20 Ways to Improve your B2B Social Media in 2021
Social media for B2B boomed in 2020; this probably had something to do with the pandemic restricting the availability of in-person meetings, conferences, and trade shows. Google has revealed that B2B brands turn to social media and digital spaces more than ever.
People are finally realising the power of social media for B2B, and in fact, it is more powerful than they think. The cardinal rule of marketing is: go where your audience is. Business owners, large and small, buyers, even middle management, use social media in their off-hours. Business owners are more likely to be personally invested in their company focus, which means they are likely to seek out and engage with businesses that they could utilise professionally.
There are many hours outside the working day; your B2B brand should be advertising then as well. Because that is what social media is for brands – advertising. This doesn’t mean to rush out and sign up for every social media site and pour 40 hours a week into making content for every single platform or, worse, recycling the same 3 pieces of content across 7 platforms. It means finding the platform your target audience uses and carving out space for your brand.
Cathy Mellett of Net Branding has always emphasised the benefit of B2B Social Media. We wanted to share some ways that you could embrace this in your business.
How to use social media for B2B in 2021? It’s simpler than you think.
B2B brands may still be assessing how they should use social media. Over the following 20 strategies and tips, you may find some additional pointers and learn that social media isn’t just for B2C.
1. Branch Out From “Professional” Social Media.
LinkedIn is great, but it isn’t the only platform where professionals congregate. B2B buyers go home after 5pm, they relax on Facebook, TikTok and Twitter. TikTok is a particularly interesting platform for B2B brands because business users have carved out their section of the app to commiserate, promote, and talk about their business.
Just picture it. Your B2B brand starts a TikTok talking about all the problems your products solve. Then somewhere in the deep depths of #smallbusinesstiktok a hugely popular user post a vent video about a particular situation. Another user who has seen your videos comments, “have you seen @yourB2Bbrand? They do this.”
Not only does a primed and ready to buy business see your brand, but so does every other similar company that sees that video. That impact doubles, triples, when that original user acknowledges from you, you solve their pain point, and then they post about how amazing it is.
And no, TikTok isn’t just for funny dances and 12-year-olds. TikTok reported 689 million TikTok users internationally (monthly). There is an ever-increasing number of older users, business users, and brands on TikTok who have realised that their customers are there.
That means that your B2B customers are there too.
2. Utilize Retargeting
Retargeting on social media platforms is easy. You don’t even have to encourage your viewers to come back and buy what they were looking at. With retargeting Google and other social media platforms will do that for you.
Additionally, presenting free, downloadable, and cheap introductory products is a great way to get potential buyers into your sales funnel.
3. Stop Focussing on Cold Promotion
Yes, social media is advertising but only in its application. At its core, social media is a connection. Using social media to connect to your B2B audience will do half the work for you. You no longer have 45 seconds of an ad spot or 150 words in a magazine. You have a face-to-face meeting where the other party is relaxed, engaged, interested, and is actively looking for more content.
Social selling is effective and can bring in a huge number of sales. Cold messaging – like out of the blue messages from strangers on LinkedIn and awkward Instagram DM’s – do more damage to your brand than not having a social media presence at all.
By engaging your target audience in conversations about your shared industry, you develop a relationship that will spill over into purchases.
This is the difference between posting:
New envelope sizes available today, bulk discounts on inquiry.
What part of packing orders is your favourite? Your least favourite?
The former says – we have something for you to buy.
While the latter says “talk to us, we are in your industry and understand.” It gives people the opportunity to flex their comedy skills, humble brag about their order numbers, and commiserate with others who love or hate the same aspects of running a business.
Most importantly, it gives you a chance to jump on the replies and say, “oh, you hate X? We have a product for that. Let us know if you want a free sample.”
The added bonus is that by engaging with businesses who actively use social media, you increase the likelihood that these businesses will talk about you on their social media. You’ve just doubled your social media reach with one connection.
4. Figure out Account-Based Marketing.
This isn’t just for the big players anymore, your B2B brand can benefit from ABM strategies too. by engaging in broad ABM you will help the algorithm to show your brand to the people you want seeing it.
5. Have Sensible Goals
Everyone has seen those “100,000 followers in a WEEK!? Thanks to you ALL!!” posts. Unfortunately, those are very much the exception to the rule.
Setting social goals is a good thing because it will keep you on top of your social media game, but focussing on the quality of connections is more important than the number.
Similarly, having conversion goals is a good thing because you won’t spend hours on something that doesn’t work, but don’t let conversions be the only metric for post success. If you create value, create a sense of community, and engage with your target market – that post has contributed to conversions even if they have not immediately clicked through and placed an order.
Set goals like:
– Showing your fantastic customer service to existing and potential buyers
– Cementing a positive reputation for your brand
– Increasing community engagement with your brand
6. Do Better
This may sound harsh, but if you are creating half-hearted or forced content, you won’t be seeing any of the benefits of social media marketing, which will make you even less likely to put the effort in, which will lead to: less engagement and results. It’s a sure-fire way to enter a vicious circle of apathy.
Think about the type of content your showing potential buyers. Awkward interviews with employees who don’t want to be there? Or well-curated, informative videos and infographics that are useful and fun?
Are all your posts about how incredible your product is? Or do you talk honestly about the best application of your product? Being seen as honest and authentic on social media is essential.
7. Pay Attention
If someone says something, listen. This is important on a microscale – the relationship between your company and that person – and everything you say on those pages is visible to every user.
Even more broadly, check out the conversations people online are having about you. Using platforms like Reddit, Quora, and Facebook groups, you can see what consumers are saying about you and your competitors – you may be very flattered, or you may find out some areas where you need improvement.
While one is infinitely more pleasant than the other, both are vital for developing your brand.
8. Be You
Yes, you. If your brand is young and fun and targeting businesses run by people who are also young and fun brands – you guessed it – let your social media reflect that.
If your B2B brand is all about environmental awareness and creative businesses, adopt that voice in your social media copy.
If your B2B brand targets stern and politically informed businesses, maybe skip the funny outfits and viral dances.
Put together a list of attributes you want your brands’ social media to embody, give your social media manager a list of things you want to strive to emulate and those you want to stay away from.
9. Be Human
Your B2B brand is run on the people you employ, right? Well, the exact same thing is true of any other business. Making content that features people who actually work for you – even if this is just you, a brief “hello”, or an ongoing joke “Mike’s our accountant, he doesn’t like being on video but he’s over there,” – humanises you to your potential buyers. It shows that you aren’t a faceless corporation out for profit at all costs, you’re a team of people who believe in what you’re doing.
Social media is about connection, so connect.
10. Celebrate Your Workers
If you employ specialists in their field, they may have their own professional or semi-personal social media. Build on the humanisation factor and tag the relevant people. Did your graphic designer do an incredible job? Celebrate them.
This can be simple, “this amazing infographic made by @OurGraphicDeisgner” or a celebration post showing that person’s best work and making a point about how your brand is a team of people working to achieve something you all care about.
11. Use Your Social Presence to Highlight Your Customer Base
This is what really matters to your buyers – how your products are used and liked by their peers (your other customers).
There are several ways a B2B brand can use social media in 2021 to engage existing customers. This could be something as simple as a shout out, tagging them and saying thanks for being an amazing customer.
Giveaways, freebies, and other competitions are also an option: tell us how you use X product in your daily process to win a free sample of the new Y product, Use #yourB2Bbrand
These get your customers posting for you, showing you to their audience – hundreds, maybe thousands, of potential customers that you’ve spent fifteen minutes and one sample pack to get in front of.
12. Get Your Video Content Working for Your B2B Brand’s Social Media In 2021
Video is the way to go. Blogs and articles are great and useful for information-heavy topics like this discussion, but a video is the best way to get people fired up and interested – especially on social media.
This could range from 60-second information bombs on TikTok, to beautifully produced aspirational and inspirational interviews or mini-documentaries. If you say that you are particularly focused on helping small businesses get off the ground, maybe work on a series of interviews with small businesses and their entrepreneurial journey? This type of series would create emotional connections with your target audience, tell them (without telling them) that your B2B brand cares, and do what you say you do – care and focus on small businesses.
Don’t forget that when loading your video to YOUTUBE, you should remember your Video SEO. It works the extra effort.
13. Customer Service is Key
All businesses know or should do by 2021 that your customer service is the most important aspect. Even if your product is second-best if your customer service is phenomenal, customers will choose you over the #1 brand that refuses to answer emails.
Consumers are using social media more than ever to air their customer service issues. This may well be terrifying to a business owner, to have their problems broadcast for the world to see, but don’t “panic delete” just yet. Use every “problem” as an opportunity to show that you back your product and will do what needs to be done to make it right. Your B2B clients will see others being treated fairly, a brand that believes in their product, and trust you all the more.
14. Branding Is Just as Important on Social Media as It Is for Other Marketing
Use your brand colours, you chose them (or paid a marketing specialist to choose them) so use them to their fullest advantage. You want your Instagram feed to look, overall, like it belongs to you. Even if the posts themselves are individual and standalone, they should all look good next to each other.
Whether you achieve this through branded frames, a particular illustrative style, or a filter that moves photos towards your brand image – make sure your posts look like you.
15. Be Likable, But Don’t Be Bland
You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is ok. If your B2B brand is socially conscious and involved in political commentary, you really won’t be. However, engaging in current affairs article on your social media will align you with the type of people you want to do business with.
That’s not to say ‘be controversial for the sake of being controversial”, quite the opposite. Your social media should reflect you and your brand, and those you want to do business with – attracting trolls won’t help you achieve that.
16. Be Proud, Don’t Boast
There’s a time and a place for talking about yourself and how much good you do, and as a business that time and place can be “occasionally, on social media”.
Your B2B brand on social media in 2021 needs to feel authentic – so don’t brag about the bare minimum, be proud of the extra lengths you go to.
Grants, foundations, company initiatives, above and beyond minimum expectations – these things make you stand out.
17. Relevant Contests and Giveaways
As a B2B on social media, your goal should always be to connect with your potential customers and their peers. When you run giveaways and contests you encourage people who already know you to promote you to their following, people who’ve never heard of you to look into your business to see if they could use your prize, and you improve your image with both.
Prizes can be specific to you – free samples, 20% off their next order, a free consultation – or non-business related – a spa package or online gift card.
18. Partner Up
Bring some different brands into your posts. This will double your reach as well as provide your followers with something to interact with. Choose a complementary and team-up brand to provide a giveaway or deal – book us both and get 20% off, for example.
19. Your Ad Budget Isn’t Just “Ads”
ROI on advertising can be low for B2B brands, especially on social media platforms. This is largely because getting in front of the relevant people can be a total gamble. Learn how to use the targeting – and retargeting – tools that ad managers offer.
It might seem to counter-intuitive to have hyper-specific ads, target narrow, or spend more money on creating the ad than you would normally. However, targeting the exact people who need a specific product with a phenomenal ad is better than showing a “just ok” ad to a lot of people who may (or may not) need your brand.
20. Expand Your Output
Podcasts and other audio-based media is booming. Having branded audio output is a great way to provide value for your customer base. You don’t have to have a hyper-specific podcast about your business and your industry; you can pivot to something your customer base is interested in. This will provide existing potential customers value when you cross-promote on your social media but get your name in front of people looking for podcasts.
Interviews with entrepreneurs, AMA’s with leaders of the industry, highlighting diversity within your industry – think about what your customer base wants to listen to and provide that for them.
Bonus Tip for B2B Brands On Social Media: Connect With People On Your Platform!
Don’t just broadcast your products and sales. Read your comments, reply to questions, and connect! Connection is what social media thrives on.
Using Social Media for B2B Brands in 2021 – Don’t Be Afraid!
B2B brands have been sleeping on the efficacy of social media for years, don’t let your brand get left behind now that people are waking up to the possibilities and benefits.