How to Preserve Authenticity and Humanize B2B Brands on Social Media
Preserving authenticity and humanizing B2B brands on social media come with special challenges that have prevented many businesses from fully tapping the benefits of social. Let’s take a closer look at how your business can strengthen its social media and enjoy its benefits including seeing an ROI from the efforts.
Social media for B2B is now deemed essential.
It was not that many years ago it was believed by many marketers that investing in a B2B brand social media presence was not urgent or even necessary. These platforms have matured quickly, and the pandemic intensified the shift to online, resulting in an arena that has become intensely competitive.
Today we see the emergence of B2B social media business superstars who are successfully gaining followers, strengthening brand awareness and loyalty, and enjoying a clear ROI on their efforts. Let us take a look at why so many B2Bs find social media a challenge, and some winning tactics to start seeing an ROI from social media efforts.
social media has matured and earned a respectful place in the Digital Marketing mix. B2B companies, as well as their suppliers and customers, are present on social media in a professional capacity. This has expanded the opportunity for B2B brands on social media.
Why B2B Social Media Marketing is a Challenge
Think back to the early days of social media. These platforms emerged as a place for socializing and were quickly adopted into our regular daily lives taking up increasing amounts of our leisure time. Big brands saw an opportunity to find and engage with consumers, and as these networks grew, most of the success stories for business on social were related to B2C brands.
Marketers in the agencies serving these brands became experts in targeting B2C target audiences. Social media easily transformed into a space for retail and shopping.
However, that is not the case for B2B businesses who did not see the value nor relevance for their products, as they were not targeted to a consumer public. As a result, seeing successful strategies for B2B brands on social media was less prevalent.
The Consultative Sales Approach And The B2B Sales Funnel
Products and services offered to a B2B audience can be complex, technical, and their relevance to the consumer is not clear. More importantly, the sales process differs greatly from B2C. The B2B sales process involves many stakeholders. The sales process can involve many steps along a decision-making chain from purchasing manager, up to senior financial executives, and across the organization to user groups who will be involved in the decision as end-users.
How to craft relevant, engaging content for a collaborative sales process, and consultative communication approach was not clearly evident when it came to social media. So, many B2B brands found themselves failing in their efforts and frustrated at the waste of resources used in the attempt.
Another shift is happening under the radar that is being detected by the most progressive and creative B2B brands on social media. As a result of the internet, best practice is changing. Today B2B brands are being challenged to become better B2B marketers, in the B2C sense of the term. They’ve started to move away from content that speaks of features, and instead are talking about user needs in the language users understand.
By looking at the sales funnel from the standpoint of the sales process and stakeholders, developing a content strategy that is more targeted to each stakeholder’s needs and stage, and becoming more human in the delivery of content, B2B brands on social media are seeing exciting success.
How To Make Social Media Work For B2B Brands?
Fun fact: a B2B business can aim for the same success as any other B2C brand. This includes but is not limited to fetching an attractive ROI, nurturing client relationships, targeting, and reaching new buyers, raising brand awareness, building a community, as well as developing trust and credibility.
This is where efforts to humanize your B2B messaging comes into play.
B2B businesses on social media channels are known to maintain a very professional image. In order to create a page that looks immaculate, often businesses forget that it needs to connect to another person wearing a professional hat. The principle of a B2C strategy applies here–a business is present on social media to build trust and connect with the audience.
Building personas to better target your potential audience is ideal. It can be a purchasing manager, buyer, or operational manager depending on the industry. Also, list down everyone involved in the decision-making process. This can be the VP, CEO, Financial department, operational team, and so on.
One of the crucial aspects of building a strong social media Marketing Strategy is to be clear about your target audience in a highly specific way.
When you start to plan the content for different social media platforms; make sure to customize your content to serve this audience or multiple personas. This means addressing the needs, emotions, and challenges of each of your target audiences.
Communicate in the language that would add value to these professionals. Pulling in the sales team to help will be beneficial at this step. For example, a purchasing manager or buyer would love to understand how your product or service can solve his or her specific problem relative to their role in purchasing.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Translating A Content Strategy Into High Performing Posts
Many B2B sales opportunities have multiple decision-makers. Build unique content that connects with each stakeholder or internal customer who will be involved in the purchase decision. Be patient. The proverbial “devil” is in the details.
It takes a deep understanding to identify and understand the purchase drivers of each of the internal decision-makers, and from there crafting these insights into a competitive content strategy on social media that will support business goals.
Set Clear Goals
When setting a marketing strategy, it is strongly recommended to develop achievable objectives. This not only allows you to follow a clear direction but encourages you in the future to aim to accomplish further goals. Setting candid goals is one of the first steps for any successful marketing campaign, irrespective of the size of your business.
Some of the most common goals for B2B social media marketing are increasing brand awareness, educating their audiences, and building credibility and trust. However, an efficient and continual social media strategy does not limit itself to such goals. As the platforms become more advanced, the sky is your limit. Start with modest goals and build from the insights gained over time.
5 ways to Preserve Authenticity and Humanize B2B Brands on Social Media
Customer-Centric B2B Social Strategy
At each step of the strategy, it is important to remember that social media is about connecting and communicating. Do not use slang and casual language to address your audience, nor fill your post with technical jargon that your audience does not appreciate nor understand.
A social media strategy should be equipped with well-planned and targeted content. This can be achieved by striking a delicate balance between writing content that portrays you as an industry expert, and at the same time resonates with your target audience. This can be done by drafting different content for different personas.
Add Personality To Your Social Presence
Creating a brand personality is a concept borrowed from traditional marketing. With B2B businesses on social, it has once again become important to concentrate on developing your brand’s personality.
Social presence backed by a strong personality shows the business in a different light. It helps you create a lasting impression on your clients and proves valuable to overtake your competition.
B2B buyers just like B2C customers like to deal with people instead of bots or emails. If they don’t know you personally, they will be hesitant to make a purchase. Messages from actual employees are seen as one-on-one communication. Adding name and title to a blog, posts about employees on social, or the CEO’s signature at the end of the email goes a long way toward gaining the trust of clients
Storytelling is another way to connect and build a credible position with your clients. Everyone loves a good story, and you can add them to your social campaigns no matter how technical your product or service is.
Hook your audience on case studies written as an experience instead of a report. Add links, or data to this content so the reader gets invested further. Share the history and milestones of your company; make them exciting by adding facts.
Share Your Company Culture
The company personnel is your best bet at humanizing your brand. Along with your clients and buyers, create a sense of community with your coworkers.
There was a time when businesses did not connect themselves with their employees. The common business practice did not involve inputs from the people who worked there. However, that is not the case anymore. Businesses now recognize their employees as part of their brand.
Companies today plan special get-togethers, and activities with their employees to strengthen their team spirit. They gather to network among different departments or locations. Businesses involve them in charity events and employees are also a big part of corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Sharing these milestones and celebrations on social media amplifies and compliments your brand voice. Your audience can connect better with your brand.
Choose To Be On B2B-Friendly Platforms
It is crucial to figure out which platform your potential customers use the most. Businesses also need to prioritize one or two networks to carry out their social media marketing strategy successfully.
LinkedIn is seen as the ultimate B2B platform. It is an ideal stage to share thought leadership content, employee engagement and it offers to advertise too.
Facebook is the biggest social platform with the most active users around the globe. Use Facebook pages wisely for community engagement, customer service, and non-promotional content. You can also target your audience through ads for ROI.
Twitter account is to spot trends. It is a great place to show your brand personality, associate with social issues your business supports, and interact with buyers and clients.
YouTube is a platform that lets you share visual content. This content can be commercials, tutorials, presentations, product launches, interviews, and so on.
Relationships Over Sales
While a business will benefit more by focusing on closing sales, it cannot ignore nurturing new relationships and giving the same attention to the top-of-funnel audience for quality lead generation. Social media, today, offers vast opportunities to achieve all the goals that are necessary to run a successful B2B business.
If your B2B social media strategy keeps the decision maker’s emotions, desires, and attitudes in mind; you are well on your way to humanizing your brand and seeing greater success as a B2B brand on social media.