Social media marketing has become a go-to strategy for 92% of American businesses. This includes 90% of small and mid-sized businesses.
The draw? These companies all find that social media marketing:
- Boosts web traffic
- Builds important relationships
- Amplifies brand visibility
- Generates leads and revenue
Social media has become an integral part of B2B business's marketing strategies, with 88% of companies utilizing it to grow their online presence and drive revenue (source: Hootsuite). By incorporating social media strategies such as creating customer stories, scheduling posts, and joining online communities, you can amplify your brand’s visibility, nurture relationships, and generate leads and revenue. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the latest strategies and advice to help you create and implement a successful B2B social media marketing plan that leverages social media users, social accounts, marketing budget, company news, independent research, Facebook groups, medium-sized businesses, business operations, long-form content, and your company page.
CHAPTER 1: IDENTIFYING THE IDEAL REVENUE-GENERATING CUSTOMER
Learn how to tailor your brand voice and messaging so you focus on the needs of your audience demographic, not just your sales pitch.
This is an important step. By understanding what motivates your target market, you can create effective campaigns that actually break through.
Buyer Personas: The Foundation B2B Social Media Strategy
Personalization is key to creating successful outcomes for content marketing strategies, especially for b2b social media marketing. A buyer persona is a detailed description of your ideal customer that helps you and your marketing team accomplish just that.
These personas provide valuable insights into customers’ motivations, challenges, and objectives. They are essential for developing a comprehensive B2B social media strategy.
Check out our in-depth guide to creating B2B buyer personas, including tips for how to create them with ChatGPT. But, I will summarize the main points here.
There Are 3 Main Types of B2B Buyer Personas
Understand who in the funnel you are reaching.
- Decision-maker persona — People responsible for making the final decision on purchasing a product or service. They focus on the strategic alignment, ROI, and overall value of your offering to their organization.
- User persona — The end-users who will directly interact with and use the product or service. They are primarily concerned with the functionality and efficiency of your offering.
- Influencer persona — People who have a significant impact on the decision-making process. For example, industry experts, internal consultants, or advisors. They are concerned with technical aspects, industry trends, and best practices.
Include More than the Obvious Stuff
Demographic variables such as age, gender, and job titles are important. Same with psychographic information like attitudes, values, lifestyles, and personality traits. But, to have a persona that works, you must take it further.
- A first-person story — Detail your buyer persona’s typical day. Their priorities and regular interactions will surface naturally.
- Goals and challenges — Identify your audience’s main objectives and obstacles.
- Decision-making process — Examine how your target market makes purchasing decisions. What factors do they consider?
- Language — Use keywords or phrases your buyer persona uses.
- Communication preferences — Determine your audience’s preferred information channels. For example, do they like email, phone calls, or in-person meetings? Which blogs or social media do they follow?
- Engagement triggers — Identify situations that prompt your buyer persona to engage with you.
- Game out objections — Address concerns in your demographic. This way, you can be prepared.
Data Is the Foundation of the Foundation
Research and record as much as you can about your audience.
- Harness Analytics — Use Google Analytics, social media analytics, social listening, and marketing tools to understand audience interactions with your brand online.
- Segmentation — Segment your audience for targeted marketing campaigns and to understand the unique needs within buyer personas.
- CRM — Use customer relationship management data to understand demographics, behavior patterns, and needs.
- Surveys — Gather direct feedback from your audience about their needs, challenges, and preferences.
- Old-School Market Research — Run focus groups and interviews for in-depth target market insights.
B2B buyer personas streamline marketing efforts. They offer a clear understanding of target audiences, and they empower you to tailor effective strategies. Using the right data lets you create content that resonates with potential customers and drives growth.
Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for B2B Marketing
LinkedIn is still the foremost choice for B2B marketers. However, the social media landscape is burgeoning with opportunities. Nowhere is this more true than with the increasing popularity of video content.
According to a study by Forrester, B2B marketers who used video grew revenue 49% faster than non-video users. This remarkable increase in user behavior has changed the shape of the social media space.
They are searching social media for product demonstrations, informative videos, webinars, and more.
You want to take advantage of this trend. Widen your social media horizons and explore the video offerings on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.
Your audience has a voracious appetite for video. Explore all digital platforms that are great for displaying the power of video as long as they fit your buyer persona.
Focus On All High-Value Social Media Channels
LinkedIn is the premier B2B social media platform. Over 774 million professionals around the world belong. And it comes with an extensive array of networking and business development tools.
But don’t stop there. Consider leveraging niche industry platforms, such as Quora or Reddit. And don’t forget industry-specific forums to get your message out. These audiences are highly engaged.
These highly targeted platforms are great for developing thought leadership and influencer relationships and improving other content quality.
Industry-specific forums are also great for gaining insights into the industry. You can start conversations, ask or answer questions, share industry news, and get feedback on products or services.
Participating in these forums helps you build relationships with other industry experts and better understand the industry.
Do not overlook the potential of niche industry platforms. They are often a smart investment for engaging with specialized audiences and establishing their companies as thought leaders.
CHAPTER 2: SETTING GOALS FOR YOUR B2B SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN
Setting B2B social media marketing goals is crucial for a successful marketing plan. Goals anchor your social media strategy, provide direction, and ensure you always move towards a desired outcome.
Revenue Goals: The 60–40 Rule
Nobody likes to be sold to. And that feeling comes across as even more frustrating on social media than it does in real life, so it’s important to limit your direct pitch.
A B2B social media marketing strategy should comprise brand-building and sales activation activities to achieve the best results. The ideal split should be 60–40, with 60% of your content is allocated to brand-building activities such as community management, content creation & publishing, and paid amplification.
On the other hand, the remaining 40% should be used for sales activation activities such as influencer marketing, retargeting ads, and direct-response ads.
Depending on your audience, it could also be more like the 70–30 rule, you have to feel it out.
Business Objectives: Fine-Tune Your Focus
Having social media goals is essential. They should align with your larger business goals and plans for an effective outcome. Take the time to understand your business goals and objectives and narrow your focus on strategies and tactics to help you achieve them.
This will help you create a content, goals, and investment plan for social media marketing that is tailored to your needs and that you can use to measure your success.
Long-term Goals: Tactics
Long-term goals should be on the ambitious side and take more effort over a longer period of time. For instance, increasing website traffic by 20% in a year can be a long-term goal.
These goals and marketing spend should focus on increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, generating new leads, and building meaningful relationships.
- Content Marketing — Engaging content attracts and retains the target audience’s attention. But it also establishes the organization as a credible source of information. This leads to brand awareness and thought leadership.
- Targeted Advertising — Run targeted ad campaigns. This allows you to increase visibility, generate high-quality leads, and achieve higher conversion rates.
- Influencer Partnerships — Influencer partnerships can boost brand awareness, credibility, and lead generation efforts.
- Social Listening and Engagement — Actively monitoring and engaging with the target audience on social media is essential. Knowing the “vibe” helps you build strong relationships and nurture customer satisfaction.
- Analytics and Optimization — Continuously refining tactics based on data insights ensures long-term success and goal achievement.
Short-Term Goals: Tactics
Short-term goals for B2B social marketing should focus on pushing sales, driving traffic to the site, and gaining organic brand awareness.
- Reduced Pricing Promotions — Strategically offer special, limited-time discounts on products or services.
- PPC Ads — Harness the power of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Optimize your ad campaigns for immediate goals.
- Contests & Giveaways — Create a sense of urgency. Offer valuable prizes or exclusive experiences related to your products or services.
- Collaborative Content — Develop strategic partnerships with industry influencers. Leverage each other’s audience to expand your reach.
CHAPTER 3: DEVELOPING CONTENT PILLARS
Content pillars centered around long-form, quality content is crucial. The quality of your content is key to creating a successful B2B social media marketing plan.
A content pillar is a topic or theme that a brand consistently creates content around. It clarifies to the audience what the brand does. It ensures that each piece of social media content is relevant to your audience.
Examples of content pillars are usually topics closely related to the primary focus of the problem your product or service is solving.
Take a B2B software company, for example. They could have a cybersecurity content pillar with articles about the types of cyber threats, best practices for securing data, the role of AI in cybersecurity, etc.
Benefits of Content Pillars for B2B Social Media Marketing
The brilliance of the content pillar lies in its ability to provide a solid foundation for your content strategy. It allows you to delve deep into a topic, offering immense value to your audience and helping you get found through SEO.
The smaller, interconnected pieces of content, often called “cluster content,” help to reinforce the main theme, creating a cohesive narrative that engages and educates.
Content pillars help businesses plan and organize their content. They provide clarity to their audience on your expertise within the market. Ultimately, they ensure that each piece of social media content is as relevant as possible to your audience.
3 Successful Examples of Content Pillars
These three brands are well known for their content marketing strategy.
This well-known inbound marketing and sales company weaves content around pillars like inbound marketing, sales enablement, customer service, and marketing automation. By sharing informative content, Hubspot has become a thought leader and a go-to resource.
This CRM titan builds its content strategy on pillars such as CRM best practices, sales productivity, customer service, marketing automation, and AI. Offering informative blog posts, case studies, research reports, and podcasts, Salesforce has become a thought leader in the CRM world.
The go-to business communication platform anchors its content pillars in collaboration, remote work, productivity, and company culture. Insightful blog posts, webinars, e-books, and podcast episodes help Slack demonstrate its capabilities, highlight its value, and provide invaluable information to its audience.
Types of B2B Social Media Posts Trending in 2023
In addition to your pillar topics, you should consider the content types you’ll be creating.
There’s a lot to choose from, but remember to play to your strengths and bandwidth. If your product or service is conducive to short-form video, and your team makes a great video, lean into that over infographics or USG (user-generated content).
Long Form Content
Long-form content is a critical component of pillar content. It offers a deep dive into a particular topic, providing valuable insights and comprehensive information to your audience. By producing long-form content, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field and build a loyal following. Additionally, long-form content can improve your website’s search engine optimization and enhance its authority, making it an important part of any successful content strategy.
Short-form video content
These bite-sized videos are perfect for capturing attention. Quick and engaging, they’re ideal for showcasing product features, sharing tips, or adding a touch of humor to your brand.
By showcasing content created by your customers or followers, you build trust and authenticity and foster a sense of community. It also encourages more user engagement and brand advocacy.
These videos provide clear and concise explanations of complex concepts or product offerings. Your audience will be able to understand your value proposition better. This, in turn, enhances your brand’s credibility.
These animated images add a playful and dynamic element to your social media content. It may seem trivial, but making your social platforms more engaging and shareable helps build brand awareness and visibility.
Blog posts, White Papers, E-books, etc
Well-written blog posts and articles allow you to dive deeper into topics. This showcases your expertise and provides valuable information to your target audience. The result? More traffic to your website.
These visual representations of data or complex information make it easy for your audience to digest and understand, increasing the shareability of your content.
Behind-the-scenes content and employee advocacy
You humanize your brand by offering a glimpse into your company’s inner workings. Fostering a stronger emotional connection with your audience and showcasing your company culture is exactly what social platforms are built to do.
Tailoring Content to Different Social Media Platforms
Marketers should consider the social media platform when creating B2B social media content.
Different social platforms have different audiences. The content should be tailored to each platform.
For example, LinkedIn is a great, social-proof platform for sharing ebooks and webinars. Consider social media platform tools when creating your marketing strategy.
CHAPTER 4: CREATING AND SCHEDULING POST
Creating and scheduling posts is critical to any B2B social media marketing strategy. By doing so, businesses can save time, be more organized with their content creation, engage with their audience, and understand what types of posts they like to read.
Automate Your Workflow
Automate your social media post feed and workflow. Letting the machines do the work can save time and resources while still allowing posts to reach their target demographic.
Social media automation tools like SocialBee, Oktopost, CrowdFire, MeetEdgar, and Latedr can automate your social media workflow and help streamline creating and scheduling posts for B2B social media marketing. For example:
- Manage multiple accounts in one place
- Track customer queries and assign messages
- Analyze social media performance
- Find the right post times
- Measure return on investment.
Remember to keep a balance between automation and personalization. While automation tools can save time, it’s important to maintain an authentic voice and engage with your audience to build trust and loyalty.
Best Practices for Determining Content Frequency in 2023
Determining the frequency of content for B2B social media marketing is an important part of creating a successful plan.
Posting at least once per week is recommended, but the ideal frequency depends on the type of post, the social media platform, and the trend.
- LinkedIn — should be 1–2 times per day.
- Twitter — should be 2–3 times per day.
- Instagram — should be three posts per week, mixed with reels, static posts, and stories postings recommended.
- Facebook — should be 1–2 posts per day are recommended.
- TikTok — should be 3–5 posts per week are recommended, with post timing and hashtags playing a role in content success.
CHAPTER 5: ANALYZING AND UNDERSTANDING PERFORMANCE
You’ve spent time and money creating posts; now it’s time to understand the impact. Have you achieved your goals? How should you tweak your strategy if not? Analyzing your performance is key.
Top Metrics to Track
- Reach — Measure the number of unique users who saw your content. Understanding your content’s visibility and the potential size of your audience helps you scale.
- Engagement rate — Assess the level of interaction your content receives. For example, likes, comments, and shares. Does your content resonate with your audience and encourages active participation?
- Conversions — Track the number of users who take a desired action on your social channels so you can understand the effectiveness of your content in driving leads or sales. Look at things like signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase, especially after interacting with your content.
- ROI — Calculate the return on investment by comparing the cost of your social media efforts with the revenue generated. Put the overall success of your strategy into dollars. Re-optimize your budget.
- Brand Lift — Evaluate the positive impact of your social media campaigns on your brand’s perception, awareness, and favorability. Keep track of the long-term benefits of your social media efforts. Do they contribute to the construction of brand equity?
Analytics Tools Every Business Should Consider
Consider the following social media analytics tools to measure your social channels’ performance. These are the engines of your social media strategy:
- Google Analytics 4 — The pre-eminent web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic and engagement.
- Hootsuite Insights — An analytics tool that provides real-time data and insights into social media engagement, audience demographics, and campaign performance.
- Sprout Social — A social media management and analytics tool that helps businesses manage their social media presence with features such as post-publishing, engagement, and robust analytics.
- Buffer — A social media management and analytics tool like Sprout Social is better for beginners and smaller companies.
- Keyhole — A social media analytics tool that provides real-time data and insights into trends, keywords, and hashtags.
- SEMrush — An all-in-one marketing tool that provides data and insights into SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing. It can be used to track social platforms’ performance and optimize campaigns.
Cracking the Code to Measuring ROI and Adjusting Strategies
Measuring ROI to measure social media engagement and adjusting strategies is essential. The best way to identify improvement areas is to track your campaigns’ performance. Knowing the data, you can better adjust your strategy and ensure that your social media marketing efforts maximize your ROI.
Social media marketing is an ever-evolving field. Accurately measuring ROI can be a complex and all-encompassing task. Still, measuring social media ROI is foundational to marketing strategy. With it, you can track performance, quantify efforts, and demonstrate the positive impact of your work.
Here are some insightful tips and strategies to help.
Assess the unique characteristics of various social media platforms
Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook have distinctive impacts on ROI. Each requires tailored strategies. Adjust your social media strategy to optimize performance on each platform. Base decisions on their unique features and audiences.
Squeeze as much as you can out of tracking tools and metrics
Leverage tools such as Google Analytics, social media management platforms, and CRM systems. Monitor engagement metrics, click-through rates, conversions, and lead generation accurately. Use this data to make informed adjustments to your social media strategy to enhance results.
Establish benchmarks for social media ROI
Set realistic goals. Compare your performance to industry standards, competitors, and your own historical data. These benchmarks can be used to assess your progress and modify your social media strategy.
Analyze website traffic driven by your social media platforms
Use Google Analytics to determine the proportion of your online traffic originating from your social media accounts. Keep tweaking your strategy to drive more high-quality traffic from social media and other marketing channels.
Keep a close watch on lead generation
Implement lead-generating ads to track the source of your leads. This is particularly crucial in B2B marketing. Refine your search engine marketing and social media strategy and target the most effective channels for lead generation.
Understand how your social media channels are driving conversions
Tie conversions to tangible business objectives. Focus on creating content that is low-effort yet high-impact for sustained success. Emphasize content and tactics that drive higher conversion rates. Invest in content and tactics that drive higher conversion rates.
Refine your social media content strategies
Harness user-generated content. Keeps current with trends. Scrutinize competitors’ approaches. Continuously improve and refine your approach. Regularly update your social media strategy based on insights gleaned from content performance analysis.
Compute ROI accurately to justify your marketing strategy
Determine the ROI rate of social advertising by dividing the profit generated from a social media campaign by the total cost involved. Use this to make strategic adjustments, allocate resources effectively, and maximize your social media investment return.
CHAPTER 6: COMPETITOR RESEARCH & ANALYSIS
Competitor research and analysis are critical to any successful B2B social marketing strategy. Analyze your competitors’ strategies and tactics. This way, you can identify opportunities and better understand the competitive landscape.
Regularly conduct competitor research and analysis. Ensure that your B2B social strategy and marketing plan remain up-to-date and relevant. You should aim to do this at least quarterly.
Start by creating a list of your main competitors. Categorize them based on factors such as market share, product offerings, and target audience.
Understanding the different types of competitors in your industry can help you pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. Then you can spy gaps in the market and areas where your business can excel.
Analyze Website and Social Media Presence
Investigate your competitors’ websites and social media accounts to understand their online presence. Review their website design, user experience, and the quality of their content.
Does it look like they have social media engagement? What’s their follower count? How often do they post? How successful are they? Identify what works and what doesn’t in their online presence.
Use this to optimize your own digital marketing strategy and stand out in the crowded digital landscape.
Research Sales Tactics
Examine your competitors’ sales tactics and pricing strategies. Look into their sales channels, distribution networks, promotional efforts, and customer support.
Understanding their approach to sales can help you refine your own tactics. Can you offer more competitive pricing? A superior customer experience? What can you do to gain an edge in the market?
Conduct a SWOT Analysis
Perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis for each competitor.
This will help you identify areas where your business can improve and uncover competitive advantages over other businesses. Leverage this information in your marketing and sales strategies.
Evaluate Content Marketing Strategy
Assess your competitors’ content marketing strategy. Including all the types of content, they publish, how often they publish, and the performance of their content.
Analyzing their content approach can help you refine your own strategy. This way, you can create more engaging, high-performing content that resonates with your audience.
Use Social Listening Tools
Leverage social listening tools to monitor conversations about our competitors. This will help you stay informed about market developments, consumer preferences, and emerging challenges.
Try to understand the pulse of the market. Identify potential roadblocks that may prevent prospective customers from converting and develop strategies to overcome them.
5 Must Have Competitor Research Tools
Many of the analytics tools mentioned earlier, such as SEMrush, have competitive analysis tools. That said, if you really want to drill down, here are a few that offer specialization.
- Ahrefs — An SEO and content analysis tool that helps you analyze your competitor’s backlink profiles, keyword rankings, and content performance. Ideal for uncovering opportunities for growth.
- SpyFu — This tool specializes in competitive intelligence for paid search campaigns. You get insights into your competitors’ ad spend, keywords, and ad performance.
- Brandwatch — A social listening tool that allows you to monitor online conversations, track brand sentiment, and identify trends in your industry. A great solution for staying current.
- BuiltWith — A tool that reveals the technologies used by your competitors on their websites. Think content management systems, marketing automation tools, and e-commerce platforms. Use this to gain insights into competitors’ digital strategies.
- Owler — A competitive intelligence platform that provides insights into your competitors’ financials, funding, news, and key personnel. Peek under the hood so you can tie social media moves to business decisions.
Make understanding the competitive landscape a priority. Harness the insights gained from competitor research and analysis. Optimize your social investment and stand out from the competition.
CHAPTER 7: HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES & SOCIAL CHANNELS
Optimizing social profiles is essential to a successful B2B social media marketing plan. To effectively engage your target audience, it’s crucial to incorporate several best practices.
Research industry-specific keywords
Perform keyword research on search engines to identify your industry’s most relevant terms and phrases. Incorporate these keywords into your profile descriptions, titles, and posts to improve your visibility on each platform and attract the right audience.
Encourage your followers to engage with your brand by including clear and compelling CTAs in your bio and posts. These may prompt users to sign up for newsletters, attend webinars, or request product demos.
Unique brand voice and tone
Carefully craft a distinct brand voice for each social platform to reflect your company’s values and mission. Adapt your tone to suit the platform and audience. Keep in mind that B2B communication often requires a more professional approach.
Consistent visual branding
Present a cohesive brand identity. Ensure consistent visual branding across all social media profiles. Use high-quality images, logos, and color schemes that represent your brand and resonate with your target audience.
Regularly monitor competitors’ social media profiles. Stay informed about their strategies and tactics. Identify areas where you can differentiate your brand and capitalize on unique selling points.
Keep profiles updated
Maintain engagement. Keep your social media profiles current with the latest company information, achievements, and content. Post regularly and consistently to foster an active online presence. Showcase your brand’s expertise.
Engage with your audience
Respond to comments, questions, and messages from your followers. Foster strong relationships and showcase your company’s commitment to customer satisfaction.
Share valuable content
Ultimately, your profile’s health depends on your content’s quality. Create and share informative, engaging content that addresses your audience’s pain points. This can include blog posts, case studies, infographics, and videos. Position your brand to establish trust as a thought leader in your industry.
THE WRAP UP…
To truly maximize your B2B marketing and social media efforts in these unpredictable times, you must be agile and dynamic like never before. Seriously, it’s time to step up your game.
You gotta know your target customers inside and out — their needs, preferences, and behavior — and then use that knowledge to conduct some killer market research. And don’t forget to leverage the latest technology and social media platforms to get the job done right.
But here’s the thing: even in uncertain times, you can still earn the trust and loyalty of consumers and increase your revenue if you stay laser-focused on delivering value and services that cater to their needs. It’s time to adapt and innovate like never before and take your B2B social media efforts to the next level. Are you ready?