“Our buyers don’t do social media,” that’s what I heard from B2B marketers way back in 2010. Over time, these marketers realized social media is “table-stakes” if you want to reach and influence decision makers early in the buying process. Today, the typical B2B social playbook is “blog, build social media channels, and share brand content”. Sounds familiar, right?
The only problem is that it doesn’t work anymore.
Social media is no longer the fun, friendly, and discovery driven environment it once was. That means buyers are much more discerning about whom they follow, and what content they read and share. Plus Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter continue to tweak the rules on what’s being shown in social feeds, and new social platforms continue to emerge. Meanwhile, customers and prospects now expect timely responses when they reach out via social. It’s no wonder B2B marketers aren’t keeping up…
That means it’s time to update your B2B social media strategy:
1. Make your social media strategy laser focused on your buyers.
I’m a big believer in account-based marketing. Why? ABM is all about focusing your marketing efforts on your top tier accounts. This is the same mindset to adopt as you update your B2B social media strategy. Invest in and share brand content that’s extremely relevant to, and better yet about, your buyers. Build relationships with influencers that already have the eyes and ears of your customers and prospects. Create your social KPIs around quality: followers, shares, engagement, and clicks. With “quality” reflecting who you sell to.
2. Shift your thinking from broadcast to engagement
No question it’s important to share highly relevant brand and third party content. This builds brand awareness and helps grow your social channels. But only using social media as a one-way “broadcast” channel is no longer effective. It’s just too noisy out there. Instead, you need to get way more social. Thank people for sharing your posts, ask and answer questions, engage in social conversations. Said another way, nothing grabs attention more than when someone engages you directly. Of course, it’s hard to “scale” engagement so focus your efforts on customers, prospects, and influencers. Just remember to keep it about helping others and building relationships… no spamming, please.
3. Invest in social advertising
By now you’ve probably heard that “organic” social reach keeps declining. It doesn’t matter how big your social channels are; you’re only going to reach a small portion of your audience with each and every post. Said another way, it’s hard to pull off an effective B2B social media strategy without adding social advertising to the mix. The good news is that the ad targeting is excellent, and it’s quick and easy to start driving quality traffic. So go ahead and shift some media budget to social (sorry, Google).
4. Tap into brand advocacy
There’s nothing more effective in getting a leg-up on the competition than having customers say great things about your brand. And the best way to get customers to do more on your behalf is to do more on their behalf. So make customers look awesome on social media. And consider implementing a brand advocacy platform like Influitive to help turn customers into VIP advocates.
But advocacy doesn’t end with customers… it should also include employees! After all, if employees aren’t willing to stand behind what your company does, why should customers? So turn the promise of employee advocacy into reality. And if you have a large organization, think about bringing on a solution like Dynamic Signal to empower advocacy.
5. Collaborate on brand content
These days it doesn’t make sense to go it alone. Not when you can leverage the brand halo and social amplification of influencers, prospects, customers, and partners. Make content collaboration the default not the exception, when it comes to crafting brand content. For instance, get quotes from influencers for bylines and blog posts, invite prospects to be panelists on webinars, and develop white papers with customers and partners. Get good at content collaboration and you’ll reap the social benefits!
6. Think beyond LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
Sure, decision makers are active on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. But they’re also watching videos on YouTube, blogging on Medium, posting photos on Instagram, answering questions on Quora, and commenting on Reddit. Not to mention, they participate in professional communities such as Spiceworks and Proformative. The bottom line: make sure and extend your social approach to wherever else buyers like to engage.
Now it’s your turn
Which of these updates to your B2B social media strategy have you already made? Which are you going to prioritize? Feel free to share in the comments below…
Emmerey RoseJuly 21, 2017
Very helpful post Carter! In terms of social media ads, I was wondering which platform do you find best to invest with ads?
carterhostelleyJuly 24, 2017
Hi Emmerey, I'm a big fan of both Facebook and Twitter as they both offer good targeting options and be a low cost way of driving quality traffic with social ads. You may be thinking: what about LinkedIn? My experience using the LI self-service platform is that it can have a very high-cost per click and not always drive very much volume, plus you'll need to update/change the ads frequently.
With that said, they key is how relevant the content that your advertising is to your target audience. The more relevant the content, the more engagement that'll happen, and the lower your cost per click will be. That's the key to making the social advertising math work. ; )
Shanaya SubramaniamOctober 10, 2018
Being your most valuable resources, employees are potentially also your largest active source of brand advocates. In fact, 50% of your employees are already talking about the brand on social media. Think about that for a moment.
They work for the company and probably know more about it than most people. One of the clearest indicators that make them the obvious choice as brand ambassadors? They don’t have an ulterior motive and aren’t going to come looking for a payout. That’s the closest you’re going to get to genuine brand advocacy.