Social media may not always be a top priority or even an important consideration for B2B marketers. However, with 4.62 billion social media users worldwide, you can no longer afford to keep social media marketing on the back burner. Out of these billions of users, there will be thousands (if not millions) of people who could potentially be part of your B2B target audience. This makes it crucial to have a well-defined B2B social media strategy to guide your actions.
In this guide, we help you understand how a social media strategy can benefit your B2B brand. We also provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to build your B2B social media strategy. Let’s get started.
How to Build a B2B Social Media Strategy:
B2B vs. B2C Social Media Marketing: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between B2B and B2C social media marketing is that while B2B is about selling to other businesses, B2C focuses on selling to everyday consumers. It's important to remember that even though B2B social media marketing aims to sell to other businesses, there are still real people behind those businesses. So you’re essentially still talking to human beings at the end of the day.
What differs between the two is the choice of platform, the key messaging, and the type of content you’re creating. Both forms of marketing utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. However, the platform choice may vary depending on the target audience. For instance, B2B social media marketing may place more importance on LinkedIn than on Pinterest.
In addition, since the B2B buyer journey is longer and more complex, the messaging and content may not necessarily focus on making instant sales. Instead, B2B social media marketers may try to establish authority and provide value through informative content and thought leadership pieces before trying to convert their audience into buyers. That means the goal is to generate leads through social while B2C social media marketing aims to generate sales directly through social.
Why B2B Brands Need a Social Media Strategy
Now you may be wondering why you need to focus on social media and why you need a strategy for the same. Here are some of the main reasons why B2B brands need a well-defined social media strategy.
Be Where Your Audience Is
Social media is where your audience is–even if you’re trying to reach other businesses. In fact, Gartner reports that social media informs the buying decisions of 40% of B2B buyers. Having a strategy to reach this audience will help you make an organized effort to increase brand awareness. By being where your audience is, you significantly improve the chances of the right people discovering your brand.
Drive Traffic to Your Site
While you may be getting plenty of direct traffic and search traffic, you wouldn’t want to say no to more traffic, would you? That’s where social comes in, offering you the chance to drive plenty of highly relevant traffic to your site. With the right social media strategy, you can effectively create social content that will then drive visitors to your site.
According to HubSpot, direct traffic is the biggest source of website traffic, contributing to 22%. Organic search comes next, contributing to 17% of website traffic. Social is the third biggest source, contributing to 16% of website traffic.
Connect with Your Target Audience
Social media gives you a platform to establish a closer relationship with your target audience. It’s a place where your audience can directly interact with your brand and vice versa. Whether they have some questions or need support–your brand is easily accessible. As such, a strong social media strategy could create more opportunities to strengthen your connection with the audience.
Establish Authority in Your Niche
Maintaining a presence on social media is an effective way for your brand to boost visibility. You can further use this presence to establish authority in your niche by consistently providing your audience with high-value content that addresses their needs.
Steps to Build a B2B Social Media Strategy
Now for the more practical part of this guide. Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process to build a B2B social media strategy.
Step 1: Define Your Social Media Marketing Goals
Start by outlining the goals you wish to achieve through social media marketing. This will help you take a more organized approach to develop your strategy since you’re working towards a specific goal.
As mentioned earlier, instant and direct sales are often not a part of the goal for B2B social media marketers. Instead, you may be looking to achieve brand awareness and build visibility through social media. Alternatively, other brands may want to educate their audience while others may want to build credibility and trust. Many brands may also work towards intersecting goals rather than focusing on just one.
Whatever it is you wish to achieve, make sure you’re clearly defining it at the start. This is essential to provide your B2B social media strategy with a better sense of direction.
Step 2: Align Your Strategy with Overall Business Objectives
If you want to see real ROI from your social media efforts, you have to tie your strategy to your overall business objectives. Think of your organization-wide initiatives and understand how social media can support them.
For example, if your business is launching a new product, social media could help to generate buzz and grow awareness about it. Once the product is launched, it could further help to educate the audience on how to use it and how to make the most of it.
Furthermore, you’d also need to tie your social media performance to other performance data across the organization. For example, you’d want to consider social media referral traffic and compare that with your social media engagement data to see how social contributes to an increase in traffic.
Step 3: Identify Key Opportunities
Next, it’s time to conduct a SWOT analysis, where you look at your competitors to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is essential to understand your competitive landscape so you can identify key opportunities for your brand to stand out.
See what leading brands in your industry are already doing on social media. Based on this, you’ll be able to see what they’re doing right and where they could make improvements. This will then be able to inform some aspects of your strategy.
For example, you may be able to discover which content formats seem to get the most engagement and then leverage those in your strategy. Or you may find that your key competitor isn’t posting enough content or responding to their audience. Use this opportunity to draft a publishing and engagement strategy that will put you ahead of them.
Step 4: Decide on the Right Platforms
Now let’s get to one of the most crucial steps–deciding on which platforms to use. This is where most B2B and B2C social media strategies differ because the type of users varies across different platforms. And it’s crucial that you are where your audience is if you want your social media strategy to work.
According to the Gartner report from earlier, Facebook has the most impact among B2B buyers with 70% of them saying that it helped them with their purchase decision. YouTube comes next with 62% of B2B buyers using it to inform their purchase decisions. This is then followed by Twitter (52%), Instagram (50%), and LinkedIn (47%).
However, the Content Marketing Institute’s survey of B2B content marketers paints a different picture. According to this survey, 77% of B2B content marketers got the best results from LinkedIn, making it the top-performing platform. Facebook comes next (37%) followed by Instagram (27%), YouTube (21%), and Twitter (17%).
Although the numbers vary between studies, it’s clear that these five are the most B2B-friendly of all social media platforms. So you can focus your efforts on them and then see which platforms work best specifically for your business. While LinkedIn may be great for some, your brand might do better with Instagram and YouTube, for example. So make sure you carefully plan your platform choices based on your unique brand needs and your audience’s preferences.
Step 5: Develop a Brand Voice to Use Consistently
Gone are the days when B2B was synonymous with rigid and boring. Instead, some of the most popular B2B brands on social media are showcasing fun and unique personalities that make them stand out and look approachable. Take for example, how brands like Intuit Mailchimp keep things casual and comical on social media even though they’re speaking to a B2B audience. The following Valentine’s Day Twitter post is perfectly representative of their light-hearted brand voice.
When I think of you, I think of converting more customers at scale.
I think of flexible automations that adapt to fit your goals.
I think of spending my life with you, designing journeys that take customers from prospect to purchase.
Let’s drive some revenue, Valentine. pic.twitter.com/TXFZSCJ5Wi
— Intuit Mailchimp (@Mailchimp) February 14, 2023
Having a friendly voice that’s unique to your brand is highly effective for building a closer, more personal relationship with your audience. This doesn’t necessarily mean using humor if it’s not part of your brand personality. Rather, it’s about creating a voice that brings out your brand’s identity and helps you connect more effectively with your target audience. You can still keep things professional without being stuffy and rigid.
More importantly, once this brand voice is developed, make sure you’re using it consistently across your social media accounts. The idea is to tie in that brand voice with your brand’s social media presence, and the best way to do that is by ensuring consistency in its usage. All your social media content and messaging should properly reflect this brand voice.
Step 6: Create Content to Achieve Your Goals
Finally, we’ll get to the most exciting part of your B2B social media strategy–content creation. This is where your brand can really shine and establish value to potential customers. In other words, it’s what will help you generate relevant B2B leads from social media.
Since you already have an established goal, the content you create should be able to help you achieve that. Here are a few ideas and best practices to help you create winning B2B social media content.
1. Adjust your content format to align with social media
Make sure you’re using content formats that perform well on each social media platform. The goal is to adjust your content to make it more social-friendly. This may involve sharing interesting infographics to promote your blog posts and drive traffic to your site. Or it may be posting short video snippets of a longer podcast or webinar episode, which would drive up viewership.
Other platforms, such as LinkedIn, are more text-friendly, giving you some freedom to publish long-form content. So you could make use of features such as the LinkedIn Publishing Platform to create informative blog posts for your readers. Asana even goes so far as to create relatable memes and high-value guides in a fun, visual format for Instagram.
2. Keep it customer-focused
To reiterate, B2B social media marketing is about creating interest and generating leads and not about making instant sales. That’s why the focus of your social media content should be on your customers i.e., you need to show how your product or offering can benefit your customers and make their lives easier.
Prioritize creating content that adds value to their lives in some way or the other. This may be tips and how-to information, or it may be industry updates and trend predictions that could enrich their lives.
3. Leverage employee advocacy
One of the main reasons for using social media is for your brand to connect with your target audience. For this, you need to show the human side of your brand and the best way to do this is by putting your employees at the forefront.
Employee advocacy can effectively bring out your brand’s personality, helping you build a personal connection with the audience. You could regularly feature employee stories, showcase your company culture, and show them at work. Additionally, employees may also want to share your brand’s content through their own social media accounts, thus helping you expand your reach.
Start Your B2B Social Media Journey
Marketing your B2B brand on social media doesn’t have to be challenging. These six essential steps will help you create a solid B2B social media strategy that delivers ROI. Follow them closely to get started on your B2B social media journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is B2B social media strategy?
A B2B social media strategy is a plan of action to use social media for reaching and connecting with a B2B audience.
Which social media platform is best for B2B?
LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are the “big five” social media platforms for B2B.
What is B2B vs. B2C social media strategy?
While a B2B social media strategy focuses on establishing authority and generating leads, a B2B strategy focuses on generating instant sales.
How do you grow B2B social media followers?
You can grow your B2B social media followers by consistently providing value through informative and thought leadership content.
Why do B2B companies use social media?
B2B companies use social media because their audience is on social media. It’s an effective channel for attracting and connecting with their target audience.