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social media handbook
Want to grow your B2B business on social media? We've got you.
Get our free guide on B2B social media growth.
An overview of how social media can work for your business, and why it's a totally different ballgame for B2B companies.
Get into the detail and create your own dedicated plan to maximise your success.
Get your house in order and set up processes to ensure a smooth flow of quality content without taking up all your time.
This is an excerpt.
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The B2B Social Media Guide
How B2B brands can win on social media
Social media can feel a bit frivolous, can’t it? A bit shallow. Noisy. Egotistical even.
It’s all well and good for consumer brands who need to reach the masses, but it would be a pointless distraction for a B2B brand, right?
B2B companies are built on personal relationships, having the right connections, being seen as an authority in the industry.
But that’s exactly where social media excels. At least, social media done well.
It’s the most powerful relationship building tool we have, after face to face time. But with social media it’s much easier to build those relationships with thousands of potential customers and partners.
Historically seen as a marketing sub-discipline, in truth it’s more pervasive than that.
It has grown to straddle marketing, CRM, staff engagement, sales, PR and more.
So it’s high time we all started making better use of it, especially those of us in the B2B world.
In this paper we’re going on a whirlwind tour of B2B social media content marketing, giving you the tools and understanding to get it working for you.
There’s no hiding it. Social media marketing has become an essential component of any successful B2B marketing strategy.
If you’re reading this paper you probably already understand the transformative effect it can have on your business but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves.
We’ve divided them into four categories: Awareness, Perception, Relationships and Action.
All play a part in building your business, and none should be neglected.
If your target audience doesn’t know you, how are they going to do business with you? If you’re not active on social media it’s incredibly difficult to be discovered. Of course, existing customers and partners will know who you are, but without regular content you certainly won’t be front of mind.
With the right approach you can remain mentally available, reach new audiences and massively increase your brand awareness among a much wider audience than before.
“Mental availability means being easily noticed and/or thought of in many different buying situations”
- Byron Sharp
Do it well and you could punch well above your weight, driving brand awareness far exceeding what you’d expect from a business, whatever your size. There are plenty of solopreneurs out there with many thousands of followers, all because they understand the principles of an effective social media strategy.
Hand in hand with awareness is brand recognition. This might seem similar to brand awareness but there is a subtle but important distinction. Using your brand assets in the right way ensures anyone who sees your content also registers who produced it. They see your name, your logo, your design style and your tone of voice. They associate it with your content and the services you provide, they pay more attention to what you have to say in future and they know where to go when they need your services. This relies on having a distinctive brand.
Are you noticeably different from the other brands in your niche? Are you recognisably and unmistakably you? And do you use these assets to their full potential?
Products & Services Awareness
If your audience doesn’t know what you sell, how can you expect them to buy?
It’s all well and good being known for compelling content, but unless you’re trying to become an influencer there’s no inherent value in that to your business. What transforms compelling content into material benefit for your business is when people connect the positive impact your content has on them, with the products and services that you provide.
Understanding how to bring your products and services into your content in a balanced way that doesn’t turn your audience off is key to getting as much visibility and engagement as possible without losing sight of the bottom line.
So don’t be shy to show off your products and services. Remember, your audience is only the right audience if they have an interest in what you have to offer.
Bonus: Personal Awareness
Particularly on Linkedin, the interplay between business pages and personal profiles is a huge opportunity.
Building a personal brand can be hugely beneficial to your own career and the success of your business.
As an individual you can say things your company can’t. You can get involved in conversations, events, podcasts etc and it all acts as a vehicle for your brand. You can think of yourself as an ambassador for your brand in this way.
On the other hand, your brand can present information in a way that no self-aware individual can. For example a lot of people find it easier to shout about business successes, for example, from a business page than their personal profile.
Linkedin has tended to favour personal profiles, with company pages getting lower engagement overall. But this is shifting, and it was almost certainly contributed to by the different (and frankly more boring) content that these company pages have historically been producing. More on that later.
Many B2B businesses are built on a vast amount of expertise, knowledge and innovation. Your business will no doubt be the same, perhaps more than you give yourself credit for.
Establishing yourself as thought leaders in your industry can make a huge impact on how your audience sees you. So does demonstrating your customer successes.
Become the go to brand for industry expertise and it’s a short step to a qualified lead. It has a remarkable effect on your credibility.
Be seen as busy
None of us wants to go into an empty restaurant. The bustle of business being done is proof of the quality of the product and service. It’s the same across the business world. Looking busy is a powerful sales tool.
Being seen to be busy isn’t just for show. It provides social proof that you’re worth doing business with.
B2B audiences are so often treated as fully rational beings. Hence so much B2B marketing is so dull and ineffective. Of course, they care about rational factors, they have a business to run, but don’t forget they’re the exact same people who buy Jaffa Cakes and iPhones.
No matter how logical we might see ourselves, in truth we all make emotional decisions in our business lives.
Showing a bit of personality can go a long way to making people feel comfortable with you, to feel good about engaging with your content and ultimately to feel like they could do business with you.
LinkedIn & Twitter in particular offer a great opportunity for B2B businesses to network with other professionals in their field. Connect with potential partners, suppliers, investors, and customers who could help you grow your business.
Being part of the conversation as a brand and as an individual goes a long way. Comment, like, share and message when you can add value.
You can also join industry groups and actively participate in discussions about topics that are related to your field of expertise, helping to build valuable connections that could lead to long-term success.
Gather valuable insights
Social media is a two way street. Just as you should contribute to conversations, you should also actively listen to them.
Understanding what your audience cares about, their preferences and behaviour can inform future marketing efforts as you tie in your messaging to fill their needs.
Most platforms provide insights into what kinds of content resonates with users, so you can tailor your posts to target your ideal audiences.
Staying on top of this helps ensure that your content is engaging and relevant to your audience, increases the chances of gaining more followers and building a larger presence on the platform, and helps you to build increasingly stronger relationships with your followers.
The strongest relationships are built on trust. Social media provides an incredible opportunity to build trust before you even speak to a potential customer, and long before a working relationship is developed.
Sharing your expertise, showing your credentials, providing insights and opinions and interacting with people and other brands on social media all help to build a sense of trust between your business and your followers.
Trust that you can deliver, that you understand their needs, and that working with you is a worthwhile investment, not a risky one.