Table of Contents
Step 1: Set Goals and Establish Metrics
Step 2: Define Your Target Audience
a. Buyer Personas
b. Conducting Buyer Persona Research
Step 3: Create Your B2B Social Media Strategy
a. Choose the Right Social Networks
b. Content Types
c. Content Topics
d. Create a Social Media Calendar
e. How to Amplify Your Content
Social selling is powerful.
While we’ve all gotten used to thinking of social media users as private individuals, we couldn’t be farther from truth.
After all, every employed individual holds a position at a company so if we’re in the B2B space, there’s no reason not to leverage social media for getting more sales.
According to IBG’s study, 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers are influenced by social media when purchasing. And when it comes to using social media to sell, sales teams that reach out to their prospects on social media get 45% more opportunities.
But if you want to make full use of social media for your B2B company, you’re going to need a strategy.
And that’s exactly what our template is here for! Here’s what you need to cross off your checklist when creating a B2B social media strategy:
Step 1. Setting Goals and Establishing Metrics
The first thing you need to do to kick off your social media strategy is set your business goals.
Just like any other marketing strategy, it has to be closely connected with your general business goals:
- Do you want to get more leads?
- Do you want to retain your existing customers?
- Do you need to drive sales?
- Do you need to increase the quality of your sales?
All of this can vary, and a great first step towards getting great results is knowing what you’re expecting from your social media activity.
For example, if your churn rate is rising while you’re experiencing a steady downpour of new visitors and leads, the problem could be in the quality of your sales. Maybe you’re not educating your customers enough and as such, they’re more likely to churn and you won’t be able to raise their lifetime value (LTV).
Every single one of your business goals can be translated to social media metrics you can track:
- You want to get more leads = Measure the number of impressions, visits and clicks on your social media profiles
- You want to retain your customers = Measure the engagement rate
- You want to drive sales = Measure the number of clicks on promotions
- You want to increase the customers’ lifetime value = Measure the engagement rate in correlation with customer sentiment
When you’ve defined your goals like this, you’ll be able to pinpoint the right tactics to achieve them, rather than applying something standard and assuming that you’re getting a return on investment.
Step 2. Define Your Target Audience
There are a lot of ways you can define your target audience.
If you’ve been in business for a while, your marketing team probably has a buyer persona. Or maybe you’ve noticed that particular companies simply buy from you more often (or their purchases have a higher value).
Whatever the case, you should have the basic information on your ideal customers.
When we say ideal, we mean the best existing customers (or if you’re starting out: the type of customers you believe will be your best existing customers). The companies with the highest purchase and lifetime value.
After all, you can only please so many people. And if you spread your B2B social media strategy too thin, you could end up not attracting anyone in particular.
So narrow down your audience.
What Do You Need to Know about Your B2B Audience?
It’s best to approach the process of defining your target audience by creating one representative sample.
First of all, you need demographic data:
- The size of the buyer’s organization
- Job title
Then, you need data that’s more detailed and will give you a clearer view of the person at the front of the organization you’ll be looking to attract with your social media:
- How is their job performance measured?
- Job-related responsibilities and objectives
- Job-related challenges
- Tools they use to perform their job
- Communication methods
- Information and communication channels
Example of a Buyer Persona for B2B Social Media Strategy
Let’s say you’re selling email marketing software.
The person you’ll be communicating with could be Marketing Mary, 35 years old, lives in Chicago (if location is relevant to your business), and works in the marketing department at a company with 500-1000 employees.
She’s the head of marketing at the company, so she reports directly to the CEO. They’re the person she (and you) will have to convince of the benefits of your software. You could tell Marketing Mary that she’ll reach the sales quota sooner, which will improve her job performance rating.
She may usually be responsible for carrying out 3-5 marketing campaigns every quarter, and the company is expecting to see at least 15% revenue boost from it. It’s both her objective and a challenge, as she can’t clearly see the way to maximize profits from existing customers.
All she uses so far is project management software, Google Analytics, and Mail Chimp. She communicates with clients and her team by phone, face-to-face, and through Slack. How does your email marketing software figure into that?
And finally: you need to know which social networks Marketing Mary uses. Let’s say she only uses LinkedIn. This means that your best chance of reaching her is on there.
While Marketing Mary sounds like a real person, she shouldn’t be just that. She should be a representative example of a majority of your best customers – the people you are trying to attract.
How to Get the Audience Information
If you’re using software that analyzes your clients’ behavior and demographic data, getting the audience information is going to be relatively straightforward.
However, if that’s not an option, you can:
- Perform market research and get your marketing team to ideate
- Survey your existing customers
- Analyze your competitors’ customers
Now, your target audience is going to tell you plenty – and you should listen to it. It will inform the rest of your social media strategy.
Step 3. Create Your B2B Social Media Strategy
With all of the necessary information under your belt, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
a. Choose the Right Platform for Your B2B Social Media Strategy
You’ll have gathered what your target audience’s favorite social networks are from the buyer persona research.
Now it’s time to put it to use.
Your gut reaction may be to just go for LinkedIn (especially if you don’t have enough data on your customers), but don’t limit yourself. Company stakeholders are people too, and they may love posting their mocha latte to Instagram.
According to Content Marketing Institute’s report, marketers rate the following social networks as the most effective for B2B:
- LinkedIn – 63%
- Twitter – 55%
- YouTube – 48%
- SlideShare – 42%
- Vimeo – 40%
- Facebook – 32%
- Pinterest – 25%
- Instagram – 24%
Yes, you can absolutely use multiple social networks at once but it’s best to use a professional social management tool for that.
Otherwise, you could risk just re-posting the same content and not making use of the native features every social network provides.
b. Define Content Types
Now that you’ve decided on your platforms, you should decide what kind of content you’ll be posting.
Well-performing content varies from platform to platform.
For example, LinkedIn users love blog posts, studies, white papers and statistics, which is why 91% of marketing executives say LinkedIn is the top place to find quality content.
Twitter, on the other hand, abounds with thought influencers across different industries. It also comes with features such as polls and gifs, which could increase your organic reach if you use them.
Instagram and Pinterest are well-known visual platforms where the saying goes: If a picture says a thousand words, then video says a million at the very least. Don’t forget about the unique nature of each: Instagram users love engaging through comments, while Pinterest users re-pin images and share them with their communities.
[ Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/UK1N66KUkMk ]
In general, you should adapt your content to the platform you’re posting to and the type of audience you’re speaking to.
However, as a rule of thumb, the following content types perform exceedingly well for the B2B sector:
- Educational videos
- Blog posts, unique research, case studies
And while companies typically only share original content that’s closely related to their products, don’t follow that same pattern.
Content curation is immensely powerful in the B2B space, as it reinforces your company’s thought influence, authority, and trustworthiness.
Of course, finding the right content to share from your industry can be a hassle. But with DrumUp, you can cut back on the time you spend looking for curated news and articles, as the tool automatically recommends the best content for your industry.
It does all the heavy lifting of curating content so you can feel the benefits of becoming a social media authority. You can bet that will drive sales.
c. Content Topics for Your Social Media Strategy
Deciding on a platform and a type of content is all well and good, but you need to know exactly what content you’ll create before you do so you can check if it aligns with your business and social media marketing goals.
A good place to get started is by staking out the competition.
Take a look at what your competitors are posting about.
Identify well-performing pieces of content. What makes them special; the format, the content itself, or the fact that they’ve used the right hashtags?
There’s a lot that goes into B2B social media success.
Another way of finding out what to post about is by researching the relevant hashtags.
They’ll show you entire micro-communities interested in an industry. What topics are trending? What is an evergreen topic that people never stop finding useful?
And most importantly: where is your product in all of that? How does it help them overcome their obstacles?
You can also use tools that content marketers swear by:
- Google Keyword Planner for generalized areas of interest
- Answer The Public for finding concrete target audience search queries
- BuzzSumo for checking out what your competitors are doing, identifying thought influencers and evergreen content that keeps being shared across social media
- DrumUp for finding trending content in your industry
d. Create a Social Media Calendar
You should always organize your social media strategy.
First, start with your goals and metrics. Then, elaborate on tactics.
And finally, set time frames and plan out the actual posting of the content, as well as promotional methods that you’ll be using.
The best social media calendars are 2 weeks or 30 days in advance.
If your content calendar is any shorter than that, you risk losing consistency.
However, if your social media calendar covers more than 30 upcoming days, you’re going to lose flexibility to respond to recent changes and make use of trends.
The social media calendar will also help you define how many times per day you’ll post.
Keep in mind that every social network’s posts have a different half-life.
For example, on Twitter, your tweet is only relevant for the first 24 minutes.
After that, it’ll only be displayed again if it has a high engagement rate.
This can get somewhat tricky if you’re covering a lot of customers in different time zones. However, the confusion can be avoided if you know when your audience from a particular time zone are the most active, and adjust your posting times accordingly.
How often should you post on social media?
The frequency of your posts varies from platform to platform.
For example, you shouldn’t post to Facebook and LinkedIn more than 1-2 per day. When it comes to Twitter, which thrives on bite-sized posts, you can go up to 40 times per day if you have a big enough audience and enough interesting content that won’t inundate them.
If that’s too much for you to handle on your own, you can always look into social media management tools. DrumUp also comes with an integrated content curation feature that means you won’t have to produce all of your content yourself!
However, what’s even more important than the frequency of your posts is the consistency of your posts and alignment with high-activity periods.
You can find out when your followers are the most active on the majority of platforms. For example, Twitter offers Twitter Analytics that will show you a graph with peak activity points for your followers, as well as high-activity periods.
Your followers could be most active between 12 and 4pm. The next peak could be at 10pm. If you know that, you could concentrate the majority of your posts during that high-activity period, with one or two posts at 10pm.
e. How to Amplify Your B2B Social Media Strategy Content
Social media can give your company organic boost and show your posts to much desired leads through hashtags alone, but it’s always good to plan on how you’ll additionally promote your content.
The first thing you should do is use employee advocacy.
When employee ambassadors share your posts, they reach 561% further.
And if your employees are also the target audience for your product, that means you’ll be reaching other members of your audience free of charge with the same effect of a social media ad.
Plus, they’re also giving you a social proof with their de-facto social advocacy. And implementing a brand advocacy program doesn’t even have to be hard if you use DrumUp.
You can also connect with thought influencers in your industry.
The majority of B2B stakeholders have an influencer or two they follow – they’re simply that unavoidable. And when you get their “vote,” your potential customers will start trusting you more.
While your first association to the word “influencer” might be Instagram influencers pushing detox teas, know that LinkedIn and Twitter and full of people who are extremely authoritative in their industry and trusted by thousands (if not millions).
One post from them mentioning your product could mean you’ll reach that sales quota for this quarter, and get higher quality customers.
Finally, you could invest into paid ads, but what you could also do to promote your social media content is invest in sustainability.
This means allocating more resources to original research and interesting content formats, as well as audience engagement.
The best social media management tools should give you the ability to communicate with your B2B audience and respond to their queries, as well as listen to what your audience is telling you.
Creating the right social media marketing mix takes time.
Keep a close eye on your results and review them periodically. Test whatever you can, and listen to what your audience is saying. Identify content that performs exceedingly well, and create social media policies for engaging with leads.
Your audience will also need time to start trusting you. Make sure you engage with them and offer enough social proof; either through testimonials or by working with influencers.
However, if you’ve got a great company and an even better product, and you use the methods we’ve outlined in this guide – you’ll be on your way to thousands of satisfied customers sooner than you can say:
[ Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/fMntI8HAAB8 ]