Hopefully you are aware that social media is really useful for B2B companies.
But how do you do it? Here’s 5 ways to make the most out of social media for B2B. Feel free to listen to the audio version below or keep reading.
1) Get started:
If you haven’t done so already, make your company a page on all the different social media platforms, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and so on. Each platform does something slightly different so get to know how they work. Have a look at some other B2B companies that are doing social media really well like IBM & Intel.
Make sure your marketing team are up to date with your social pages or put aside some time for yourself to do so. There’s probably someone in your company, an employee for example, that would like to dedicate a small amount of their time to your company’s social media.
You really can’t post enough. According to Dan Zarrella’s book “The Science of Marketing” the optimum amount of tweets that you can send a day is 22. Now I’m not suggesting that you have to spend that amount of time or effort on it but don’t worry about posting too much. Get to know your audience, what they like and don’t like. You won’t find this out until you start sharing content and finding out what works.
It’s often asked “Which social media platform should I be using?” or “Which social media channel is the best for B2B?”. The answer is to go where your followers are. If you’ve got a good following on Instagram, for example, but not so good on Twitter then concentrate more of your time and efforts on Instagram.
Another really good piece of advice to use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the content you are posting should be about other people or other things and only 20% about yourself. That rule is especially important for B2B companies to get people interested in your company and following you.
What kind of content should you be posting?
Keep it original. Try and create your own content, a really good way to do this is to have a blog. According to LBDGA B2B companies that have blogs create 62% more leads than those who don’t. You could also make videos and once you’ve created this content you can then share this on your social channels.
B2B companies all have a different strategy and they create different types of content. Educational content is really valuable at the moment. Remember, you are experts in your field so use that to your advantage and share your knowledge on social media. You can make it interesting by showcasing what your company does.
Let’s take Shell, the international oil & gas company. If you have a look at their Twitter page, they have lots of links to informative and educational videos. It’s very interesting to learn and it’s a great way to get people interested in and talking about your industry.
— Shell (@Shell) May 8, 2014
Historical content is also really popular on social media. Let’s have a look at Avery Dennison, they’re a B2B company that manufactures and distributes labelling & packaging material. On their Facebook page they use #TBT or #ThrowbackThursday and they upload images of old advertising from when they first started in the business. This is interesting and reaches out to people who like history or design.
Using tactics like this you can bring followers to your page who don’t necessarily know about your industry.
3) Get visual:
The saying “pictures are worth a thousand words” really rings true. With any content that you share try to attach images to make it look better. Photographs and images are a lot more interesting than just plain text.
Let’s take a look at IBM for example, they’re a pretty geeky technology company but their social media actually looks pretty cool. Most of their updates on Twitter have a visual element. They even take beautiful photos of things like sunrises over their offices and share them on Instagram and Twitter.
— IBM (@IBM) May 9, 2014
By doing this you can attract followers from outside your industry. People will follow you for your great looking posts. According to Social Media Examiner there is a 37% increase in engagement when Facebook posts include photographs.
A great way to use social media for B2B is creating conversations with your employees. You can get talking to your employees in real time on social media, and also your employees can talk to to each other. A great platform to do this on is LinkedIn, which is the biggest professional network and it’s the most favoured by B2B companies. Make sure that your employees are on brand with your company and give them guidelines of what they can and can’t do on social media. If any of your employees are already on LinkedIn, make sure they attach themselves to your company page and they can even have a photo of them in the office or with your company logo in the background as their profile picture. This will enhance your brand. You can ask your employees to upload and share stories about your company or industry. This will give a good insight into how your company works from the inside and will make your company look more credible. Including your employees in your social media is a great way to not only get better content but shows a good company ethos and creates a good culture around your brand. There are lots of ways you can get your employees involved. For example lets look at Adobe’s Instagram. In 2013 they created the hashtag #AdobeLife where they let their employees from all over the world takeover their Instagram account. Employees shared photos of their commute to work, life around the office and them generally having lots of fun.
Another good idea is to get one of your employees to take photos at events or activities you hold and upload them to places like Storify and Flickr. Doing this not only creates good morale within your company and amongst your employees but could actually be successful for looking more attractive as a potential employer for job seekers.
5) Crisis management:
When something goes wrong you can use social media to your advantage. When using social media platforms, like Twitter or Facebook, you can respond to feedback much quicker than by email or phone. Don’t panic if you do get negative feedback on any social media. You may worry because any comment, bad or good, will be available for the general public to see. However, if you then also deal with the problem in the open and it is resolved then this will work in your favour. Be proactive on social media, don’t just blast out messages, you must listen and respond. Let’s have a look at Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company. In 2012 they faced a potential PR disaster when a Whale was struck down by one of their ships. Although accidental this could have looked really bad on Maersk as a company. Instead of hiding away from this though what Maersk did next was pretty incredible. Maersk used their Facebook page to post pictures and detailed all the points about what exactly happened that day. This created a forum for open discussion and Jonathan Wichmann, the social media manager at the time, reports that most of the comments surrounding it were positive. Check out our interview with Jonathan Wichmann to learn more.
They also have a board on their Pinterest account dedicated to the “Memory of the Maersk Norwich Wale“. By being open and honest about this mistake they look like a compassionate company that really care.
So don’t hide away when something goes wrong, and if you deal with it well you may even come off better than before!