Tips for B2B Social Marketing
A few years ago, businesses were asking why they needed a social media presence when they only sell to other businesses. It was commonly thought that resources such as Facebook had no real value to the B2B company, while LinkedIn was seen to be the perfect social answer to it.
However, things change and B2B companies should now be asking themselves why they shouldn’t have a social presence and use it as a marketing tool. The answer is that every business that partakes in marketing of any nature should have a social media presence on the largest networks at the very least, or risk losing out.
This doesn’t mean that all businesses get it right though and it’s fair to say that many are having trouble adjusting to social and the different approach that it requires. Bearing this in mind, here’s some of my top tips for B2B social marketing.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make, be they B2B or B2C, is by failing to note that social is a much more personalised approach than any other form of marketing. This means that it’s necessary to adapt the tone and style of content very often, so that it is less formal, almost as if you’re talking to a friend.
Businesses can help this come about by thinking about their brand, how strong it is, if social can help to strengthen it and so on. Getting together a social media policy is the best approach to this, so that you have a clear indicator of your brand persona and how you want to come across.
• Tone should be friendly and informal
• The use of colours and language should be uniform across all platforms, including web, social, email and so on
• Two-way conversation should be emphasised
• Guidelines for dealing with complaints should be included
• Details of who is responsible for what should be in the policy
• A guide to personal social networking should also be included to ensure that employees are careful what they say when it comes to work
Commit to social for all marketing
In order to be successful in online marketing efforts, businesses should tie social in with all campaigns. This means that at the planning stage, it should be considered how content/special offers etc. can be pushed through social. Can it be shared, is there complimentary material that you can supply, such as an infographic or video?
By integrating a plan for social with every marketing campaign, you will soon see where you can really boost it using social.
While at the planning stages, consider:
• Your audience – do they use social media a lot? If so, what channels? Are you targeting sales prospects, media or existing customers?
• What goals do you want to accomplish?
• Does your company have the resources to commit to social, or will you need to outsource to an agency?
The final point there is an important one. ROI is what you’re aiming for and if you don’t have the staff to carry out a campaign properly, then you will need to outsource. The worst thing that can happen is that you set up social media profiles and excitedly start posting, only to find that it takes a lot of time and you don’t have it.
This is likely to harm your campaign rather than further it.
As mentioned, don’t set up profiles and then abandon them and please do avoid being overly promotional. While there’s nothing wrong with believing in your products, banging on about how good they are in every post is not giving your followers (and potential customers) any value at all.
Avoid disabling your wall on Facebook, as this is frustrating to followers and they will just leave snarky comments on your posts if they have been really trying to get hold of you through social.
Likewise, don’t disable direct messaging; imagine if a customer has a complaint and the only place he has to tell you about it is a comment field that’s talking about how good that particular product is. Not good, so give your followers the opportunity to go about it nicely in the first instance.
It’s all about content these days
If you’re going to participate in content marketing, which many B2B companies already do, then you need to plan out the content in the early stages. Get together an editorial calendar and make sure everyone knows what they need to do and when.
A good mix of content generally includes:
• eBooks and guides
• White papers
• Fun visuals such as images and memes (preferably with some relevance to your industry)
• Videos and video infographics
You don’t have to use all of these and at the moment, white papers are seeing a drop as the most popular content for marketing and are being replaced rapidly with slideshows/presentations and video. Remember that Vine and Instagram are also social media and can be used to make shorts to promote the company.
A study from Nielson carried out last year found that while only 33% of buyers believe what a brand communicates to them, 92% take their friends at their word. This illustrates perfectly the need to get your brand message out there as much as possible. You want your customers to be enthusiastic about your brand, so that means giving them something they want to talk about.
Think about why they would want to share your content, what’s in it for them? A competition or time-limited offer, access to material that nobody else has and so on. A study by the New York Times found:
• 75% of people said that sharing helps them to process the story that they’re interested in
• 94% think about how useful what they share will be to others before posting
• 73% say that it helps them to find others with the same interests
This means you really have to think how you are going to give value to followers by posting things they are likely to share. Social signals are becoming increasingly important to SEO, so you really should aim to make posts unique, with something different to say when compared with others in your industry.
Scott Cook, the co-founder of Intuit sums it up perfectly: “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.”
Building a fan base
Nobody ever said it was easy to build a large following on social media, it’s not and this is why even the most successful marketers will tell you it takes at least a good six months. There’s no overnight solution, and it entails a lot of getting out there and networking, above all else. Creating engaging and useful content will certainly help to increase your fan base as it gets shared around but do remember that your activity as well as content increases visibility.
The average reach of a Facebook post on a page with 100 fans is 16%, so you need to increase this by providing material on which people will click Like, Share and Comment on.
Finally, it’s important that you listen to what your followers are saying and use insights/analytics to measure the success of your social marketing. It’s then something that you can adjust as necessary, so that you are continually making sure that your target audience is being addressed and you’re giving them what they want.
MySocialAgency are always happy to help if you need advice or an extra pair of hands.