In a culture where influencers peddling fashion and beauty products reign supreme, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking social media just isn’t for B2B. But that’s not the case. Research has found that 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions.
Brands like Dropbox for Business – which promoted its Marketing Dynamix tool on social media and saw a 29:1 ROI and 68,000 clicks – are successfully engaging their target audiences through their social media presence and producing results. By curating an engaged social media audience, B2B brands can:
It’s crucial to understand who your target audience is on your social platforms. Go beyond the obvious answer of your customer – they will undoubtedly make up an important part of your social media base. But consider others as well, including employees, shareholders, competitors, industry organizations and trade media.
A useful strategy for understanding your target audience is to create user personas. A user persona is a description of someone who fits your target audience and is assigned a name, age, demographics, user behaviors and interests to make the faceless usernames more tangible. Then, when you’re making a social media decision or creating a post, you can write to “Roger the 41-year-old systems engineer from Akron, Ohio who checks Facebook on his phone while fishing on the weekends.”
And you should also look into actual audience data, either within your social platforms or through a third-party system. This information often includes geographic, age and gender distribution, as well as activity trends by platform to help you to optimize your content strategy. For instance, knowing when your followers are most likely to be online can help you to publish posts when they are likely to have the greatest reach.
Even the strongest social media strategies will face limitations if you aren’t using the right platforms to reach your target audience. Each social media platform is unique, so you want to focus on the platforms that are most impactful to reach your particular goals.
A successful social media strategy is contingent on a brand’s ability to identify the intersection of its own business priorities with what is of interest and of value to its audience, and to use that to cultivate engagement. People aren’t on social media for the specific purpose of following your brand alone. You have to provide compelling reasons for users to follow and engage with you – because no one wants their feed flooded by a constant stream of self-serving advertisements, industry jargon and little else.
Here are some tips to ensure you are setting up your social platforms for success:
Keep in mind that posts with visual content like images, videos and GIFs tend to perform better – generating 94% more views and 200% more shares – when compared to pure text posts, according to Social Media Today.
A conversational tone helps your brand seem more human and relatable. Complex technical jargon abounds in B2B sectors – speaking in the language of your industry is fine but bear the lay reader in mind and keep it simple.
Using humor, when appropriate, is another way to humanize your brand, make your message more memorable and connect with your audience. Humor can come in many forms including GIFs, jokes, a play-on-words or simply a relatable comment.
Including a few trending hashtags or creating original ones for your brand can provide searchable and followable ways to generate and track conversation and extend the reach of your posts beyond those who are already following you. The extent of hashtag use varies by platform but be careful not to use too many per post. Target one or two hashtags per post on Twitter, two or three on Facebook and up to five on LinkedIn. For posts where you want to use several hashtags, including a few at the end, rather than throughout your copy, can help preserve readability.
Using polls on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram Stories allows you to interact and develop a connection with your audience, as well as gather useful information
Organic content that encourages users to join in is a great way to increase engagement with your audience. Consider using hashtags, contests or a series to interact with your audience.
For B2B brands, appealing to emotion is often about addressing pain points or challenges. Using social media to connect with your audience about what matters to them helps remind followers that your brand is relevant and can solve the issues they are facing.
Sometimes, the proof is in the pudding. Testimonials, reviews and case studies help provide social proof that your company and your solutions are reliable, effective and trustworthy.
Using social media to spotlight employees can help humanize your brand and let your audience take a behind-the-scenes look.
When employees share company-related content on their own social platforms, they expand the company’s reach and amplify its message. But keep in mind that authenticity is key in successful employee advocacy.
You know when a certain meme or a particular quote is having a moment on social? Participating in these viral trends allows your brand to jump in on the conversations and benefit from their heightened exposure to help you generate greater awareness and engagement.
Amplify your brand’s thought leadership by sharing posts from other voices in the industry and finding ways to remix it. You can put your own spin on the content by adding insightful commentary or by re-explaining the topic of the post, distilling the takeaway for your audience or finding a new way to explain it.
Not sure what dimensions are optimal for visuals on each social media platform? Spending too much time resizing files for each? Download our one-size-fits-most guide for guidance on file sizes that work well for in-feed graphics and video across platforms, including Instagram Reels.