B2B social media marketing is often written off as boring or unnecessary. But if that’s your company’s take, it could be missing out.
Just look at Adobe. The digital media company credits its LinkedIn marketing efforts for closing 42% of its deals in 2018.
Not only that. B2B marketing helps Adobe ink bigger contracts. According to LinkedIn data, deals influenced by marketing on LinkedIn were 161% larger on average than those forged offline, in the boardroom, or otherwise.
Need a stronger business case for getting on social media? Here’s how to use social media for B2B marketing, social selling, customer service and more.
Why use social media for B2B marketing
Wondering if B2B social media marketing is right for your business? These are some of the reasons you should consider it.
Your top competitors already are
Don’t think B2B social media marketing is worth it? What about your competitors?
If the competition is on social, they’re connecting with a key customer segment you could be missing out on. And that social segment is key. They’re often one of the most vocal and persuasive customer groups.
Your customers look for service on social media
Customers have high expectations for brands in both B2C and B2B arenas. Many of your clients go online to share feedback, reviews, voice opinions, and ask questions. Don’t leave them hanging. Employ the best B2B social media tools so you can show up when you’re called upon, and even when you’re not.
You may be missing leads and sales opportunities
Don’t overlook social media B2B lead generation opportunities. Social media is critical space for nurturing sales prospects, from identifying intent to purchase to social selling.
A survey by IDC found that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of executives use social media to make purchasing decisions. Buyers are receptive to social engagement, too. According to LinkedIn, 76% are ready to strike up a conversation.
You shouldn’t ignore social insights
Every B2B social media plan should go beyond marketing.
Learn what your customers care about by engaging in online discussions. Listen to what people are saying. Read customer reviews and comments, and use these insights to inform strategic business decisions.
How to create a B2B social media strategy
No matter the size or scale of your business, having a B2B social media strategy in place is important.
According to a recent poll by the Content Marketing Institute, 52% of B2B marketers say all the marketing for their organization is run by a small or one-person team. At the other end of the spectrum, large multinationals may have hundreds of people, partners, other parties involved in social media marketing. In both cases, a clear strategy makes defining scope and achieving goals more manageable.
In addition to a content calendar, team structure, brand voice and best practices guides, your B2B social media plan should:
Align goals with business objectives
Just like a good B2C strategy, every B2B social media plan should answer the following two questions:
What are the company’s business objectives? and How will social media marketing help achieve them?
The S.M.A.R.T goal or Objectives and Key Results rubrics provide a good framework for this.
A strong B2B social media plan outlines where the opportunities lie. In order to spot them, start with a competitor audit. Use the S.W.O.T. framework to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within the competitive landscape. Or create a competitive matrix that applies to your industry.
Develop buyer personas
All marketers should know who they’re trying to reach. B2B social media marketing is no different.
Create audience and buyer personas. Your corporate structure probably already caters to these personas. For instance, a design firm may create for commercial, public, and residential customers, and likely has team members or verticals that specialize in each category. Your B2B social media marketing should do the same.
Focus on the right platforms
Pay and spray is never a great approach—especially not for a B2B social media strategy. As a general rule, you should be where you customers are. If you’re not sure where that may be, have a look at social audience demographics.
Or you could just ask. According to Hootsuite polls run on LinkedIn and Twitter, the best platforms are LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In that order.
According to LinkedIn, 97% of B2B marketers use the network for content marketing.
Plan how you will measure your efforts
Plan to prove return on investment. Identify how you will measure the performance of your efforts. What metrics and data will you monitor? This may include everything from response time, to impressions and engagement rate to conversions and sales. Establish your key performance indicators (KPIs), then set benchmarks and achievable goals.
Don’t ignore other barometers, such as customer satisfaction ratings, qualitative reviews, and your Net Promoter Score. Look at other factors, reductions in recruitment and customer service costs as well.
Be realistic about what efforts you’ll have hard numbers for, and the efforts that have a value that is trickier to quantify. Remember, just because you can measure something doesn’t always mean you should. And just because you can’t measure something doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.