Now that social media has become a cornerstone of digital marketing, it’s not difficult to find numerous articles and tutorials on optimizing your social media presence.
But have you ever noticed how few of them focus specifically on B2B social media?
And yet, though it can be just as powerful in business-focused industries, what makes businesses successful differs significantly from its B2C counterparts.
If you are looking to optimize your social media presence for B2B audiences, consider these 4 steps.
1) Find Your Medium
Any successful social media effort, regardless of industry, begins with finding the best network for your needs. And while Facebook and Twitter remain popular among B2B and B2C marketers alike, you have one unique channel at your disposal: LinkedIn.
Ultimately, your choice of medium depends on which networks your target audience frequents. But LinkedIn offers one crucial advantage over its alternatives: as the most ‘professional’ social media network, it allows you to engage with decision makers while they are in the mindset of thinking about helping their business.
I think this is the most overlooked benefit of using Linkedin as a marketing platform. I don’t know about you, but I don’t spend a ton of time on Linkedin chatting with acquaintances or friends from work. Typically when I get on Linkedin, I’m more focused on growing Launch Tower by posting great content and checking on potential leads.
Seemingly that’s a mindset that many people share when using Linkedin because, according to Smartinsights, LinkedIn offers the highest lead conversion rate and value for B2B marketers across industries.
Marketing on LinkedIn can be a complex process. Features like industry groups and inMail help you network with decision makers at your customer companies, while sponsored updates from your company page can be targeted at specific industry roles and companies.
As a result, LinkedIn should be a powerful tool in your social media toolbox.
2) Focus on Tangible Value
Once you’ve found your medium, it’s time to start thinking about the message. As you probably know, B2B customers will not easily be convinced by flashy graphics without much substance. While they – like everyone else – enjoy visual representations over bland text, your message should above all convey the tangible value that you can provide to customers.
Potential buyers of your product or services are complex. They are perhaps more rational than many B2C customers, as they are looking to help their organization accomplish a specific goal and want to make sure they don’t get chewed out by management or the board in the process. But at the same time, the idea that B2B buyers are exclusively rational has proven to be a myth. They are still human beings who will not be able to turn off their emotions completely.
Appealing to both rational and emotional factors at once can be difficult, but not impossible. Here’s one way to accomplish your goal…
3) Add Social Proof
Whether you provide testimonials of past customers or engaging case studies, social proof is an ideal way to add value and content that evokes an emotional response to your social media efforts.
According to a 2015 survey among B2B buyers, the top two factors when researching potential buyers were industry experts and peers/colleagues, which are both examples of this type of content.
Of course, social proof can only work if it’s authentic. Nobody believes 6 quotes that all consist of the standard “this product is great!” single sentence posts. Instead, get actual quotes from actual customers, and encourage them to talk specifically about how your product or service improved their business. Adding in statistics is never a bad idea.
Short videos can be a great option for capturing the human behind quote and lend themselves well to all social media channels.
4) Optimize For Conversions
Finally, all of your social media efforts should follow a particular goal: educating prospects, providing value and generating leads.
While some B2C companies shy away from the medium as a lead-generating tool, the same should not be true for B2B marketers. (or B2C if we’re being real)
Potential customers will be happy to give you their professional information in exchange for valuable information or additional insights into your company, and using your social media efforts to link to ‘gated’ content that lives behind a sign-up form on your website can be particularly effective.
Here’s what a typical process would look like:
- you just published a 12 page whitepaper about industry trends for 2016, and how businesses in your customers’ industry should react.
- Then, you make the whitepaper accessible only if web visitors fill out a contact form on your website.
- Now, you can use your social media presence to link to the contact form, enticing your audience by posting one of the trends or even a single statistic from the report.
- An interested prospect fills out a quick form and exchanges their contact details for access to the content they were interested in.
Here’s the biggest thing to remember — Don’t create crappy content!
BONUS: Always try and match how much information you ask for with how valuable the offer is that they are choosing to get. If they are just getting a 10 step checklist, just ask for name and email. If you are offering to do a free analysis for their business, you’re providing a ton of value and can ask for a bit more information.
Do you need help optimizing your social media presence for B2B audiences?
Let us know what’s working for you in the comments down below!