Social media is a powerful platform for business to consumer marketing (B2C), yet it can also be used as an equally powerful business to business (B2B) marketing tool. In fact, social media is a crucial element for almost all business success today and savvy forward-thinking managers will investigate the best ways to use social media in business to their advantage.
Social media was traditionally the purview of B2C companies alone, as they worked to build a vast array of individual fans and followers who liked and shared their content to demonstrate their brand allegiance to one and all.
Today, however, B2B companies are discovering the benefits of using appropriate social channels to connect with their customers and influence the market.
B2B social media relevance
Up until now, many B2B entities have questioned the relevance of social media for their enterprises; social media has always seemed to have more of an individual focus than a business focus. Yet those B2Bs that are creating social profiles are finding, with the right approach, social media can be a powerful tool to help grow their business too.
B2B customers, like everyone else, want to know who they are doing business with – and social media is one way they can research their suppliers and service providers. They also research their competition via social platforms. With social media, sales and marketing professionals can engage and infiltrate leads and the activities of their competitors to enhance their own efforts. Insights gained into target audiences, consumers and potential customers are invaluable.
Word of mouth via social media is also extremely powerful and via comments, reviews, shares and the like, you can build or destroy a reputation in a very short space of time. Having a platform for satisfied customers to advocate on your behalf can take your brand to the next level with the global reach of social media.
With the right approach, social media has never had more relevance for B2B companies – and to ignore this channel for enhancing your business would be disastrous.
3 main differences between B2C and B2B social media
Modern content marketing incorporates an array of media channels, not least of which is social media. Social media has unlimited potential as a marketing tool, yet even now many B2B organisations are not entirely convinced of its benefits for their type of business.
The main differences in social media marketing between B2C and B2B are:
- Content – Social content should first and foremost provide value to the audience. A B2C’s content focus ideally will be on blog content, visual content and shareability. B2B, on the other hand, will optimally place their content focus on white papers and eBooks, industry-focused blogs with an authoritarian voice, infographics, case studies, webinars and one-page overviews.
- Metrics – The ultimate goal of B2B marketing is to generate leads, whereas a B2C’s focus is on community awareness and customer engagement. To measure the success of social media marketing for B2B, business owners need to look at their social posting versus their lead generation and web traffic.
- Channels – There is a plethora of social media channels to choose from, however, those that B2B companies must focus on are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, with LinkedIn being by far the most effective.
Your modern B2B social media strategy trends
The successful B2B social media strategy is ongoing. Engagement happens in a series of steps and over time; because social engagement is ongoing and can be adjusted and fine-tuned according to buyer feedback and behaviour.
All social media marketing needs to be optimised for mobile as well as other devices. Integrate your campaign so it appears to have been designed for whatever device it is being accessed on. Mobile optimisation is absolutely critical in this day and age.
How to make social media work for your B2B company
Before you start, you need to effectively identify who your audience is:
- What social platforms are they engaging with?
- Which social platforms are your competitors active on?
- What are your target audience members talking about?
- What gets the biggest engagement?
- What are your goals using social media in business? For example, increasing traffic to your website, increasing awareness of your brand.
2. Build a base of followers
You need to become socially present then build your follower base. You can achieve this by directing your audience to your social media profile and promoting your activity on social media via your website and also via email and SMS marketing. Incorporate your onsite blog into your social media content too.
Part of successful social media engagement is facilitating and participating in a two-way conversation – commit to this as opposed to dictating or preaching to your audience while listening as well.
3. Find your angle
You do not want to be bland or boring! No matter how “dry” your niche may seem, make it exciting – and be excited by it! Think about your brand, business and product creatively, and find a new angle to present it. You need to make it understandable, interesting and appealing to your customers – and even the most boring of entities can be made to look and sound intriguing.
4. Be real
Humanise your brand. Write content in first person and, if possible, have a “face” (even if invisible to the audience) of your social interaction efforts. Foster a “personal” relationship between yourself and those who interact with you via social media.
5. Create content marketing for success
One of the main keys to social media success is creating and sharing outstanding and shareable content. When your content is compelling, people will engage with it and share it. You need to position yourself, your business and your brand as an authority in your niche so that your B2B audience will engage and interact with you.
Make sure all of your content displays brand consistency. Present information that is valuable to others in a business sense. Create and post content that is more likely to generate engagement – no more than 20 per cent of what you post should be a direct sales pitch.
6. Use LinkedIn
It is estimated that nine out of 10 B2B companies use LinkedIn and with good reason. LinkedIn is the “professional” social media channel and it is very good at generating and securing business leads. Professional connections are made on the basis of singular goals, without the personal business-irrelevant “noise” that’s so common on other platforms.
7. Keep going!
Social media marketing, particularly B2B social media, is a marathon as opposed to a sprint. You need to be in it for the long haul so think about these points.
- When challenges or business concerns present themselves, address them and provide solutions.
- React to current issues, industry developments and news broadcasts that are applicable to your industry.
- Offer current and relevant information.
- Use social media to initiate new client relationships.
Social media marketing does take time to deliver results and it’s here to stay. It needs to be used in collaboration with a great product, superior customer service and an appealing brand identity. By listening to your target audience, creating content, engaging with your audience and fostering an open narrative, you can make social media a successful tool in your overall business plan – no matter what type of business you run. B2B social media has the potential to be even more transformative because it generally constitutes much bigger business transactions. So what are you waiting for?
Your next steps:
Social media is an ever-changing environment so be sure to stay up to date with the happenings, trends and latest information. Here are three things you should do while you’re visiting my blog:
- TRENDS: Check out the social media trends in 2016 and get ahead of the pack. We are only into the fourth month, so there’s still plenty of time to get on board with the trends in social. Your business will thank you for it.
- BLOGS: Take a look around my blog, there’s plenty of information on all social media platforms. We publish every week so there will always be new content for you to consume and use within your business.
- COURSE: We’ve got a free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of this platform especially for B2B enterprises. If LinkedIn is your preferred social media channel, take a look at this course to raise your profile, generate leads and boost your business – so LinkedIn can start working for you. Link to course signup
- NEW BOOK: The LinkedIn Playbook– The latest release by Adam Houlahan register here for pre release special offers.