Woman holding VSSL branded mug

March 13 2020

by David Tillson

Social Media

The Value of Social Media in B2B

Take a minute to think of some of your favorite brands. Are you aware of their social media presence? Chances are, you even follow one or two of them to keep track of sales, new products or fan rewards. The rise of all-star branded social media accounts has taken platforms like Twitter and Instagram by storm, but there’s one major commonality among the most viral accounts in this category– they’re B2C. Working in a B2C (business to consumer) space allows for more flexibility in terms of content, voice and overall presentation, but did you know you can use some of those B2C strategies and concepts to completely revamp your B2B social presence?

When you remove the direct consumer element, it can be natural for companies in the B2B (business to business) space to not prioritize social media because the content is simply not as easy to generate. However, with some strategic planning and a dedicated social media manager, a social media component has the capabilities to transform all aspects of your business. If you don’t already have a social media component associated with your B2B company or aren’t prioritizing this aspect of your business, use this blog to see just how much value social media can bring to your entire brand.

Establish You as a Thought Leader

One of the most beneficial aspects of using social media in B2B is creating and contributing to thought leadership. Even in the most niche of industries, there is always an opportunity to share or discuss current events and industry trends on your social platforms. Both LinkedIn and Twitter offer tools that can be used to your advantage to make this even easier. One to two times a week, LinkedIn provides article recommendations from within your industry to comment on using your company page. You can also branch out to non-industry topics and provide commentary that either ties back to your service offerings or generally relates to your industry. Using Twitter’s Trends For You panel, social media managers can comment on current events and industry hashtags to be part of the conversation while also adding value to your online reputation by expanding your digital footprint.

Example: if you work in the cybersecurity industry, you could comment on school systems around the world opting for a digital approach to education during the coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreaks and tie that back to the importance of digital safety.

If you do not have the bandwidth to create blog content that regularly addresses current events or industry trends, using your social media platforms to add to existing conversations will help to establish your brand as an industry thought leader. Regularly keeping up with this will allow your followers and potential new followers to see you as a resource who provides informed commentary not only on your industry, but on topics that affect the majority.

The Benefit of Social Listening

Social listening is a great way to gain valuable insight on the preferences of your customer base and on your industry as a whole. There are several tools you can use such as Sprout Social’s Social Listening tool to help generate a dashboard dedicated to social listening. Utilizing your social media platforms for social listening can be as simple or robust as you choose to make it. The best way to get started in this is to identify a list of keywords that are the most beneficial for your company. Start as broad as you can and then work your way down to as granular as you can manage to cover a wide range of topics to keep a pulse on.

We recommend regularly checking in on these terms on social media and keeping track of any trends and changes. From here, you can use this information to better inform the content you are creating for your social feeds. You can also structure your copy to better reflect the trends you are noticing. Are consumers in your industry regularly searching for a specific topic on social media? Take that information and translate it to a piece of content or a small posting series centered around providing educational resources connected to that topic.

Organic Traffic = Free Advertising

One of the best uses for social media in B2B industries is the fact that it’s free. Traditional social media efforts rely on organic strategies to help bring in new eyes to your brand. The flip side of this is commonly referred to as paid media, which, as the name suggests, uses paid strategies to improve lead generation, increase brand visibility and more. There are a number of tools that you can use to help you make the most of your organic traffic opportunities. We like to think of B2B social media accounts as an individual “person” who represents the whole brand. With that in mind, we need to treat social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter as networking mixers. There are plenty of opportunities to insert your brand into relevant conversations.

Pro-tip: There is a fine line between adding your brand to a conversation and adding value as your brand to a conversation.

By actively (one to two posts a week) keeping up with your organic social presence both on and off your company page you’re already making valuable contributions to your company’s marketing and sales departments without spending a dime!

As exciting as all of this information is, it is important to remember that you will only get out of this what you put in. Spend time understanding your social audience and other company pages within your industry. Having someone who can dedicate a few hours a week to developing a social strategy and really help get the most out of your social presence will be the key to adding the most value to your company. Social media is a powerful tool that, when used right, has the power to transform all departments within an organization.

Give social media a seat at the table when creating your B2B business and marketing strategies and you’ll be amazed at the results you’ll yield.