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Ultimate Guide To Social Media Marketing For B2B Marketers

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Social Media Marketing For B2B

Earlier it was considered that only B2C marketers can make an impact using social media, but Social media marketing for B2B is gaining ground with each passing day. The reason is almost all the business executives and customers use some form of social media themselves. They use internet almost on a daily basis to research about their businesses and industry. They want new insights to perform better at their jobs, get the best deals for their businesses and want to progress in their life and jobs. So, it makes sense for businesses to invest in social media marketing to target their business customers. In this article, I will share a simple, yet an effective thought process to create strategy in terms of social media marketing for B2B companies.

Internet is increasingly being used for research by B2B buyers

Let’s begin with benefits of social media marketing for B2B companies.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing for B2B

Some of the benefits of social media marketing for B2B organisations match directly with their core marketing objectives like increasing brand awareness, create thought leadership and generating leads.

Apart from these, other important benefits are:

  • Build a loyal community
  • Increase in website traffic
  • Customer Surveys/Insights

Now, let’s begin with B2B Social media strategy.

B2B Social Media Strategy

To execute B2B social media marketing, brands should have an actionable social media strategy in place. Here are the steps to create B2B social media strategy:

1.) WHY?

Answer the question, why you as a B2B brand want to invest into social media in the first place? Generally, B2B brands delve into social media mainly for 3 goals:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Thought Leadership
  • Leads Generation

Now, this is an ideal order of goals to be pursued. Generally B2B brands tend to go after Leads Generation as the only motto or they go after it first and other goals latter on and thus they fail at social media. Ideally B2B brands should begin with building their brand awareness on social media, then they should move on to establish thought leadership and finally towards leads generation. I am saying this because directly going for leads generation by putting on salesy social media updates will put-off your target audience.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools to measure results

Some brands prefer to pursue all these goals simultaneously in tandem. Results may vary from brand-to-brand. Experiment and learn quickly and choose the right pattern for your brand.

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2.) WHO?

Who is your target audience? Not just in the broader sense, but since we are talking only about social media here, so define your target audience as per social media. Identify the social media channels used by them. What sort of communication they have on these channels? What are their emotions and desires? What are their likes, hobbies etc.? What are their pain areas which you can resolve with your business offerings? What problems are they facing with your competitors’ products? Answer these questions. Also, create customer personas based upon this information. This knowledge will help you to target them effectively.To do all this, use Google Analytics, as well as native analytics on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. (or any other channel where you have a business account). LinkedIn specifically can provide you lots of insights in this respect, as you can check out the profiles of your targeted business customers and see their public updates. You can use a tool like MakeMyPersona by HubSpot to create customer personas.

Buyer Personas

MakeMyPersona by HubSpot

3.) WHAT?

Once you accurately understand the WHO part, you move on to the WHAT part. WHAT has two elements in it:

  • WHAT will be your offer (product/service) to satisfy the needs of your target customers? Understand deeply how your products help satisfy their business problems (since we are talking in B2B respect). What is unique about your products or services? How they are better than your competitors’ products or services? Create content and brand messages by aligning both this WHAT and WHO parts. i.e. create communication as per the liking of your target customers. Once you have all this information, you can move on to the second aspect of WHAT.
  • WHAT content will you share to convince your target customers? Build a Content Marketing Strategy. That is a must for any B2B company in this digital age. Just remember the golden rule that the purpose of your content marketing should be to educate the customer and create a wow factor and not to be salesy. Sales will happen as an after effect of a great content, not just by pushing others to purchase your products. Also remember that the content is of two types: Content related to your business and industry and the Content related to the lifestyle and worklife of your business customers.For example, Intel is creating and sharing content related to the next big things in the computer industry (which is also its target audience): Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality.
    Accenture is also creating high quality videos related to Artificial Intelligence to educate its business customers as can be seen from this post:
    The point is, create high quality and share worthy content with the objective of educating and helping your customers. Solve the pain points of your customers with your content. Help them enhance their knowledge about latest industry and technology trends.

4.) HOW?

Once you are done with defining the WHAT and have put the creation of an appropriate content in place to match the interest areas of WHO i.e. your business customers, the next step follows: HOW. i.e. How will you deliver the content? Again the social media analytics come into picture.Analyse. when your audience is online? When they are most active? Define social media channels used by them in an order of priority. For example, surprisingly Facebook has emerged as the most popular social media marketing channel for B2B companies following by LinkedIn, in the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by SocialMediaExaminer.com. This chart from the same report shows different social media channels being used by B2B companies along with their popularity:

Social Media Channels Preferred by B2B Companies

Social Media Channels Preferred by B2B Companies (2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by SMExaminer)

Now create a social media editorial calendar and link it with your Content Marketing Strategy. For each of these channels there are different approaches. For instance, hashtags work great on Twitter and Instagram but not on Facebook and LinkedIn. Again, long form of content (like full blog posts) works great on LinkedIn, but not on Facebook (although it allows), Twitter (140 Characters limit) and Instagram (Picture oriented). Here are some of the individual approaches which you can take for the top 3 social media channels for B2B:

Together these three platforms make 92% of preferred usage by B2B Marketers as per the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry report by Social Media Examiner.

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5.) MEASURE

Once you start this entire process, it is important to measure the results. You should use native analytics on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. and Google Analytics to begin with. This itself is sufficient to give you a decent picture of your performance. If your budget allows, you can go for premium analytics tools too, like:

    • Agora Pulse
    • Buffer
    • Crowdbooster
    • Edgar
    • Hootsuite
    • Keyhole
    • Rival IQ
    • Simply Measured

For measuring Brand Awareness, some of the social media metrics are:

  • Reach/Impressions
  • Shares/Retweets
  • Fans/Followers
  • Likes/Clicks
  • Comments/Queries
  • Website Traffic Generated

For measuring Thought Leadership, some of the social media metrics are:

  • Shares/Retweets of your content
  • People recommending your content to their friends
  • Opinion based questions asked by your prospective or existing customer
  • Number of media queries asking your perspective or point of view on industry related matters

For example, following Facebook post by Accenture (a B2B consultancy firm) has all the elements of Thought Leadership:

Conclusion

I am hopeful that the method shared in this post will help you create an actionable B2B social media marketing strategy. Social media marketing for B2B businesses is yielding great results which is proved from its ever growing penetration among B2B organisations as well as business customers. I am sure this method will certainly provide you benefits of social media marketing for B2B marketing efforts in your organisation. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Harman has executed a wide variety of Digital Marketing campaigns across different companies and marketing agencies in the last 8 years. After working full-time with different organizations, he is currently working as a freelance digital marketing consultant. His interests include reading books and taking a walk amidst greenery.
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