are about chips, but not exclusively. They also tell stories about what the chips they create actually do in the world, and what they make happen.
Each video is very nicely shot, not over-the-top cinematic, but with nice visuals and professional photography. The stories are well told, speaking to the wide range of audiences that comprise the company’s diverse customer base.
4. Use a clever and relevant call to action: Powwownow – LinkedIn
This web conferencing and conference call service knows how to live in the moment – and make their product necessary no matter what is going on.
Their multichannel “call and conquer” campaign is a reminder that no matter what is happening around you, be it a snowstorm or the London tube strike, you can still stay connected with clients and those meetings can happen even if you can’t be there face to face.
5. Go live! GE – Facebook Live
There is something about being real, raw, and honest at the moment that captures people’s interest.
GE has brought that realness and humanity to its brand with unscripted, unchoreographed Facebook Live videos, showing that it isn’t just for the B2C crowd.
It allows you to interact with your customers in real-time, answering questions and responding to comments. Create some buzz and drive participation by crowdsourcing questions.
6. Allow your whimsical side to shine: IBM – Instagram
The technology company that once had one of the most conservative dress codes in business now shows the world that it can let its hair down and have some fun.
Using stunning, eye-catching images and a sprinkle of whimsy here and there, the brand’s 223k followers are encouraged to leave comments for employees or caption images of behind-the-scenes peeks into IBM’s offices and functions around the globe.
It’s OK to have some fun on social media – your audience will love it.
7. Tell your brand story in a big way: MarketStar – Facebook
This Utah marketing firm really knows how to tell a story. With fantastic graphics and engaging content, they use their social media accounts to support their blog but also use their employee stories to tell their own story.
8. Create well-thought-out and well-shot video content: Volvo Trucks – YouTube
The world-famous “Epic Split” video featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme shot to viral fame with millions of views and hundreds of thousands of likes and comments – plus a nice, hefty bump in the company’s subscriber base.
You don’t need a celebrity to boost your brand, though. You just need content that is done well.
9. Form partnerships with influencers in your customers’ industry: Lenovo – Twitter
How can a technology company set itself apart? By leveraging influencers in their customers’ industries, that’s how.
Lenovo has executed this impressively by engaging in strategic partnerships such as their relationships with the MIT App Inventor program and educational non-profit NAF. The company voices its support of these organizations and their causes, attracting attention to their brand and increasing engagement.
10. Have fun and use visuals: MailChimp – Instagram
MailChimp’s social media involvement is a little zany and a bit bizarre – they definitely are not afraid to show the lighter side of marketing automation.
Their “Did You Mean MailChimp” campaign was a real crowd pleaser as the company had a little fun with the many ways that people have mistaken their name. Their Instagram feed is chock full of creative, funny images that not only show what they do but allow the brand’s personality to bubble to the surface.
Social strategy for B2B doesn’t need to be as stiff and formal as it seems to be at first blush. To create quality content and have equally strong social content to go with it, it has to be more than just empty hashtags and shares.
You can count on our freelance social media copywriters and designers to create captivating content for your B2B social media, aligned with stunning visuals. Get started with your WriterAccess experience for free!