Social media started off with the idea of meeting new people or reconnecting with old friends. However, it has evolved way beyond that over the past decade.
Today, it’s one of the key mediums for businesses to market their products or services. Be it B2C or B2B, every other business has their presence on at least one social media channel.
However, regardless of whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand, you need a solid social media strategy to be successful. This post discusses 13 steps to create a successful B2B social media strategy.
13 Steps to Create a Successful B2B Social Media Strategy
Creating a B2B social media strategy is essential for the success of your social media marketing campaigns. However, the number of businesses on social media is much lower than the number of individuals.
Targeting businesses requires a high amount of precision, so you need to have a solid strategy in place. Let’s take a look at 13 steps that B2B brands need to take for a successful social media strategy.
1. Set Clear Goals
You need to set clear goals before you start planning your strategy. If you don’t have any goals to work towards, you’ll never know what effort is needed. You won’t even have any parameters to measure your performance. So you must set your goals first.
Your goals could be anything – to increase brand awareness, to grow your reach, to generate leads, or even to boost engagement.
Once you have goals that you want to achieve, you should prioritize them. If you target more than two goals in a single social media campaign, you may end up driving average results.
It’s important to understand priorities and focus on one goal at a time. This will ensure that your business can benefit the most from your social media marketing efforts.
You need to know how the various social media platforms work. At least the ones you’re planning to use for your campaigns. And, you need to know who you are targeting.
Try to keep your goals specific and as measurable as possible. This way, you can quantify them and weigh your current status against each goal. This makes it possible to track your progress effectively.
Also, set a goal that is achievable and realistic. Setting attainable goals allows you to plan your marketing efforts well.
You must also set deadlines for every outcome you wish to achieve. This will enable you to plan out your B2B social media strategy better. Deadlines also help to create a sense of urgency.
2. Analyze Your Challenges
Once you’ve figured out your goals, you need to think about the challenges that you might face. If you’re somewhat aware of the possible challenges, you will be able to mitigate them with ease when you encounter them.
One of the biggest challenges in social media marketing is the content. You need to churn out great content day in and out. Quality content increases the chances of other businesses engaging with you. However, creating quality content consistently is a real challenge.
Many marketers consider it extremely challenging to create and execute an effective multi-channel strategy. That’s because each channel has its own format and tone.
For example, the content that works well for Twitter will in no way get accepted by your Instagram audience. Here’s an infographic that explains this difference with “donuts”.
Image via AddThis
Another challenge is that of measuring the ROI of your social media campaigns. To measure the success of your B2B social media strategy, you need to have proper KPIs in place. If you end up tracking the wrong KPIs, you will not get an accurate picture of your performance.
Challenges are not just limited to your own performance or possible roadblocks. You must look at your competitors as well. Staying ahead of your competitors at all times is a huge challenge in itself.
3. Identify Your Audience
Once you’ve figured out your goals and challenges, you should move on to identifying your target audience. It is important to have your target audience in mind while posting content. You need businesses to pay attention to your content and listen to what you have to say.
For this, you need to establish your authority in your niche. You also need a positive brand image and a large number of followers. This will make other businesses take you seriously.
You can identify your target audience by demographics, location, and interests of decision makers. Once you have identified your target audience, you will be able to deliver content that is relevant to them.
If your content is relevant and engaging, you’re likely to get more exposure through sharing of content by your audience. On the contrary, if your content is not in line with your audience’s interests, it may bore them. If you don’t know who your target audience is, there’s a high chance of this happening.
A great way to identify your audience is to study your competition. You can study the demographics of their followers and incorporate them into your strategy. You can even analyze their content and the way they engage with their audience. This way, you will get an idea of what is working for them and what is not.
4. Decide on Your Choice of Social Platforms
Facebook may be great for B2C brands, however, when it comes to B2B social media marketing, LinkedIn is the preferred choice. 89% of B2B marketers prefer LinkedIn, according to a study by the Content Marketing Institute
Image via Content Marketing Institute
However, don’t just stick to LinkedIn. You need to remember that your primary goal from social media marketing should be to increase brand awareness. So try to incorporate other platforms into your B2B social media strategy too. You should create a cross-channel social media strategy to leverage social media marketing successfully.
You don’t need to restrict yourself to creating content to get leads and sell your products alone.
Create engaging content about your brand and products that connects with your audience and builds your brand image. This is how you can widen your reach across social media and grab the attention of more businesses.
5. Zero in on the Most Important KPI
You may have multiple KPIs in mind to measure your social media marketing performance. However, you need to focus your attention on a single KPI that should be your main target.
It is important that you zero in on a single KPI to make the most of your B2B social media strategy. This will allow you to concentrate more on it and pursue it better.
6. Write Down Your Strategy
You may have identified your goals, the challenges that you might face and even your target audience. However, you must ensure that you write each and everything down to make it crystal clear.
The documented strategy should be able to answer questions like:
- Which platforms will you target?
- What content will you publish on these social media platforms?
- What goals do you have?
- What strategies are your competitors using?
- What KPIs will you be using to check your performance?
If you have this well-documented, you can check back on it whenever you have any doubts. It also ensures that everyone is aware of the strategy and can contribute to it. This documentation can be updated whenever required.
7. Create a Great Profile
Creating a social media profile may seem like an easy task on the outside. But once you have joined a social media platform, you should first go to your profile and perfect it. You should complete the profile and not leave any field empty that might be applicable to your brand.
While creating your profile, you need to remember that you are not just creating a profile but a persona. If you create a boring profile, no one will want to interact with your brand. Don’t let the fear of being controversial hold you back from being creative on social media.
You don’t necessarily need to be funny or a troll. You just need to sound human and not like a robot. Robotic replies and posts can put off your followers.
A few ways of building a persona are:
- To give your brand a more human touch, you should try to be as conversational as possible. For example, you should try and use the words “we” and “us” when referring to your brand.
- Use humor. It goes without saying that people come to social media for entertainment too. If you’re humorous, there are greater chances of being noticed and going viral too. This can get your brand more visibility.
- Engage as much as possible with others. Don’t just put your message forth but engage with your audience and other brands. Whether the comments are positive or negative, you should always engage with your audience.
Once you’ve created your persona, you need to ensure that somebody responsible is there to manage it.
If you’re not going to manage the account yourself, you should consider hiring a specialist. This person needs to be knowledgeable about social media and will be the face of your brand on social media. They will need to take care of all your interactions with your audience.
8. Incorporate Influencer Marketing
No B2B social media strategy can be complete without influencer marketing. It is one of the best ways to grow your brand’s social media presence. Collaborate with influencers in your niche and have them promote your brand.
According to a study, 92% of marketers agreed that influencer marketing is effective. However, for successful influencer marketing, you need to find the right influencer. There are many things that you should look into when finding your influencer.
You should check your influencer’s reach on social media. You also need to check how relevant their niche is to your industry.
Influencers with huge follower counts usually have lower engagement rates than ones with fewer followers. Engagement is an important criterion that can help you spot fake influencers and filter out the real ones.
American Express wanted to help small businesses by letting their customers know that they accept Amex cards. With this thought, they created the Love My Store campaign.
They partnered with Grace Bonney to create some decals that would resonate with small business owners. And they also teamed up with Emily Henderson, a design influencer to share tips on how to place those decals.
The campaign was a huge success and earned more than 5 million social media impressions. It also led to the creation of over 400,000 decals.
9. Use Employee Advocacy
Employee advocacy comes in quite handy in a B2B social media strategy. The idea behind employee advocacy is that employees too have their own social circles. You can leverage them as micro-influencers who can spread the word about your brand.
Employee advocacy is a must-have B2B social media strategy these days. You can create content that can be easily shared by your employees on their profiles. They can directly influence their circles. Without employee advocacy, you will only have a limited reach to your own audience.
You could even share your employee’s experiences in the company or their stories on your social media. This gives your brand a more human touch.
General Electric interviewed their employees and posted their images on their Instagram along with their interviews. This gives a brand a more human aspect to it and even shows that they care for their employees. This can create a positive impression of the brand in the minds of people.
With more employees sharing your content, your reach increases manifold and so does the engagement. A survey by Bambu found some interesting results. People were 16X more likely to check out a post about a brand from a friend than from the brand.
Image via Bambu
To achieve this, you must encourage your employees to share their experiences with your company on their profiles. This way, you can get a higher reach and engagement through your employees.
10. Engage with Your Audience
One of the most important steps of a B2B social media strategy is that of engagement. You must make it a habit to engage with your audience regularly on social media. Post your replies in a timely manner while making sure that they’re meaningful and customized for each person.
Rather than replying with a simple “Thank you,” you should try to take the conversation forward. A good way to do so is to ask for their opinions about a post.
For example, if someone replies to your post saying, “Nice post :)” you can ask them what they liked about it or if they have suggestions to make it better. If they reply, it could be great!
Your efforts to increase engagement can help you build valuable connections over time.
However, robotic replies can harm a brand’s reputation. You should use personalized messages not only for people who are engaging with you but with everyone on social media.
Keep an eye out for anyone mentioning you on social media and jump into the conversation. If people have any queries, answer them. You can make use of social listening and monitoring platforms to pick up any conversations about you. Mention or Hootsuite are some useful ones.
For example, if you’re a company that sells CRM software, you can monitor social media for people talking about them. You can then solve their queries with helpful answers.
Along with your answers, you can provide a relevant call-to-action (CTA) with a link. This may even prompt businesses to visit your website or social media profile.
11. User-Generated Content
User-generated content may come as a surprise in the B2B social media category. However, this is a great option that you can add to your B2B social media strategy. While it’s easier to get user-generated content when you’re in the B2C segment, it’s certainly possible in B2B as well.
WeWork showcases photos that are posted by their followers on their social media accounts. This way, they are able to use user-generated content to their advantage.
When someone posts such images or videos, you can easily trace them using your branded hashtag. And behold! You’ve got your valuable user-generated content right there. Such content works great as a testimonial for your brand as well.
You could even host events and ask the audience to share their photos with your branded hashtag. Or you could ask your audience to post their images so you can feature them on your profiles.
This way, you will have a steady stream of content to post that even works as a testimonial for your brand. It helps to build your brand image and boost brand awareness when people propagate your hashtag on social media.
12. Invest in Advertising
To grab more eyeballs and expand your reach, you could even add online advertising to your B2B social media strategy. Social media gives you a great option of extending your reach through advertising.
Using your target audience, you can start off a paid promotion and then let it work its magic. Advertisements can not only drive people to your profile, but even send them to your website.
Social media platforms keep on increasing their options for advertising and targeting every day. You can even run ads to generate leads and conversions. You should try setting up a small budget for social media advertising and then test it.
Refine the advertising method until it starts showing results and then invest more to get better results. If you can manage to achieve a low cost per conversion, it will get you high returns.
13. Assess Your Performance
Once you have successfully implemented all the steps, you should check your performance. In fact, performance should be analyzed regularly to get an idea if you’re doing things right or not. you can assess your performance based on the KPIs that you have decided at the onset of your campaign.
Based on the performance, you can then plan the next steps that you need to take. If your goals are being met, you should concentrate on finding the activities that helped you get there. Once you’ve found them, you can then put an impetus to continue doing them.
If you’ve hit your goals, you should not stop there. You should try to look for other complementary opportunities and try exploring them as well. You could even try out other platforms and expand your B2B social media strategy.
If you haven’t managed to hit your target, you should look for the activities that are causing problems. You can then run a test within your platform and check their effectiveness. If they are not effective, you can replace or remove them.
You should even look for the activities that are working well and continue doing them. This will help you improve your B2B social media strategy.
Finally, the key to a successful B2B social media strategy is continuous analysis. You must keep analyzing your performance and keep perfecting your approach. When you achieve your goals repeatedly, you can keep setting higher goals and hit them.
B2B social media marketing may not be easy. However, with a proper plan and a social media strategy in place, you can generate leads and drive sales.
Social media marketing is all about connecting with people and other brands. You should try to reach out to as many people as possible. Analyzing your activities at each step will help you in perfecting your strategy, which in turn, will give you better results.
What other important steps have you incorporated in your B2B social media strategy? Let us know in the comments. If you do have any questions about the steps mentioned above, feel free to ask. We’ll do our best to answer them.