5 Tips for B2B Growth on Social Media
By: Sophie Maerowitz
August 14, 2019
When it comes to social media, there is no question that B2Bs face a somewhat different reality than consumer-facing brands. Like their peers in direct-to-consumer markets, B2B brand marketers are tasked with growing awareness or reach on social channels, but the route to purchase is not as traceable as that of an e-commerce or fashion brand employing Instagram shoppable posts, for instance. In addition, with such a long marketing funnel, return on investment can be hard to track—especially without additional muscle from private channels like e-mail marketing.
With these challenges in mind, The Social Shake-Up has put together a panel of social media pros at B2B brands to share tactics that have helped them grow their brands’ presence on social, while tying back to overall business objectives. Our Sept. 26 webinar, “Success on Social for B2B Brands,” will feature case studies and tips from four social marketers including Dan Zucker, director of paid and social media marketing at software firm Bentley Systems and Christina Warner, who manages email and social marketing efforts for a top Fortune 500 health brand. Zucker and Warner offered a taste of their insights below.
To broaden reach, break out your content strategy by channel and topic. Zucker starts by identifying content “buckets” that align company objectives with topics that resonate with audiences. These include thought leadership, product tips and customer stories. Next, Zucker identifies the channels and total number of posts per week that his team can accommodate. He then organizes content mixes across different channels by posting frequency. While specific numbers are assigned to each category across each channel, Zucker says “it’s more about providing a North Star to guide the mix across channels, meant to be revisited on a regular basis.”
Sync email marketing with your social media calendar. Before scheduling an email blast, Warner’s team typically launches a social media content plan, nailing down business context, key messages and post topics. She says scheduled posts work well for awareness-building holidays like World MS Day and Nurses Week, as well as the launch of new pharmacies. If the social post in question aligns with an email marketing campaign goal, her team links some of those posts or images to email marketing. “Timing is also key. If the messages directly align, we may schedule the social post and the first wave of email marketing on the same day, and then schedule the second wave of email marketing two weeks after,” she says.
Consider that organic reach isn’t completely dead when it comes to Facebook video. While Zucker concedes that organic reach “has indeed taken a hit,” some of Bentley Systems’ content is highly visual, making for great video. Thanks to an in-house video team, Zucker has found that compelling video consistently helps to boost organic engagement. Zucker’s experience squares with a recent study that recorded a steep decline in Instagram engagement for brands and influencers in 2019. With no major Instagram API changes this year, it could be that the increasingly crowded Instagram environment has created renewed white space for organic Facebook content.
Hone in on your email marketing KPIs. Warner closely measures the impact of email marketing, leveraging industry-agnostic KPIS (open rates, A/B subject line testing) as well as two metrics specific to a healthcare brand’s B2B offerings. The first, prescription and revenue lift per campaign, “is the basic ROI, and extremely important to enable the marketer to tie the email campaign to the bottom line.” The second, target physician vs. non-target physician, “provides a quick snapshot of the demographic, and whether we’ve had success with physicians not on our target lists.”
Use Instagram to attract talent and tell brand stories. With 1 billion monthly average users, Instagram is a prime channel for attracting talent, notes Zucker. Bentley Systems has leveraged Instagram to “build an employer brand on social;” the channel was launched with that goal in mind. “We’ve since evolved the strategy to successfully engage prospects and current customers with user stories, news and thought leadership,” he says. In addition, the platform helps Bentley Systems provide a behind-the-scenes look at the business to prospects and customers. “Many of the infrastructure projects that our products are used [for] are visually appealing, tied to interesting stories like providing clean drinking water to a rural area or revamping a transit system in a major city,” says Zucker. And while he admits his company is lucky in that regard, he argues that “with a bit of creativity, any company can position themselves with a compelling visual story.”