Marketing to businesses may not always be the same as marketing to consumers, but there’s one thing they have in common: people. Even when you’re selling to other businesses, it’s important to remember that your audience are still people. By adapting your approach to focus on connecting with your target companies’ key decision-makers, you can build relationships and drive conversations. Social media activities are worth considering in this context as they can make your company appear more accessible and responsive.
When we think of brands that have gained success through social media, the first few that come to mind are probably the B2C businesses, such as Nike and Starbucks, rather than B2B businesses. The majority of B2B companies have either struggled with social media because they don’t know how to do it well or simply ignored it - since they mainly rely on traditional tactics such as cold-calling, networking meetings and pitching events. Those tactics are effective, but they shouldn’t be used in place of social media.
There are several benefits of using social media in a B2B market to consider within your own B2B strategy that brings valuable results. These include:
1. Affordable marketing
Using only organic reach on social media, at a basic level, won’t cost you a penny beyond paying for the labour cost of your employee(s) to manage and monitor it, which makes it relatively cheap and easy. Even if you are looking at improving the reach you have on your channels using paid campaigns, it is possible to set up a budget. That way, you don’t have to worry about overspending, while growing your reach.
2. Personally connect with the target audience
Many B2C companies use social networks as customer service channels to resolve issues or questions that might arise. Others are monitoring the channels for any mention of their name as an opportunity to reach out and connect with the customer in a positive way. If you’re swift and responsive on social media – it is possible to create organic new business opportunities otherwise unavailable to you.
3. Businesses are already there
If nothing else motivates you to establish a strong social media presence, then this should: Your competition is already there! Not only your competition, but B2B firms are expecting to use social media in their current and future purchasing and client searching as well. If a potential client is searching via social media for a product or service you offer, do you want to be left out?
4. If you do it right, you might attract new talent to join your team
Often, B2B companies don't realise the recruitment potential social media channels deliver. It’s important to remember your future employees are watching and reading your posts too. If candidates want to know about the company culture at their potential future workplace, they’ll head over to social media as their first port of call.
We are bringing a few of our top tips to consider to help deliver a successful social media marketing strategy as a B2B brand:
1. Choose the tone of voice you want to use to reach your target audience carefully
Think about what personality fits your brand and your company culture? Whether that is being honest, knowledgeable, experienced, creative, playful or funny, use it to your advantage and show it off in your content.
2. Consider whose attention you are seeking
What are the age, gender, income and location that your target audience represents?
What are their interests, where do they spend their time online and what types of content they consume (for example, what social sites they spend the most time on, what blogs they’re reading, what YouTube channels they’re watching, etc.)? What are the problems they are facing on a daily basis?
3. Think about what social platforms you want to use – and whether it’s the best platform to target your key audience
Choosing the right platform for your company depends on where your audience spends most of their time, and where your content belongs. The picture below might help you better understand this.
4. Consider your goals – and what good looks like for your business.
Social media can benefit your business in numerous ways, but what is it that you are in need of? Is it increasing brand awareness, educating, inspiring or engaging with your audience? Is it looking for potential customers or clients?
Be clear on this point so you avoid posting content that is not compatible with your goals, which will also help in reaching exactly what you are looking for.
5. Consider how your competitors are using social media.
Analyse your competition and their social media activity. Which type of content works well for them, and which should be avoided?
On the other hand, make sure not to copy anything that your competitors are doing, since this might influence your brand image and you’ll fall behind in gaining a competitive advantage. Use what you learn in your own advantage, which means including content that your competitors are not providing to their audience.
6. Think about what type of content you will be publishing.
Good content usually indicates good marketing. But what is “good content” for your business? Simply, it is the content that your audience resonates with. Make social media about your audience, not just your business. A good way to tell whether or not you’re sharing great social media content is to ask yourself this: If I didn’t work for this company, would I look at this post?
Once you’ve completed your competitor analysis, you can look into posting different, bespoke or unique content. But when doing so, remember to follow your goals and your main message.
7. Consider which social media metrics to use.
Data, data, data. It might sound boring, but it is the best proof of your successes or failures on social media. There are various tools out there that can help you measure your efforts and give you concrete information about what is performing well and what you should do more of, and vice versa, such as Facebook Business Manager, Hootsuite, Maybe*, Whatagraph, Sprout Social, Buffer and many more.
8. Don’t forget to think long-term.
It’s unlikely you will generate immediate results from social media. This is a game that requires a long-term strategy and learning, while constantly improving and evolving your approach.