Social Media and B2B Marketing
Whenever we think about companies winning at social media, giant B2C companies with slick marketing teams inevitably come to mind. A quick Google search on “most effective social media campaigns” or related terms all have one thing in common. That is, how the consumer darlings of brands like Apple, Disney, Amazon, Spotify, and others engage with millions of people around the world. And, sell billions worth of products and services in the process.
But what about the technical/complex B2B sector? Yes, the not-so-sexy companies with real products and solutions and real customers who are other businesses? And when we talk about B2B, I’m not talking about companies like Intel, GE, or pharma giants who have the resources, time, and stories to invest in. I’m talking about a small or medium-sized B2B business in what we call “boring industries”. That’s a title we give ourselves, especially when our product is too technical or niche for the masses to care about, or at least what we think.
Does it make sense for us? The niche networking solutions software company, mobile app for contractors, or suppliers to the print industry? The simple answer is – YES.
The critical thing to know, however, is – WHAT TO DO IN SOCIAL MEDIA when you’re a typical B2B business. And this doesn’t mean you have to go and open a new TikTok account right now. It’s simpler than that!
TL;DR – Social media works for B2B. Data proves it. But how it can work for you depends on what platforms you choose and what you do there.
Summarizing the key lessons I have learned when it comes to Social Media and B2B Marketing, here are 5 hard-earned lessons or tips –
Your customers are social already; Find them and find them good
We all know the pain when we type in relevant search keywords for PPC campaigns for ‘our industry’ and see the dismal single or double-digit results. It makes us believe that our customers are just not online or ‘accessible’ on these online channels. The truth can’t be farther from that.
Invest the time to find out where your customers gather online, what resources/forums/publications they like, and hang around there. Find out what kind of content they consume online, where they consume it from (it could be a Facebook/Linkedin Group for all you know; True story), and MAKE that content for them.
Choose your battlegrounds carefully and stick to them
Yes, there are new social media platforms emerging every day. It’s TikTok today, it could be Parler or something else tomorrow. And no, your company/brand doesn’t have to be on all of these! You just have to pick and choose the platforms your customers are most comfortable with and stick to them. I have seen some B2B companies leverage Facebook and Linkedin and ignore Twitter/others completely while others almost exclusively focus on Twitter. It all depends on your business, your target audience, and the platforms they congregate at.
Some platforms ARE better than others – for certain objectives
If your entire sales strategy is dependent on social media, you’ll be in for some unpleasant surprises. Social isn’t meant to replace your holistic B2B sales strategy – it’s meant to be a part of it. More importantly, within your social media strategy, you’ll have to choose what platforms you want for what exact purposes. If all your posts are aimed at lead generation, audience fatigue will follow. If you’re always posting a ‘super deal’, people will ignore it. You’ll have to decide your social media marketing mix and then stick to certain key objectives for each one of these.
Invest in creating valuable content and keep faith in remarketing
When we struggled in finding relevant online traffic for our new niche networking solutions for tier-2 and tier-3 ISPs at Preseem, we stopped looking for them. Instead, we started creating content we thought would be useful to our relevant audiences (network managers, tech folks, business owners). It took time but a year or so in the making, we were attracting thousands of unique visitors every month. I have seen this story repeat in many other sectors/industries – it doesn’t matter if you’re a niche insurance company or a tier-3 supplier to the automotive companies. If you spend time in understanding the content your stakeholders consume and you become a reliable source for that content, the traffic will come.
And yes, when the traffic floodgates open, don’t forget to remarket to your visitors with well-planned ad campaigns – never losing sight of delivering real value. They came to you the first time since you offered something of value, keep doing that even when you run paid ads.
Social is great, but keep doing everything else
There’s no doubt that every B2B company can leverage social media for increasing brand awareness, customer engagement, and supporting overall organizational growth. What is key is that you always remember that no one marketing strategy or channel is the be-all and end-all for a business. You should continue to evaluate all your channels, their Return on Investment (RoI), and make necessary adjustments. There are times when email marketing or cold calling will eclipse all other lead generation channels. At others, social will be the king. Knowing this will help you plan and execute better.
I’m sure there are many other good social media and B2B marketing tips and learnings out there. Is there something that worked amazingly in your B2B space? Let me know or post in the comments below!