Social media seems to be a general fear for B2B companies – many only go as far as LinkedIn. Nothing wrong with LinkedIn, it is an important channel, but there are more channels and more reasons why your company should be present there too. Having a strong online presence will provide additional ways for buyers to research your organization and decide whether they want to buy. Be where your customers are, not only as B2B buyers, but as humans.
Social media might not be a direct sales channel for B2B companies, which it is for many retailers, but it is the place where most of your buyers spend a lot of their time.
B2B buyers are humans too
Remembering that it is a human being you need to convince in order to sell your products, might be the best advice I can give you. Just because we are in the B2B business, doesn’t mean that we have to be boring and impersonal. To update your marketing strategy according to your buyers - embrace the way B2C is speaking to their customers: build relationships and nurture your leads to help them seeing the value of your products and use social media to tell the world who you are.
75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions.
Modern B2B buyers are used to googling or youtubing for answers to their private queries and have started to do exactly that in their jobs as corporate buyers. To reduce time searching for information and take advice from their peers, 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions and 85% of B2B buyers occasionally or frequently share business content on Linkedin*.
B2B buyers watch videos all along their buyer’s journey and especially when they want to compare products and gain more indepth knowledge: 48% watch 30 minutes or more of B2B-related videos before a purchase**. So don’t underestimate the power of video testimonials on your site.
Use social media for brand awareness
If anything, social media is used by almost everyone, people and companies, to give the world a glimpse of themselves. Narcissism is no longer considered a disease, it is a very dominant cultural trait of the digital world. An account on Instagram or Facebook is a stage open for everyone to shout “Let me tell you about myself, in pictures, stories and quotes”. In other words, to communicate a brand. With an informed social media strategy and content focused on your target audience, your company can increase brand awareness dramatically. How, and where are you communicating your brand to the world today?
Use social media to attract new talent and to re-attract your own staff
No matter if you’re a paper packaging producer or a huge bio-med company, there is more to your company than what you offer. Your company is also a bunch of people going to Christmas parties, after work activities, visiting interesting places and doing interesting things at work. It is interesting in the eyes of your followers, who are probably following you because they have an interest in what you do, and not only what you are selling.
Use social media to create a human touch of your B2B brand
You need to define a social media voice that people can interact with. Being boring in social media is the fast track to failure, so here are a few tips for a vivid communication:
- Use “we” and “us” when you post and when you interact with your followers
- Engage, reply, repost! …rather than just telling everyone about your fancy corporate values and what you’re offering
- Social media is created for humans to interact with each other – let loose – be more human than corporate
Take advantage of user generated content (as any millennial fashion brand out there).
If people take pride in signing a job with you, or even quitting a job with you with pride, or if members of staff are visiting a cool customer or are completely blown away by a fully automated warehouse – use their content in your social media!
They say around 80% of all B2B companies have a social media strategy*** – but only a few act on it. To get you started, and inspired, here are a few examples of B2B companies who have managed to engage their staff and product users in social media and at the same time, turned these people into highly visible brand evangelists.
3 successful B2B players who are successful in social media (no need to reinvent the wheel):
Adobe uses a monthly theme, engaging Adobe users to add content with the possibility to get featured through Adobe-hashtags, e.g. #Adobe_PopofColor is this month’s theme. Adobe always make sure they tag the user when showcasing the amazing visuals to secure interaction. This is a very easy way of keeping their Adobe product ambassadors, make them produce a lot of content and at the same time, promote Adobe products. This account is followed by 838 000 people, from freelance designers to multinational companies. Pretty awesome to get featured on that account, right?
FedEx is a huge global logistics and delivery provider, with an Instagram account filled with user generated content. The strategy is to let the audience follow FedEx couriers and packages around the globe. And - since people want their photos to be shared with 103 000 followers FedEx gladly encourage their audience to share their photos. FedEx wants to be available everywhere with their services and their account is a reflection of that. The nature of the account results in massive engagement, with a ton of comments from the audience.
Take a look into the creative world of Freddie the Mailchimp monkey and join the 88 000 other followers. Mailchimp has a very clear, and really entertaining, employee branding strategy on Instagram. Their genius strategy is to use Instagram and highlighted video clips of their employees to brand Mailchimp as an attractive employer, rather than using marketing and email automation tools. Who wouldn’t want to be featured as a colleague to these guys?
These are only a few examples, but they have one thing in common, they are created by real humans, for humans. Let these examples of B2B companies and their social media strategies be an inspiration and a reminder that corporate messaging doesn’t have to be boring. If you want to reach utopia and make your employees share and create your content – keep it real. And somehow entertaining.
If you want to discuss social media strategy with me, write me an email, and I will gladly reply! You can reach me and my strategic advisory colleagues at firstname.lastname@example.org