This year in the world of B2B social media marketing, the stakes for businesses are as high as they’ve ever been. Social remains an effective, flexible, and evolving way of raising brand awareness, building credibility, and staying in touch with past customers, but how we use social continues to change.

The way consumers peruse the social channels and expect to interact with us as businesses has evolved, and the platforms themselves are forcing us to use different features by making us work harder for organic reach, pushing new features, and making us pay for features we used to use for free.

In fact, it’s moving so fast that many 2018 campaign tactics won’t be as effective this year. Successful businesses will need to know what to do to ensure social media works for them in 2019.

B2B social media marketing strategy

It might seem obvious, but your social media profiles should be frequently updated with relevant, quality, and shareable posts. If you have trouble keeping up with all of your accounts, consider shutting down an account or two.

A single active and engaging profile is better than several ho-hum ones. Another great option if you’re managing two or more profiles is using software that enables to you manage all of your accounts from a single place.

Tools like Sprout Social allow you to auto-schedule your posts, monitor comments and respond to inquiries. Plus, most tools provide engagement and growth metrics so you can track your progress.

"Daily Engagements" report from Sprout Social

Image: Cross-platform engagement stats from Sprout Social.

It’s also crucial that you respond to questions and feedback quickly. How quickly? Well, consider what you’d deem acceptable if you messaged a company on Facebook or Instagram.

Also, ensure your profiles include relevant website links and contact information—and monitor them diligently. Customers are unlikely to bother engaging with a company that’s clearly unresponsive. Now that Facebook shows your inquiry response time, there’s no hiding poor customer service.

Engage your B2B audience

Our primary goal with social media is to engage with people. If you aren’t already using stories and video, now’s the time. Consider these numbers:

Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined (WordStream).

The time people spend watching YouTube on their TV has more than doubled in the last year (Think with Google).

This is a trend businesses can’t afford to ignore. In 2017, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I see video as a megatrend,” and the advent and popularization of “stories” features—a featured daily short video—across many of the popular platforms has helped realize his vision.

As it’s become easier for consumers to shoot and post their ideas, video has emerged as an effective medium for the creative, two-way conversations marketers are seeking to initiate.

Stories Product - Daily Active Users chart

Image: Chart from Hootsuite’s “Social Media Trends Report 2019.”

As Hootsuite concluded in its Social Media Trends Report 2019, “Stories feel real, immediate, and intensely personal. For brands, this requires a major shift in focus in 2019.”

Another rapidly evolving change is that customers—across generations—are moving over to messaging apps like WeChat and Messenger to communicate. Nine out of ten consumers want businesses to be available to chat, according to a Twillio report on messaging trends.

For businesses, this means using chat for everything from marketing and sales to customer service.

Complement organic posts with paid advertising

Audience growth doesn’t happen by accident, and increasingly, we have to pay in order to reach people outside of our existing fan following. Hence, the importance of having a budget line for social advertising—even small businesses need this.

Case in point: Hootsuite’s Social Media Trends Report (referenced earlier) cites that social ad budgets increased by 32% in 2018, and one quarter of Facebook Pages now use paid media.

In addition to paid tactics, hashtags are important for growth. Many users search for content with hashtags and the placement of a well-worded hashtag can open new markets, so they are the best way to gain followers organically (i.e., without paying).

B2B social media marketing in 2019: remain nimble

Most importantly, we must be extremely thoughtful about getting social followers onto our email list because we have no control over what happens on social media, but we own our list.

Once we have an email, we can contact that person without having to pay for an ad or hope that our message doesn’t get lost in a long list of social media updates.

Because social media changes so fast, it requires us to be as nimble as a cyclist on a busy city street. Of course, it’s worth it because social media continues to be an extremely effective way of attracting and engaging people.

In 2019, the key to success is engaging content (especially video) that performs well organically, providing responsive one-to-one communication with consumers, and knowing when and how to boost and advertise to attract a wider audience.