The B2B guide to winning the long-game with social media
B2B businesses have not been the traditional stars of social media. While fashion brands, car companies, and fast-food chains have found creative, inventive ways of making their names known on social, it’s rare to see enterprise tech companies go viral.
Of course, B2B social media marketing comes with its own unique challenges. It isn’t enough to simply showcase your product with a few catchy taglines; you need to communicate your industry knowledge, the value of ongoing partnerships, and create detailed customer-journeys to guide conversions.
If you want to see successful returns on social media, you need to integrate your social strategy very closely with every other strategy you are running. You need to share engaging content, connect with people you want to do business with, and forge genuine interactions.
Is social media for B2B a long game? Absolutely. But the results are definitely worth the wait.
Engage with your audience
No matter the industry you are in, creating connective, engaging relationships with your leads will help you generate more long-term clients. Research from Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase your profits by 25%.
There are essentially two types of community management you should be focusing on in B2B social media. The first is reactive, where you respond to comments, questions, and reactions. The second is outreach, where you comment on posts that are related to your content and build your network organically. Most brands miss the second type and miss out on the benefits this kind of proactive approach can bring.
Here are a few easy ways to engage with your audience on social media:
Comment on your clients content
Actively post diverse content on your own pages
Like posts in your network and beyond
Engage in conversations with relevant thought-leaders
Social as a recruitment tool
Social isn't just a great place to attract and build a connection with leads. It's also an important channel to use your presence to attract and retain top talent. For B2B, generations of tech-savvy, ambitious candidates can be — and in some cases, can only be — reached through social media. This talent pool recognizes a sophisticated social media strategy, something that works in your favor when presenting your organization as an ideal employer.
You can be extra proactive with this by making the most of your social media friends and followers. They are, after all, great referral machines if you continue to provide them with fresh content. Keep them updated with your services and company culture through paid posts so that you stay top of mind the next time someone asks them if they recommend a company.
By following this, the next time you place a job opening, you will get higher-quality candidates quicker. Thus saving marketing and HR time and money.
Simplify your lead-nurturing efforts
Not every lead generation tactic you use will turn into a hot lead. If a user downloads your latest guide, it doesn’t mean they want to buy from you. Likewise, not everyone who follows your account will become a sale.
The long-game payoff of B2B social revolves around lead nurturing. Even if a customer isn’t ready to buy from you yet, you need a strategy in place to keep them in your content sphere in order to improve the chances of conversions.
Creating a lead scoring matrix is a great way to prioritize leads based on engagement. For example, if a white-paper is worth more to you than sharing a post, this should be reflected in the scores you attach to each engagement. Segmenting your leads and pushing them down the right nurture journeys will improve your outreach efforts and make your process more efficient.
On Facebook and LinkedIn, you can create built-in lead generation forms that pre-populate with known user information. This reduces friction points at the signup point. As well, all of this is done directly within the platform — no need to make a custom landing page. From there, you simply send the completed form to your CRM to start a nurturing drip sequence.
Invest in your paid strategies
In a perfect world, organic distribution would solve all of your problems for free. Unfortunately, underinvesting in paid strategies is one of the most common problems we see in B2B social media management.
It’s a good idea to get creative with your content lead magnets. Social is a great way to generate leads for webinars and events. Use social ads to drive registration and, after the webinar is done, repurpose the content as a teaser trailer and use that to drive more leads to the gated recording.
As well, the great thing about paid media is the ability to intricately target your desired customer. On platforms like LinkedIn, you can target specific job titles, to ensure your ads are seen by the most qualified users.
Prioritize high-quality content
Content in B2B marketing is often hard to source, takes time, and is expensive.
As well, creating viral content can be difficult as B2B social media users are less inclined to participate in user generated content (UGC) campaigns than they do with B2C.
To ensure your resources are being used effectively, you should be researching what high-level content looks like to your audiences. Identify the questions your audience members are asking in forums, or look at metrics of published content to help guide and refine your strategies.
Once you know what you need to create, you need a dedicated team to execute your content. If your content production is being done by your over-strapped marketing team, or off the side of someone’s desk, it isn’t getting the attention it deserves.
That being said, creativity can outperform big budgets. Experiment with your content: Video campaigns, moving graphics, and written content can be highly valuable in this space. Your creativity could be rewarded in ways a budget alone can’t accomplish.
Thought leadership content adds legitimate value
Just as your networking, conference attendance, and award circuits help build your business authority, so too does digital thought-leadership content.
In order to communicate your thought-leadership value, you need to leverage long-form content. Whereas, you can sell a toothbrush with a quality photo, you’ll need a bit more to convince consumers to buy enterprise tech.
Invest in a content writing strategy that will provide ongoing, creative, and clear resource materials for your clients to engage with. Cross-posting these articles across social media will help deliver your message to more people. Boosting with ad spend will give it a final push to your desired leads.
It’s more than just lead generation
The key performance metric for B2B businesses is to have an audience base that is constantly re-engaging with you. When you’re consistently delivering quality content, users will seek that out.
Prioritizing your content, whether that be copy, creative, ads, and beyond, will help you build an engaged audience base that continuously supports and grows your business. From there, audience trust, leadership, and conversions come naturally.
If you still need help, reach out to us. We have social media professionals who are experts in B2B strategies. We’d love to help you reach your goals.
Colleen Christison, Brand Communication Strategist
The more I learn, the less I know, and the more I want to learn.