84% of C-level and VP-level buyers are influenced by social media when purchasing according to IDG.
Not having an integrated B2B Social Media Strategy for your B2B Brand could create a loophole in your sales efforts.
B2B’s relationship with Social Media is a kind of love and hate one.
Social Media is overwhelming.
There are a lot of platforms.
And it is legal to ask, “how could one manage all professionally?”
This isn’t the only reason that stops B2B Companies from using social media.
While talking with some B2B companies, we found that the following myths stop companies to use Social Media to the fullest:
- Social Media is a B2C Platform.
- B2B Companies have less to achieve from Social Media.
- Social Media needs creative skillset.
- Social Media demands content and investment.
- It is hard to crack B2B Social Media.
If you also think so then after reading this article you will know why B2B Brands like you should invest in social media and how SMM helps you to grow more?
Why do B2B Companies need to change their perspective about Social Media?
It is a common perception that B2B Companies have to be boring as they deal with businesses. It is not true!! B2B might be a business-centric system, but its root lies in people. B2B can be bold and creative.
It says that B2B Buyers do not like to see themselves as mere prospects. They want to be treated as humans.
They are tired of too boring selling approaches by businesses.
What is the solution?
The solution is – be ‘human’ in marketing and there is no better place than social media to start from.
The nature of social media is itself human-centric, as social media is nothing but human digital gatherings that chit chat and share information with each other.
But have you ever thought, why do we do that?
If you understand why people use social media, you will understand how you should use it to help people and grow your brand.
There are three major reasons why people use social media.
The first one is ‘social acceptance’ by becoming part of a group of people.
The second one is to feel ‘important’ by posting stuff and the third one is Self-actualization.
If we learn Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we can observe that Social Media fulfills our psychological needs.
The B2B Brands which run a successful B2B Social Marketing Strategy know this fact. That’s why their Social Media campaign reflects the psychological needs of humans.
IBM is known for its giant B2B service base. But if you check IBM’s Twitter account, it talks less about the services and more about ‘people’.
This Black Lives Matter campaign can give you the idea.
We pledged to always stand with the Black community & Black IBMers to ensure and empower racial equality. pic.twitter.com/sMIqggDQwm
— IBM (@IBM) December 29, 2020
Or this fun tweet.
Tell me you’re a developer, without telling me you’re a developer.
— IBM (@IBM) December 11, 2020
But that isn’t the only thing that these brands do exceptionally.
They go above and beyond and hit the higher human needs, they know everyone wants to do better and grow. So they add real value that helps them do better professionally.
To understand, you need to check the LinkedIn account of SEMRush.
Users can learn with SEMRush. That’s why SEMRush’s growth on LinkedIn is unbelievable. They add value that help users to do better at their job and business.
The success of B2B Companies is not confined to LinkedIn and Twitter. Instagram has been a promising platform for many B2B Companies.
One best example is HubSpot.
View this post on Instagram
HubSpot is a pioneer in social media marketing and content creation.
HubSpot’s Instagram campaign focuses on people and small businesses, that’s what makes it the most loved B2B Instagram handle.
So far, you have the idea that B2B Social Media works.
Let us put this in numbers:
- 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers are influenced by social media when purchasing according to IDG.
- On average 6 hours spent on social media per week, B2B Marketers generate new business leads.
- 9/10 B2B Companies and their decision-maker are on LinkedIn.
Now, let’s learn how you can make it work for your B2B Brand.
To rock 2021 with social media, you need to follow some important steps.
- Strategise Social Media Planning.
- Be Social.
- Help people.
- Activate Social Selling Engine.
How to design a Bold B2B Social Media Strategy?
Only 32% of Marketers have a documented Social Media Strategy.
Marketing Strategy is one of the most important factors that can decide the success and failure of any marketing campaign.
A robust strategy gives you clarity about the audience, their needs, channels, and content creation.
A robust strategy has the following aspects clarified.
Before you start a social media campaign, you should know exactly what you want to achieve.
Some common goals are:
- Build brand awareness.
- Build community.
- Encourage users to generate content.
- Drive website traffic.
- Generate leads.
- Nurture leads on multiple platforms.
- Sell direct.
You need to adjust the goal according to your business needs.
Example: An e-learning platform that focuses on employee training needs to build brand awareness and online community in its activation stage.
The goal can be one or many. It can be adjustable for each buyer’s journey stages. It’s necessary to define your goal before you start a social media campaign.
Today the persona term is common and widely used in business and marketing. Persona is used to understand your audience, their needs, and goals.
When you know who you are targeting, the job of marketing becomes easy.
In fact, marketing is not about tricks, tactics, and tools. Marketing is all about people and problem-solving.
When we are talking about solving problems of people through marketing then persona building becomes the most important step.
We can say, “The more accurate persona you build or the more you know about your target market, the higher marketing success you will have.”
When you build a persona, you will have an idea of on what platform your target audience will be more active.
LinkedIn is the all-time favorite B2B Social Media Platform for brands and Marketers.
The reasons are obvious.
- First, LinkedIn is a B2B focused channel.
- 9/10 B2B Leaders use LinkedIn actively.
- Almost all B2B Lead generation happens through LinkedIn.
But LinkedIn is not the only B2B friendly platform.
If we believe statistics then you would learn that:
- 66% of marketers say that Instagram is a hot channel for B2B Marketing.
- It’s not just Instagram either, the parent company Facebook is also a big hub for B2B Buyers.
- And a whopping 56% of Marketers rate YouTube as important for their overall success.
Although, it’s your target customer research that should prioritize social media channels for you.
Remember: It’s important you target your audience where they spend most of the time.
Pillar content topics:
Pillar content topics are those topics that allow you to create expert content, on a scale.
For example, here at ‘Ahaa Social’ we mainly talk about sales enabled B2B Website design and B2B Content Strategy. We could create in-depth long-form content such as blogs, podcasts, and long-form videos on these topics.
Now how does it help us in social media?
We don’t create social media content exclusively.
We curate the valuable content from these pillar content and optimize it for social media.
Let’s say, this blog is a pillar content then we will break it down into two LinkedIn infographics, five Instagram infographics, and 10 useful tweets.
In the end, we get:
2 LinkedIn posts.
5 Instagram content.
Or maybe one podcast. (What say?)
See, how powerful pillar content form is.
The next step in your social media strategy should be defining pillar content topics so you could create a lot of content in a short time.
The best strategy allows you to look into the future.
Creating a publishing calendar allows you to schedule, track, and prioritize social media goals.
Some important aspects, you need to take into account while designing the publishing calendar.
- How often do you want to post in a day or week?
- On what channels.
- On which particular days.
- At what ideal time.
The effective calendar will help you to automate scheduling work, impact the audience, and be consistent.
It doesn’t matter how great your strategy is, how valuable the content is, and how many times you post it on social media – if it does not give you results, it is a waste.
To measure success first you have to define what success (actually) is.
Let’s jump into the ‘goal’ section.
We had asked you to define a goal before you start campaigning for social media. That goal is your way to define KPIs.
If your goal is to gain followers, the KPIs will be the numbers of followers you gain that match your persona.
If your goal is to drive website traffic then the KPIs are figuring out how many website visitors you get from social media.
Some common B2B Social Media KPIs:
- Clicks on the link.
- Website Traffic.
- Sign up
These are some important factors that will help you design a social media strategy.
Forget you are business, be a friend:
Now by far, you understood two key things:
- Why is it important to use social media marketing?
- How to design a B2B Social Media Marketing campaign?
But these two things will not guarantee you success.
Let’s take the strategy part.
The Social Media strategy involves more of the research and data part, and it’s not that hard to access both things.
You have the strategy, so does your competitor.
But there is something unique that cannot be stolen from you.
It is your brand personality.
It is your brand values.
While leveraging social media for your B2B Brand, you should be focused on building relationships with your audience.
The relationship builds when you help them when you listen and help your audience.
Think about HubSpot.
Think about DropBox.
Think about Salesforce.
They all have their unique values and personality.
That is why their users (even if they are business owners or business decision-makers) can connect emotionally to their brands.
Every B2B Brand carries brand personality, you have to unleash it or represent it with your brand audience.
Some common way to establish your brand personality:
- Learn how you want to be perceived online.
- Why do you use social media?
- Learn more about your audiences and how they act online.
- Be friendly and do not use jargon.
- Do not be a business, be a friend or mentor.
- Connect to the audience on an emotional basis.
The other best way to use social media to its fullest is to leverage influencer marketing and social selling. Let’s learn how.
How to improve social selling and activate Influencer Marketing?
We talked about how brands can be human, now let’s talk about how humans can be better brands.
You might have heard about influencer marketing. If you are thinking it is just limited to B2C, you need to give it a second thought.
If you are using social media activity and have an interest in entrepreneurship and marketing you must have heard the name of Garry Vee.
His personal brand is so huge that he has built worth $160 Million of brands just using social selling A.K.Personal branding. That’s insane!!
Now being specific, we would love to mention a name that fits perfectly for B2B Selling.
This man has used Social Selling and personal branding so effectively that he has made Privy number 01 App on Shopify.
Obviously, it wasn’t just social selling that helped him to achieve this success but it surely helped a lot in the process.
What does social selling mean?
Simply put, social selling is about revenue generation using social media.
Social Selling works in a very human way.
You build relationships first then it rewards you with business.
Your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool that helps you leverage social selling.
Some quick steps to improve social selling:
- Identify top talent in your company.
- Inspire them to use LinkedIn.
- Optimize their (and yours) LinkedIn profile.
- Follow the top voices in your niche.
- Build a community around your niche.
- Don’t spam people with sales peach.
- Build relationships with the target audience.
- Add value with quality content.
- First, give then ask.
Today, social selling is a powerful B2B Sales tactic. If you are not leveraging it, you’re making a sales mistake.
Should I manage Social Media Marketing in-house or outsource it?
This question is important in many ways.
Not all companies have in-house marketers or people who know social media.
On the basic level, you can handle social media on your own but when you start to grow or want to achieve results – you have to hire marketing people.
By analyzing your needs, budget, and future growth plan you can choose from different hiring options.
Some best way to onboard expert marketing people:
Pros: You will get a lot of options and have to pay less. Simple onboarding process. Best for small projects.
Cons: It’s hard to keep freelancers for a long time on the same project. That might affect your long term growth strategy.
- Hire full time marketing people: Nothing is better than hiring a team.
Pros: You get full control over strategy and can build a team for the long term.
Cons: It costs you more than you think. As the requirement goes up, you have to hire different people for different roles.
- Hire an agency: This is a common and best way to manage social media. An agency gives you full access to its best marketing resources and people that neither freelancer can do nor employees.
Pros: You get access to experts, tools, and insights that help you grow rapidly. You can manage spending well by adjusting campaigns with requirements. You get a higher ROI as the agency will always be accountable for your growth.
Cons: Not the best option for companies who just started up, and can demand more budget over time.
Social Media, when used in the right way, can help your brand to reach valuable prospects and accounts.
In 2021, when the world is becoming digital, Social Media can help you to nurture relationships with customers, generate more business, solve customer problems, build mutual trust, and attract the right talent.
It is not just a tool but a system that helps you grow your business.
A simple investment can give long term returns for your B2B Brand.
How are you going to make 2021 the year of growth with social media?