By Will Hockin,
Instagram is just pictures of grumpy cats with words over the top, right? What use is that to an accountancy firm? Why should B2B companies bother with social media at all?
Dismissing social media for B2B would be rather hasty. 79% of B2B marketers are actually saying social media is their most effective channel of all, and 38% went further, saying if they had the extra budget they’d spent it on social.
Just because your IT consultancy isn’t ‘cool’ doesn’t mean you don’t belong on social media. There are over 44 million active social media users in the UK – some of those will be interested in your business and what you have to say.
Choose Your Battles
Social media marketing for B2B businesses needs to be smart. By that, I mean you need to recognise what you are likely to succeed with and what you are not. What is suitable for your brand, and what isn’t. Memes and jokes work for brands like Innocent Drinks, but wouldn’t for corporate insurance firms for example.
This extends beyond what you are posting, to what platforms you’re active on. B2B businesses thrive on LinkedIn and Twitter and even Facebook. They’re far less likely to do well on Snapchat or Pinterest though. Understanding your audience, and where they spend their time is a critical foundation – understanding when and how they spend their time is even better. For example, on LinkedIn are they in work mode, and then use Facebook for personal use?
Engage with Your Customers
Just because you’re a B2B company, doesn’t mean you can’t interact directly with your customers online and show off a bit of personality. In fact, this aspect can be even more crucial for B2B marketers than for B2C. Generally, it takes a longer time for a B2B business to build a relationship and trust, and social media is the perfect tool to help.
Social media also allows B2B companies to engage in low-cost outreach and customer acquisition. Think of social media outreach as an addition to your outreach programmes, rather than a replacement. Some estimates say you need between six and eight touchpoints with a customer before they are a viable prospect. Hint: social media counts.
Share Your Content and Ideas
Content marketing is well established now as one of the best ways to demonstrate value to potential customers and position yourself as thought-leaders in your industry. By now, content marketing should be a firm part of your B2B strategy – if not, start here.
Content is a great way to add value for your potential customers by sharing your knowledge and insights. It builds their trust in you and engages them in a start of a relationship. How better to share this content than social media? Consistently sharing high-quality content will give people a reason to follow you and take an interest in your business.
Keep it Varied
Sharing consistently high-quality content will grow your following, that’s for sure. However, it also pays to be mindful of not just peddling the same type of content again and again and again. To keep people interested you need to throw some variety in there. After all, it is the spice of life.
Don’t just push blogs - promote videos, interviews, infographics and whitepapers as well. Show not just the depth, but the breadth of your knowledge. This also means you’ll reach far more people and your messaging will be far more effective. Not everyone has time to digest your whitepaper for example, but a short video could pique their interest so when they see your whitepaper they’ll be more likely to convert and download.
Keep in mind that not everyone is at the same stage of the purchase journey, and your different forms of content will help those at all stages.
Social media is almost certainly the most powerful tool available to marketers currently. It allows companies to have conversations with potential customers that they’d otherwise not even be aware of. But it’s not just the reserve of funny, hip B2C companies who can get away with cute animal videos.
Social media has a serious side – a place where people go to share knowledge and have their questions answered. A place where they go looking for high-quality content from brands willing to share their insights. A veritable B2B paradise, with millions of potential customers waiting for you to build a relationship with.If you’d like help getting your B2B social media strategy right, get in touch with us today, or give us a call on 0333 335 0425 and speak to one of our expert team.