“We tried using social media, but to be honest, our niche is quite dull and boring, so we didn’t have anything exciting to post.”
Have you ever heard this spoken about your brand or product before? Maybe you’ve even uttered the words yourself! Either way, it’s one of the typical excuses why B2B companies don’t take social media seriously.
Truthfully, it has long been one of the weakest reasons for not doing something we’ve ever heard, so we decided to make it as easy as possible for you to start using a B2B social media strategy.
Before we begin, a quick note: there’s often an inclination to try to sell, sell, sell when you’re in the field of B2B marketing. However, as Rand Fishkin, formerly of Moz and now Founder of SparkToro, puts it, the “best way to sell something [is not to] sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.”
Best way to sell something – don't sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) February 4, 2015
Just because your product or service might be designed for companies to use doesn’t mean that a company purchases it. That responsibility will rest with an individual or group of individuals – something to keep in mind when you’re creating content for any of your social media channels.
Steps to creating a B2B social media strategy
1. What do you want to get out of this?
You’ve got to start by asking yourself what you want or need to get out of a potential B2B social media strategy. Are you just doing this because you read it in an article online or are your reasons justifiable?
Start with considering how using social media can help your company achieve its goals. For example, if your company wants to increase the number of people who visit the website, can social media potentially help you create another traffic source? Of course!
Once you’ve figured out what you want to gain by using social media, try to create goals around that. For example, “increase the amount of traffic landing on the website from social channels by X%.” According to Jeff Bullas, using the intuitive SMART paradigm (the acronym for “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound,”) is your best bet to create reasonable, clear-cut goals.
2. Do you understand the people you’re creating content for?
We mentioned earlier that any B2B social media strategy will target people – just like any B2C strategy will. The difference is that you arguably have to understand not only the people in the businesses you want to sell to but also their motivations and who actually makes the decisions in their company regarding new products or services.
This is the type of in-depth understanding that will help you create content for your social media channels that resonates with your target audience.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a bonus benefit of using social media for your B2B company, look no further than building an even deeper understanding of your audience. As Rene Power puts it, B2B social media activity “also provides the opportunity to access a huge market to test, trial and crowdsource new ideas about your products and services.”
3. What are you going to create and where will you post it?
The nitty gritty of your B2B social media strategy will focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘where.’ You’ve outlined your goals and you’ve painted a clear picture of whom you need to reach with your social media activity, now you need to determine the best ways and places where you can do that.
For example, do you think there’s any value in creating content on Snapchat for a 54-year-old engineer? It’s possible… but you’d probably be better off creating the content for a different channel.
Will your audience prefer long-form or short-form content? How do they use social media? Do they check regularly or do they leave all their social activity until later in the evening? Do they spend all of their time-consuming video content or are they old school readers through and through?
Get started on your B2B social media strategy
Bringing it all together, our quickfire three steps to getting started with a B2B social media strategy are:
- Determine your goals and how you’ll measure those
- Understand your audience (deeply)
- Figure out which channel(s) you’re going to use and what you’re going to post