Ready to inject new life into your B2B social media marketing strategy? Disappointed that you’re not seeing the results you expected from your digital efforts? Here’s our recipe for reinventing your social media. Every recipe starts with the description of the dish you’re going to cook, so let’s start with what social media marketing is and why it’s important for your business in 2022.
Dish Description: What is B2B Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing refers to the use of social media websites as an online marketing tool to boost traffic, generate shares, and increase brand awareness. The goal of social media marketing in business is to establish and support relationships with a target audience that lead to marketing performance improvements (website traffic, leads, brand awareness, etc.). That’s why B2B social media marketing uses different social channels to market products and services to business clients and partners. B2B marketers should think strategically to reach relevant decision-makers.
Unlike B2C marketing, B2B social media marketing focuses on more professional types of content like white papers, e-books, infographics, and case studies. Providing valuable and engaging social media content is a perfect way to reach out to businesses and build engagement. Once you’ve got some satisfied customers, you might even get a referral.
Nutrition Facts: B2B Social Media Statistics
Before we share how to create a B2B social media strategy, let’s take a quick look at some key numbers that prove how B2B marketers are using social media.
- Over 3.6 billion people use social media worldwide, and that number is projected to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025.
- Social media advertising was used by 83% of B2B marketers and ranked second in success (29%) behind search engine marketing (33%).
- The Sprout Social Index reported that 50% of consumers increased their social media usage in the last six months.
- 57% of consumers will follow a brand to learn about new products or services, while 47% will follow to stay up to date on company news.
- The most successful B2B content marketers reported that the top two contributing factors were the value their content provides (83%) and website changes (60%).
- 54% of social browsers use social media to research products.
As you can see, social media is everywhere. Over the last few years, it has become the primary marketing channel for businesses. That’s why it’s critical that your business has a well-developed B2B social media marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at the tangible benefits such a strategy will provide.
Nutritional Value: The Importance of Social Media in B2B Business
Although B2B companies aim at selling their products and services to other companies, B2B marketing is based on human interaction. Social media has been always used for these purposes, but over the last few years, it has become an integral part of B2B marketers. With the help of social media, they communicate with their prospects and partners and gain a lot of benefits, including:
- Growing Their Audience. Social media gives businesses a window into the largest addressable market online, plus shows what actual people talk about or like. Once you learn how to solve this market’s problems with thought leadership content, you can build an audience that believes in your brand, products, and services.
- Increasing Website Traffic. Sharing content on social media is a great opportunity to drive traffic to your website. By including social media in your marketing strategy, you will add a new channel for your users to find your website. That’s why the more high-quality content you share and the more active you are with your audience, the more social media referral traffic you will get.
- Better Understanding of Their Audience. In addition to website traffic and increased likes and shares, B2B social media marketing allows businesses to make friends with their target audience. A better understanding of your target audience will help you generate more interesting content and provide users with information that satisfies their needs and preferences.
- Building Brand Awareness. Thanks to a wide range of social media platforms for B2B marketing, businesses can tell their stories, share why they provide products and services, and keep users updated about their news. Additionally, if business managers reach out to their employees, they will help spread the word even farther.
- Building a Community. With enough planning and engagement, businesses can build a community around their brand on social media. You can encourage your customers and employees to like and share your content in order to reach a wider audience.
- More Search Visibility. Social media is one of the most important factors in organic search success. It not only drives link acquisition but also helps your pages rank higher on Google.
- Measuring Marketing Results. Social media platforms and tools allow you to track KPIs. This way you can learn what is and isn’t successful and how you can improve your outreach. Additionally, regular social media metric reports can result in major shifts for your social team (for example, budget increases). Metrics also keep you aware of social profile and brand health.
- Attracting the Attention of Decision Makers. Social media is a go-to method to catch the attention of decision-makers and influencers through social media and other stakeholders. You can create and share webinars, podcasts, and one-pagers to solve problems for other people. Remember that if you want to engage with your potential audience, you should be where they are, which is mostly on B2B social media platforms.
Main Ingredients: B2B Social Media Strategy Elements
I think we’ve established the need for brands to create a B2B social media marketing strategy, but what does this strategy actually look like? Let’s look at the most important angles.
Social Media Listening and Monitoring
Social media listening and monitoring means tracking platforms for conversations and mentions about your brand, as well as analyzing trends happening in the industry. It helps businesses understand how people feel about their brand and competitors. Monitoring social media conversations in the industry can also help businesses understand what’s working and what is not. This information can be a true asset especially for your product development, customer services, and marketing campaigns.
Marketing Strategy and Social Media Messaging
If you already have a content marketing strategy, make sure to customize it to your B2B social media platform. Embed searchable hashtags and create a more professional atmosphere on LinkedIn or Instagram to message about your brand in a unique way. Social media messaging is effective when it makes the life of users easier. This makes your audience is more likely to buy your products and better educated about industry trends. When creating content, it’s good to keep the following in mind:
- Deliver value to your followers first
- Make your content useful and interesting
- Provide a unique point of view
- Be consistent in post frequency, tone, and voice
Social Media Ads
Not all businesses use the power of social media advertising despite its tangible benefits. These benefits include:
- Tracking ROI. You can directly track return on investment from your marketing campaigns. This is especially valuable for marketers who want to exclude undesirable campaigns to generate more results.
- Target customers. With the help of social media advertising, businesses can target ideal customers based on exact demographics such as location, age, interests, behaviors, website visitors, email lists, and gender. This information allows business owners and marketers to use more details in marketing campaigns to make sure that they are showing relevant information to relevant people.
- Build audiences. In addition to being able to target specific audiences, social media advertising can help you store and use this data for your future campaigns. For example, if someone clicks on your ad, subscribes to a newsletter, or visits a landing page, you can retarget them later with more offers and contextual advertising.
Target Audience Segmentation
Target audience segmentation is the process of dividing your audience into groups based on unique characteristics in order to create more personalized marketing campaigns. This way you can better reach and appeal to your users. The four most common types of audience segmentation are demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral. Demographic segmentation is one of the most common segmentation examples. It incorporates details like:
- Family situation
- Job title
Geographic segmentation divides customers into categories based on their location. It can be categorized by:
- Zip code
- Proximity to a specific property or location
This target audience segmentation is especially important for brick-and-mortar businesses because they can target customers located near their business. It’s also effective for geotargeting and geofencing.
Psychographic segmentation. This segmentation splits audiences into categories based on their character traits and personalities. Of course, unlike other segmentation examples, it cannot be proven by data or a simple report. Usually, it requires an interview or research on customers. The segments are the following:
- Personality traits
Behavioral Segmentation. This segmentation categorizes users based on their activity and engagement, especially with your brand. It helps you understand what your audience is most likely to purchase. Behavioral segmentation may divide customers based on:
- Social media engagement
- Email engagement
- User/member status
- Purchasing habits (last store visit, type of purchases, frequency of purchases, etc.)
- Use of your website (pages visited, forms filled out, etc.)
With an account-based approach, you focus marketing on reaching decision-makers at a target list of companies that you would like to sell to. Using B2B social media platforms, you can engage with your accounts at scale. You can share useful and relevant content or motivate your customers to take part in quizzes, surveys, etc. Once you’ve found your target audience on social media platforms, you can track how they engage with your company’s organic traffic. One of the ways you can do this is by using a tracking code when you publish links, which helps you understand which social networks are driving the most traffic.
Social ad campaigns are also a good chance to support your account-based marketing program. Both Facebook and LinkedIn can help you with social media campaigns. They allow you to upload CSV files of target accounts, take advantage of video ads, and integrate lead generation forms. LinkedIn is more suitable for targeting by companies and titles, while Facebook has more reach and a much lower cost-per-click.
Instructions: How To Create B2B Social Media Strategy
For B2B companies to be successful on social media, it’s critical to create a social media marketing strategy for both short-term and long-term goals. These steps will drive your success on social media.
1. Spell Out Goals for B2B Social Media Marketing
The first two questions you should ask yourself are: what are your company’s goals and how can B2B social media marketing help achieve them? Usually, the top three goals for B2B content marketers include:
- Educating users
- Building trust and credibility
- Creating brand awareness
All of these goals help you generate more leads, so it’s no surprise that most B2B marketers also use content marketing to nurture potential and actual users. Knowing what KPIs you want to achieve will help you figure out what actions you need to take to reach them. Remember that your B2B social media goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely).
2. Get Personal
It’s a good idea to use personas to guide content creation. This gives you the opportunity to be ahead of your competitors. Create audience and buyer personas that allow you to create social content that speaks to real people. This way, social media will become a primary tool for account-based marketing, and personalized outreach and marketing to decision-makers at target companies will become a norm.
3. Identify How to Track KPIs
Before you start establishing a social media presence, determine how you will track social media results through analytics. You can track metrics with the help of a variety of B2B social media tools, including:
- Google Analytics, which shows what social media platforms bring the majority of website visitors, goal completions for your posts, and conversions.
- BuzzSumo, which shows most shared links on social media, assists you in social listening, and allows you to find top influencers in your industry.
- CoSchedule, which gives you in-depth reports about performance and recommends the best time and day to post, tracks post engagement, and suggests the best content to post.
4. Assess the Competitors
It’s a good idea to take a look at your competitors and what they are doing on social media to identify opportunities. Collect five to ten competitors and ask yourself the following questions:
- What are they doing well on social media?
- What are they doing not well on social media?
- What social media platforms are they using?
- What is the best performing content on their social media?
- What content isn’t resonating with their audience?
- What content is their audience resonating with?
If you spend your time reviewing what your competitors are doing on social media, you can note down some techniques you can use to stand out from the crowd. The purpose of this analysis is to figure out how you will differentiate yourself from other companies in the same industry. Whether it’s creating a brand voice or testing out new features, these strategies will help your B2B social media strategy thrive.
5. Clarify Your Target Audience and Buyer Personas
It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of who you are speaking to. Knowing your target audience will help you:
- Create content that speaks your audience’s language
- Choose the right B2B social media platforms
- Share content that provides value to your readers and impacts their purchasing decisions.
No matter what your business niche is, in order to convince another business to invest in your brand, you need to understand what makes your audience interested. Map out your demographic, needs, goals, and pain points and the value proposition your B2B brand offers. Social listening is often the best way to do this.
6. Think Outside of the Box
Social media is about building relationships with your audience that lead to closer interaction in the long term, so it’s a great idea to think from another angle and create fresh and engaging content. Sharing product news, specifications, and technical information should not be your primary focus in social media accounts. Provide information that excites your users, like trends, strategy, how-to articles, tips, and so on. However, remember that you’re not talking to the C-level of the company; you’re talking to the young progressive leaders who are making purchasing decisions.
One of the simplest ways to diversify your content is to involve employees. Encourage them to tell their stories and let them be a part of your content. Highlight their achievements and tell their success stories, and you will make your social media presence more human. If you want, incorporate videos with employees, since they drive higher engagement than other mediums.
7. Play Around with Content Formats
The most important thing is to find a creative way to share content – that’s even more important than choosing which B2B social media platform to use. It’s crucial to prioritize a range of content formats that allow you to understand what formats work best for you. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Interact with your audience using Instagram and Stories polls
- Attract attention and educate your audience with the help of practical IGTV videos
- Build thought leadership
Remember, the more formats you try, the more interesting it will be for your users and the more vivid a picture you will have about the effectiveness of these formats.
8. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
You might have created a comprehensive B2B social media strategy plan and found the right channels, but if you neglected how your social media profiles look, you are likely to fail. Your social media profile is your calling card, so make sure it looks professional. Include your company’s logo, images, mottos, and everything else associated with your brand. Just like your website, articles, and blogposts, use keyword research and incorporate keywords to get your social media profile found via Google search. Search engines crawl the vast majority of social media networks. Remember to include a link to your website to make it easier for visitors to find more information about your company.
9. Be Consistent
Creating well-researched and relevant content is one thing. One of the hardest parts is to maintain consistency. You don’t need to post to every channel every day. It’s better to start creating smart content that adds value to your audience. Another way to be consistent on social media is by creating a publishing calendar and scheduling posts ahead of time using B2B social media tools.
10. Experiment with Content and Posting Times
There are a lot of areas where you can experiment with your content. Here are our ideas for your inspiration:
- Alternate statistics and questions in your social media content to see which one pulls your audience more
- Increase or decrease the frequency of your posts
- Add emojis and pictures to your posts to see whether interactions increase or not
- Choose different link positions to find out if users are more likely to click
- Test different numbers of hashtags
- Try to reply to your posts
- Segment a different part of your audience to see how they react to an ad
Equipment: Social Media Tools and Platforms
Tools for content generation, scheduling, publishing, and analytics can be a helping hand for your business and increase your effectiveness. Regularly using these tools can improve your results. We rounded up some of the most popular B2B social media tools and platforms from the last year with a guide for how to use each of them.
Social Media Content Tools
Feedly is a wonderful social media tool for content ideation. You can add a few blogs, writers, and publishers whose content you like to one feed. It has a Buffer Publish integration so you can schedule your content to go out right from the Feedly dashboard. It also lets you curate the world’s news stories to help you stay informed.
This is another tool for all-in-one publishing, analytics, and engagement. One of the coolest features of this tool is its flexibility. It works if you’re only looking for analytics, but you can also use its additional features to help boost your brand. It allows you to easily plan and schedule your social campaigns. This tool has different levels of pricing according to the services/number of accounts you seek to service. You can try it out using a free 14-day trial.
This is a tool that helps you determine which content works well with consumers and which content is failing. It identifies influencers to help you boost your brand’s visibility and promote yourself in a more authentic way. It can track markets and trends to help you respond quickly and focus on content that matters most to your business. One of the coolest features is a topic explorer that can help you find new content ideas based on a chosen keyword. There are multiple pricing plans and a free 30-day trial.
The goal of this software is to increase business traffic, rankings, and visibility in searches. It’s easy to use and has a handy beginner guide with a learning center. This tool tracks your website, recommends better keywords and keyword phrases to target, and provides relevant metrics.
This is a social media management and intelligence tool for brands and agencies that helps them manage conversations and generate actionable insights that drive real business results. The key features of this tool include:
- Smart inbox. You can monitor and engage with messages across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all in one place with a unified inbox.
- Conversations history. With the help of this tool, you can view a complete conversation history across networks and profiles.
- Comment moderation. Monitor and engage with comments on all of your profiles: Facebook timelines, Instagram posts, LinkedIn posts, and Tweets.
- Task completion reporting. You can analyze the usage of tasks and completion rates across your team and amongst individual team members.
- Mobile engagement. Sprout’s mobile apps for iOS and Android give the power of on-the-go engagement.
This is a social media management tool that helps users plan, schedule, and syndicate social posts. Additionally, this tool allows you to listen and monitor your brand or business field. You can integrate this tool with many B2B social media platforms. The key features of this platform include:
- Performance reporting
- Social media monitoring
- Basic task management
- Automatic scheduling
- Message publishing to multiple accounts at once
- Item assignments to different team members
Social Media Platforms For B2B Marketing
Currently, there are more than 4.5 billion people actively using social media around the world. This enormous user base is hosted on only a few platforms, the most popular of which we’ve collected here. We arranged them in order of number of registered users.
1. Facebook. The majority of users come from India, with an audience size of 350 million users. The second-largest user base is the US, and Indonesia is in third place. Meta, formerly known as Facebook, owns two of the other platforms on this list: WhatsApp and Instagram
2. YouTube. YouTube is the second popular social media platform with 2.29 billion registered users. This platform was initially planned to be a dating service, but since it allowed users to post videos of any kind, the business model pivoted. Almost 74% of all adults in the US use YouTube. The other major contributers to YouTube’s user base are India (9.2%) and Japan (4.8%). You can use SEO-friendly tags, titles, descriptions to promote your brand.
3. WhatsApp. It’s one of the three social networking platforms with more than 2 billion users, including 390 million in India and 108 million in Brazil. This messaging app might not seem the obvious choice for businesses. However, if you consider that SMS has a 98% open rate compared to 20% on email, you will realize that it’s a good chance to captivate your audience. You can send messages for free to increase your customer service and retention and use WhatsApp as a new means of communication with your audience.
4. Instagram. This is the most popular photo-sharing social media platform with 1.22 billion global active users. One of the most valuable contributions of Instagram is the creation of “influencers” which resulted in a new marketing channel that empowered ordinary people to monetize their fame. Today, more than 70% of businesses use Instagram for B2C marketing because it offers fantastic engagement rates in comparison with Facebook. About 140 million people on Instagram come from the US and India respectively. Brazil is in second place (99 million users) and Indonesia in third (88 million users).
5. TikTok. If you only associate TikTok with dancing trends, you might be a bit cautious about using it for marketing. However, there is room for businesses to utilize the power of this social media platform. You can set up a TikTok business account and work out a marketing strategy plan, just like for Facebook or Instagram. You can learn how the TikTok algorithm works, determine how it ranks and distributes video, and analyze what trending videos have in common. Identify your target audience and look at what your competitors are doing. After completing all of these steps, optimize your TikTok account. Use hashtags, bio, company logo, and other features associated with your brand.
Cook’s Note: Conclusion
Creating a B2B social media strategy is all about choosing the right ingredients and carefully combining them using the right tools. Understand the message you’re going to spread and why it can be useful and valuable for a certain audience, then with the help of the tools we’ve laid out here, you can make that happen. Social media is a great opportunity for brands to present themselves and find the niche that works best for them. With a little bit of experimenting, you can start making gourmet treats.
Recipe by the Exadel content team, January 2022
Guest article written by: Alesia Traichuk, a content marketing specialist at Exadel, a software engineering company based in Walnut Creek, California. Previously, I worked as a lead generation specialist for an outsourcing company. I graduated from Linguistic University with a bachelor’s degree in translation and linguistics. My current interests are AI, mobile development, QA, and content marketing. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alesia-traichuk-92244b19b/