Why is a proper social media B2B strategy important?
B2B marketing is oriented towards other businesses and organizations to build your brand and influence purchase decisions. A staggering 95% of B2B marketers use social media content, making it the most widely utilized content type.
84% of B2B exec
utives say social media is their source of making purchase decisions. This 84% also want to hear genuine opinions on a good or service before committing to purchase it. However, only 45% of B2B marketers reach their goal of gaining subscribed audiences, and only 53% of them succeed in generating revenue.
Evidently, B2B social media marketing can be tricky, but there is no denying its contributions to raising brand awareness, building credibility, gaining leads, building loyalty, and generating sales. And for that, you need a holistic social media B2B strategy, which leverages organic and paid marketing to meet your targets.
Note that the development stage of a strategy is the most crucial. It is only after proper development that you can move forward with logistics and operations. So, how do you develop a full-proof social media B2B marketing strategy? Here is how.
7 Steps To Building An Effective Social Media B2B Strategy
Step 1 – Set well-defined goals
It is not enough to set vague goals such as, “I want to use social media to attract more B2B buyers”. Your goals should be well-defined with specific, measurable, and achievable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Recent research has found that the four most-cited goals of B2B marketers are:
- Creating brand awareness – 86%
- Educating audiences – 79%
- Building credibility – 75%
- Building loyalty with existing clients or customers – 63%
You need to select your goals and then determine which goal to prioritize and in what order. A crucial part of deciding on goals is ensuring they align with your business objectives. What are your organization’s objectives, and how are your social media goals helping to achieve them?
A social media audit will reveal your areas of growth, opportunities, and improvement, which is necessary for both existing and new social media strategies. You will typically have to formulate brand activation ideas for catering to goals such as raising brand awareness or developing brand loyalty. The metrics you select for KPIs will depend on your goals.
Metrics for Brand Awareness
- Direct traffic – This is when users access your website by pasting your URL directly to their browsers.
- Mentions – Number of times your brand has been mentioned directly in different social media channels
- Brand search volume – Number of times people used your brand’s name as a keyword on search engines
- Reach – Number of people your post reached on social media
Metrics for Conversions
- Cost Per Lead (CPL) – An estimation of how much it costs to gain one lead
- Close rate per channel – Determines which channel acquires the best leads for your brand
- Customer lifetime value (LTV) – Forecasted net profit a prospect will bring in over a time period. You should assign this value to every new customer for measuring social media ROI.
Metrics for Engagement
- Applause rate – Number of likes or reactions on each post
- Conversation rate – Number of comments per post
- Amplification rate – Number of shares per post that results in earned reach
- Clicks Per post -Number of times people have clicked on your link
Based on the metrics you select, your KPI could be something like this:
- Increase direct traffic from social media campaigns by 15% on LinkedIn within 60 days
- Increase conversion from social media by 11% in the first three months
- Increase engagement (likes, comments, shares, and clicks) by 10% on Facebook by the end of 30 days
Step 2 – Watch out for your competitors
You should research your competitors’ social media marketing activities to check what social media channels they use, how frequently they post, how many posts are paid, how many are organic, what type of content they produce, and what tone they assume.
However, it does not mean you can directly copy any of their successful social media strategies. Because of being in the same industry, there will often be crossovers with target audiences and their needs.
In that case, there is no harm in taking inspiration from their campaigns without copying their work. By keeping a tab on your competitors, you will know when they are not following a particular trend, such as short-form content. This will let you take advantage of the situation and respond to that trend.
Step 3 – Create Buyer Personas
You need to develop relevant buyer personas by researching your market, looking at audience demographics, and analyzing your best customers. B2B goods and services are typically advertised to a distinct pool of customers with specific needs.
Therefore, the more concisely you can define your target audience(s), the better you can communicate your brand message to them.
If you’re worried about your brand communication becoming one-sided, you might want to pay attention to social media listening, which is a vital part of developing your buyer persona for your social media B2B strategy.
Social media listening will allow you to understand your audience and customize your social media strategy accordingly.
Step 4: Choose appropriate social media platforms
Find out where most of your prospects and customers are on social media. You will want to be where they are for more lead generation and customer retention.
You can conduct polls to find what social media platforms B2B marketers prefer based on their goals, like faster lead generation or increasing brand awareness. According to Statista, Facebook is the leading B2B social media platform at 46%, followed by LinkedIn at 33%.
Simultaneously, decide on the number of social media platforms you’re going to use. Make sure you don’t select too many channels and make it way difficult for your social media manager to handle.
If you’re worried about manually scheduling posts across all your social media platforms, you can always use a scheduling tool like Postfity, which will also take care of publishing your content in the right timezone in case you have a global audience.
Step 5: Build a distinct brand image
Social media is a valuable tool to give your brand a face and a voice. It is crucial to establish a brand image that will distinguish you from competitors in terms of content quality and brand values.
Social Media-friendly Content
The content you produce should be social media-friendly – attractive, concise, and easy to comprehend. For instance, Mailchimp uses colorful and interactive graphics in their social media posts to attract viewers and stimulate engagement.
You could also convert your blog posts to short infographics. Generation Z customers have an attention span of only 8 seconds. This has made captivating content more important than ever, consequently increasing the use of short-form content.
Your social media B2B page should reflect your brand values. One thing you could do is leverage user-generated content that would put your customers at the front row of your brand, build loyalty and trust, cut costs, and maximize brand reach.
It would prove to your customers how much you value them and their support. For example, Adobe utilizes user-generated content to make its Instagram feed full of inspiring content designed and edited with its tools.
Several companies now realize the impact of social media platforms on highlighting employee experience. Case in point, Dropbox frequently shares and reposts employee stories and content, where employees use the hashtag #LifeInsideDropbox.
The stories are authentic and create a sense of accountability. Moreover, it takes a more human and personalized approach in employer branding. This employee advocacy promotes brand values and increases brand reach.
Your brand value could also involve sharing customer success stories to encourage them and gain their trust. For instance, Shopify shares stories of customers who have successfully launched their startups to motivate others planning to start their business.
In another example, Mailchimp adopted an initiative called ‘Small Business Week’ that featured a collection of films to demonstrate the ups and downs a small business owner faces.
Step 6: Apply social media analytics
To measure the ROI and effectiveness of your social media B2B strategy, you need to use social media analytics tools. Apart from scheduling your social media posts, Postfity also offers a wide range of services, including analyzing your performance on various social media platforms.
Using Postfity, you can choose from the following options to analyze post engagement, such as likes, comments, shares, and clicks. This will help you assess which of your posts are performing well and which aren’t.
Other websites you may find beneficial in analyzing performance include Google Analytics, Buzzsumo, and Iconosquare.
Step 7: Set up a budget
Decide on the percentage of the annual budget to allocate to your social media B2B strategy. You will find it practical to check the industry average to make the decision.
Next, break down the budget among the core expense categories. The categories include but are not limited to part-time and full-time in-house team members, outsourced work from freelancers or agencies, paid social media expenses, and the necessary tools and technology required for social media management as well as performance analysis.
It may be easier for you to understand the budget by grouping related social media campaigns. For instance, some strategists recommend that you allocate 40% of your budget to sales-generating activities such as influencer marketing and 60% of the budget to brand-building activities such as content creation and publishing.
Social Media B2B Best Practices
Now that we have covered the strategy development segment, let us dive into some of the best social media B2B best practices. When used properly, these would help to make your social media B2B strategy a success.
Produce original content
You can impress your customers more by producing original content. Content created only by your brand will be unique and differentiate you from your competitors.
Original content also allows you to be creative and innovate your social media marketing. This drives further reach, engagement, and lead generation.
Personalize your posts
Social media marketing lets you target highly specific audiences. You can use this opportunity to tailor your content to people in certain locations or occupations. You can even cater to different buyer personas in different stages of their journey.
This will ensure you reach customers at the top of the funnel, bottom of the funnel, and other stages in between. A LinkedIn research revealed that 62% of B2B buyers respond to salespeople who provide them with relevant opportunities and insights.
Create separate social media accounts
You may have to create multiple social media accounts, especially if your company owns several brands. When your company has more than one brand, only one social media account might make it hard to convey the brand message to your separate target audiences.
Therefore, separate accounts will let each of your brands create sufficient impact. For instance, Adobe has separate Instagram accounts, including Adobe, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Adobe Design.
Customize content for each social media platform
Sometimes, your content might be meaningful on all of your social media platforms. Sometimes, it might not. The hashtags that you use on Twitter are unlikely to be useful on LinkedIn or Facebook
Your prospects and customers notice when you post the same content on all of your channels. When it becomes a pattern, the lack of customization might tag you as lazy and lacking creativity. This is precisely why it is crucial to ensure you customize your content for each social media channel.
Bonus Tip: Commit to your social media B2B strategy
Developing a social media B2B strategy will not automatically translate to effective implementation if you do not commit to your strategy. You have to keep your focus glued to the strategy through and through if you want to turn it into a success story.