Typically, when marketers think about social media, the first thing that comes to mind are all the trendy B2C companies that allow customers to purchase a product directly from a visually appealing Instagram post. But, in the world of B2B marketing, social media plays a completely different role in the purchase process.
One of the main reasons is because B2C and B2B audiences require very different types of information to make purchasing decisions. From speaking with B2B marketers about their social media challenges (e.g., lack of engagement or generating brand awareness), I’ve noticed a few very critical elements missing from their strategy.
Critical Elements of Developing a B2B Social Media Strategy
- Use the 80/20 Rule when sharing social media content. Customers are not visiting social media platforms to learn why you’ve been a leading company for the past 120 years or the 5 reasons why your company is better than competitors. Customers are looking for practical help. Leverage third party content such as; industry news and opinions, partner content, ratings and reviews, thought leadership from industry influencers and customer content to garner credibility.
- In the theme of providing practical help, create messaging that empathizes with business challenges and is aligned to helping customers complete specific buying tasks. Buyers are not looking to be sold to. Buyers are looking to overcome a problem or respond to organizational changes (see Engaging B2B Buyers in an Uncertain Environment, subscription required).
- Invest in learning which social media platforms your customers use throughout the purchase process and the buying tasks they use those platforms for. While LinkedIn is a natural social media platform for B2B buyers to use, neglecting Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, can result in missed opportunities for reaching buying group stakeholders.
As you integrate these critical elements into your B2B social media strategy, remember that your focus should be on helping customers overcome buying and business challenges, not telling them how amazing your brand is. Invest in better understanding the internal obstacles that get in the way of customers making confident buying decisions.
For a more in-depth analysis of how B2B marketers should leverage social media, be sure to check out 5 Ways to Succeed in B2B Social Media Marketing (subscription required).