What Does B2B Social Media Actually Mean?

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I’ve been to a lot of social media conferences, expecting to hear some tactics on how to do B2B social media, and all the presenter does is replace “consumers” with “businesses”. Chances are, I am not the only one this has happened to.

Consumers and consumers acting on behalf of businesses interact inherently different on social media sites, and the same tactics won’t cross over — at least, not nicely they won’t.

Since I have started working at 352 Media Group, a digital marketing and Web design company, one of my main tasks has been to figure out exactly how to reach marketing executives on social media. It has also been one of my biggest challenges. Coming from a background of purely consumer-driven social media, I’ve had to make some fundamental changes in how I use social media now that I’m targeting other businesses.

1. Be a marketer, not a sales person

B2B rarely involves impulse purchases. You are never going to see a Groupon or Living Social for ERP software or network monitoring services. Why? Because there is more than one person involved in the purchasing decision. Hard selling your services is just going to annoy your audience and tarnish your brand.

Instead, position your B2B social media strategy around establishing credibility in your expertise. Internet marketers can’t say it enough: Good content is everything. Everything. From building your SEO rankings to engaging your users through blogging, Facebook or Twitter, you will never survive unless you put out good content.

2. Share your expertise

Once you have that great content, what good is it if you keep it under lock and key on your own website? Leverage social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg to further spread your messages to a wider audience than what your blog would capture by itself.

Publicize your Prezis or post your PowerPoint presentations on Slideshare. You have to create them anyway, so you might as well share your knowledge with others to build your expertise repertoire.

3. Be patient, not pushy.

This isn’t Field of Dreams. Just because you put your content out doesn’t mean they’re going to automatically come. The good content is the start to building collaborative relationships with the people within the businesses you’re targeting, and these relationships don’t happen overnight.

The No. 1 fatal flaw with social media is immediate results, but just like all marketing, it’s an investment. Blogging shouldn’t be abandoned after one month if you only got 2-3 comments, and you shouldn’t leave your Facebook page outdated if your fan rate isn’t growing 100-fold each day. Set realistic expectations for yourself, and continually reevaluate your progress in 3-month intervals.

4. Tailor your content to your audience

This is one of the few tactics that can carry over from B2C. People interact differently on different social media networks, and you may have different audiences across different networks. Determine where each is likely to connect with you, and focus your content specifically to them.

At 352 Media, we recognized we’re never going to be able to effectively target marketing executives. But we also realized that without talent, we wouldn’t have any services to promote to those decision makers, and Facebook was exactly where our talent was hanging out.

So, we focused our Facebook page on showcasing our culture to potential employees. We set up Facebook Ads promoting jobs or internships, post interesting things we do as company, like photos from company events or interpretative dances, and give them information they need to know if working in the industry. As a bonus if potential clients do connect with us on Facebook, they’re able to see the type of company that they would be working with.

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What are some other tactics you would use to have an effective B2B social media strategy?

 

 

Image source: Shutterstock.com

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