Social media marketing is an important part of any company’s complete digital marketing strategy. In fact, in Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing report, they found that 83% of B2B marketers use social media.
According to Digital Marketing Trends, 54% of B2B marketers say that they’ve generated leads using social media. Because it’s the most common form of digital marketing for a B2B audience, it’s important to learn how to do it well.54% of B2B marketers say that they've generated leads using social media.Click To Tweet
With so much riding on doing social media marketing well, I asked several marketers for their favorite tips for B2B social media marketing. Here’s what they said.
1. Social Listening: Figuring Out Your Audience Online
“Strategic social media use starts by listening to your competitors as much as your audience, so you have a complete view of what’s going on in your industry. Watch what industry players and influencers say and do online, and pay close attention to the tactics that engage thought leaders, competitors, and consumers. A great place to keep tabs on your competition is their blog. See what they are talking about, what their customers are saying and what pain points are occurring.”
Zondra Wilson, Founder/CEO Blu Skin Care
Follow Zondra on Twitter @bluskincare'Strategic social media use starts by listening to your competitors as much as your audience, so you have a complete view of what’s going on in your industry,' says @bluskincareClick To Tweet
2. Don’t Underestimate The Relevance Of LinkedIn
“I have a few thoughts regarding B2B social media marketing in 2018. After years of testing and refining organic search, social media and paid advertising, we’ve found one of the most effective digital marketing B2B channels is LinkedIn, as an earned and owned media channel for cost-effective lead generation.
“For starters, LinkedIn is the least tapped in terms of leveraging influencers. With over 13,000 connections myself, I’ve become a bit of an expert on the platform and see this as a big opportunity for 2018 and beyond.
“Secondly, the platform is ideal for business-to-business marketing. There is no other platform that can target prospective customers with ads, based on employer, job title, location and other key factors.
“Lastly, the platform is ideal for generating awareness and credentials via thought leadership (posting updates and writing articles on LinkedIn Pulse) as well as participating in LinkedIn Groups. I’ve written extensively on digital marketing and LinkedIn specifically.”
Kent Lewis, President and Founder of Anvil Media, Inc
Follow Kent on Twitter @KentJLewis
3. Focus On The Long-Term
“Too often, businesses will go for the quick win when doing social media marketing. But most B2B decisions are much more long-term, and you’ll see far greater results from a slow-burn campaign. This is why content marketing, and planning for the year ahead rather than the week ahead, will be essential to your success.
“Consider why someone might purchase your service six months from now, and then plan your usual content as a way to guide them toward that decision, emphasizing authority, knowledge, and interesting ideas.”
Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism
Follow Flynn on Twitter @FlynnZaiger'Consider why someone might purchase your service six months from now, and then plan your usual content as a way to guide them toward that decision,' says @FlynnZaigerClick To Tweet
4. Show Off Your Personality And Have A Little Fun
“Don’t be afraid to show off random – or even quirky – things about your company and the people who work for it.
“Do you have an office pet or name your office plants? Share a pic. Share images of employee desks and work areas, even if they are cluttered and disorganized. Show how Edna from Sales can juggle markers or how Joe from Accounting drinks from a coffee cup that’s the size of a beer stein.
“Basically, let your audience know that the people behind your brand are “real” and they’ll start to form a connection with them. As a result, your audience will feel more connected to your brand itself.”
Michele McDonough, Co-Founder & CEO of Creative Mindscape
Follow Michele on Twitter @MicheleMcD42'Don't be afraid to show off random – or even quirky – things about your company and the people who work for it,' advises @MicheleMcD42Click To Tweet
5. Get To Know Your Audience
“My number one tip for B2B companies on social media is to get to know your audience, where they hang out online, and what challenges they are facing. This can be done by creating buyer personas, using social media monitoring tools, and connecting with influencers in the industry.
“Once you’ve taken the time to truly get to know your audience, you’ll be in a much better position to connect with them on social media by providing information and services that serve their needs above all else.”
Melissa Bischoff, Content Marketing Specialist with eCity InteractiveMelissa Bischoff shares: 'My number one tip for B2B companies on social media is to get to know your audience, where they hang out online, and what challenges they are facing.'Click To Tweet
6. Adhere To The 80/20 Rule
“With B2B marketing, it’s good to adhere to what’s called the 80/20 rule. Just 20% of your B2B social media posts should contain sales content, while 80% of your posts and content that you share on social media should provide genuine value to engage your audience. Businesses recognize when they’re being sold to, so make sure to engage them by offering some truly valuable knowledge or service for free that will help them in their business.
“You want your business to be seen as knowledgeable and trustworthy, the more you can get those points across, the more you will attract your B2B customers.”
RaShea Drake, B2B Analyst with Verizon Business
Follow RaShea on Twitter @sheadrakephoto'Businesses recognize when they're being sold to, so make sure to engage them by offering some truly valuable knowledge or service for free that will help them in their business,' says @sheadrakephotoClick To Tweet
7. Choose Your Platform Wisely
“When planning your B2B social media, the key thing to focus on is choosing the right platform. You need to communicate and engage on the social media network that your potential customers are using.
“Traditionally, businesses and individuals favour different platforms with businesses tending more towards LinkedIn and other professionally-oriented networks. However, if you discover that your prospective clients and target audience are particularly active on Twitter for instance, then engage with them there and send them a direct message.
“People are more receptive to your message when they are in a familiar setting. It’s much more effective to market to where your audience is than where you think they should be.”
Follow Jordan on Twitter @InteriorGoods'It’s much more effective to market to where your audience is than where you think they should be,' shares @InteriorGoodsClick To Tweet
8. Take Advantage Of LinkedIn’s ProFinder Tool
“Don’t treat LinkedIn Like Facebook! If you’re looking to engage with business professionals in their buying mindset, LinkedIn is the top place to share your expertise and find your ideal clients from among the 500MM using the platform.
“If you’re US-based, ProFinder is the best tool for inbound marketing your professional services as a recommended expert, without ads and without paying a commission to LinkedIn. You can apply for expert status in up to 10 of their 140 current search terms.
“It’s the best tool I have found to generate very hot, local, inbound leads that include specifically what they are after. (I usually get 1-2 dozens leads a day, my max so far was 52 free, inbound coaching leads in one day).
“The research alone to best understand how ideal clients use their own words to explain their pain points and goals for their transformation is priceless. ”
Pat Nunno Roque, Coach at Rock On Success
Follow Pat on Twitter @RockOnSuccess'Don't treat LinkedIn Like Facebook!' advises @RockOnSuccessClick To Tweet
9. Validate Facebook Pixel Yourself
“For B2B, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received for SMM is…don’t trust your Facebook Pixel until you’ve validated yourself that it’s placed correctly and working as intended.
“If the pixel fires too many times, or stops firing, your data skews.
“You’d be surprised how few businesses circle back and take the time to optimize the pixel….if it’s not firing or mis-firing, it directly impacts your ability to improve your ROAS (return on ad spend).”
David Cook, Digital Marketing Consultant & Coach
Follow David on Twitter @davidliamcook'Don't trust your Facebook Pixel until you've validated yourself that it's placed correctly and working as intended,' says @davidliamcookClick To Tweet
10. Be Sure To Get Your Message Right
“Get your message right! Understand who you are trying to target on a personal level and craft your message to resonate with them specifically. Remember, you are not selling to a business, you are selling to a person.”
Follow Samantha on Twitter @samanthawitmk'Remember, you are not selling to a business, you are selling to a person,' says @samanthawitmkClick To Tweet
11. Focus On Building Connections
“Today, the success of B2B marketers on social media solely depends on the type of content they put out and the connections they build. In 2018, to grow your B2B brand, I strongly believe you need to grow your social influence and a good platform to begin with is Twitter (which is probably one of the best when it comes to building a community and growing your influence).
“Make it a priority to find and follow 5-15 members of your target audience to follow you and help you grow your following. Connect with other business owners, brands and build relationships that’ll grow your company’s influence, brand awareness, bring in recommendations and new connections.
“Also, never make it totally about business. Tweet out interesting content like behind the scenes videos, family photos or interesting travel images related to you or your brand as I’ve noticed a lot of B2B brands marketing like bots/fake accounts; being human is key to your social media success.”
Simon Zaku, Twitter Marketer for Online Stores & Blogs
Follow Simon on Twitter @s_zakuu'Being human is key to your social media success,' advises @s_zakuuClick To Tweet
12. Post More Than Just Links
“Regardless of what social platform you’re on, followers want to see interesting and useful information directly in their feeds. Figure out what your followers are interested in. Then give bite-sized advice, infographics, quotes, or videos that deliver the information directly.
“Study those who are the best at social media in your industry to get ideas for how to do this well. Occasionally, you can slip in some value-added links from your site. Skimming through your social feed, it should look interesting and packed with great info. It should not look like a big list of self-promotion.”
Sydney Liu, Co-founder of Commaful
Follow Sydney on Twitter at @Sydney_Liu_sl'Skimming through your social feed, it should look interesting and packed with great info. It should not look like a big list of self-promotion,' says @Sydney_Liu_slClick To Tweet
13. Know Your Audience And Share Articles They Need To Read
“Always have a persona (or a few in mind) when crafting posts and ads. Do you need to reach the C-suite level to get a conversion? Or could an admin level employee be a key decision maker in purchasing your product or service? Tailor your content accordingly.
“Share articles from trusted industry leaders so that the audience you’re trying to reach so that they know you’re aware of industry trends. This also allows you to be a source of news and information for that given industry, even if you are just sharing content and not creating as much of your own.”
Amy Newton, Senior Social Media Manager at Ignite Visibility
Follow Amy on Twitter @IgniteV'Always have a persona (or a few in mind) when crafting posts and ads,' says @IgniteVClick To Tweet
14. Share Value-Laden Information
“Effective B2B social media marketing shares information of value to your company’s target business audiences instead of always harping on the business products or services sold by your company. This sharing of valuable information helps position your company on the ‘know, like and trust’ continuum that is so important in today’s 24/7 marketing world.”
Phyllis Zimbler Miller at Miller Mosaic, LLC
Follow Phyllis on Twitter @ZimblerMiller'Effective B2B social media marketing shares information of value to your company's target business audiences instead of always harping on the business products or services sold by your company,' advises @ZimblerMillerClick To Tweet
15. When Choosing Your Platform, Don’t Be Afraid To Have Fun
“Think about your platform with B2B marketing. Consider the demographics of the people you’re trying to sell to; ultimately, they aren’t individuals at all but an entire company. Emotions often play a much smaller role in B2B marketing strategies because they typically play a much smaller part in overall decision-making. Your social media platform should match that tone.
“Business-focused social media platforms like LinkedIn provide an excellent way to build bridges between companies through genuine connection. LinkedIn also gives your company’s leadership to put themselves forward as industry experts through those interactions.
“If you’re still looking to have some fun with B2B social media marketing, try Instagram. Companies like Adobe and Squarespace do an excellent job of promoting their products by showcasing what users can do through their products. And, if Instagram just sounds ‘too visual’ for your company, give Twitter a try.
“Twitter offers actionable and data-driven tips for both B2B and B2C marketing strategies. Twitter balances room for visual marketing elements without putting the emphasis on using solely visuals to attract potential clients.
“As with any social media campaign, strive to make your interactions with B2B companies as genuine as possible. Always seek to add something – either insights, advice, knowledge, or maybe even a laugh – to your potential clients’ newsfeeds.”
Shelby Rogers, Content Marketing Strategist at Solodev
Follow Shelby on Twitter @Solodev'If you’re still looking to have some fun with B2B social media marketing, try Instagram,' advises @SolodevClick To Tweet
16. Create An Engaging Social Media Strategy
“B2B marketers must remember that, even though they are selling B2B, individuals are still the ones consuming the content. The business may be the buyer, but an individual(s) is making the buying decision. It’s important for B2B marketers to create a social media strategy that engages the individuals making those decisions. That strategy should involve keeping the individual at the center of the social media universe.
- What problems could they be facing in their business?
- What things do they LOVE to talk about regarding their business?
- Would those individual benefit from connecting to others in their field through a Facebook or LinkedIn group that the B2B marketer could run?
“The B2B marketer should keep all of this in mind while they are developing their social media strategy. Share blog posts aimed at solving the above problems to drive traffic back to their site.
“Create interactive content that people would likely respond to.
“Manage groups that could bring these people together. Then use that group to help keep the B2B marketer in the front of their audience.
“It’s not enough to talk about how great the B2B marketer is. The B2B marketer needs to let the spotlight be on the individuals inside the target business.”
Chris Coopman, Media Specialist at Agent Media
Follow Chris on Twitter @mediaforagents'B2B marketers must remember that, even though they are selling B2B, individuals are still the ones consuming the content,' says @mediaforagentsClick To Tweet
17. Three Rights Make B2B Social Media Marketing Successful
“For me successful B2B social media is about 3 simple choices. 1) Right channel for your audience, 2) Right content for that audience, 3) Right tools to measure effectiveness. Get ANY wrong and B2B social media fails you. So many companies don’t appreciate how important it is to ONLY spend effort, time, money on the channels that are relevant, the content types that their audience want to consume, and investment in proper tools and metrics that genuinely help improve the process as an ongoing digital strategy.”
Neil Henry, COO and Co-Founder at Creative Mindscape
Follow Neil on Twitter at @NeilHenryCM'For me successful B2B social media is about 3 simple choices: 1) Right channel for your audience, 2) Right content for that audience, 3) Right tools to measure effectiveness,' advises @NeilHenryCMClick To Tweet
18. Consider Doing A Series Of Posts
“One of my favorite ways to excel on social media as a B2B company is to develop an ongoing content series that can be subdivided into small, easily shareable bits of content. Water Use it Wisely’s 100+ Ways to Conserve Water works great both as a single linkable asset for SEO or individual cards that can be shared on social media. The content itself is perfect for B2C companies to share with their customers, which helps the content producer to earn awareness, spread their brand, and develop a relationship with prospective clients.”
Joe Goldstein, SEO Director / Operations Manager at Contractor Calls
Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeAdamG'Develop an ongoing content series that can be subdivided into small, easily shareable bits of content,' shares @JoeAdamGClick To Tweet
19. Use Employees’ Social Media Capital For A Wider Net
“It can often be challenging in the B2B market to make the social media connections required to organically amplify your content. Instead of relying on other businesses to share your content, turn to your employees. Every time you make a post on any social media platform, email the direct links to the posts to your entire company and ask them to like and share the posts on their social media accounts.
“This type of sharing allows your content to find an audience that would otherwise be unavailable and can signal to social media algorithms that your post should. If you really want to encourage company engagement, create a leaderboard and keep track of who likes and shares the most content. Give out prizes at the end of the quarter to the most engaged employees.”
Zack Gallinger, President of Talent Hero Media
Follow Zack on Twitter @Zack_Gallinger'Instead of relying on other businesses to share your content, turn to your employees,' advises @Zack_GallingerClick To Tweet
20. Keep It Simple
“Keep content creation simple. Pick a few categories and be consistent with those ex. – staff profiles, product videos, community involvement, etc. Don’t overthink your content categories, but make sure they relate to and are appropriate for your business goals.”
Rebecca Teaff, Founder Redstart Creative
Follow Rebecca on Twitter @redstartcreativ'Don’t overthink your content categories, but make sure they relate to and are appropriate for your business goals,' says @redstartcreativClick To Tweet
21: Highlight Your Clients, Use Videos, And Connect
“Sharing stories about your clients on social media is a great marketing tactic. It demonstrates your business’s commitment to your clients which can appeal to other potential clients as well. If you share a client’s success story, a potential client will likely want to learn more about your business. Ways to highlight them include testimonial videos and quotes, company blogs, and posting about a client’s major accomplishment.
“Having professional business videos is essential for any business. They are an effective way to get across what your business is all about and highlight your products and passions. For example, having a tutorial video about the Amazon Echo device that you sell. On social media, videos are known to have more engagement than other forms of media.
“On social media, it’s important that you and your business connect with industry experts. Share, comment, and like their posts, follow them, and ask industry questions you may have. By connecting and engaging with reputable professionals online, you are improving your business’s image. Networking on platforms like LinkedIn could lead to great business opportunities down the road.”
Holly Zink, Digital Marketing Associate at The Powerline Group
Follow Holly on Twitter @hzink2011'Sharing stories about your clients on social media is a great marketing tactic', says @hzink2011Click To Tweet
22. Keep It Consistent
“Keeping your message consistent across all social media platforms is key. It’s important for new followers to be able to instantly recognize your brand. It’s also important for brands to always link to their website and stick to the same messaging in company profiles, branded images and logos.”
Follow Tracy on Twitter @tracymemoli'Keeping your message consistent across all social media platforms is key,' advises @tracymemoliClick To Tweet
23. Focus More On Branding Than On Sales
“Social Media Marketing done by or on behalf of a B2B company should put little to no focus on sales and more attention on brand awareness and engagement. B2B deals aren’t usually closed on social media but a conversation between B2B companies can start there.
“A B2B company should use social media to tell stories of what it truly cares about so as to be able to strike conversations with other B2B Companies that care about the same thing (For example, green energy).
“It’s from such attuned cultural conversations that great partnerships and sales occur.”
Daniel Bamigboye, Digital Marketer at Firebrick Digital
Follow Firebrick Digital on Twitter @firebrickhq'B2B deals aren't usually closed on social media but a conversation between B2B companies can start there,' says @firebrickhqClick To Tweet
24. Be Organic!
“A piece of advice I find myself repeating time and again for B2B brands planning social media marketing activities is to be organic. In general, people prefer to learn about new brands, products, and services through content; but if that branded information isn’t part of a larger narrative or story, it often falls flat. They also want to hear from industry experts. According to Demand Gen Report, 96% of B2B buyers want content with input from more industry thought leaders. Because of this, content marketing is having a resurgence right now.
“When developing content for social media, organic should also refer to the relationship between that content and the platform it’s created for. Recent and ongoing changes to the Facebook algorithm, for example, mean that content that is native to that platform often performs better than external links. Actionable tips for B2B brands would be to consistently post (on brand) photos and video, write narrative posts or consider using onsite blogging features, such as LinkedIn’s Pulse feature.
“Regardless of the social media marketing activities B2B brands add to their marketing lineup, the most important thing to remember is that it should all work to support the organic, relational marketing activities that take place in the real world.”
Kristine Neil, Founder and Creative Director at Markon Brands
Follow Kristine on Twitter @Thekneil'Actionable tips for B2B brands would be to consistently post (on brand) photos and video, write narrative posts or consider using onsite blogging features, such as LinkedIn’s Pulse feature,' advises @ThekneilClick To Tweet
25. Optimize Social Media Content For Lead Generation
“When it comes to social media marketing for B2B companies, the idea (just like any other B2B marketing channel) is to build your email list and nurture prospects towards a sales conversion. That’s why one of the most important things to do is optimize your social media content for lead generation and conversion.
“For starters, you’ll want to provide your audience with plenty of opportunities to opt-in to your mailing list. Content offers like eBooks, webinars, workshops, and discounts will help compel users to join your community. Then, once you’ve got your foot in the door (and you’ve managed to deliver value to your leads), they’ll be a lot more receptive to your brand’s messages in the future.
“Build trust by providing value through content, then make it easy for your prospects to opt-in. Make good use of CTAs, forms, and landing pages to remove any potential barriers to create a seamless B2B lead transition so you can nurture them towards a conversion goal.”
Follow Pierre on Twitter @PierredeBraux'Provide your audience with plenty of opportunities to opt-in to your mailing list,' shares @PierredeBrauxClick To Tweet
26. Put Money And Time Into High-Quality Video Content
“My biggest piece of advice for B2B social media marketing is to invest in high-quality video content. This sets you apart from the norm of typical social media content while also providing a potentially educational outlet. With B2B video content, I advise focusing on content such as interviewing team members, successful clients, and even machinery used in your business (if that applies). Businesses utilizing social media to market to other businesses show essentially show that they have a strong pulse on what is going on both inside and outside of their industry.”
Follow Benjamin on Twitter @bnjmnsrmn'My biggest piece of advice for B2B social media marketing is to invest in high-quality video content,' says @bnjmnsrmnClick To Tweet
27. Make Use Of All LinkedIn Has To Offer, Including Groups
“Create a strategy for including LinkedIn in your social media marketing. Be clear about specifics, such as industries, companies, job titles and geographic locations of the companies with which you want to build relationships. Then, determine what types of content will be the most valuable to them. Focus on networking and engaging in groups, as well.”
Tricia Goss, VP of Reputation Management of Creative Mindscape
Follow Tricia on Twitter @TriciaGoss'Create a strategy for including LinkedIn in your social media marketing,' says @TriciaGossClick To Tweet
Ronda Bowen is VP of Editorial Services at Creative Mindscape. She also provides editorial consulting services to a variety of businesses and individuals, runs a handful of blogs (including WiningWife®), and serves as Fundraising Director for JB Dondolo, Inc. In her downtime, she’s a distance runner, a foodie, a wine and coffee aficionado, seamstress and crafter, and board game enthusiast. Learn more about Ronda’s various projects on her website.