Social media: a world full of hashtags, likes and influencers – but is there any real value for businesses? Particularly those in the B2B market? In short, yes. When used effectively, social media can bring numerous benefits to your business, whether you are operating in the B2C or B2B market.
Historically, social media has been defined by vanity metrics and consumer brands, but times are changing. More and more businesses are now realising the power of social media as a means to not only connect with new and existing customers, but to generate leads, build authority and extend their reach (to name just a few). It’s cost-effective, easy to use and accessible by all – so what are you waiting for?
Of course, to get the most out of social media you first need to develop a powerful strategy. This should consider your goals, audience and the platforms you intend to use, including:
Each of the above will be outlined in more detail throughout this guide, however, to kick things off we are going to jump right into the benefits of social media marketing, because after all, isn’t that why we are all here?
We are living in a world dominated by technology, so it’s no surprise that virtual is becoming the new reality; it’s now easier than ever to connect with people online and that’s all thanks to social media. With over 3.96 billion active users, it really is a world of opportunity you would be foolish to ignore. But enough of that, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and explore the range of social media marketing benefits:
As with any digital marketing channel, if you want to get results using social media, you need to start by defining goals to provide structure to your journey and create a clear path for your content to follow. When setting your goals, it’s good practice to use the SMART framework, which means each objective should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound.
Another big thing to look out for when setting goals – especially when it comes to social media marketing – is to be wary of vanity metrics. This means avoiding placing too much emphasis on things like comments and followers, but rather focusing on those metrics which will have a direct impact on your wider business goals. For example, using UTM links to monitor the traffic directly attributable to your social content is arguably a better way to measure the value of your content than monitoring post engagement.
As with any form of marketing, for social media marketing for B2B organisations to be successful, you must start by defining your target audience and ensuring you have an in-depth understanding of their wants, needs, preferences and habits. Understanding your audience is not only important when it comes to selecting which social media platforms to use, but will also have a big influence on the content you post.
Monitoring your competitors is equally as important as it will give you access to invaluable insights, allowing you to discover the content that resonates most with your target audience and identify areas that you should avoid or create a plan to improve upon. Additionally, it is also a great source of inspiration and can help spark new content ideas that may have otherwise been left uncovered.
Lastly, having an awareness of the broader factors impacting your industry is important as it will allow you to tailor your content to trending topics and subjects of importance. This can help to increase the relevancy of your business within the industry whilst building credibility for your brand.
Each business will prioritise different platforms, as the most effective will depend on goals, industry and target audience. That being said, 5 networks consistently come out on top when it comes to B2B social media marketing, each of which are outlined below:
With video marketing on the rise, it’s no surprise that YouTube is now used by more than 80% of marketers. And it’s no surprise, with 83% of marketers that have used the platform saying it has delivered positive results for them. If you are aiming to reach a younger demographic, then YouTube is the platform for you, with the biggest reach among Gen-Z and millennial internet users.
Dubbed the ultimate social media platform for B2B marketing, LinkedIn really is a powerhouse when it comes to lead generation, with 80% of B2B leads coming from the network. And with a sizable number of leads comes, of course, a respectable number of new clients, with just over 50% of businesses having acquired at least one new customer through the channel.
Of all social media platforms, Twitter has the highest ROI. One of the fastest-paced of all social platforms, Twitter is great for engaging with your audience in real-time and is an invaluable customer service tool.
The Godfather of social media, Facebook is the biggest network, home to over 2.8 billion monthly active users, with more than 70% of them falling within the 18-44 age range.
Behind Twitter, Instagram has the second-highest ROI of all social media networks. This platform is all about visuals, so the more creative you can be, the better.
The 5 social media networks that have been outlined above are perhaps the most commonly used in the B2B world, however, it’s important to note that there are other platforms available that should be considered, including:
Whilst social media is a fantastic tool, content will always remain the driving force. So, if you want to really start seeing results, you need to have a powerful content strategy driving your social media efforts.
When it comes to writing your captions and creating assets, you need to remember that when people are viewing content on social media, it’s highly likely they are scrolling through without much thought. To grab their attention and stop that scroll, you need to create something that’s both eye-catching and engaging. Types of content for social media include:
Another key consideration is hashtags; when used correctly, they can help extend your reach and get your content seen by the most relevant people within your target market. Although it can be tempting to cram as many popular hashtags into your posts as possible, this will not be beneficial for your business. Instead, you should choose hashtags that are highly relevant to your content and specific to your industry, this way, your content will be shown to the most appropriate audience and you will avoid looking too spammy.
Once you have established a clear understanding of the type of content you want to create and have identified the most appropriate social media channels to distribute it on, you need to devise a plan to ensure you can stick to your proposed schedule and stay on top of key events. To do this, you need to create a content calendar; this should include the type of content, its objective, the channels on which it will be published and where paid promotion is planned, the budget that has been allocated to it.
To find out more about creating and managing content, head over to our ultimate guide to content marketing here, where you can learn how to create a powerful content strategy that will deliver the results your business deserves.
Whilst social media offers a fantastic range of benefits for free, there may be some occasions where your business requires that little extra push – and this is where paid advertising comes in. Not only is it cost-effective, but thanks to the rich customer data, the targeting capabilities are almost limitless.
When it comes to deciding on the type of campaign you want to use, you must always keep your objective at the forefront of your mind. For example, if your goal is to use Facebook to drive more traffic to your website, then you will want to run a consideration campaign, whereas if your goal is to simply raise awareness of your brand, then you will be more likely to opt for an awareness campaign.
Equally, the platform you choose to run your paid campaigns on will be dependent on the audience you want to reach. If your target demographic is CEOs, then LinkedIn is likely to be your best bet, however, if you are aiming to reach a younger demographic, such as students, then a platform such as Instagram may be more appropriate. Each platform offers a range of advertising options, including:
We touched on this earlier, but in order to truly gauge how successful your social media campaigns have been, you must first start by defining clear objectives and devising a couple of key metrics to monitor your performance in relation to each of them.
Each platform has its own analytics data available, allowing you to monitor and assess the performance of every piece of content, however, if you are looking to access detailed reports of each platform in one place, you will want to consider investing in a social media analytics tool, such as that offered by Sprout Social or HubSpot.
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