If you’re not utilising social media for your B2B business, it’s time to get started. You may not realise it yet but social media is a brilliant tool when you use it the right way. Doing it right is not actually as hard as you might think, and we have some tips to make it work for you.
Why you need social media for your B2B business
The reasons why you should have a social media presence are actually fairly straight forward.
- It’s where your customers and potential customers hang out. Not convinced? Here are some statistics. In Australia, more than 60% of the population have a Facebook account, and more than 15 million Australians visit Youtube each month. In 2018, Linkedin hit the milestone of 10 million users in Australia.
- It gives your company a ‘human’ presence. Ironic, isn’t it? Having a virtual online social presence will make your business seem more human. Your business can have a personality on social media, and can show your followers that you’re relate-able and that there’s actual people behind the business. It really does offer an added level of personal connection with your customers, albeit virtually. Why is this so important? More often than not, people will not buy from you until they like and trust you. Offering connection that’s not all about you and what you do/sell will help you achieve this trust.
It can lead to referrals. Often the quickest and easiest way to share something these days is to do so via a form of social media. You cannot underestimate how much social sharing can do for your business. If they’re reminded of you whilst on social media and also have links to you that they can grab and share easily, they’re more likely to do so. If your online presence and social media presence is not that great and it’s hard for people to mention you or show you to interested parties, you’re missing a golden opportunity to be seen.
Where to start
You need to start by understanding the people you want to reach, and sharing things you know they want to see. It really is quite simple.
Your clientele are business owners or employees from the businesses you deal with – this immediately gives you a connection. Quite simply, it’s business. Anything business related, especially if it’s related to the industry you’re in, can add value to your social media followers. Remember… It’s not only your customers that will follow you on social media, it’s also prospective customers and they don’t know how they feel about you yet.
The purpose of the content you share is for the benefit of the people that follow you. You must always keep this in mind – the goal is to add value and share things they want to see. If your goal is around wanting customers, sales, referrals… you will likely turn people away. The interactions will not be as good as you want them to be. Your audience will be very good at working out whether or not what you share can benefit them or not, and they can tell when your content is only there to benefit you.
Write a plan
Firstly, you need a follower profile. Anything you can come up with about people you want to follow you, and people that do. Age, gender, geographical location, interests, etc. You may think it’s hard to gather this sort of information but it’s not. Start with your major commonality – business and your particular industry.
You also need a business personality. We all want our businesses to be seen as professional, but when engaging in a social world you can’t seem like a human-less enterprise. A business being presented in a social world needs to have a personality or people will not connect with you. It is also important to note, if your personality is deemed ‘too unprofessional’ you will also likely turn people away. The goal of your business personality is to be relatable to your audience. The one thing that works time and time again on social media is humour. Not political, crude or offensive, but humour relating to life challenges and even those specific to your industry and business in general.
This leads us to the next point – working out your content. What information would interest people in your industry? Think about problems they may relate to, content that can help them enhance their businesses, etc. This sort of content will make up the bulk of what you will share via social media. As said earlier, what you post is not actually about you… it’s about your followers.
A detailed plan could include links to articles, images or memes you intend to share with your followers. Or, you may just have a rough idea of the kind of content you want to post and that they would like to see. If you really are stuck at this stage and have no idea what would work and what wouldn’t, check out social media profiles for competing businesses – you may get some good ideas.
What you should post, and when
This is a hard one to give definitive direction on as it greatly depends on your audience and the kinds of things you wish to post. As a start, consider the nature of the post (whether it’s work or social related) and think about when the best time of day would be for your followers to see the content. I.e. Sometimes weekends and evenings are better for social content to be seen however your followers may avoid work related content at these times. On the flip side, some people react to social content during a working day to have a break from work, and only find time for business development/enhancement outside of business hours. You need to test your content to see what will work best for your followers.
There are some general rules of thumb when it comes to successful social media content – here is some basic information.
- Videos and Images gain more attention than plain text posts. Even if you want to publish a text based post, you should always include an eye catching image.
- Images with high contrast colours to the platform’s colour scheme (typically blue) will stand out more. Images with a positive focus will generate the right feelings in your followers when they think of your post. There can be exceptions to this where a negative image is more appropriate, but consider the message you’re trying to send. You can find great free stock images from websites such as Unsplash, or create great images yourself easily with Canva.
- Your posts should be made up of a mix and rotation of different types of content. I.e.
- Funny, relatable, lighthearted posts (can be created by you or shared from other sources)
- Business tips, ideas, strategies, trends (can be created by you or shared from other sources)
- Sharing information about things happening in your company – updates, behind the scenes, new and exciting additions, changes, testimonials, etc. This content is important because it helps with the connection. Some of this content may be promotional, but the promotional content should only be a small portion of these kinds of posts.
HOT TIP – Post shout-outs to businesses you deal with and share their social content. It will strengthen connections you have with them and make them feel seen and valued. This is where case studies about their business and how they utilise your products or services can greatly benefit both parties equally. Additionally, it also makes prospective customers think you’re wonderful and shows that you truly care about your customers and their success.
Analysing your success
Many social media platforms have great tools to help you analyse the success of your content. You may want a specific type of interaction or reaction from your audience, or you might simply want engagement in general. Analysing the results will help you work out what resonates with your followers and what doesn’t.
Analysis can be one of those areas where people become discouraged or decide they really don’t understand how all this works. You may think you’ve figured it all out and then your next post crashes and burns without any indication why. Analytics are seriously the best thing ever, when they’re used in the right way and approached with the right mindset.
There are so many factors that will affect whether your post is a hit or a miss. And pretty much all of these factors are out of your control. You will post something that doesn’t gain the traction you were hoping it would – it happens to everyone. It’s important not to feel discouraged and put it aside as a miss. What is important is that you keep posting, you keep engaged, and you don’t take it all too seriously. After all, the goal is simply to connect with your people.
So, what result is a good result? You need to evaluate the performance of your content on a case by case basis. If you want to really measure your results, do some research into what conversion rates you should be aiming for relating to the goal of your post. If it’s likes, comments, shares, conversions… what is a good audience to engagement ratio? This will be different depending on your industry, audience, content and the kinds of responses you’re looking for.
This always comes up so it’s important to address. No, you DO NOT need to pay money to boost a post and have your content seen. You can successfully do social media for your B2B business without spending money – you just need to continue working on it. That’s not to say that advertising on social media platforms is ineffective. With the right advertising strategy for your business, social media advertising can be very successful – Yes, even for B2B businesses.
So, you know that social media can really enhance your marketing strategy and you now have some tips to get you started. Form a plan, learn as much as you can, evaluate results, and try to have fun connecting with your business community.