Social media advertising has grown massively over the past few years, providing creative and impactful ways of reaching and engaging with online audiences. While it can be perceived that social media thrives better in the B2C sphere, recently B2B marketers have stepped up their game and proved that campaigns can contribute value to the brand while generating interest and conversation with their audience.
According to B2B Marketing, last year LinkedIn was the most used platform (94%) and generated the most revenue (40%). For boosting brand awareness, Twitter was cited as the best, with a combined total of 62% saying that social media is important or critical for a brand. Although there are challenges ahead, as with any area of marketing, it seems the future for B2B social media activity is a bright one.
We’ve pulled together our top 5 tips to help ensure your B2B social media campaigns are a success by maximising the opportunities this marketing route offers:
1) Define your objectives
Be clear with what you want to achieve from the start, just as with any type of marketing campaign. Determine who you aim to target, what course of action you want them to take, what you are measuring as ‘success’ and metrics to track this.
Outlining your aims will help to focus the activity around these, while identifying any potential hurdles that could hinder your campaign along the way.
2) Decide on the right channels
Whatever your business, it is likely that a proportion of your audience are on Twitter and Facebook. Although perhaps lacking the professional focus that LinkedIn offers and audience targeting is more consumer based, it is still possible to find and segment a B2B audience through user connections. Accuracy may be less, but a much lower cost per click is achievable on both channels.
A more obvious choice for B2B marketers is LinkedIn, thanks to its focus on business. Offering various ways to identify and segment an audience based on professional background, advertising avenues are better suited for the B2B sector – although it is a more expensive option. For larger companies wanting to generate leads this may be suitable, but it could prove costly for those aiming to raise awareness.
It is worth experimenting with a mix of paid activity; LinkedIn for high value and high cost along with Facebook and/or Twitter for higher volume at a lower cost. See what works for your brand, you never know until you try!
3) Content is king – as is delivery
Content plays a significant part in a campaign and will determine how successful it is depending on its quality, authority and relevance to your audience. Make sure what you put out is valuable and interesting enough to generate interaction, plus consider how people will access the content. If you’re driving users to an external domain away from social channels, ensure the landing page is mobile and tablet friendly.
For lead generation, content needs to include an element of persuasion and in most cases, for the user to submit their information for data capture e.g. leaving an email address or downloading a white paper. Allow for A/B testing of images and text content when it comes to ad creative on social platforms – each channel will differ but by testing, you will discover which combinations work to optimise your campaign.
Visual-based content is ideal for generating awareness as a result of being attention grabbing, concise and vibrant; make it as easy as possible for people to view and share content. Don’t try and sell a product; instead, offer knowledge, insights and support through interactive content to help foster the community aspect. Rather than sales messages driven through adverts, promoting content through social media channels is a much more effective way of capturing your audience.
4) Set guidelines for interactions
When your B2B social media campaign is up and running, be ready for the interaction it will generate, whether positive or negative comments or questions wanting to find out more. Have guidelines in place for those responding to and monitoring activity, so the individual is clear on how to react.
Making the most of opportunities, dealing with damaging comments or passing on a lead are all important points to consider and establish within your business.
5) Measuring the value of the campaign
Going back to the first point about defining objectives, these will form the KPIs – what metrics indicate the success of the campaign.
Key metrics to track:
- Referral traffic from social: How many unique visitors from social media channels click through to the company website/blog.
- Follower/fan growth: Number of people who follow on these channels, subscribe, etc. Note this down manually weekly or monthly, or use analytics.
- Engagement and interaction rate: Quantity and type of commentary on posts e.g. Twitter replies, mentions and RTs, Facebook comments, shareability, subscribes.
- Content performance: Which type of content performed best on the different channels (the answer could be different for each) – click rate on social shares.
- Social influence score: Tools like Klout calculate this based on your social activity, interactions and influence – always aim to improve over time!
- Revenue generated: The precise monetary value of every lead that a social post generates – this could be social e-commerce sales, conversion rates, etc.
It can be a challenge to track these statistics but the majority of social media platforms have their own reporting tools, which can be complemented by social listening and tracking tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite and Google Analytics. From here you can identify what worked, what didn’t and how you could better optimise your social campaigns in the future.
Be sure to analyse the behaviour of users if driving traffic to your company website was one of the key objectives of running the campaign, to better understand how and why variations of content or channels converted as they did.
So there you go, a rundown of the key points when considering or running a B2B social media campaign. If you’re interested in learning more or need help, get in touch and see how our social media team can advise you!