As a full-service marketing agency that works with b2b companies, b2c companies and nonprofits, we are often asked which marketing tactics are best suited to which industries and audiences. Among the questions that come up during these conversations is: Can social media marketing work for b2b companies?
Who are you trying to reach?
Regardless of the channel through which you are looking to communicate with clients and prospects the key is to know where to find your audience. Often, we recommend companies deploy a short three-to-five question email survey to clients to gauge their communications preferences. This survey can address everything from frequency of communications to the channels through which clients and prospects are interested in receiving information from your company. This data helps to ensure your company is allocating to the marketing channels most likely to yield ROI and demonstrates to clients and prospects that their feedback is important to your organization.
What types of content are you looking to share?
Some businesses are highly visual while others are incredibly technical. The news some companies are looking to share is well-suited to a short format channel such as Twitter, while other companies need more space to make themselves ‘perfectly clear’ and are better suited to maintain a business blog. Identifying the types of content you are looking to share with clients and prospects, coupled with their communication preference, can help to identify how best to allocate your marketing and communications resources.
How much time can my company invest?
Social media is a living, breathing organism. It needs to be fed, monitored and managed on an ongoing basis. While blogging once per week is considered a best practice, tweeting once per week would inhibit your company’s ability to generate Twitter ROI.
Before embarking upon a social media marketing program, it is important to evaluate how many resources – be they internally or through a third-party such as a marketing agency – you can comfortably invest in launching and maintaining you social media program. This will help to establish a tailored hierarchy of social channels for your company.
So, which platform is the right platform?
When it comes to social media for b2b companies, LinkedIn Groups and Profiles and lead generation blogs rank among the most effective social channels.
LinkedIn Groups are great for companies who want to catalyze conversations around industry trends, new laws/regulations, best practices and the like. LinkedIn Profiles are a good way to share company news with your LinkedIn followers as well as promote professional development events and share relevant third-party content.
Maintaining a lead generation blog can help to align marketing with sales and lay the foundation for generating measurable marketing ROI. Lead generation blogs require companies to consistently create not only high-quality, long-format content, but compelling calls-to-action that will deepen readers’ engagement with their organization. Representative calls-to-action include learning more by downloading a whitepaper, e-book or toolkit, registering for a webinar or event, and obtaining a free consultation.
Where does good b2b social media content come from?
The good news for b2b companies is that many of your existing thought leadership assets – FAQs, presentations from conferences, product/service sell sheets, etc. – can often be repurposed into succinct LinkedIn updates, media-worthy tweets and serve as the baseline for lead gen blog posts. Further, appointing a team member to serve as a content collector during team meetings can also help aggregate ideas to inform your upcoming social media marketing content.
An audience-centric social media marketing program can help b2b companies strengthen relationships with existing clients as well as cultivate leads. Regardless of whether your b2b company decides to create a business blog or implement a LinkedIn marketing program, consistency, clarity and creativity are among the keys to success.