Back 2 Basics with B2B Social Media

B2B marketing is intricate and complex. Your company’s product or service evolves as the end-user’s needs change. The messaging to support it can also be in a constant state of optimization. You launch marketing campaigns, waiting to see what resonates. And managing the sales funnel, with any given lead at a different consideration or decision stage than the next person, can be overwhelming.

The nuances of a stellar marketing strategy make your day-to-day a challenge – hopefully, a fun one. Figuring out where social media fits into the mix can be an exciting endeavor, too. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way in guiding several B2B companies through their social media beginnings.

Prioritize Your Presence Where It Makes the Most Business Sense

The business case for social media will differ depending on your industry and target audience, but don’t “do” social media just to check a box. Neither should you dive into every channel with the same level of care and intention. While there are benefits to being present on most social channels, allocate the majority of your time to the one that aligns with business goals. Decide which channel(s) will be “table stakes” – where you maintain a basic presence for the sake of brand awareness. Then determine which you’ll focus on for a real contribution to your bottom line.

In many B2B cases, this translates to more of a focus on distributing thought leadership content on LinkedIn or Twitter, and not so much tinkering with Instagram. If you have ambitious sales goals for the coming year, it may make sense to spend less time curating pretty pictures and more time writing long-form content to distribute to prospective decision makers. But, if imagery meets your B2B needs, then by all means, do it beautifully. Just tie your efforts to engagement opportunities and measurable outcomes – it will help you see where your time is best spent, and keep you moving in the right direction.

Strategize Your Content Based on the Audience

While hugely important, leads shouldn’t be the only goal of engaging on social media. I previously mentioned brand awareness. Think, when someone reads or hears about your company, where is the first place they’ll go to find out more? A sales lead may first to go the website and then navigate their way to LinkedIn, ‘following’ your company’s profile for the latest updates. If it’s a potential new hire, they may check Instagram to get a feel for company culture or your community involvement. Twitter users often use their feeds as a daily brief on industry news. What quick content will you offer them there? Will your tweets point to a landing page on your website, a blog post, or perhaps back to your LinkedIn content? The possibilities really are endless, but you should always come back to asking  yourself “what makes the most sense for this audience?”

One thing to note in distributing thought leadership content through social media: find a balance between free and gated content. Securing a white paper behind a download form can bring you qualified marketing leads, but it might also be a hard-stop for those not ready to be sold to yet. So, think of the value you can provide someone before they’re ready to engage with you directly. Then, delight them with helpful content, no strings attached.

Connect Your Social Media to Traditional B2B Tactics

While sometimes you must “think outside the box” for creative content ideas, many quick-win social strategies are right under your nose, including the following best practices:

  • What are you already doing in your marketing that can be further amplified on social media? Think of the tradeshows and networking events you’ll attend this year. What content should you post in the days leading up to the occasion? Is there an event hashtag you can explore, participating in social chatter ahead of time or on-location?
  • Equip your people to magnify the brand on social. After all, we’re more likely to make a purchase decision based off recommendations from people we have common ground with or know personally. If employees organically share your company’s content, adding their own perspective,  those who follow them will trust the content that much more. An easy way to empower employee engagement is sending an FYI email ahead of something being published. Provide ready-to-go language for them to copy and paste. You’re doing some of the work for them, further encouraging them to participate online.

Feeling inspired? I hope so! All of these tips are well and good, but knowing where to begin can be daunting, which is why we’ve also put together a how-to on starting your social media program. Or if you’re interested in exploring the possibilities of paid social, dig into our guide on successful LinkedIn marketing. Social media is just one piece of your overall B2B marketing strategy. When done right, it will help you make real connections and lead to ongoing client relationships.