B2B marketers use social media to the same end as B2C marketers – to sell more, and a majority of marketers would agree that social media marketing is indispensable for businesses today. A recent report released by the Content Marketing Institute reveals that 70 percent of the businesses surveyed are producing more content now, than they did a year ago. It also reveals that 92 percent of them use social media to share the content they create. Although the B2B segment had been slow in adopting social media, clearly, that trend has been changing, and changing fast.
Here are five tips for B2B marketers on how to use social media more effectively.
1. Identify your audience
In B2B marketing, it’s not sufficient to simply identify the businesses that may be interested in using your product or service. You also need to identify the individual within the organization who is going to be making the purchase decision. Understand the needs of your prospects and make sure that some of your content focuses on how your offering can fill this gap.
Buyer personas are a great way to make targeting more effective. In profiling prospects, you need to go beyond age and gender. As a B2B marketer, you need to understand exactly what your client seeks to achieve with the use of your product or service, and tailor your offering to help them meet their objective. With the insight you get from profiling, you can also modify the messaging of your content to ensure that it gets noticed.
2. Use different content formats
When posting on social media, maintaining diversity in content format is important, because users across platforms have different preferences. While Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are most suited for visual content, text-heavy posts work best when shared on LinkedIn. For instance, if you’ve recently published a research report on your website, you could write a summary of the report and publish it on your company’s LinkedIn page. You could also create an infographic based on the findings of your report and share it on Facebook or Google+.
Here are a few insights to help you understand how marketers use and audiences engage with different types of content on social media.
- According to a report published by Demand Gen in 2014, 95% of B2B buyers surveyed said that they preferred short-form content. (Demand Gen)
- Photos and images have been identified as the most important tactic to drive content optimization on social media. (The B2B Marketing Mentor)
- In 2014, tweets with images received 150% more retweets. (SocialTimes)
- Photos accounted for 75% of the content posted by Brand Pages on Facebook.(Social Media Examiner)
- The use of videos and infographics in B2B marketing increased by 8% and 9% respectively in 2014. (Demand Gen)
3. Avoid cross-posting
On an average, the best B2B businesses maintain four to seven social media accounts – imagine the amount of content B2B marketers create and curate. Managing multiple social media accounts can be challenging, but you must resist the temptation to cross-post. The reason why businesses maintain multiple social media accounts is because it helps them cast a wider net and reach out to a greater number of people. But posting the same content across all your social media accounts is counter-productive. It defeats the purpose of having so many accounts in the first place.
Cross-posting between platforms like Facebook and Twitter is not feasible even structurally, owing to the 140 charater limit on Twitter. And although Facebook supports hashtags, some of them are more contextually relevant on Twitter. If you are still repurposing content across multiple social media platforms, you must check whether the content needs to be composed differently to make it more suitable for the platform it’s being shared on.
4. Engage with influencers
If you think that an influencer is someone who has a large number of followers, you’d be right, but not entirely. The number of followers is indicative of the influencer’s reach, however another factor which is just as significant is relevance. Identify people who are relevant to your niche, experts in subjects related to your industry and popular among your target audience. Establish a relationship with such people, and do so genuinely.
Follow the influencers you’ve identified and start a conversation with them by showing your appreciation for their work, asking them a pertinent question, or inviting them to co-author content for your website. Whether you’re looking to get more impressions, or generate more leads, influencer marketing on social media works like word-of-mouth publicity, only on a much larger scale.
5. Participate in social media communities
Industry-specific groups and communities on social media are formed with the intent of allowing discussions on relevant subjects. LinkedIn, Reddit, and Google+, all have active communities in which you can participate. Remember to be mindful of the group’s etiquette and guidelines – don’t spam the group with blatant sales messages. The objective of participating in any community is to share, and learn from each others experiences. Every time you participate in a discussion make sure that it is relevant to your business and that you offer something that is genuinely of value to the readers.
These are just a few tips that are broadly relevant to almost any B2B marketer. Pay attention to the subtleties of your industry and tailor your social media strategy accordingly. Essentially, the mantra is to stay active, and stay relevant.
Image Credit: via Wikimedia Commons