We all know that social media is an effective platform for businesses to reach out and engage with their audience, yet B2B companies continue to overlook the value for their own businesses. If you’re a B2B company that has hesitated about dipping your toes in the waters of social media, there’s something you need to know. At least 9 out of 10 businesses are invested in a social media marketing strategy — meaning 9 out of 10 businesses are there, waiting for you to engage with them.
B2B companies have completely different and more complex sales cycles than your average B2C business, and social media doesn’t always feel like a good fit. It’s time to expand past this outdated mindset and look at how successful B2B operations are crushing social media marketing and building authority in their niche markets. Moving forward, here are 5 emerging social media marketing trends B2B companies should be paying attention to.
Sharpening the Focus on Meaningful Data
Every effective marketing strategy is driven by one thing — meaningful data. Data is more than sets of numbers — and the right data can paint a clear picture of your target audience and enhance engagement. In truth, there is an infinite amount of information you “could” learn about your target audience, but much of it is of little consequence. That data you should be focused on are the analytics that will drive social media traffic and spark deeper relationships with your core audience.
As more businesses flood social media channels, the amount of accessible data is mounting. Smart B2B companies have sharpened their focus on the data points that provide them with the most meaningful information. This includes data that provides a comprehensive assessment of their target, understanding of target keywords and topic that attracts new business, and the best process for implementing insights into their social media strategy.
When you cut out the noise and focus in on meaningful data, the result are noticeable.
- Clear insights to create content that is more meaningful and relevant to your B2B audience
- Ability to reach your audience on the exact platforms where they can be found — no more second-guessing or wasting time on effective networks
- Meaningful data helps you create a stronger brand voice and image
- Targeted social media data that positively influences your SEO strategy
- Insights that enable you to keep a keen eye on the competition and stay ahead of industry trends
Defining New Objectives for B2B Social Strategies
The social landscape has undergone more than a few noticeable transformations in the past couple of years. Following in the footsteps of Google and their focus on the user experience, Facebook restructured their search algorithm to prioritize meaningful interactions. This move, while great from a social media user standpoint, made it harder for businesses to gain traction. For B2B companies, it became exponentially more difficult.
This isn’t a cue to wave your flag and surrender. Rather, it was exactly the nudge many B2B companies needed to refocus and define new objectives for their social strategies. It’s no longer about getting your name out to as many businesses as possible but really zeroing in to focus on an uber-targeted market.
Your B2B social media marketing goals should include:
- Engagement as a top priority
- Leveraging social media insights for lead generation
- Establishing your B2B company as a thought leader in your industry
- Content that fuels lead generation
- Focus on building a strong brand through a consistent and reliable social presence
Video and Visual Content Marketing
The thing about social media that is both attractive and a deterrent for B2B companies is that everyone is doing it. Billions of people use social media every day, and more than 7 million businesses advertise on these platforms. This creates a ton of clutter for the average business to cut through, especially if your focus is on meaningful interactions.
Visual content, whether in the form of infographics, memes, or video grabs attention — if it’s done right. You need to be asking if you’re posting visual content just for the sake of putting something out there, or if it actually holds real meaning for your B2B audience. When using social media to share visual content, keep these 3 things in mind.
- Share videos that are authentic and relatable to your B2B audience
- Give that overshared video or infographic a pass — your audience has seen it before and it’s an ineffective use of your marketing efforts
- Keep the focus on your clients. If you can solve their problems, their curiosity will lead them to learn more about you
Listen More Than You Speak
Data is crucial in helping you build a social media strategy and implement it for success. It would be great if we could take all this data, set a plan into action and watch it soar but social media marketing requires nurturing, and this is where social listening comes into play.
Social listening is a bit of a complex topic but our friends at HubSpot define it simply as the process of monitoring your brand’s social presence, listening to customer feedback, tracking brand mentions, and paying attention to which topics, keywords, or issues perform for your industry. A common shortfall of typical B2B social marketing is that companies become so busy talking and building a presence that they forget to listen. Here’s how you can avoid falling into the same trap.
- Manage your social media reputation by responding to feedback, whether it’s positive, negative, or neutral
- Feedback isn’t the only opportunity to show your responsiveness. Actively participate in discussion on your social feeds and in related groups
- Take advantage of data and analytics to assess how specific incidents or conversations affect engagement and reach
- Look for customer pain points that you can solve
- Discover what your audience wants to know, and use those insights to establish a voice of authority
There’s a lot of focus right now on creating a social media persona that’s authentic, transparent, and relatable. This advice isn’t just for B2C businesses — it’s equally important for B2B social outreach as well. Businesses that are out there, carving a niche for themselves on social media have seen and done it all. They’re different because they already know all the social marketing tricks. If you want to appeal to them, it’s time to ramp up your game.
- Know your target. Data insights enable you to identify targeted segments of your audience and form relationships
- Meet their needs by solving problems and sharing social content that is informative and educational
- Look for the unique angle. What does your audience need that nobody else is providing?
- Continually track and analyze data — never make assumptions about your audience
- Being perfect is for robots — real companies make mistakes and learn from them. Take advantage of these learning opportunities
Setting the Stage for a Successful B2B Social Media Strategy
Social media is an ever-changing landscape. These 5 emerging trends give us hints about the direction of social media but the future is yet unseen. If there’s one constant in all of this, it’s the potential we can unlock with access to key data insights and analytics. Social media isn’t going anywhere, and now is the time for your B2B company to embrace social media marketing and build a brand that’s stronger and more relevant than ever.