The most effective B2B Social Media marketers:
- Focus on LinkedIn, Blogs, and Twitter
- Dedicate at least 10 hours per week to maintain and update Social Media content and pages
- Generate high levels of engagement through thought-leadership and industry-focused content
- Stay far away from talking about the company’s products
Those are the basics, anyway. If you do just those four things, you’re already ahead of most B2B marketers. You offer great value to employers and social media recruiters looking to hire.
But once you’re there, where do you go? How do you maximize your social ROI and improve your competitive edge?
Ever since Social Media exploded in popularity, B2B marketers have been struggling to leverage this medium. But it is still maturing, and social marketing is still a wild frontier. The industry has learned some lessons, however, and they can be consistently applied by B2B marketers for success. Social media recruiters are constantly looking for talent that does these things to set themselves apart.
The very first lesson is the most important:
1. Social networks are made for conversations, not advertising products
Think of it this way: any social medium (yes, including LinkedIn) is designed first and foremost to operate as a virtual networking forum, where people can talk to other people in as private or public a manner as they choose. It is not a place for companies to broadcast their messages like they would in advertising. All long-term social success else flows from this understanding.
2. Social lets you put a human face on an organization
It gives you an opportunity to connect in a more direct (but not necessarily overly personal) way with the people that you already work with, or would like to work with. So the information being shared via these channels should be interesting, valuable, and relevant enough that they will not only read/watch/listen, but also share with their contacts, coworkers and network.
3. Engagement of B2B audiences requires constant interaction
Without a regular frequency of communication and developing conversations, social is mostly a waste of time in the B2B realm. That means that posts should be made on a regular basis, comments and attempts to engage should be responded to quickly, and you need to have multiple convenient avenues for conversation open at all times.
4. Generate and share educational, entertaining, and relevant content
This aspect of Social Media Marketing has proven to be one of most challenging for B2B marketers; creating and finding a sufficient volume of interesting content that will be useful to their network (and their network’s network.) While some B2B marketers use social media channels to share personal updates, humorous stories, or viral videos, this has not proven to be an effective technique. Silly animal videos might get a lot of views on YouTube but will rarely drive engagement in B2B audiences. Share information your contacts will find interesting and will leave them with a positive perspective of your brand.
Employers, Download it FREE: 8 Interview Questions You MUST Ask Your Next Social Media Manager
5. Use different strategies for different networks
When reading their LinkedIn feeds, people are generally more in “worker” mode, so articles or quick facts about trends in their industries, or innovative solutions to industry problems are more relevant and appreciated. Twitter is used much more as a quick scan resource, so anything that has time-sensitive context to it (such as information about an event, or a speaker at an event, or an announcement by a leader in the industry) is most relevant and appreciated. YouTube and Instagram may offer excellent opportunities for sharing interesting visual content, in the right context.
Most B2B marketers struggle to make Facebook effective. If you do choose to use Facebook, make sure your posts are framed in context with the kinds of feeds that people expect when using Facebook: articles focused on personal and professional growth, interesting statistics about different people’s experiences in the industry, helpful insights from thought leaders, etc.
Blogs are an opportunity to discuss industry topics in a much more thoughtful and deep manner, and can be a forum to expand on your company’s take on a particular technology, market, or industry trend. People reading blogs appreciate learning about business or technical subjects in more detail than they may find in a short headline or a news article.
6. Find a happy medium for social posting volume
Posting too infrequently results in not enough attention being paid to the company’s Social Media presence. Posting too frequently often leads to people ignoring (or blocking) the posts. Finding the “Goldilocks” frequency that is not too few, and not too many, but “just right” for your company and your network, is a matter of trial and error. Pay attention to the analytics on how often people share content, or how many views you get whenever you vary frequency, and this will allow you to see what is most effective overall as you have changed over time.
7. Be tasteful and professional
There is a line between “professional” and “personal” content, and it is all too easy to move from tasteful posts to making people cringe.
You don’t want to end up making a big social media blunder like one of these
video from Alltime10s
In B2B Social Media marketing avoid controversial subjects, such as politics, religion, or other sensitive topics that can cause the viral nature of social media to spiral out of control. No matter your personal values or moral stance on any issue (or that of your company) entering these kinds of debates on Social Media never works for B2B companies.
8. Keep your brand consistent across all channels, including social
You have online and offline marketing programs; these all serve as touch points for your B2B brand – your Social Media touch points must offer a consistent brand experience with these other channels. Even though you should not be overtly promoting your products or solutions on Social Media, the way that your network (and their networks) will view you and the company is impacted by the voice and content of your brand.
9. Foster participation and conversations
Blogs are especially powerful as a means to solicit opinions, experiences, and ideas from people that normally may not be part of the discussion, but are influencers or buyers nonetheless. The success of your B2B marketing strategy can be measured not just in terms of numbers of followers or connections or shares, but also in terms of engagement. The more active your dialogue is, the more diverse the range of opinions, the more interesting the discussion, the better your brand will be viewed. Speaking of which, why don’t you tell us any other helpful fundamentals you’ve found in your B2B marketing?
More Recommendations from Social Media Recruiters
Social Data’s Influence on B2B Sellers and Buyers [Infographic]
Social data has gone beyond B2C to influence B2B sellers and buyers, according to the following Leadspace infographic. More.
Social Media Gaining B2B Popularity
Distributors that shy away from social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are missing out on an increasingly important business-to-business opportunity, says Bob DeStefano in Making the Case for Social Media in B2B. Not participating in social media can make it more difficult for potential customers to find you. More.