I mean, it’s really hard. Much harder than social B2C. You know why? Because businesses may have social media accounts, but businesses aren’t the ones using those accounts. It’s people who use them, employees like you or me or the guy next door who sit down to manage the Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts for their companies. And when they sit down to manage those accounts, they typically have one directive; “Send our content out.”
Businesses exist on social networks in order to spark engagement based on their own, in-house content. Generally speaking, they don’t exist to gather other businesses’ content in, unless that other content directly involves the company (in an @mention, for example, or in a post on the company’s Facebook page).
What this basically amounts to is the fact that when you engage in B2B marketing on social media, you’re really sending out content that you hope will be seen and registered by a marketing employee who’s not looking for it.
Like I said. B2B is hard.
But it’s not impossible! It can be done, and it can be done well. What’s more, because B2B is so difficult, if you can manage to become good at it, you’re likely to really stand out from the rest of the B2Bers out there. Here are a few tips on how to master B2B marketing on the three major networks:
As the undisputed master of professional social networks, LinkedIn provides great opportunities for B2B marketing. One of the best ways to attract corporate clients on LinkedIn is to actively participate in LinkedIn Groups that apply to your industry. Join as many relevant Groups as you think you can manage in the time you have to engage in social marketing, and spend time each day reading through group members’ questions and answering as many as you can. Doing so will prove to others that as a representative of your company, you are an authoritative voice on industry solutions, which is a great driver for more in-depth B2B communications.
Use Twitter to your advantage by becoming a powerhouse of information. Businesses, as large entities, may not be able to use Twitter (see above: the whole “social networks are managed by employees like you and me” thing), but their employees sure are, and many of them probably do. At least some of these employees are sure to have interests in their industries that extend beyond the 9-to-5 requirements, and your company’s Twitter feed can be a great wealth of information for them. Turn your Twitter account into a carefully curated information stream. Post as much of your own, in-house content as you can, and supplement your feed with carefully selected industry news and solutions from outside sources. You’ll want to avoid tweeting out content from your competitors, of course, but with a little digging, you’ll be sure to find plenty of reliable sources writing excellent content on your industry’s specific problems and challenges. The more information you send out, and the better that information is, the more likely employees of your target businesses will be to take notice.
Like Twitter, Facebook B2B leads are heavily driven by engaging and relevant content (although, as a general rule, you’ll want to post less often to Facebook than you do to Twitter…Facebook audiences are more attuned to content overload, and even a daily post can send your fans running for the hills). Another great B2B Facebook tactic is the sponsored story. Like ads, Facebook’s sponsored stories give you control over the message content, the image, and the specific audience you want to make your story content visible too (which is immensely helpful in targeting people who work in the industry your B2B company targets). But unlike ads, sponsored stories give your content a slightly personalized touch by showing Facebook users how their own Facebook friends have interacted with your Page in the past. Sponsored stories present a great opportunity for digital B2B networking and for driving potential clients to your Page.
The Bottom Line
Social B2B is tough, but it’s not impossible. Just remember that the people viewing your social content are just that; they’re people, not businesses. If you can appeal to those individuals, you’ll have a much easier time of landing sales meetings with the companies they work for.