B2B Client: “Social media really isn’t for brands like ours.”
Me: “Hmm, why do you think that?”
B2B Client: “No one follows us but people who already know us. Our business is kinda boring. And we really don’t have the staff to manage it.”
First, I want to say, “Please read our white paper!” And second, believe me when I say that B2B companies are definitely on social media, and many are doing a bang-up job of it. Social media is for everyone, and if you voluntarily exclude your business, you’re missing too many great opportunities.
Why it feels harder for B2B
Social media can be just a tad more difficult for B2B companies. It’s true that followers may be hard to come by (but they’re out there, we promise). How do you know which social media is most effective? And what metrics matter most to your business?
“Make social media about your audience, not just your business. That way, even if you’re in a “boring” industry, you can still deliver share-worthy content on social media and continue to build your audience.” —SproutSocial
Let’s start with your followers. Your employees and loyal customers are probably already following you. Your next goal: Get them to share. How? Put a little more effort into your content so that they’re willing and happy to post it from their own accounts. Incentivize your sales team to share—get a little friendly competition going to see who can rack up the most views. Then, consider paid boosting of specific posts in certain channels. For a few hundred dollars, you can get a much greater reach than through organic shares alone. (Just remember that while boosting raises awareness, it does not necessarily net qualified leads.)
Next, take a hard look at your channels—and the content you’re putting in them. Are you just phoning it in by focusing on your products? Are you posting the same content in multiple channels? Twitter et al. can be incredibly powerful, but if you can’t devote time to them (and community management is 100% a part of that), figure out where your effort is better spent and go all in on content for the channels that really work for you. Our advice: Start with where your customers and prospects spend the most time. (Not sure? Read up on buyer personas.)
Ok, let’s talk metrics. We know someone above you thinks social media is a waste of time for your business. You know it’s not, but if you’re ever going to prove them wrong and get a serious inbound marketing program off the ground, you have to get some data. This is where a marketing automation platform can help you. Kreber is a HubSpot partner, and we rely on its reports to see where we’re doing well and where we need to optimize on social media. The right platform will consolidate your data—and push content to the right media according to your timeline—so you can get a much better, big-picture view.
Back to content...
Social media is supposed to be fun. Maybe you sell generators, or water pumps, or pea gravel. I promise you, there is a witty campaign deep within your brand that can be exploited (in the best possible way) for a social media campaign. Maybe there’s some really interesting education you can drop on your audience (make it shareable!). Or try tying your business back to a greater purpose. Check out this example from Zendesk:
Like Zendesk, many B2B companies are doing really important work without which the world wouldn’t turn—or improve. To capitalize on where your business is making a difference, develop provocative, well-designed content that’s interesting from a human point of view, not just a self-focused one.
Lastly, don’t limit yourself. Sure, Facebook is meaningful, but only if your customers hang out there. But we’re huge fans of Pinterest, YouTube, and podcasts as playgrounds for truly innovative and interesting B2B content. And your business belongs there as much as any other—as long as what you’re serving up is worth a view, a watch, or a listen.
Results can be tangible—and intangible
If you began your social media campaign with clear and time-sensitive KPIs, you should see the impact of your content within a few months. No movement in followers, impressions, or click-thrus? Don’t give up. Mine for more gold within your brand, and you’ll come up with new brand and campaign messages to test (the right agency partner will help!).
Now, take a look at the intangible effects of your social media experimentation. What did you and your team learn? Wasn’t it fun to create content that wasn’t so strictly product or company focused? Did you express your creativity? You knew it was there, didn’t you?
Don’t opt out of social media just because you work for a small B2B company. The beauty of these platforms is that they give everyone a voice. You just have to find yours.