For many companies, reaching a Business to Business (B2B) audience can be challenging. So, how can corporate social media marketing catch and hold the attention of senior decision makers?
Social Media Week’s ‘Playing Hard to Get: How to Reach Elusive B2B Audiences and the Role of Social’ panel had some inspiring tips to think about when planning B2B campaigns.
The speakers; Carol Briggs, Associate Director of Grant Thornton, Jon Bowd, Head of Content at Freshfields, and Jon Watkins, Head of Content at SevenC3, discussed the role that social media is increasingly playing in reaching decision makers in businesses, especially now the “millennial generation” are moving into senior roles and so many C-suite employees are active on social media.
Tip 1. Effective strategy & planning is still key
Because of the vast quantity and frequency of posts, social media content, and platform algorithms that favour paid content, it is now harder to discover brands or posts organically. This makes planning an effective B2B social media strategy incredibly important.
Pro Tip: Carol Briggs, Associate Director of Grant Thornton. You still need to define the objectives of your social B2B campaigns. These objectives can then be used as a baseline metric to determine the success of the project. Also, don’t choose your social media platforms thoughtlessly; compare the impact of each social media channel with traditional marketing options like print or radio and choose the channels that provide your company with the best results.
Where is your target audience getting their industry news from? If the vast majority of the people your business would like to connect with are using Instagram to communicate to friends and discover brands/products, then utilise Instagram.
Tip 2. Creating & distributing valuable content
You need to know your audiences and their needs to deliver content they find valuable and interesting.
Pro Tip: Jon Bowd, Head of Content at Freshfields Pay close attention to your target audience and user demographics. Use social media channels to get to know the behaviours and interests of your audiences via demographic data insights offered by the platform’s analytics. Understanding what interests your target demographic allows you to create more engaging content that will generate quality leads, rather than fruitless likes and views.
Jon also talked about using intercompany contacts to build a genuine brand voice and community, plus the fact that staff contacts are likely to include senior stakeholders and industry influencers within your B2B target audiences.
Another way to deliver killer content is to focus on your unique selling point (USP). For instance, does your content help your B2B audience with their business decisions or information they need to reach their own business goals? What can you offer with your content that your competitors aren’t?
How you distribute B2B content is equally as important as what the content is. Don’t be afraid to utilise your colleagues’ or industry influencer voices to create genuine company opinion pieces that will connect with your audience on a more personable, human level than a generic corporate message. Bear in mind, you would need to provide your staff with a framework of what to share and the right assets and content that makes it easy to do so.
Pro Tip: Carol Briggs Don’t discount the role your employees can play via their professional and social networks – if they share your content within your sector, it will raise your profile and reach more people than you could do alone. Trust your peers!
Internal engagement and communication are key; company leaders need to encourage staff to share business content by providing them with the right support and inspiration.
Tip 3. Social is one of your B2B communication channels, not the only channel
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. While social is providing new and exciting ways to reach your B2B targets, it needs to work alongside your existing communications programme and be consistent.
Pro Tip: Carol Briggs, Associate Director, Grant Thornton ‘Social media can often become disjointed because of how many various parts of an organisation are involved, so we’ve worked across teams to make sure we’re posting consistently and that there’s a coherency to the content we’re putting out. We’ve also found that social is a powerful feedback and insight tool and are using it to find out what makes our audience tick. #sociallistening!’
Pro Tip: Jon Watkins, Head of Content, SevenC3 Go for quality over quantity; test, test, and test again. Reaching B2B crowds is a combination of a number of things for us, it starts with valuable rich useful content, it’s about targeting genuinely interested people rather than just the big numbers.
Pro Tip: Jon Bowd, Head of Content, Freshfields ‘The thing that I’ve learnt through experience is making social media integral to other activities rather than just pumping things out via Twitter and LinkedIn as a tick box exercise to show that there’s been some kind of surge in activity.’
Our experience at TwoBlue Communications is that digital marketing and traditional PR and communications can work well together to amplify reach and find unique audiences. If you want to find out more about how can help your business with B2B marketing, get in touch.