Where Does Social Media Belong in B2B Marketing?

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Too many B2B companies have ignored – or misused – social media for too long.

Old school marketing organizations have read the same best practices, passively activated bland strategies, and ultimately, ceded their opportunity with these powerful communications platforms under the assumption that social “isn’t for them.”

It’s time for a change.

 B2B business big and small can leverage social media platforms to establish engaged communities, fill their marketing funnel, and ultimately increase revenue.

Social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are made up of billions of individuals. They’re consumers, yes, but many of these users also represent businesses. While social media may have started as casual networks for friends to connect, the platforms and their users have evolved to use social for business purposes. These opportunities now include professional networking, promoting achievements, and communicating brand messages through leaders or influential people aligned with an organization.

In 2020, you can target a CMO on Twitter just as effectively as you can via display advertising or email marketing.

Tighten Your Target Audience

“If you’re trying to please everybody, you won’t please anybody.”

Every marketer has heard it before, but we still fall into the trap of trying to resonate with multiple target audiences with the same message. This rarely works. More likely, you will dilute a message that had strong potential with one audience to fail at pleasing another.

Instead, dial in it. Understand the audience you have the best case to impact on each social media channel and laser-focus your strategy to make it happen.

For example, Opendorse has segmented its target audience by social media platform. The #smsports (social media and sports) community – a group of sports creators, strategists, and athlete and athletics program marketers – is extremely active and collaborative on Twitter. Knowing this, rather than expending energy and effort trying to reach less active Twitter users (athletic directors, for example), we have honed-in our message to communicate with the #smsports community. With a more focused audience, we are able to fine-tune our messaging and ensure that our efforts have impact with the intended audience.

Understanding and tightening your focus on a specific audience(s) will allow you to then determine which social media channels provide the most bang for your buck. While Twitter is often conducive to establishing conversation and community with one audience, LinkedIn may be a better avenue to share new solutions and promote conversions with business leaders. Meanwhile, Facebook can be an excellent platform to promote company events and Instagram allows users to establish visual recognition. Committing to an audience and plan for each platform will add valuable focus to your B2B social strategy.

Start with KPIs

Social media is flexible, constant, and generally free. Because of this, it’s easy for marketers to experiment and try new tactics without a hard commitment to a process or strategy. While this flexibility allows for freedom, a spray-and-pray approach can be detrimental to brand building and distract from any semblance of a real strategy.

Instead, start your social strategy by defining goals and what to measure – your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). 

Some of the most common social media KPIs for B2B brands include:

  • Reach
  • Impressions
  • Engagement Rate
  • Conversions
  • Cost Per Click
  • Cost Per Engagement

Whether you’re after conversions, engagement, website traffic, or leads… your metrics have to be measurable. To get started, there are many free measurement tools that go beyond just impressions or engagements that are readily available to marketers.

If you have exhausted the utility of free tools, then you can expand to paid platforms like Sprout Social to manage and measure the performance of your owned channels, or Opendorse for Business to empower your team and track their personal performance on social media. 

Get Personal

Just because you’re managing a brand account doesn’t mean you have to communicate like a robot. In fact, some of the most successful brands on social media communicate with a personal voice. Accounts like advertising giant RGA have seen best-in-industry success by doubling down on a personal voice. They commit to being human and create a genuine conversation that extends well beyond brand specifics. 

B2B brands that aim to showcase personality and build audiences on social should look to two tactics:

1. Highlight People

People drive conversation on social media. For sports teams, it’s the athletes. For B2B brands, it’s the employees, customers, and advocates in your community. 

Marketers can humanize their brand and enhance appeal with their target audience by highlighting these individuals. Whether you’re sharing interviews from leaders, applauding accomplishments, or promoting the work of people within your organization; social media audiences will gravitate to people-focused content. 

Even better? Help people share your message on their own. (More on that later).

2. Engage off channel

This might be the number-one missed opportunity in audience building for most B2B brands. While +99% of a typical brand’s energy is spent building and publishing content on its owned channels, the most effective way to reach a new audience and add new followers occurs on posts from other accounts.

Look to influential accounts or hashtags that have followers similar to your audience. When they share posts that resonate with you or are relevant to your brand… engage. Offer your own expertise and input. The more value you provide to their posts, the more likely you will be to resonate with their audience and bring followers and engagements back to your channel. 

Empower Your People

We hinted at this before, and we’re doubling down now:

People have the power on social media.

Individuals engage their audience more than 10X more effectively than the average brand account. So what does this mean for a B2B business? Put your content and your message in the hands of your leaders and employees. 

It comes to the original purpose of social media… connecting people with people. Generally speaking, users want to hear from and follow individuals – they trust faces far more than logos. 

So in addition to setting your social media strategy for your owned accounts, explore how you can bring more content to your team’s personal feeds. Make their performance a part of your marketing metrics to measure. In return, you’ll see massive jumps in impressions, engagements, and conversions.

We’ve seen this work first-hand at Opendorse… and know that it’s a prime opportunity for B2Bs everywhere.

Want an Easier Way to Post More?

Opendorse for Business can help your organization post more often, turn employees into brand advocates, develop thought leaders on social, and help generate leads. Get more information on how Opendorse for Business can help your team.  

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