2015 is just around the corner. It’s that time of the year when companies draw the line and analyse their activity in the year to prepare action plans for the year to come. It’s also that time of the year when marketers are buried under metrics and predictions.
With that in mind, we took a look at the B2B social media landscape in 2014, cross-referenced it with what we did this year for our social media and collected a few interesting facts we wanted to share with you. Also, we put together some social media B2B trends you should keep your eye on for the year to come.
Social media platforms for B2B
A B2B Content report revealed the fact that B2B marketers are using all social media platforms to distribute their content, promotions and offers. This year, companies used on average six platforms to promote their services, versus five last year. The increase in using social media in B2B is a sign that companies are starting to understand the importance of social media in B2B and how social media is transforming the way a business is carried out.
According to the B2B Content report, social media activity for B2B marketing was mostly carried on LinkedIn (91%), Twitter (85%), Facebook (81%), YouTube (73%), Google+ (55%), SlideShare (40%). Now, let’s take a closer look at how marketers used the 3 most popular B2B platforms to reach their goals this year.
As expected, LinkedIn is the most used platform when it comes to the B2B environment. Unlike other social media platforms, there is no confusion whatsoever of how to communicate. LinkedIn is purely professional and companies using it are definitely seeing the value in increasing brand awareness and creating an established network of professionals. Here’s how you can use LinkedIn for B2B marketing:
• Create a powerful network by connecting with influential leaders in the industry.
• Start distributing quality, unique content related to your company and to the industry you represent.
• Build brand awareness with the use of LinkedIn Ads. Write an ad with a creative copy and a strong CTA and most importantly: target your audience carefully.
• Showcase your expertise by joining and engaging in relevant group discussions. Choose the groups related to your field of knowledge, where you can really add value.
• Make one-to-one contact with connections by interacting, commenting on their shared content and exchanging valuable knowledge and experience.
• Ask your clients to give you recommendations on LinkedIn. Use the testimonials of past and present clients to bring future clients.
• Find new clients with Sales Navigator by connecting your sales prospecting tool and CRM.
• Reach your prospects directly, even if you don’t have their email address with the help of InMail messages.
• Lead Recommendations lets you access a smarter sales prospecting, based on your preferences and historical saved leads.
Not far behind is Twitter, with 85% of marketers using it in their B2B social media strategy. Twitter can be a great way of sending out content to your audience, engaging and finding new potential clients for your business. But how do you get the most out of Twitter?
• Follow and interact with meaningful contributors to the industry, comment on shared content, retweet relevant content, use hashtags pertaining to your business.
• Use Twitter Ads to promote your business, by either promoting your tweets or your general account.
• Approach and outreach to accounts related to your business that might become a prospective client.
• Twitter Lead Generation Cards is a useful tool to help advertisers find and connect with Twitter users interested on what their brand has to offer.
• Transform your followers into powerful brand advocates. This can help you build a strong positioning in the market and showcase your success to other prospects.
Although Facebook is primarily used as a B2C platform, over the last years B2B marketers have managed to successfully promote their message across on this channel. This year has been a great one for Facebook in terms of improving their conversion strategy and giving B2B marketers tools they can really use. Here’s a few ways you can use Facebook to reach your B2B audience.
• Align your social media strategy with the targeted business goals offered by Facebook. Choose from clicks to website, engagements, app installs or event responses to get the most out of your ads. Target the ads to make sure you reach your desired audience.
• With the new CTA buttons, Facebook has definitely become one of the easiest and most effective ways to reach your B2B objectives. Get people interested into your business and help them buy your products and services directly through Facebook.
• Engage with experts in your field and discover new connections with the help of Facebook groups. Choose the most relevant groups and start networking with important people in your field of interest.
• With Facebook Ads you can promote your business to reach the people you want to. Target your prospects by demographics, interests, behaviours. That way you can reach out to small business owners, online marketers, event creators and various other types of individuals that might match what you do.
What to expect from 2015 in terms of social media for B2B?
1. A greater focus on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, YouTube and SlideShare.
2. Promoting more B2B events, webinars, videos, blogs and case studies.
3. The biggest B2B goals will be increasing brand awareness, lead generation and engagement.
4. The biggest challenges for B2B marketers will be producing content consistently, analysing campaigns and measuring their effectiveness.
What was the most successful B2B strategy you used this year? We’d love to hear your thoughts.