Survey: Social Media Best Practices for B2B Service Providers
We surveyed our knowledgeable partners about the importance of social media as it relates to B2B companies as well as actionable tips for increasing visibility and engagement through your business’s social channels. Here is a selection of some of the best responses.
For Social Media Day (aka #SMDay) earlier this summer, we talked about social media for B2B service providers and explored how it differs from B2C. In a constantly evolving industry, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and inundated with advice and everyone’s two cents on how you should implement your social media strategy. That’s why we decided to take a seat, and let our customers do the talking.
While every business and their social media needs are different, one thing our customers across all industries agree on is that that social media marketing is effective in generating leads for B2B service providers. A whopping 97.4% of you said so, with only 2.6% of respondents saying they were unsure.
What’s also interesting is that most of you (72.5%) market your businesses through both paid and organic social media, while 22.5% are using organic-only social media and 5% use a paid-only social media strategy.
When it comes to why social media marketing is important, actual strategy, and implementation, however, answers varied between businesses and industries. Here’s what some of you had to say to the questions we’re constantly asking ourselves and friends within the B2B/SMB space:
Is social media marketing important to an organization focusing primarily on B2B? Why or why not?
“Yes, the secret is finding where your audience hangs out. And don’t make it all about business: I find that motivational bits absolutely kill on LinkedIn, and Twitter loves casual tweets and asking questions.”
“Yes. This is important because these platforms have tracking pixels that can act as another avenue to drive traffic back to your website.”
“This is a bit tricky. So, my answer is that it depends. We get very few leads from social media channels, we feel that it is still a great tool for social visibility. For example, we just won an award for being the best SEO Company in Calgary and Southern Alberta. When we posted our award photo as the only winner in the SEO category, we received a lot of comments, likes, and shares through social media. So, a little exposure goes a long way.”
“Social media is an important component for B2B, for visibility and sharing relevant content with customers and prospects. It’s not a sales channel per se, but allows a B2B company to engage and educate key audiences about their industry and expertise.”
“Yes, because it enables the brand to engage with their customers and keep them up-to-date on corporate events, new product and service offerings, as well as communicate discounts and promotions regularly. Engagement of customer referrals is also another great benefit of using social media in a B2B target market.”
“Yes. Social media is an important channel for building awareness of a brand or product. Awareness is the first stage in a B2B buying journey.”
“Yes, it is. Customers have high expectations for brands in both B2C and B2B.”
“Yes. If you want to be top of mind when a person in your market needs what you sell, you need to have a presence where they hang out online. This is the new networking event. If you’re not there reminding them what you do, rest assured someone else is. While warm introductions can establish a B2B business, maintaining a presence is a key competitive strategy and mandatory for sustainable growth.”
“It is important, mainly because no modern business can live without a social media presence. It’s how your brand can connect with customers and it’s an effective way to build trust with your prospective audience too. However, the options for social media marketing for B2B businesses are a bit limited. In our experience, LinkedIn is the main channel for B2B marketing, as other social media platforms are more geared towards B2C.”
“B2B and B2C have a common objective. You want to be seen as relevant, useful, and helpful to their prospects and customers. For B2B social media, you are trying to provide value where they are. B2B social is an important aspect of your marketing mix and plays a vital role in the success of your campaign.”
“It is very important and effective when done properly. B2B businesses should resist the very common temptation of using social media as a sales pitching platform. Instead, they should focus on building rapport, establishing brand authority, build brand recognition and trust. Following this “helping prospects first” leads to more engagements, meaningful conversations, shorter sales cycles, and closing more, and better, deals in the long run.”
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What kind of content mix should be in a B2B service provider’s social media? Why?
“B2B service providers should provide a mix of internally created content—such as blogs and newsletters—as well as informative curated articles related to your space. Too much self-promotional content can be off-putting to followers. A solid content mix will show that your business is both engaged in creating new content and eager to disseminate knowledge from the best sources.”
“As a marketing agency, case studies, our awards, reviews, and informational articles do well.”
“There should be educational content to show expertise and thought leadership and improve SEO. Company culture content will enhance the approachability of your brand and your HR. Community events also enhance the brand, mission, and make the company more human.”
“Informational/educational content–white papers, industry research, anything benefit driven to a B2B company’s customer or prospect. B2B buyers act much like consumers now and will do research online before purchasing a business product or service. The right content will show your expertise and get you into the consideration set.”
“Social media, first and foremost, needs to be authentic. Whether you decide on a mix of 80% personal, 20% business or 50% personal, 30% business, 20% inspirational (the list goes on and on), it doesn’t work if it isn’t authentic especially where we are at as a society. People crave stories that are real, that make them feel something, that makes them laugh, and make them want to be a better person.”
“It should be a mix of information, promotion, and fun. Posts about “It’s international love your cat day,” are pointless unless your B2B model is directly affiliated with cats. And this applies to more things than just cats. Don’t kill me, internet. I like cats.”
“Informative, but also fun and interactive content”
“Helpful content where people can take away something useful from your content always works best. Not just promoting yourself.”
“Should have a very diverse content mix on social. Short video clips and informative graphics can make a strong impact in the second or two as users scroll past. Longer form posts are great to communicate more without the friction of redirecting the users off the social platform. Finally, external links, such as to a blog post, can provide more engaged users with the knowledge they are looking for and provides stronger metrics and tracking for marketing to leverage.”
“As a b2b business, it’s important to include a variety of content that is engaging for the audience, including blogs, videos, case studies, webinars, podcasts, and more. I think the sweet spot is mixing personable and fun with professional and helpful. It needs to be a balance.”
“Get a healthy mix of your content (e.g., blogs, videos, in-person photos, graphics, etc.), third-party articles relevant to your industry, and user-generated content too, if possible. It’s important to have this kind of mix because it shows you’re passionate about your work, you’re an authority figure in your niche, you’re ready to educate your audience, and you’re not afraid of a little competition.”
What are your best practices for getting better engagement through your business’s social media channels?
“There are several methods for increasing engagement. We recommend employing a thorough follower management strategy to increase your following and ensure your profile is coming up on relevant feeds. Strategically interacting and contributing to conversations within your space will increase your following, boost engagement, and help develop valuable relationships with influencers. Ultimately, good content will find an audience, and having a robust content strategy should be any social media manager’s top priority.”
“Making sure we are authentic in our post and that we provide value in our posts.”
“Social media is by design an interactive culture. Ask questions. be thought-provoking. Stay on topic and relevant. Then people will want to engage with you and your channels.”
“Include calls-to-action such as asking viewers to add comments, register for a free webinar, download a free guide, etc. Remember that you’re probably targeting buyers early in their journey who are researching and learning.”
“Consistency, quality, value… not every post is going to be a winner, but if you can have a consistent and quality presence 2-3 times per week that adds up to a lot of eyeballs. And it is not only new people seeing your posts, but keeping your name out there to people that already know you.”
“Engagement is a continuous process, not a set it and forget it. A strong mix of organic, promoted and paid content is going to produce the best results possible. In addition, a strong call to action, with a campaign-specific landing page will result in higher engagement. The last thing a busy business professional needs is to be baited and switched.”
“Know your customer on a deep level. If you know who they are, what their challenges are, and how they use social, you know what to post, where to post it, and when.”
“Engagement. Be active. Not just on your channel, but on industry channels, forums, chats, etc.”
“Don’t show up as an ad. Put a human face in front of a camera. And always deliver value beyond the click!”