Growing your business

Social media strategies for B2B businesses

3 min read


When it comes to using social media, B2B businesses often seem to lag their B2C counterparts. But this shouldn’t be the case. For B2B businesses, which often operate in more niche marketplaces, social media can be a powerful tool that allows them to reach their target markets like never before.

Finding your audience

Whether you’re selling B2B or B2C, any social media activity has to link to your wider marketing strategy to be effective. And you need to be clear about what you want to achieve through your social media engagement; is it generating sales leads, raising awareness of your products or services, or explaining to clients how to use them?

You also need a clear understanding of where your customers are spending time on social media. LinkedIn, as a platform for working professionals, often seems the obvious choice for B2B marketers – but it’s not the only option. Ask your customers where they’re spending time online and you could be surprised.

Here are some of the different platforms you might consider targeting for the following activities:

LinkedIn Thought leadership, lead generation
Facebook Site traffic, awareness, engagement (paid strategy, consider utilizing groups)
Twitter Engagement, traffic (consider hashtags, influencers)
YouTube Customer reviews, product videos/how-to, problem solving (shows up in Google search results)
Slideshare SEO, brand awareness and credibility, generate leads (shows up in Google search results)
Pinterest Brand recognition, promote content, infographics, feature products/services
Instagram Awareness (consider using influencers)
Niche platforms Forums on a topic relevant to your business

 

Creating engaging content

Once you’ve found where your existing customers are online, it’s likely you’ll find prospective ones there too. Getting active on these platforms by producing quality content that follows the ‘80/20’ rule should help engage both. You won’t garner a legion of online fans if all you’re doing is promoting yourself, so around 80 percent of the time you’ll want to post content that’s useful and engaging for your target audience, with the remaining 20 percent focused on what your business has to offer. 

Given small business owners are busy it’s unlikely you have hours to spend on activities outside your core business. So it may actually be more cost-effective to outsource your content creation. And, especially if you’re using social media to position yourself as a thought leader, you don’t always have to create content from scratch; your audience may simply appreciate links to relevant articles or research, accompanied by a couple of sentences from you for context. 

How you customise your content is important – repurposing it for the different platforms you’re using, but also for the different types of customers you have. It also pays to think about creating content for the different stages of your sales funnel, because a prospective customer who’s just becoming aware of your products or services will likely require quite different information to clients who are ready to buy. 

Start social selling

Social selling – where people actively build relationships with prospective and existing customers using social media – can be another powerful tool in your marketing strategy.

This involves finding out where the discussions in your specialist area are happening online and getting involved. Social listening tools are one way you can monitor these conversations, or you might want to find some relevant discussion groups where fellow business owners are participating. Once there, start or join some conversations, and see if you can make some new connections. First and foremost focus on sharing your knowledge and experience; you need to build relationships and trust before honing in on sales prospects. And another benefit of joining the conversation? It will also keep your business top of mind for existing clients.

Keep conversations professional

Finally, as a business owner you need to be aware of your personal brand online, particularly if you’re in a service business. Ensure you have a strong LinkedIn presence (with a good profile picture); that you’re well connected to the influencers in your sphere; and you retain a clean online footprint by keeping all conversations professional. 

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