It’s tempting to believe that social media platforms are there to serve end users only and we’re all familiar with the B2C paid media efforts companies use every day, you can’t scroll for too long without stumbling across a targeted ad for that shirt you looked at a few days ago, or a specialised diet plan for your pet gerbil. In truth, social media platforms have the ability to be a veritable playground for B2B companies, here’s how.
Start SMART *insert groan from experienced marketers*
I know, I know! You’ve heard it before. Yet while consulting I still come across soo many organisations running around, throwing out social media posts willy nilly, hoping something sticks. So let me re-emphasize, SMART goals are a must before embarking on your social media strategy. Not familiar with SMART goals?
Here’s a quick breakdown:
It’s often helpful to start out with a SMART worksheet. Start with your initial goal and aim to rationalise that goal against all areas of the SMART methodology. If you find yourself not able to answer one of the SMART objectives, your goal probably isn’t that SMART and you should have a think about how appropriate your goal actually is.
Need help? Download my handy dandy SMART Goals Worksheet here
Create the right kind of content
There are some differences in the way in which B2B and B2C consume content, but the old assumption all B2B content needs to be professional to the point of clinical isn’t the case. There’s a growing understanding with B2B that although we’re marketing to professionals, those professionals are also actual humans, can you believe it?!
“Wait wait. So, Katrina, we can afford to talk to our clients on a personal and creative level?!”
YAAASSSSSSSSS! Do it! It’s not rocket science.
Start meaningful conversations with your content to nurture a conversational space on social, rather than pushing unwanted messages into a feed now. Do it. Now! Well, after you’ve finished this article please.
Understand the persona of your audience
To understand how best to reach out to your B2B audience through social media, create persona documents which define your target audience(s) and really zero in on the type of media they consume. Doing this will help you understand if they’re video-led, if they’re likely to read a whitepaper, etc. and you can start to plan your campaign creative around this.
Leverage your existing customers
You can wax lyrical about the wonders of your products and services on social media all you like, but testimonials and case studies are proven to be the most effective tool for generating leads. If you’ve got a sparkling testimonial or an award-winning case study from a client, use the services of a designer to create eye-catching quote-cards with a snippet of the quote as the basis for your social creative, then link out to the page on your website that houses the full case study/quotation.
Pick the right platforms
Not all B2B businesses have audiences across all platforms and it’s important when starting out with a B2B social media strategy to test the water on the platforms available to understand what works for your business. Set aside test budgets and make sure your creative is suitable for the platforms you’re testing on (e.g. designs should fit the sizing requirements and the text restrictions so you’ll need to create multiple versions).
LinkedIn is an obvious starting position for a B2B social campaign; it’s a purely professional space where job titles, skill sets and seniority levels are all there in plain sight, begging to be targeted to. Facebook has limitations for B2B marketing (namely that work-based details are less abundant, few people set up a Facebook account with a professional email address) but there are still opportunities with Facebook that deserve to be tested. Twitter targeting can be expensive but again, if you know your audience is in that social space, you also need to be there starting conversations and positively disrupting their feed.
Start SMART, consider your content options carefully and try to leverage the words of happy clients to form your B2B social media strategy. B2B can work across a variety of platforms and forging a test and learn strategy is the best advice I can give for your starting position.
Need some help identifying how your B2B brand can leverage social media?