Social Success in a B2B World

Social media – two little words that carry so much weight and seem to be talked about nonstop. It seems like everyone feels their brand should be engaging on social media but setting up an appropriate strategy can be confusing and overwhelming. Thankfully there are people like Brian Reed, former CMO of ZeroFox, to break it down for us, which is exactly what he did at the May TMA meeting.  

Brian’s presentation, titled “Social Success in a B2B World,” was one of the best presentations on social media marketing I’ve seen. He started by discussing the importance of knowing your social ROI and exactly who your buyer is. With the average person having 5.54 social media accounts, the chances are high that your buyer is online somewhere, but it’s on you to identify exactly who you are targeting.

That said, Brian believes that social marketing is likely only a fraction of your marketing spend, and he views it as either an overlay or an extension to what your company is already doing.

Even if only a part of your overall marketing program, social B2B engagement works. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and companies need to meet their customers where they are. 

There are a number of tools that make it easier for organizations to manage and track these kinds of statistics and engage with audiences. Brian breaks these tools down into a few categories, including social management (Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Sprout), social selling (Hootsuite Amplify), marketing automation (Hubspot) and URL shorteners (bit.ly, goo.gl).

Where is all of this engagement taking place? Across the top social media platforms, of course. Let’s break down a few of those.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the king of B2B social media, with a massive audience. Both organic and paid social media campaigns work well on this platform, and you can target specific audiences with ease. On the downside, all that information and targeting comes at a higher price.

Brian advises a LinkedIn strategy that treats the site like a second website. It’s all about starting and maintaining conversions, and the best way to achieve that goal is by keeping your content fresh and up-to-date (posting a minimum of 1-3 times a week). Additionally, the first 150 characters of a LinkedIn page are scanned by Google, so be sure to optimize these characters for search.

Facebook

Like LinkedIn, Facebook has a massive audience and more adults are using it than ever before (as the younger generations gravitate towards the next big thing they don’t want their parents to know about). While organic and paid campaigns can work well, targeting can be challenging. However, this does make the CPM/CPL lower than on LinkedIn.

Brian sees Facebook as a good platform to get some inexpensive awareness and mid-funnel nurturing. Use of video and events plays well on Facebook, and the site is great for magnifying news. Facebook also allows retargeting of ads, which can be effective. The process is as simple as embedding a pixel on your company website, after someone visits your site relevant ads will be presented to them across the web, including on Facebook.

Twitter

The downside to Twitter’s audience size is that it’s very noisy. While both organic and paid campaigns work well, paid can help with SEO and cut through some of the noise. Targeting is also a problem on Twitter as most people sign up with their personal emails rather than business accounts, and there are few personal details included in a profile. However, like Facebook, this makes Twitter good for inexpensive awareness and mid-funnel nurturing.  

Some of the perks of Twitter include geo-targeting, which can be especially useful if you are at an event and are trying to drive traffic to your booth or party. You can also conduct segment-targeting for webinars to drive registrations. Also, like on Facebook, you can conduct remarketing using the same pixel strategy. On Twitter the ads will be present in someone’s Twitter stream for up to 90 days.

Brian shared a few other Twitter tricks and tips. According to Brian, tweets with less than 100 characters get 18% more engagement and tweets with photos earn 150% more re-tweets and 18% more clicks.

Brian also talked briefly about Twitter cards, which, per the Twitter website, are a way to attach rich photos, videos and media experiences to tweets, helping to drive traffic to your website. Twitter cards appear to be effective, too, and according to Twitter internal data, promoted tweets with website cards have 43% higher engagement rates than tweets with just links.

When it comes to B2B (and B2G) social media success, the road seems to end with these three platforms. While Instagram and Snapchat can be great for consumer companies they aren’t really worth the effort for business audiences. The one exception would be possibly setting up a Snapchat filter for a large conference or event, but the ROI is unknown and likely small.

While this recap of Brian’s TMA event just scratches the surface, so much more can be found in the slides he was kind enough to share. I highly encourage everyone to check out Brian’s full presentation and then give us (or him) a shout if you have any questions.