Social media marketing isn’t just for brands playing in the B2C (business-to-consumer) space. In fact, more B2B (business-to-business) brands are taking advantage of the huge opportunities social media platforms offer when it comes to boosting awareness, driving engagement and inspiring conversion. Just like any marketing activity, having a social media marketing strategy in place is key to success. It’s what gives your content purpose, ensures it’s tailored to your ideal customers and is held accountable for ROI. And for B2B companies, there’s a stack of unique considerations to factor into a compelling social media strategy. So, let’s run you through why your B2B brand needs to craft a social media strategy and a stack of practical tactics to bring your social media strategy to life. Why should B2B companies create a social media strategy? Before we dive in, you’re probably wondering: is social media a worthy investment for B2B brands? Winning business as a B2B organization takes time. The longer the customer lifestyle, the more important it is to prioritise building brand awareness, providing value and winning trust. And that’s exactly what social media marketing can do (without requiring a huge investment of marketing spend). There’s a reason why 96% of B2B content marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing. These marketers know that 80% of LinkedIn members drive business decisions, and are the exact audience they need to reach, engage and connect with to boost lead generation and drive sales. Plus, it’s predicted that by 2025 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur on digital channels (including social media platforms). Now is the time to prioritise social media marketing as a key channel in your marketing toolkit as a B2B brand. The benefits of B2B brands using social media marketing Still not convinced? Here’s the value social media marketing can add to B2B brands: Social media marketing is the perfect platform for brand awareness: top-of-the-funnel marketing activity is especially important for B2B brands as B2B buyers can take weeks, if not months, to move through the sales funnel. With low set-up costs and the ability to reach customers at scale, social media is a powerful tool to build your brand’s profile with business decision-makers. Social media marketing allows you to win trust through educating and informing audiences: from thought leadership articles to live broadcasts and infographics, social media marketing is built on educating audiences about what you do best. By building a social media strategy that prioritises empowering your audience with new knowledge, you’ll win trust and boost brand salience as a B2B brand. Social media marketing delivers powerful social proof: sharing reviews, testimonials and case studies allows you to let your happy customers advocate for your B2B brand in their own words. Plus, you’re likely to gather user-generated content (UGC) by showing up on social media to boost the reach and awareness of your brand with new, high-value audiences. Social media marketing delivers on-demand client support: did you know that 34.5% of B2B customers prefer social media for customer care? By building customer support into your social strategy, you’ll protect your brand’s reputation and encourage powerful loyalty and even advocacy from current customers. As a B2B brand, remaining top-of-mind with potential customers is what will help you stand out from the pack and win business. With a smart social media strategy, you can ensure every post you share delivers tangible ROI, too. What social media channels should B2B marketers be using? With so many social media platforms to choose from, it can be daunting to assess which channel is right for your B2B brand. Like any marketing activity, the social media channels you select need to be tailored to your product, service, audience and marketing goals. By putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and assessing where they are most active on social media, you’ll be able to prioritise the platforms that will deliver the best results for your brand. Plus, there’s no need to spread your efforts too thin and jump onto every social media platform. Instead, the best results come from B2B brands that focus their efforts on one or two high-value channels. Need some help navigating which social media channels to use? Here’s a snapshot of what each channel can offer your business: LinkedIn: the go-to B2B social platform designed for recruitment, building thought leadership, and reaching new clients (complete with robust social advertising capabilities). Twitter: the best platform for identifying trending content topics, interacting with customers and providing timely customer support and product updates. Facebook: the go-to platform for social advertising as well as connecting with other businesses through engaged communities in Facebook Groups. Instagram: the best platform for visual-first content that educates and informs, from infographics to video content to live broadcasts. By considering your target audience and business goals, you’ll be in the best position to make an informed decision about which social media platform is the best option for your B2B brand. Ready to bring your B2B social media strategy to life? Stand out from the crowd with these seven expert tactics to craft a successful social media strategy. 1. Set goals and objectives for each social media platform Every successful marketing strategy begins with setting clear goals and objectives. Why? Because understanding what you’re working towards ensures every piece of content you share is purposeful and held accountable for performance. In the case of a B2B social media strategy, it’s important to consider the role each social media platform plays in your overall marketing efforts. The best strategies will assess the capabilities of each platform and assign specific marketing goals to drive the strongest ROI. In practical terms, this means figuring out the big picture aim of each social platform. This could be to: Drive sales and inspire conversions Support recruitment efforts Build brand awareness and salience And to get the most out of setting these objectives, be sure to use a proven framework (such as the SMART goal-setting method) to ensure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Let’s look at an example of what this could look like for a B2B brand: Specific: Create a LinkedIn social media campaign (driven by employee video content) to boost applications for three roles the company is currently trying to fill. Measurable: Generate 1,000 impressions for each piece of content and gather 100 quality applications for each job listing. Attainable: Tap into our network of 50 existing employees (with a combined network of 25,000 people) to reshare and amplify this campaign. Relevant: Harness the power of LinkedIn (a professional social media platform known for recruitment). Time-bound: Run a 6-week content campaign and gather applications over a two-month period. With clear, specific goals in mind for each campaign and channel, your B2B brand will be able to narrow your focus on strategies and tactics that will work towards achieving these specific goals. 2. Assess the playing field Taking a look at what your direct competitors are doing on social media is a smart way to identify gaps and opportunities for your B2B brand. By completing social media account audits of up to five key competitors, you can assess: What social media platforms are they actively using? What are they doing well on social media? What are they doing not so well on social media? What content is their audience resonating with? What content isn’t their audience resonating with? These powerful insights relate directly to your target market, too. By taking the time to review what your competitors are up to on social media, you can figure out ways your brand can stand out from the pack. It’s all about finding ways to differentiate yourself from what other businesses in your industry are doing. Whether it’s testing out new platform features, avoiding content pillars that aren’t resonating with audiences or crafting a compelling brand voice or visual identity, these strategies can help your B2B brand build brand resonance on social media. 3. Clarify your target audience and buyer personas In a similar vein, the best social media strategies for B2B brands have a compelling answer to this question: who are you speaking to? The stats tell us that more than half (56%) of B2B content marketers use personas to guide content creation. That’s because having a detailed understanding of your target audience allows you to: Select the right social media platforms to invest your time and energy into Craft compelling captions and copywriting that speaks your audience’s language Share content that provides tangible value to your audience to win trust and influence the purchasing decisions of your ideal customers Pulling together customer personas is particularly important for B2B brands as your customer lifecycle and buyer journey is often much longer than B2C companies. Whether it’s buying products, signing up to a subscription or booking services, convincing another business to invest in your brand requires a nuanced understanding of what makes your audience tick. That means mapping out your audience’s demographic, needs, goals, pain points and understanding the value proposition your B2B brand offers. For B2B businesses, a great way to gain a better understanding of your audience is to conduct social listening. This involves reviewing your brand mentions, branded hashtags and tagged posts on social media. By reviewing the current conversations happening about your brand on social media, you can understand the current sentiment towards your brand, proactively join conversations relevant to your business and sharpen your social media strategy to address roadblocks that are preventing customers from converting. 4. Develop content pillars Want to ensure every social media post you share is aligned with a small business goal or objective? Content pillars are the answer. The broad topics are a way to categorise your social media content and take the guesswork out of content creation for you and your digital marketing team. We know that social media is a long game, particularly for B2B brands. So, creating a consistent rhythm to your posting through content pillars allows you to track what messages or topics are and aren’t resonating with your audience. Try using these types of content as a starting point for building your social media content pillars: Content that educates or teaches your audience about your area of expertise through infographics, carousels, how-to guides and tutorials. Content that provides support or resolves problems such as product updates, new product/service releases or announcements of product outages. Content that builds trust such as testimonials, case studies, employee advocacy, client reviews or meet the team posts. Content that promotes your brand such as press coverage or award wins. Not only do content pillars give your social media presence and content direction and purpose, but can speed up the time it takes to produce content and your social media management on an ongoing basis. 5. Add a personal touch to your social media content Think being a B2B brand means your social content needs to be dry and corporate? Think again. In fact, one of the easiest ways to set your business apart from your competitors is this: showcase the people in your business on social media. Whether you’re using social networks to grow your team or win new clients, getting your team involved in your content will humanise your business and win valuable trust. Here are a few ways to personalise your B2B content and build your team into your social media strategy: Spotlight your team members and new recruits: share their experience, what impact they have on your business and offer a few fun facts to showcase their personality. Get your team to share videos on LinkedIn to accompany job ads: a savvy recruitment tool is to use video content to boost applications for your job openings. This gives potential recruits an insight into the people in your company and creates an authentic connection with potential candidates as well. Showcase behind the scenes of team events to show company culture: potential customers want to get to know the people they’ll be working with, so sharing candid content that takes audiences behind the scenes of your business to build trust and brand preference. 6. Experiment with content formats No matter what social media platforms you decide are right for your business, there are stacks of creative ways to get your message across. That’s why your B2B social media strategy needs to prioritise a range of content formats to allow you to test and learn what formats resonate with your audience. Rather than relying on static images, B2B brands (like you) stand to gain powerful results from matching the right content format to their message. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Build thought leadership and your expert status through long-form articles on LinkedIn. Capture attention and teach your audience something new in a practical how-to IGTV video. Interact with and start conversations with your audience through Instagram Stories’ Polls. 7. Put a plan in place to measure success Did you know that 94% of the most successful B2B content markets measure their content performance? And here’s why. The only way to hold your social media strategy accountable is to set benchmarks and KPIs that you track on a regular basis. The metrics that you track will really depend on your goals and the social media platforms you decide to invest in. If you’re focusing on building brand awareness, metrics such as follower growth, impressions, profile visits and engagement rate will be the most important. However, if you’re looking to boost new enquiries or sign-ups, metrics such as website clicks, app downloads and landing page visits will be top of your agenda. The key to success is to be constantly on the lookout for trends and insights and find new ways to pivot and refine your social media strategy. When it comes to crafting a successful B2B social media strategy, the most important thing to remember is this: it should grow and evolve over time. Your business goals and priorities will shift, and so should your tactics on social media. So, make sure you’ve set time-bound KPIs and report on your results regularly to find ways to optimize your social media marketing efforts.