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To B2B social or not to B2B social? That’s been an ongoing question since the dawn of social media. Most companies today would agree that social media is a necessary component of their marketing program. But with a far lower number of followers and participation than B2C companies enjoy, not every company fully embraces the value they can gain from the time and resources they spend on trying to keep up with the B2C Jones.
Social media continues to be puzzling territory for B2B marketers, according to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2021. Spending in B2B social media increased by just 49% from 2020 to 2021. This speaks to the fact that many organizations don’t understand which platforms to use besides LinkedIn.
But social media experts say that B2B organizations need social media as much as any B2C company. In particular, they stress the importance of building a strong foundation from which to manage their social media strategies.
One study found that 80% of B2B marketers are already using social media marketing, ranking slightly behind search engine marketing. Yet, another study found that many B2B firms are still not maximizing social media’s full marketing potential.
Here are four of the leading reasons why companies say B2B social media is valuable — including tips on how to optimize for these benefits.
Gartner found that today’s B2B software buyers spend more time online searching for solutions to their challenges than ever before. It’s highly likely that social media is part of their search. When they land on a company’s social media site, they’ll have specific expectations. One of them will be having a feeling of trust in the company. Without trust, they’re likely to move on to another vendor.
In a 2021 report, TrustRadius found that B2B buyers consume five main sources of information to help support a buying decision. A year later in its 2022 report, it found that virtually 100% of B2B buyers want to self-serve all or part of their buying journey, an increase of 13% from the previous year.
Together these two insights speak to the value of creating multiple touchpoints for B2B buyers to find the content they’ll consume along their journey path. Touchpoints on social media are logical stopping points. For example, the TrustRadius 2021 report found that user reviews are one of the top three most trustworthy sources of information sources for B2B buyers.
When they land on your social media sites, you can help evoke trust in the following ways:
It’s been said that social media can help build brand awareness. But that’s only possible if companies make an effort to build their brand on social platforms. Randomly posting on social media without a clear, concrete plan will not support a company’s brand-building efforts.
A good starting place is having a clear understand of the difference between branding and digital marketing. Characteristics of digital marketing include short-term campaigns, persuasion-based messaging, a focus on getting immediate results and aiming for a narrowly targeted audience. The characteristics of brand building include having a long-term strategy, reaching out with emotion-based messaging, looking to create influence over the long term and aiming for wide reach into the marketplace.
Four of the leading ways to build a stronger brand on your social media platforms are:
At its core, “social” media requires being social. This means creating a two-way street. Providing a place where you can have a dialogue with prospects and customers is a key function of social media, but it has to prompt the follower to action. If you just push content out through social platforms with no effort to interact, you likely won’t generate the response you’re hoping for. Drive interactions to a landing page, a video or other piece of content.
An important part of being social on social media is to post regularly. One study of LinkedIn social media marketing found that frequency matters. The LinkedIn algorithm rewards companies that post more often versus companies that post sporadically.
Publishing frequently can positively influence the number of clicks, impressions, likes, comments and shares you received. The study suggested posting one to two times per workday to increase customer engagement. This would also provide companies with more opportunities to reciprocate and engage with their followers.
Other ways to be more social on social media, include:
As a social media platform related to business, LinkedIn is a logical platform for B2B companies to use for social media marketing. But to reach a broader audience, companies can’t ignore other relevant networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Each social platform has a different focus and supports different messaging opportunities. The place to start when selecting social platforms on which to focus is to ask: Where is my target audience active?
A 2022 content marketing study found that B2B marketers are using these social media platforms for organic social media marketing:
If today’s organizations don’t use social media marketing or don’t use it well, they are missing an enormous opportunity to build trust with prospects, make their brands stronger, and engage in dialogue with prospects and customers. Following these suggestions will go a long toward helping B2B companies optimize their marketing programs through stronger social media marketing.
At Kuno Creative, we’ve helped B2B companies across industries achieve measurable impact with powerful social media strategy. We design websites that convert, create content marketing plans that attract, run paid advertising campaigns that drive results and help build brands that stand out.
Check out our case studies to see how we help our clients get results.