In the ever-evolving social media landscape, B2B marketing leaders face unique challenges and opportunities. As digital platforms continue to reshape the way businesses interact and engage with their audiences, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve.
As we look ahead to 2024, it’s clear there’s a shift coming in social media. Platforms have changed hands, new platforms are being created, and there’s more uncertainty than ever about how B2B brands can best find and engage their customers on social media.
Evolving, Not Disappearing
One thing that’s not changed? The fact that B2B companies need to be on social media. There is still no substitute for the power of social media for finding an audience, building a community, and reaching buyers directly.
In a presentation for the Leadtail community, Leadtail co-founder Karri Carlson shared her insights into the ways social media is changing in this transitional phase, and how B2B marketers can navigate the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities the emerging landscape offers.
“Easy Money had a huge impact on the last ten years. Social networks became social media and became really hubs for content and media,” Karri says.
That means B2B marketers need to put the emphasis on both the “social” and the “media” aspects of social media platforms. In other words, we’re looking for content-driven engagement. Prioritize quality content that resonates with your audience and establishes your brand as a trusted source of information.
And the best way to achieve the content-driven engagement we’re looking for is captured in pne word: storytelling.
The Power of Storytelling
In the B2B world, storytelling is more than just a buzzword; it’s a powerful tool to connect with your audience on a deeper level. Unlike B2C, where emotional appeals can be more direct, B2B storytelling often involves weaving narratives around industry insights, client successes, and thought leadership. This approach not only showcases your expertise but also builds trust and rapport with your audience.
“LinkedIn has made some updates to their algorithm,” Karri says. “They are working actively to kind of shut down gaming the system to create posts that go viral.” As platforms evolve, so must your strategies. Stay updated with algorithm changes and adapt your content strategy accordingly to ensure maximum visibility and engagement.
LinkedIn remains the cornerstone of B2B social media marketing. It’s not just a networking platform; it’s a goldmine for lead generation, brand building, and thought leadership. The basics still mean a lot on this platform: engage meaningfully with your audience, keep a steady posting cadence, and leverage the features of the platform, like newsletters, live events, and hughly targeted advertising.
Harness The Power of Large Platforms and the Potential of Emerging Platforms
There’s no doubt that this is a time of significant change for even the biggest social media players. Where Twitter/X ultimately settles in the next stage of social media evolution remains to be seen. But, even give the uncertainty, B2B marketers shouldn’t ignore the established—and enormous—platforms.
As Karri observes, “Zuckerberg has a big bat to swing called Facebook and Instagram.”
LinkedIn, Twitter/X, and Facebook/Instagram remain the dominant social channels, and B2B brands probably need to have at least some sort of presence on these platforms. But it’s equally important that B2B marketers don’t overlook other platforms. YouTube—especially its newer “Shorts” product, TikTok, and newcomers like Threads all offer unique opportunities to reach new audiences, especially as they begin to cater more to business users.
Video content is becoming increasingly important in the B2B sector, Karri says. YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and even LinkedIn offer opportunities to share informative and engaging videos. From product demos to webinars and thought leadership talks, video content can significantly enhance your brand’s visibility and engagement.
Use Data for Content Decisions
“Fifty-one percent of consumers think that less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic,” Karri shares. It’s a sobering statistic. And it highlights the absolute imperative B2B marketers have to deliver better content.
Authenticity is key in building trust with your B2B audience. That means marketers need to focus their energy on creating genuine, relevant content that speaks to the needs and interests of their audience.
But how do you know what resonates and what doesn’t?
Data is your most valuable asset in understanding the impact of your social media efforts. Utilize analytics tools to track engagement, reach, and conversions. This data can inform your content strategy, helping you to create more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
A Diverse Decision-Making Landscape
The workplace is more diverse than it’s ever been. And so is workplace leadership. “We have this unique situation where you’ve got three full generations in the workforce,” Karri says. “All of them can be in decision-making capacities.”
This means B2B social media marketing has to be “multi-lingual.” Your social media strategy should cater to a diverse audience in terms of background, experience, and age.
Tailor your messaging to resonate across different generations within your target market.
Focusing on Quality Over Quantity
“AI represents the first genuine threat to Google’s dominance in at least a decade,” Karri says. And that reality isn’t just Google’s problem. As Google slips in relevance, B2B marketers are going to have to figure out how to use new strategies, tactics, and technologies to reach their target audiences.
And they’re going to have to do it with smaller budgets.
“Seventy-one percent of CMOs believe that their 2023 budgets were inadequate to fully realize their strategies,” Karri says. And we shoudn’t realistically expect 2024 to be much different.
As marketing leaders are confronted with the reality that budgets are shrinking and old playbooks are no longer delivering eye-popping results, there will be a new emphasis on high-quality content that is laser focused on the audience’s needs. B2B marketers will need to leverage every tool available to make the most out of every marketing dollar they spend.
“Do less and do better,” Karri says. “We are all going to have to think a lot harder in that post Google world and in the disruptive landscape of social.” In a crowded digital space, the focus should be on creating high-quality, impactful content rather than sheer volume.
That means getting onboard the AI train now, learning how to use it to eliminate busy work so content creators can focus on churning out content that delivers a huge amount of value for the target audience.
The evolving landscape of B2B social media demands a strategic, informed, and adaptable approach. By understanding the evolution of platforms and recognizing how audiences are adapting their use of these constantly evolving channels, B2B marketing leaders can effectively navigate change and stay ahead of the curve.
Remember, the goal is not just to reach your audience, but to engage and resonate with them in meaningful ways.
Ready to get started with B2B social media? Let’s talk!