Social media has been steadily growing in importance for B2B businesses over the last few years but for many, great audience engagement is still illusive. It’s really tough on the B2B social media scene. The game is definitely a long one, with many tumbleweed moments. Crafting dry content into interesting pieces is not easy. But persevere and the rewards are there to be had. So, here I’ve looked at the best of B2B social media and the key ingredients to get your B2B audience engaging with you.
The “social CEO” is not a new idea but even so, many business leaders don’t engage with their customers on social media. A study by Forbes found that 3 out of 4 consumers thought a business was more trustworthy if its high level leadership participated in social media. Executive social media presence can make a brand more approachable, authentic and transparent.
“I would rather engage in a Twitter conversation with a single customer than see our company attempt to attract the attention of millions in a coveted Super Bowl commercial.” – Peter Aceto, former CEO of Tangerine (previously ING-Direct)
“Being on social” means passively posting and broadcasting out your message; blasting out what you want your audience to hear. Instead “being social” is about engaging and creating conversations. The easiest and simplest way to do this is to ask your audience a question. So rather than just posting out your latest report or webinar invitation, ask them a question. Ask them if they have come across this issue before or what tips they may have for solving this problem.
Businesses don’t buy things. People that work in businesses buy things. People with emotions, struggles, problems, desires, highs and lows. Bringing a personal touch to social media and helping people to connect is essential even in a B2B context. Rather than pushing out salesy broadcast messages, showcase the work and lives of your employees, talk about good causes you are connected with and share behind the scenes insight of who delivers the product or service, and how they do it.
You probably have a team or an individual managing your company social media accounts, but how are you involving other employees? Most social media platforms dampen down the reach of business accounts in order to drive paid advertising. So, getting your employees sharing your content from your company account can improve reach and engagement free of charge! Having a clear policy for employees on social media, providing regular prompts for them to check out your feed and encouraging rather than mandating engagement can really help drive employee advocacy.
Influencers are incredibly important to B2B businesses, even more so than in B2C, I think. Some statistics suggest up to 91% of B2B sales are influenced by word of mouth. Working with social media influencers may seem alien to some B2B businesses but it is very similar to offline referrals and partnerships. Commonalities such as seeking mutual benefit for both of you and good alignment of your values and brand apply in offline as well as social media partnerships.
B2B influencers break into three main groups; customers, employees and experts.
A happy customer telling your story for you is one of the most powerful marketing tools you will come across. Social media presents a great opportunity for both of you to highlight your work together.
Your employees are probably the most credible spokespeople you have. Identify a few employees with a good number of, and well-engaged followers who actively come on board to promote the business on social media.
Experts and thought leaders in your industry hold significant sway with your buyers. They do not need to have a huge following but an engaged audience, relevant to your industry and authority with that audience is essential.
In some areas of B2B marketing we face a challenge to make our content remarkable. Topics are sometimes considered dry, boring, and extremely niche. It’s hard to get the engagement we need on social media as a result.
Infographics are a great way to convey information simply and in a visually interesting way. Using story-telling can be very powerful too and when coupled with video, it makes for really engaging content. Challenge yourself to find out the questions your audience is asking and tap into the difficulties your audience need help with. One great tool I love using is AskThePublic.com. It scans the major search engines and returns all the questions related to the topic you have searched on. It’s great for understanding what questions people have on a particular topic.
Social media is a powerful lead generation tool for many businesses, but some treat social media purely in these narrow terms. For many, getting to the stage where social media returns genuinely credible lead opportunities takes time and requires working through brand building and then engagement building before lead generation in any meaningful way can work. Without building an engaged audience first, you may find yourself burning a lot of cash searching for lead opportunities on social media.
B2B social media is certainly improving and there are some trailblazing businesses that are proving that investing time and thought can return great results both in terms of customer relationships and revenue. Using these seven tips will help you start to increase your audience engagement and get more value from your social media activities. Please comment and let me know what you are finding effective right now on B2B social media.
Sometimes, you need someone with an external perspective to help work out the right way forward for you on social media. We work with B2B businesses to design powerful social media strategies that can fast track your success on social media. Please get in touch to book a discussion.
27th May 2021
30th March 2021