How to nail B2B social media marketing (without a huge budget)
November 28, 2023
Strategic B2B social media marketing is not just about having an account with a pretty feed that attracts a lot of likes. Nor is it about shoving your products down people’s throats. It’s about using social media strategically to build relationships with your prospects.
B2B social media marketing often falls into the trap of being devoid of personality, out of fear of not appearing ‘professional’ enough. But it’s important to remember you’re not communicating to a business—there’s a real person at the other end of your post you’re trying to reach, human to human.
One of the key differences between B2C and B2B marketing is that the sales cycle is usually much longer for us B2Bs than for B2Cs. We need to spend longer building and nurturing relationships with our prospects. Your sales team can be in contact with someone for a year or more before the sale goes through. If you think about your social media audience as that contact, what conversations would you like to have over the course of that year?
You could argue that building relationships through social media is even more important for B2B brands than for consumer brands.
Social media offers us a place to meet our prospects where they are. A smart B2B social media marketing plan will outline the strategies you’ll use to meet your business goals.
B2B buyers research before making a purchasing decision and they use social media as part of that research. A LinkedIn study concluded that social media interactions influence 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers before they purchase a product or service.
By ignoring or playing down the importance of social media in our overall marketing plan, we’re handing our competitors the knife to carve off a great slice of pie for themselves.
Which social media networks should your B2B be on?
Despite the prevailing cry of ‘be everywhere’, this is absolutely not true for B2B social media marketing.
B2B social media marketers can and should be far more discerning.
You don’t need to launch a TikTok account just because its popularity is rapidly rising. (Phew! Frankly, my cat’s not that interesting and who’s got time to learn how to dance this week?)
And you don’t have to use every new function of each platform you’re on. It’s OK to be on Instagram and not use Reels for your business.
When creating your B2B social media marketing plan, consider:
Where they hang out
What they like to read
Which publications they subscribe to
Use our Customer Research Matrix to help you figure this out and create a clear picture of your ideal customer. When you have great clarity around your target audience, you’ll know where and how your brand should be on social media.
Just like any other business function, don’t bite off more than you can chew. As part of your marketing plan, consider which resources your business has that you can assign to manage your social media presence.
While LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram might be a good fit for your business, if you don’t have the resources and budget to maintain a professional social media presence, show up regularly across your chosen platforms and create fresh content, instead, focus your efforts on the top performing channels and do these well.
There needs to be a good reason for joining a social media channel that aligns to your marketing plan. A hastily set-up and soon-abandoned social profile does not reflect well on a business.
The goal of B2B social media marketing
When people visit social media, they’re there to connect with others, be entertained, informed or inspired. They don’t visit their social media channels to be sold to.
Even if sales are your end game, keep in mind that you need to build relationships with people first.
This means your social media accounts should not be self-serving where you push out nothing but promotional posts dipped in sales messages. Otherwise, it will reflect badly on your brand. Promotional posts are fine, so long as they are in moderation and make sense in context.
You should look to educate, entertain, engage or inspire your target audience via your social posts.
Use a mix of social media posts to educate, entertain, engage and inspire
Share a link to a breaking news story or share an opinion on an industry topic.
Share ‘how to’ tips for a common task in your industry.
Turn one of your blog posts into multiple social media posts to help build your authority on a certain topic.
Share a funny meme that highlights a myth or stereotype about your industry. It doesn’t have to be one that you created.
Share a video that’s relevant to your audience that you found entertaining or even amusing.
Write a personal story that shares a funny experience that relates to your business.
Ask your audience a question about a topic relevant to your industry.
Add a poll to a post about a contentious topic in your industry and ask your audience to vote.
Ask for help. Share a problem you’re having and ask your audience to solve it.
Share results another client has gained from working with you.
Share a testimonial that outlines how you helped a client overcome a specific problem.
Share statistics from your industry that show the positive side of an issue in your industry.
Inject personality into your social media posts
To avoid appearing too salesy, keep in mind that you’re trying to build a relationship with prospects. B2B social media marketing is still B2-human communication. And because you’re communicating to a real human and not some faceless business brand, your social posts should feel more like a conversation than a billboard.
Your tone of voice should match your brand and position in the market. For example, if you make a utilitarian, no-frills products, then your tone of voice should come across in a similar way — no fuss, informative and functional. If you’re not selling high-end, complex software, don’t try to sound like you are.
If you’re selling data analytics or accounting services, you need to communicate to your prospects in a way that matches your brand and their expectations.
While you can (and should!) give your audience the kind of content they expect from you and in the way they expect it, it’s OK to be creative and try different approaches so long as you remain authentic to your brand. Standing out from your competitors can help your posts get noticed in your prospect’s cluttered feed.
Social media presents an opportunity for us to give our audience a peek behind the curtain and show the human side of our business. It’s where people can see the interesting things we’re working on and get to know us and the other people in our business, better. Consider passing the social media baton to your team members from time-to-time to help humanise your business. It’s a great way to show that there are real people and stories behind your brand. Plus, it keeps your content fresh.
How to plan your B2B social media marketing strategy
Having a good marketing plan in place will set you up well to create an effective B2B social media strategy.
Know your brand pillars
If you haven’t already identified your core brand pillars (those 4 or 5 top-level categories all your products and services fit under) then take the time to decide what those brand pillars will be. These are the key things you want your business to be known for.
Plan your social media posts
Social media planning is all about working out what you’re going to say and when.
Plan topics and themes under your brand pillars. This will help you streamline your posts by staying focused on those core messages.
Think about important dates in your business—product launches, busy periods, seasonal influences, sales cycle predictions—and plan content to lead up to those events.
Prepare content in batches so you’re not having to scramble for fresh stuff each week. Batching social media posts saves a lot of time. Refer to the educate, entertain, engage, or inspire matrix to produce a good mix of content themes.
Use a social media scheduling tool to line up your posts in advance so they publish automatically across the week or month ahead. Then during the week, you’ll only need to set aside time to respond to comments to encourage more engagement and build those all-important relationships.
The easy way to create a B2B social media schedule
While B2B social media marketing might make you feel anxious about creating and executing a plan that perfectly balances a mix of post types that sound authentically like your brand while incorporating your end goal—sales— it doesn’t have to be overly complex.
We’ve prepared a DIY social media calendar to help you create a month’s worth of social media posts aligned to the topics you set under your brand pillars and to ensure you get the right mix of promotional and other post types.
Join the DIY Marketing Project for access to our calendar and plenty of other tools and resources to help you with your marketing.
Set yourself up for B2B social media success
The key to social media success for B2Bs is to use your authentic voice and let your personality show through while showcasing your knowledge and what you do best.
Keep an eye on your metrics to see which posts get more engagement and which posts don’t. Use these metrics to continually refine your social media calendar.
Use a spelling and grammar checker like Grammarly or ProWritingAid to avoid embarrassing typos that can make you look unprofessional and reflect poorly on your brand. You can hire a graphic designer to set you up with templates that reflect your visual brand and look great, or choose stock images and resize them yourself—we have resizing templates you can use on our DIY Marketing Project platform.
But perhaps the greatest tip is to remember that good B2B social media marketing is all about connecting human to human, not business to business. By showing the human side of your business and offering that personal touch, you’ll have a greater chance of bringing in enthusiastic customers who are on board with what you do.
If you’re a DIY marketer and need inspiration and guidelines to boost your marketing efforts, visit the DIY Marketing Project. You’ll find lots of resources and templates that will help you run your B2B social media marketing campaigns in less time and for better results.
Already know what you need? Or just want to kick things off with some advice? Schedule a free video consultation with TMP founder, Holly.