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November 10, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:43am

How to use social media to give B2B brands a boost

By Phillip Othen

We  provide some essential B2B social media marketing tips as part of a new series of how-to articles produced in association with Lead Monitor, New Statesman Media Group’s marketing solution.

In September, B2B media amplification giant Oktopost announced that social media is the fastest growing marketing channel, ahead of search, email and events.

We talked to B2B marketing experts about how to make a bigger splash on social media.

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B2B social media marketing tips: ‘Focus on getting the right message to the right customers’

Richard Michie, CEO of digital marketing agency The Marketing Optimist: “Businesses get can easily get caught up in social media technology. They need to forget about the channel they are using and focus on getting the right message to the right customers. The basics of marketing haven’t changed, a badly crafted message won’t work regardless of how glossy it may look. 

“B2B marketing can be very dull, but it doesn’t need to be. The same people you are trying to speak to about your business are the same ones who buy jeans on the internet. Businesses need to talk about how they solve customers’ problems and less about what the CEO thinks. When businesses can talk like people on social media, with personality and interest in their customers, they will fare much better.”

‘Most importantly, be authentic’

Luin Wise, Social Media B2B Course Instructor on LinkedIn Learning: “Always focus on your target audience. Write for them (and not algorithms). Focus on the intersection of the information your business needs to share, and what will be of most interest to them. 

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“While each social media platform does have its nuances in terms of style if you’re communicating in a business world, maintain some formality but, most importantly, be authentic. To improve your impact, don’t forget a call-to-action in your post. Let people know what you want them to do after reading your post; for example answer a question to share an opinion, visit a website, download a white paper.”

‘You get out what you put in’

Hannah Layford, a freelance brand and social media strategist: “For B2B brands it’s always important to remember that while you might not be selling directly to consumers, it’s important to remember your clients are people too. There’s a lot to be said for authenticity and genuine messaging from brands that lets people get to know your business more and its ethos. It’s also always a great differentiator, people pick you because your values align with theirs and naturally they want to do business with you. 

“When it comes to frequency, I always tell clients you get out what you put in. Almost all platforms are going to reward you for daily use and most will boost your organic engagement when you make full use of the functionality of the platform. Take Instagram for example, you’re going to see great engagement with a cocktail of Reels (which is now Instagram Video combining Reels and IGTV), IG Live, Stories and Posts (shared on your feed) each week because you’re making full use of the tools they’re giving you. 

“But I think it’s important for brands to think about how much value they can provide with their content – if you’re just broadcasting brand messages that aren’t really offering much value to your ideal client, daily posting isn’t really going to deliver any more value than sharing a few times a week.”

‘More and more businesses are sharing relevant content now’

Amit Raj, Founder of The Links Guy, SEO specialists: “With any business strategy, social media is no different; you must set SMART goals. Keep track of your competitors’ marketing strategy, not to copy but to fill in the gaps (for example by trending topics or the use of memes). More and more businesses are sharing relevant content now. If your audience will find it interesting, it will free you up from coming up with creative ideas constantly.”

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The numbers are in your favour

According to Statista, the average internet user spent 145 minutes per day using social media last year, while 3.6bn people utilised it worldwide.

In addition, the digitalisation of B2B sales means social media and interactive customer experiences are increasingly important strategic tools in marketing products or services to business clients and prospects.

Matt Simpson, managing director of Candyspace, an agency that designs, builds and optimises websites and apps for clients including ITV, Rolls-Royce, Mazda and Mars, concurs.

B2B marketers have not invested in customer experience at the same pace as their B2C counterparts – but that needs to change very fast. The excuse has been that B2B sales are more complex, with decisions made by multiple stakeholders and specific requirements around service levels, legals, tax and so on.

“But all the evidence shows that the humans making B2B buying decisions are now demanding exactly the same sort of superlative customer experiences from B2B businesses in their professional lives as they do from B2C brands in a personal capacity – and will switch vendors to get that. B2B businesses need to put experience front and centre of their marketing activities.”

Read more articles in our how-to marketing series:

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