1. Adapt Your Message to the Platform
With a little creativity you can craft messages that stand out on any of the major social media platforms. Your potential customers aren’t in business mode 24/7 and often a well-timed post can catch them unawares. Show people the human face of your business – it makes them feel warmer towards you and starts to break down those impersonal barriers.
LinkedIn and Twitter are the most obvious starting points if you’re working in a B2B market. If you’re looking at a B2C audience you’ll probably gravitate more naturally towards Facebook or Instagram.
This post is going to focus on social media for B2B marketers – we’ll cover B2C in a separate post.
LinkedIn has moved away from its former role as a glorified job board and dominates the world of B2B lead generation. According to recent research, LinkedIn is responsible for 97% of B2B leads generated on social media platforms.
It’s great for in-depth content that engages and builds a story; one you can add to day after day. In 2020 LinkedIn is the platform which relies most heavily on quality to get results.
But LinkedIn can be touchy:
- you have to get your posting frequency right,
- the content mix needs to be right,
- you have to balance whether you keep users on LinkedIn or push them to your website,
- you need personal posts if you’re trying to build up a company page following…
LinkedIn’s native analytics are also pretty meagre, so there’s a lot of work to be done to find the right strategy.
2. Getting the Balance Right
Twitter, on the other hand, isn’t such a great place for lead generation. What it IS good for is brand awareness, due to the huge number of users your content can be seen by in a short space of time. Twitter is great for reach.
Be warned… Twitter is a serious time commitment. You can build a large audience relatively quickly but they’re insatiable for content. The sheer volume of content means your tweets will disappear quickly, so you need to ensure a steady stream of content, timed to hit when your core audience is most active. Snooze and you lose.
Get it right, however, and the amplification effect can be massive. A few valuable shares from key followers can boost your impressions through the roof. And with Twitter, impressions lead directly to engagement.
Twitter users tend to follow accounts quite easily so with just a little liking and commenting you can find yourself with a sizeable following. They’re not so easy-going with their engagement though. With so much content to choose from on Twitter, your tweets need to hit the mark every time or your followers will scroll on by without a single click.
3. B2B and Facebook?
Facebook is widely regarded as a consumer platform, although many B2B businesses maintain a presence on the platform. If you’re a consumer tech business then Facebook is definitely one to choose, particularly for the strength of their ad targeting.
You can create very sophisticated audience targeting and back that up with retargeting campaigns to anyone who’s visited your website. If you’ve ever run Facebook ads and think they don’t work… bad targeting was almost certainly one of the reasons. It’s complicated to get right but immensely powerful once you do.
Organic posting on Facebook keeps you in the public eye, regardless of whether your audience is business or consumer. As we’ve said before, decision makers are people too. And while they may not necessarily be in buying mode when they’re on Facebook, you’d be surprised just how many turn to a Facebook page to see what a company is all about. It’s a different tone, more personal and personable.
You get a different feel for a business from a well-managed Facebook page and the ethos behind a business is fast becoming a key decision-making factor when choosing who to work with. Use Facebook to showcase the human side
of your business.
4. Let’s Get Visual
Then we come to Instagram. A highly visual platform where you need a strong visual identity.
Let’s be honest, there aren’t many B2B companies that can pull this off. If you have a talented creative team and a compelling proposition you CAN make it work, but you’ll need a totally focused campaign strategy.
Embrace a cause, show the people behind the business, showcase the work of your creative partners and customers, or develop a strong visual theme to your grid (take a look at Squarespace for a great example). If you’re a newbie on the social scene and a B2B brand we wouldn’t recommend Instagram as a starting point, it’s an advanced tactic.
We’d recommend B2B businesses get thoroughly immersed in LinkedIn or Twitter first before looking at Instagram. Get your social media strategy completely locked down for those platforms then look at branching out. What you’ll learn through posting on the more conventional B2B social media platforms will give you a very good insight as to where to focus next.
By learning what works and what doesn’t in a ‘safe’ environment you can begin to target content to each of your audiences and learn more about who they really are and what they’re looking for.
5. The New Breed of Social Media Platforms
New social media platforms are taking on the established leaders.
TikTok is the latest rising star as marketers try to figure out how to connect with a younger generation who are turning their backs on the platforms their parents – and even grandparents – use.
It’s a completely different medium which needs a whole new approach. For those who get it figured out early, the first-mover advantage will be huge. There seems little doubt that TikTok will be a massively powerful platform for the right kind of brands. But it will also be a trap for the unwary.
Will TikTok prove to be fertile ground for B2B marketers? For those at the forefront of new tech, for example, it very well could be. If you think of the work being done in fields like augmented reality it’s not hard to see how that can be presented to younger audiences in a scroll-stopping way.
6. Which Social Media Platforms are Right for Your Business?
Choosing the right social media platforms for your business should be a relatively simple task, as long as you understand your audience(s). Creating the right content to keep them engaged is the real challenge.
Whichever platforms you choose, ensure your content strategy is thoroughly mapped out before you start and always be ready to adapt it according to the results you see coming in.
Remember that the audiences on each platform have different motivations and different needs and you’ll thrive. It’s all about using the strengths of each platform to deliver the right message to the right people in the right way.