5 Steps to an Extraordinary B2B Social Media Strategy
The use of social media has become an unavoidable component of any marketing mix for B2B companies. Particularly small businesses and Startups cannot do nowadays without Social Selling.
This development appears logic considering the rapid growth in user numbers of the best-known social networks. The most prominent social platforms, such as Facebook, have meanwhile as many users as the population of the largest countries in the world.
Your successful start with B2B social media marketing
The enormous potential of social media has not escaped sales in B2B. Already in 2016 over 75 % of enterprises had it in their marketing mix. However, just using social media does not mean understanding and exploiting it, notably if a clear strategy is missing.
Luckily, any business can get started with social media marketing using some successful examples and tips. Here you can read a simple strategic approach that sales leaders should consider when applying social media in B2B.
Your B2B social media strategy needs great content
Your company will be forced to do social selling so as not to lose ground to your competition. It is therefore essential that you work out a clear strategy of how your appearance should look like and how you are using your social media concept to differentiate.
As a starting point for this development, sales managers should start analysing the company’s current situation and, in particular, the existing online activities and the successes associated with them. A central component of this study is the analysis of the target group.
Examining the target group is the basis for creating appropriate content for a social media strategy. Only later can on-line specific communication targets and an online strategy be defined.
Social media marketing is an ideal complement to B2B customer acquisition and complements traditional marketing.
Choose the right social media networks to engage with your customers
Besides the selection of the topics and themes for the selected target group, it is essential to choose the appropriate channels for your company. For example, while B2C companies will do well with Instagram and Facebook, experiences from other B2B start-ups and small businesses show that the professional networks LinkedIn (and XING for the German-speaking countries) are particularly suitable for content distribution.
For an international target group, the English-language LinkedIn network is better suited. In the case of a regional target group across German-speaking countries, one should focus social media activities on the German-speaking social network XING. Besides, the information-oriented microblogging service Twitter can offer a specific potential for customer acquisition for some companies.
Facebook and Google+ tend to have little potential for customer acquisition in B2B. Companies should nevertheless consider using them, as they are thought to have a substantial impact on the search results ranking in Google.
Link the individual social channels to create synergy
Once you have chosen which social media channels your company will use, your next task as a sales manager is to determine how you will use them.
You should consistently track and record your activities and engagement in each social media channel. Moreover, you should avoid using all channels, in the same way, posting the same content at the same time, for example.
A modular structure of your content helps to link the various networks. For example, you can automatically connect all Twitter postings into a tab on the Facebook page of your company, and thus the effect of both channels can be enhanced.
Analyszing your target group is the basis for creating appropriate content.
The focus of the link is always your company-owned blog, on which you offer your content. Finally, you should define key figures and set target values to measure the successes of your social media strategy. One could eventually apply predictive analytics methods using social media data.
Measure the success of your social media strategy
An accurate measurement of the results of individual social media activities is often difficult to achieve. ROI (return-on-investment), which is commonly used by marketers, is not easy to define for social media activities. Social media marketing requires a lot of patience until actual results are measurable. Nevertheless, it offers enormous potential and is an ideal lever for success in B2B.
Social media marketing cannot replace traditional marketing. It is an ideal complement to B2B customer acquisition. In particular for start-ups and small business, social media marketing offers the opportunity to balance the differences in the budget compared to larger companies with high-quality and well-placed content as well as an honest and authentic appearance.
5 Steps to an Extraordinary B2B Social Media Strategy – Conclusion
Follow these steps to create an extraordinary B2B Social Media Strategy:
Analyze your target audience to find the ideal content before you start.
Choose the right social channels for your strategy. B2B Companies often go for XING (in the German-speaking Market) and LinkedIn.
Coordinate the individual actions on the different channels to achieve the best possible results.
Set clear goals for your social media activities and measure them regularly. Set the KPIs that you will use to define success.
Use your creativity and be patient!
For further reading:
Beilharz, Felix (2014), Social Media Marketing im B2B: Besonderheiten, Strategien, Tipps, Köln
Grabs, Anne; Bannour, Karim-Patrick; Vogl, Elisabeth (2017), Follow me! : erfolgreiches Social Media Marketing mit Facebook, Twitter und Co., Bonn
Kreutzer, Ralf; Rumler, Andrea; Wille-Baumkauff, Benjamin (2015), B2B-OnlineMarketing und Social Media: Ein Praxisleitfaden, Wiesbaden
About Tobias Bühner:
Tobias studies Master in Business Engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in October. The article is based on excerpts from his bachelor thesis written in cooperation with Qymatix on “Identifying Distribution Channels for a B2B Business Software Startup”.