B2B Social Media Strategy: Best Practices & Killer Case Studies
Examples of B2B Social Media Marketing Campaigns that Generate Leads
Somewhere along the way B2Bs have fallen behind B2Cs in social media usage, and more importantly, learning how to manage it effectively. However, in today’s social media-saturated market a foolproof plan is essential for increasing brand awareness, boosting customer engagement, and generating leads. We’ve gathered the knowledge you need to understand the most important platforms and strategize like the experts. Use these social media stats, best practices, and case studies to build the B2B social media strategy your company needs.
B2B Social Media Statistics: Does it generate leads?
Eighty-six percent (86%) of B2B firms are using social media compared to 82% of B2C firms. Yet, only 32% of B2B firms engage with their followers on a daily basis compared to 52% of B2C firms. This means that while your business may be using social media, it’s likely that you are not leveraging this powerful platform efficiently or obtaining the best possible results.
Furthermore, 60% of B2B firms have no staff dedicated to social media and only 10% turn to outside agencies or consultants for help.
If you want to generate leads online from your social network, you may be wondering if developing a comprehensive social media strategy is worth the effort. We asked the Internet if social media is a strong source to generate consistently qualified leads for B2B and found your answer – a resounding and unmistakable yes.
Not only is social media the only marketing channel that lets companies build relationships with stakeholders and develop brand loyalty for little to no cost, but it also provides a wealth of measurable lead generation benefits. According to Social Media Today, 90% of B2B businesses reported increased exposure as a result of social media, while 65% reported lead generation, 51% reported improved sales, and 50% reported reduced marketing expenses. Those are just a few of the tangible, and incredibly valuable, perks of planning your B2B social media strategy.
Finally, with 90% of enterprises saying they reply to customer service inquiries on social media and over a third of Content Marketing Officers (CMO) saying that digital marketing will account for 75% or more of their spending in the next five years, it’s clear that social media content is propelling your competitors’ businesses.
LinkedIn B2B Social Media Strategy
While the most popular social media platform will vary by industry, LinkedIn is by far the favorite for lead generation when it comes to B2B.
In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, LinkedIn has the highest effectiveness rating of any B2B social media platform, with effectiveness defined as “accomplishing your overall objectives”. What started out as a small professional networking site has transformed into a B2B lead generation machine for millions of professionals.
It’s important to note that, while LinkedIn alone can be the key source to your online sales pipeline, it requires significant time on a regular schedule. We recommend publishing or posting on LinkedIn once per day. Check out this comprehensive LinkedIn Content Marketing Tactical Plan for a detailed printable posting plan and more helpful tips.
LinkedIn B2B Best Practices
Want to boost lead generation on LinkedIn? Try some of these LinkedIn lead generation tactics to get you started…
Customize your LinkedIn company page for lead generation and encourage lead generating clicks to your website. This includes:
- using an attractive header image,
- pitching your company in the description box, and
- linking to your website – ideally with a content offer to capture lead contact information for future lead nurturing. Some marketers promote an offer for a free strategy session or call to start an offline conversation.
- and posting regular updates with links to your site from your blog, for example.
Notice how the description on this Strideapp LinkedIn page is enticing and user focused, rather than simply listing straightforward facts that may bore visitors.
Build a Killer List of Potential Lead Contacts with Advanced Search and Saved Searches. If you want to be more proactive about identifying new leads and marketing qualified connections, LinkedIn advanced searches can help you filter potential connections based on title, company, location, industry, and more. The best part – LinkedIn allows you to set and forget your most promising searches.
The free version of LinkedIn allows for 3 saved searches before upgrading to a paid subscription. Simply click “save search” at the top right of any advanced search to refer back to them at any time and even set up weekly or monthly email notifications of new prospects that fit your criteria.
The goal of this strategy is to identify qualified connections and send a thoughtful invitation to connect. Instead of using LinkedIn’s automatic connection request message, draft a personal invitation that helps establish your professional relationship. Try including some industry related advice or a thoughtful question, this will establish your position as an expert and increase the chances of your connection accepting the invitation.
Build a Linkedin Showcase Page. While showcase pages were intended to promote individual brand extensions for large companies, they can be extremely helpful for targeting specific segments of any B2B firm’s audience. Try making pages for certain buyer personas or service areas to show customers how you can fulfill their specific needs.
Incorporate Publishing on LinkedIn Pulse to Your Content Marketing Workflow. LinkedIn Pulse is LinkedIn’s powerful content publishing platform that was opened to the public in 2014. Unlike your company blog, LinkedIn pulse specifically targets working professionals, an invaluable opportunity for any B2B firm.
Write and publish posts in your areas of expertise and only focus on one topic per piece. While there’s no character minimum on LinkedIn Pulse, long-form posts over three paragraphs perform best. Easily upload and add pictures, videos, presentations, and documents to supplement your content.
Create a LinkedIn Group Targeting Your Ideal Customer. One of the best networking opportunities on LinkedIn is creating a group in which you can showcase your expertise and invite potential leads.
Before creating your own group, spend some time researching, joining, and adding to the discussion in other groups in your industry. This will help you identify what topics are missing and give your new group a competitive advantage. Choose topics that are directly relevant to your ideal customer.
For example, at Creative Analytics we recently created the group Inbound Marketing & Lead Generation for Medical Practice + Healthcare Executives. One of our core niches is the Medical & Healthcare industry, so we are addressing a topic that is relevant both to what we do and our target audience.
Which Social Media KPIs Should You Measure for Your B2B Organization?
While setting up a strong social media plan is important, your strategy is only as successful as your organization’s understanding of it and your ability to constantly assess and improve it. That’s where social media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in. 50% of B2B marketers regularly analyze metrics to gauge ROI – and those that do find online marketing much more effective than traditional marketing.
Understanding each social media platform’s KPIs will let you track the success of individual campaigns, test the popularity of different content types, and determine how to distribute your marketing budget. So which KPIs should your B2B organization be keeping an eye on? Here’s the list of KPIs we track at Creative Analytics for five of the major social media platforms
LinkedIn: Page Followers, Post Clicks, Engagement, Inquiries and Leads, and Linkbacks and Embeds.
Twitter: Followers, Follower Ratio, @mentions, Retweets, Brand mentions, URL mentions, Click through rates
Facebook: Audience growth, Audience Engagement, Audience Profile, Content Reach, Negative Feedback, Engagement by Content Type, Leads, and Response Rate and Quality.
Youtube: Views, View-through Rate, Clicks, Subscribers, Audience Retention, Favorites, Comments, and shares.
Instagram: Comments, Likes, Followers, Engagement, Clicks, and Mentions.
Case Studies: Examples of Winning B2B Social Media Campaigns
General Electric (GE) has been dubbed “the most exciting boring brand” thanks to its B2B social media strategy. GE is a huge multinational conglomerate that’s major service areas include Power and Water, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Healthcare, Transportation, and Capital. While these are all lucrative B2B industries to operate in, they’re not exactly known for their creativity.
The key to GE’s success lies in their ability to minimize the attention placed on their business and company and focus directly on their target audience and customers. By using emotional appeals, interactive and engaging content, and beautiful images, they’ve developed a social media strategy that any size B2B firm can learn from. Here are some foolproof B2B social media best practices that your company can incorporate into its social media plan.
Feature Your Employees. Including employee photos, stories, and quotes will help humanize your B2B firm while showing how much you value the people who work for you. Employees are an easily accessible source of fresh ideas to keep up with the constant demand for content.
More importantly, posts like this GE Instagram make your brand seem more trustworthy. Viewers interpret this kind of content as a word-of-mouth recommendation from a real person, increasing overall brand likeability. This post successfully communicates General Electrics’ values while providing viewers with a relatable face for the organization.
Include a Strong Call-to-Action. A compelling and relevant call-to-action (CTA) will guide viewers through their buying journey and help them understand exactly what you want them to do. They are the driving force behind converting followers to clients and generating B2B leads.
CTA’s starting with verbs or adverbs receive more clicks than those starting with adjectives and nouns, so make sure you’re always including action words. Try creating a sense of urgency by combining CTAs with phrases like “don’t miss out” or “limited time only”.
This GE Facebook post begins its caption with the word “Discover” and proceeds to tell exactly what readers will learn if they click on the link. This simple strategy increases post interaction and can even generate leads when combined with a content offer.
Include an Enticing Image. According to a Hubspot study, posts with images earn 53% more likes, 84% more clicks, and 104% more comments on Facebook than those without. Multimedia posts successfully grab viewer’s attention while appealing to their emotions and ultimately increasing engagement. Videos, infographics, memes, and illustrations all have a similar effect and are an easy way to supplement pre-existing content.
The image in this GE Instagram post is eye-catching, attractive, and leaves the audience wanting more information. Powerful pictures and infographics will appeal to your audiences curious nature and keep them from scrolling past your posts. This post also includes a well-written, concise caption, external tags, and hashtags to guide viewers through its content.
Comment on Breaking Industry News. Breaking industry news provides a wealth of opportunities for content curation and new original posts. In addition to sharing external links, try providing your leadership team’s insights or explaining how this news can affect your stakeholders. This will position your B2B firm as an expert while attracting new customers who are researching the topic up on search engines.
This GE LinkedIn post provides followers with an interesting piece of industry news from businesswire.com – showcasing their expertise without directly marketing a product or service. Try setting up Google Alerts for industry news to help curate content and find out what your target audience will want to learn about.
Engage With Your Followers. As previously mentioned, according to Social Media Today 90% of enterprises reply to customer service inquiries on social media – and for good reason. Responding to social media inquiries, both positive and negative, is a valuable customer service tactic that helps develop a consistent company voice. This shows that your B2B firm cares about its customer’s concerns and lays the foundation for a respectful professional relationship.
Here, customers ask questions and provide feedback on Facebook and receive responses from GE within 24 hours. This simple interaction probably took minutes for Intel’s social media manager to complete but could play a huge role in developing this individual’s brand loyalty. Make sure to set up mobile social media notifications to ensure your organization is seeing any important inquiries.
Wrap-Up: B2B Social Media Strategy
We use these tactics at Creative Analytics to increase ROI, supplement blog content, and generate leads. What strategies do you use to boost your B2B social media strategy?