When it comes to social media marketing, B2C companies have it easy. The key for them is connecting with consumers on a personal level, and what better way to do that than on networks that emphasize personal connections and relationship building? But B2B marketers, take heart: It’s possible to create and build momentum for a B2B social media campaign. In fact, Search Engine Land reported on a 2013 survey that found 87% of B2B marketers use social media. Just know your audience, pick the right networks, watch your competitors, and create good content. Who knows? You might even find it fun.
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[Tweet “Per @sengineland, 87% of B2B marketers use social media.”]
Know Your Audience
This step is key in any form of B2B advertising. Knowing the problems and challenges of your audience can help you determine what products, services, or information they need. But the enterprise buying cycle is complex. It involves more than one person, and so has different audiences. One approach is to isolate the problems faced at different levels:
- What goals does the company as a whole need to meet, and how does your product meet those goals?
- Why would the decision maker choose your product?
You can then craft content that’s specific for these audiences by appealing directly to their needs.
But social media is highly personal, so how do you actually communicate with these different audiences? Search Engine Land recommends these two ways.
1. Communicate with decision-makers as your brand
2. Communicate with decision-makers as yourself, on behalf of your brand
An example of #1 would be communicating with a buyer within your target market from your brand’s Twitter account. An example of #2 would be communicating with a buyer from your own personal Twitter account, or via your LinkedIn account, while identifying yourself as a representative of your company.
Pick the Right B2B Social Media Networks
Not all social media channels are right for your company, especially when it comes to B2B social media. You’re way better off creating a B2B social media strategy around a handful of networks that will work best for your brand than adopting a “spray and pray” approach. That way, you’re not wasting your time posting on a million different platforms with nothing to show for it.
So, which ones do you choose? In his blog post on social media strategy, digital media strategist Matthew Barby says that text-heavy, video-based content does really well on networks like Google+, Twitter, YouTube, and SlideShare; content that B2B companies are more likely to produce. He adds that Google+ is ideal for seeding followers organically, a good way to jump start any B2B social media campaign. And, of course, there’s LinkedIn, the gold standard for B2B social media. Business2Community reported in March that about 80% of B2B leads came through LinkedIn.
[Tweet “@B2Community reports that ~80% of B2B leads came thru LinkedIn.”]
Check Out the Competition
What content do they post and when? Whom do they follow? Who follows them? Watch your competitors and learn from them—at the very least, you need to know what they’re offering their audience so you can make your content stand out.
You should be able to name some of your main competitors offhand, but you can also start out with a simple Google search of industry terms to identify leaders. Visit their websites to find their social media accounts; Barby also recommends using a tool like BuzzStream to pull that information automatically from their sites. See who they follow—following these people as well may help to build momentum for a stagnating campaign. You can also use these companies as benchmarks; you can measure your progress against theirs.