Business-to-business (B2B), aka “industrial marketing,” is essential for companies to survive. Companies need resources from other companies. We all need office supplies, computer systems, software, and/or items to create goods for selling or re-selling, right? The B2B market is important and necessary. It’s bigger than the consumer market because one consumer demand causes a domino effect down the supply chain.
Maybe you think that social media belongs to the B2C market. Yes, social media is highly beneficial for B2C marketing, but what if it could work for B2B marketing as well? If you think that social media belongs solely to B2C companies, you might be missing out on a key marketing niche. Actually, social media might be the most effective B2B marketing avenue of all!
Why Social Media Is Important for B2B Companies
B2B marketers in the U.S. spend around $85B a year on promotion of products and services. Various marketing channels eat up the B2B marketing budget. Why not make the most of the most cost-effective marketing channel: social media?
79% of B2B marketing specialists rated social media as the most effective marketing channel overall. Meanwhile, B2C marketing is actually most effective through search marketing and email marketing. Could social media be B2B marketing’s specialty?
The B2B marketing specialists in the study above noted that social media was the most effective in the following 2 out of 4 top priority areas: strengthening thought leadership and raising brand awareness. Social media came in second for the other 2 top priorities: deepening customer relationships and developing brand position. Twitter and LinkedIn are particularly effective social media channels.
While B2B marketing used to focus on broadcast media, the current digital world’s drive towards social media has changed things. Worldwide, over one billion people use social media of some form. Therefore, there must be a group out there that would be interested in what you have to offer. Don’t miss out on them! Let’s figure out how to reach those people/companies as effectively as possible.
Laying A Solid Foundation for Your Social Media Accounts
Marketing technology makes up about a third of total marketing budgets, accounting for the largest percentage of the overall budget. That percentage is expected to increase by 27% over the next four years, ultimately reaching $122B spent on marketing technology. Here are the four biggest spending channels eating up the marketing technology budget in order:
1. What do I plan to accomplish for my company by using social media?
Maybe you want to toss a bigger net and be able to reach more companies. Maybe you want to get more activity sent to your website. Whatever it is, this is an important question because it will determine which social media platforms you use and what you’ll use as the center of those accounts.
2. What is my strategy for accomplishing my social media goals?
Create a concrete plan. Think about which social media platforms will best accomplish the goals you came up with earlier. Cater your content to your goals. Whatever it is, make sure you write it down concretely so that you can follow it precisely later.
3. How are my competitors making the most of their social media accounts?
Get a consensus on what the majority of your competitors do. Maybe they have great setups that you can learn from, but there will definitely be things that you can change. Inevitably, you have different goals and strategies than your competitors, so make the most of those differences. This way, you’ll know you’re in the right social media niche for your industry and that you stand out.
Now that you have a strong foundation to stand on, let’s move on to what to do once you have your accounts set up. The way you conduct yourself on social media matters. Remember that B2B companies are different. B2B companies can’t use social media in the same way that B2C companies use their pages. Let’s dive into what works best for B2B companies.
How to Use Social Media Effectively
1. Engage with your audience!
While the B2C world is about consumers engaging with the brand, B2B marketing is about problem-solving to find a solution. Get your audience’s attention by showing that you can solve a problem or meet a need that they have. Think about the content they would want instead of appearing self-serving. Businesses aren’t like most consumers; they can tell the difference.
2. Show that you understand the problem!
Focus on how you can convey that your company understands the issues faced by your audience. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Remember that you’re targeting people who are already interested in solving the problem, unlike consumers.
3. Make your audience the center!
While it’s great to make your socials about your business for B2C marketing, this might not be the best technique for B2B companies. Make sure you’re sharing content about how businesses might use your industry as a whole, rather than always focusing on your own business. This will catch their attention more. Ask yourself, “Would I read this post if I didn’t work for this company.
4. Be social instead of acting social!
B2C marketing can get by with just acting social. B2B companies have to build relationships, and social media is the perfect avenue for that. Remember that you want more than just executive buy-in. You want a lasting relationship with the business so that they come to you for continuous products.
How can we create these lasting relationships? Make your company personable by using a conversational tone. Refer to your company as “we” and “our”. Actually talk to your audience. Reply to comments respectfully—yes, even critical ones. Think about saying something like, “You make a great point” or “Thank you for your insight.”
5. Get people to your website!
You want companies to see the full scope of what you have to offer. Make them want to know more! Maybe pose a question. This can spark their interest and lead businesses to your website. Make sure your ads and posts contain links to articles on your website that explain your goods/services in more detail. Make sure you have website analytics software to track this activity.
6. Do your research!
Make sure you know what you’re talking about. Listen carefully and monitor the conversations about your industry as a whole, more specifically around your company and around your competitors. Remember that your audience knows what they’re looking for. You’re dealing with experts, not consumers, so you have to be specific on your website. This way, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.
The Final Point
We know that social media definitely works for B2B companies. Don’t shy away from the B2C social media gold mine. Put your company out there as well. Just make sure you use the different tactics above. Who knows? Like many other B2B companies, social media might become your best marketing outlet.