B2B Social Media Marketing: 33 Strategies, Ideas and Examples
When people think about social media marketing they typically think B2C. After all, social media is where a majority of consumers spend their time.
B2C businesses create social media content for their target audience to enjoy, a relationship is developed, and eventually the consumer makes a purchase.
Does that mean that B2B businesses can't find success on social media?
But you do have to think a bit different...
Where B2C businesses use social primarily for generating brand awareness for their product or service, B2B companies should be focusing getting their audience off of social media and to their website where they can be converted into leads.
This article will give you 33 B2B social media marketing strategies, ideas, and examples.
When it comes to generating valuable leads for a B2B company, ebooks are the bread and butter for most.
- They're low cost and don't require much resources to create.
- They're high value and packed with information.
One easy way to create your very own ebook is to start with your company blog. If you've been publishing regularly to your company blog on a specific topic then you've done 80% of the work already.
Collect the blog posts around one topic that have been well received by your audience and combine them into one single pdf file. Get a designer to whip up a front and back cover, add some styling, and you'll have your very first ebook.
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions advertises The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn. It's an ebook full of the same content that they've been producing for years; organized into one neat package.
Ask any marketer, infographics always perform well especially on social media. B2B businesses that are privy to industry specific data are at an advantage when it comes to content. Sure this information can be presented in a boring ol' white paper like every other competitor OR it can be turned into a bright and fun infographic.
A snippet of the info graphic can be shared on social media and shared amongst the industry. But for the full version, visitors must come to your website and download it in exchange for lead information.
Infographics, like in the WordStream example below, will always be in demand because they visualize complex information. The key here is to create a valuable infographic that organizes and makes life easier for the reader. The reader simplifies their life and you get a valuable lead.
Social media is a key channel for promoting your next webinar. Leading up to the webinar you'll be able to get the face of the event in front of multiple groups spread across a variety of audiences.
Social media can act in a way similar to email reminders. 3 weeks out, 1 week out, 3 days before, and 1 day before, you audience can be reminded of the upcoming webinar and make sure to register.
Jay Baer of Convince&Convert is a regular webinar speaker and host. He teamed up with Insightpool to speak about finding influencers to help your business. By leveraging all of his social media channels, Convince&Convert's and Insightpool's channels he can guarantee that every spot is filled.
Jay uses his strong reputation as an industry influencer to make his webinar promotion go further. He has spent the time and effort to build his audience on all of his social channels which makes them one of his many powerful communication tools.
On demand audio content is the future. If you're one of the thousands of businesses that create and produce a podcast, social media is great way to get your audience involved in it.
What's great about podcasts, besides the flexibility, is that they can be played anytime anywhere. On a social network like Facebook, podcasts can be played right onto your Facebook feed via a player like SoundCloud.
Buffer's new podcast is starting to pick up steam amongst social media lovers worldwide. Buffer makes sure to promote their podcast on all of their social channels to reach all of their audience.
5. Social media contest
Generating leads through social media can be a tricky task to pull off. Tricky but not impossible.
One of the most effective ways of using social media to generate leads is by doing a social media contest or giveaway. An awesome prize and the correct setup can generate hundreds or even thousands of leads for a business.
Here are the steps you'll need to perform to pull off an excellent social media giveaway:
- Pick a theme
- Decide on the rules of the giveaway
- Choose a deadline
- Choose a prize
- Promote your giveaway
Cisco's Innovation Grand Challenge does double duty by pulling in thousands of entries (leads) and collects innovative ideas for their development team. And for Cisco being a large global technology company, they get to engage with an audience of enthusiasts and creators. It brings personality to the brand and helps it stay relevant amongst the community.
6. Industry reports
Private industry insights and data can be transformed into comprehensive industry reports. This can then be used as a lead magnet to attract prospective industry leads.
Unique data and insights create immediate valuable because the information wouldn't be available anywhere else.
Vision Critical uses their customer intelligence platform to aggregate information about 'Generation Z' in their industry report below. This way they can attract clients and leads that are interested in marketing to the oh-so-coveted Generation Z. Vision Critical uses both organic and paid advertisements on Facebook and LinkedIn to funnel leads onto a landing page for their industry reports.
7. Free trials
For businesses that offer free trials for their product or service, Facebook allows custom pages to be created right on your business Facebook page. It's another way to collect traffic and conversions via a third party audience.
Moz has their custom tab setup to offer a free 30-day trial for their platform. This way they're able to reach a large audience on Facebook that they wouldn't have had otherwise. Like we said before, the goal here to is move the traffic from your Facebook, or any social channel, back to your website where they can be converted. Making use of every method to do so is the best way to set yourself up for success.
8. Free consultations
Like the previous example, free consultations can be a valuable lead magnet to promote on social media. Influencers specifically will use the offer of free consultation time to collect leads.
Shopify uses their network of incredible influencers and business leaders to offer mentorship as an incentive for their build a business challenge. They leverage the names and reach of these mentors and promote it repeatedly all over social media.
9. Referral bonuses
This strategy uses sharing as an incentive for social media contests. If participants share the contest with their networks they receive bonus entries for more chances to win.
Yovada used this exact strategy on their recent social media contest. If participants shared the contest on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest they would receive a bonus entry and a better chance of winning.
10. Collect testimonials from social media
Interactions on social media don't have to stay within the social media ecosystem. Your interactions can be used in different areas of your business.
Positive interactions on social media can be used on your website as testimonials. These positive interacts work to add trust and credibility to your business and what you offer. Knowing that similar business have used and found success with your business is powerful.
Picatic knows this and uses real tweets from other big business players to add credibility on their homepages and landing pages. These aren't like the typical random testimonials with a cheesy photo you'll see on the web. These are real tweets from legitimate users that you can verify.
11. Showcase partnerships
Showing that you play nice with other B2B businesses is an important part of growing and reaching new audiences.
Partnerships allow you to share audiences with other companies and connect with those with like-minded missions.
Cisco uses several opportunities to highlight the partnerships they've made with other brands/companies on social media to show off their involvement in diverse communities. A partnership with Live Nation shows how they care about live music and fun, and more importantly, how their technology makes things like multimedia concerts possible.
12. Direct links back to your website
At a bare minimum social media channels should be well optimized to send traffic back to your website. This means links in every bio and complete profile information.
Social media profiles, like your Facebook business page, should be completed fully to make sure that third-party traffic has easy access to your website. In some situations interested parties will land on your Facebook business page first, so make it easy for them to find more information.
Aside from their stunning social content, Mailchimp makes sure to link all of their social media channels back to their website. In this case, their Instagram profile link is directed to their careers page. This is because they use their social channels to give followers inside access to their business and operations.
13. Paid ads
This one's a no-brainer. Each social network offers their own form of paid advertisements. Depending on where your audience is you can find the right network to reach the segments of your choice.
For businesses with enough resources, paid social media advertising is an effective avenue that delivers instant results.
LinkedIn, for example, is the largest professional social media network in the world which makes it a favourite for B2B advertising. Facebook and Twitter rank high as well but ultimately it comes down to how well you know where your audience spends their time.
Shaw Business uses LinkedIn Ads to promote a video it produced detailing work done with Jelly Marketing. The choice of video makes the advertisement much more accessible and appealing to watch for those it hits.
14. Sharing widget on blog
A tiny addition of a social media sharing widget on your blog can make all the difference. It makes it super simple for visitors to instantly share articles with their network.
On the Wishpond blog we use a tiny share widget that sticks to the left hand side of our blog articles. This way a reader can choose to share the article at any point. A higher share count means more traffic and it helps to have some evidence of value surrounding your content for new visitors.
15. Social video
In the next few years social networks like Facebook are predicted to become 90% video content. The increasingly lower barriers to entry make web video easier and less costly to produce.
Video as a media form suits the fast paced, low attention nature of most web users. It gets points across faster and with higher entertainment value. It's much more approachable to watch an expert speak about a dry topic like conversion rate optimization, especially if it's aided by fun visuals, than read a long pdf about it.
Vision Critical uses video in many engaging ways on its social channels. Being a B2B business Vision Critical knows that well produced video can bring much more life and excitement to its customer intelligence information.
16. Behind the scenes
What makes social media such a flexible platform for B2B business is that it can be used for several different initiatives. One way to use is as a platform for communicating the company mission and values. An inside look behind the brand adds personality and life, and goes a long way to attract high quality employees for example.
Slack, the immensely popular business chat application, knows this and uses their social media channels to give their fans a behind the scenes look at life at Slack. Employees, projects, wellness, and goodwill are all topics of pride for the Slack channels and it humanizes the brand.
17. White papers
White papers have been the go-to resource for most businesses for as long as anyone can remember. They're still going strong today and can be promoted on social media without issue.
Marketo has custom tabs set up on their Facebook page for promoting their white papers. Visitors can explore the page and enter in their information directly on the Facebook tab. They've done their best to include the necessary information and imagery to make the offer compelling.
18. Free templates
Free templates are always a favourite for high value lead magnets. Templates save people time and fast track a lot of hard work. Templates can also be created in virtually any industry which make them versatile.
Hubspot offers a free editorial calendar template in the social media post below in the hopes of attracting blog managers. Templates like these that would be useful to your target audience add lots of value in the easiest way possible. Hubspot simply had to format their own calendar and make it accessible to everyone.
19. Syndication - Medium - LinkedIn - Facebook - SlideShare
Nowadays all the major social networks allow publishing of syndicated content. This means publishing content that is already on your blog to get access to a different network of people. There are platforms like Facebook articles, LinkedIn's Pulse, and Medium.
Content that is already on your blog can be republished on Medium to access its large network of long-form writing lovers.
20. Employee advocacy
Your business' social media channels are perfect for employee advocacy. Highlighting employees does a few things: (1) employees can be congratulated and mentioned for their great work; (2) potential employees can get an idea of how great your company is; (3) it will get all employees to participate and share in social media promotion.
Bench frequently highlights and involves its employees and it help amplify their content. They make it a point to involve their employees in their content and they in turn advocate the values of the brand.
21. Competitor monitoring
As we mentioned before, social media is not only a channel for sales and marketing. It can also be used to monitor your competition.
Tools like Hootsuite allow you to keep tabs on the actions of your competitors. Anytime you competitor makes a move or pushes out a new initiative they'll likely post it on social media for their fans.
On a network like Facebook, for example, you'll be able to see who your competitors are targeting, what content their fans are responding well to, and how they're using the channel for growth.
22. Entry/Exit popups
This is not a strategy used directly on social media but one for the traffic coming from social media. Like we said before, you'll want to capitalize on the traffic social media is sending back to your website. Everytime you post content, like a blog post, people are clicking through and visiting your website.
I'm going to assume you're not making free content for folks to come, read, and then leave never to return. Of course not, you want a sale or at bare minimum a lead, right?
That's where a website popup comes in.
A website popup commands action from your visitors prompting them to leave information so that your sales and marketing may interact with them in the future.
All the traffic Neil Patel sends back to his website from social media is greeted with this lovely popup.
23. Choose the right channels
20 percent of your effort produces 80 percent of your successes. Knowing where your audience is, is a large part of your success on social media. B2B businesses often don't have the time and resources to devote much to social media so it is even more important then to know where your audience is.
Channels that do not prove to have measurable return should be eliminated from your marketing stack. We see it too often that businesses feel the need to be on channel [X] solely because it's the hip thing to do. A mining company, for an extreme example, does not need to be on Snapchat. I doubt much of their audience is busy posting selfies with dog noses.
If your social media efforts are spread too thin, eliminate the unnecessary and stick to what is producing some return on investment. This could mean sticking to the channels that return the most traffic or the one that produced the most leads.
24. Q&A - AMA
Social video as we said before is becoming a huge element of social interactions. Low cost and easy production tools are making video a low barrier to entry for many businesses.
Take advantage of the opportunity by hosting a Q&A or AMA (ask me anything) for your potential clients and fans. It can allow potential clients more insight into what your business provides, past successes, and solutions.
Jon Loomer regularly hosts Q&A's for his fans on Facebook where he answers user submitted questions. He gets to share his advanced knowledge, help his fans, and receive client leads all in one shot.
25. Live stream
The live streaming features on platforms like Facebook and Twitter (Periscope) gives your fans and followers an insider perspective. Many people got an inside look at Facebook and were treated to a Mark Zuckerberg Q&A the day the live streaming feature was released.
Allowing your fans and followers to get live access to your business builds trust. It shows proven experience on a specific topic and has the potential to influence client decisions.
Social media influencer Mari Smith, live streams many of her speaking events and conference for her followers to give them a live look at her day-to-day business. The fact that Mari can show live her many speaking engagements it opens her up for more in the future.
26. Create your own groups
Facebook and LinkedIn allow business and like minded individuals create groups around a specific interest or subject.
Content Marketing Institute gathers content marketers around the world in their LinkedIn group where each and everyone can discuss content strategy. Having a group dedicated solely to content marketing helps CMI promote its content and find suitable businesses to work with.
27. Live Chat
Though relatively common feature on most website, live chat on social media is growing. Specifically on Facebook, companies are using it as an alternative channel to speak and engage with customers.
You've likely seen articles across the web talking about chatbots. Whether you choose to have a chatbot developed (costly) or have a human do the talking, live chat can be a powerful support, marketing, and sales tools for your business.
Your Facebook page visitors can talk in real time with a human support agent and be redirected to your website for more information. Bank of America connects with some of their customers via Facebook messenger to deliver real time support to their customers. It's a quick and easy way for them to add that extra effort and come off as a business that cares about their clients.
28. Branded images
For businesses that are publishing unique and engaging content online it's important to remember to brand each and every piece. Branded content that is shared can be traced back to the original creator.
PostPlanner creates bright, fun and colourful creations for each of their social channels. They makes sure to brand each piece they create so that it can be traced back to their channel when shared. On Instagram for example, their fans and followers come for the fun content and stay for the consistent posting and engaging hand-drawn style of their feed.
29. Breaking news updates
Breaking current events and announcing industry news is an advantage that most B2B businesses have access to. This is based on the fact that insider information provides valuable information that no one else has.
The mega South by Southwest festival uses content surrounding its upcoming event by slowing releasing news about upcoming speakers, attendees, and surrounding events. It builds hype for the festival and encourage early ticket purchases.
Finding the right people for an open position takes a lot of exposure and reach. Often times, recruiting and career websites are not enough to find qualified employees. With the reach and audience social media has it can be a useful tool for marketing open positions at your company.
Fedex uses their social channels for all of its PR purposes. In this case they're bringing attention to their job fair. Like we mentioned before, social media marketing does not have to be characterized as only a sales tool, it can support many of your business and marketing efforts.
31. Showcase clients
Put your past success to work. Don't hesitate to show off a little and bring your happy clients to light. This can be in the form of a case study or just a happy comment or review. Best practices often say to keep it to a 4 to 1 ratio of valuable content to promotion to avoid scaring away followers.
In the example below Heyo highlights one of their happy clients for their followers and the success that was achieved during their campaign.
32. Email share tools - Groove
Make it easy for your email subscribers to interact with your social channels to increase exposure for your content.
Groove, the popular help desk software, attaches a pre-populated tweet to their weekly mailouts from their CEO Alex. The simple tweet-to-share makes sharing their content a simple process for their audience.
33. Optimize cover images and pins
An often missed opportunity for B2B businesses is the optimization of their social media pages.
One being the creation of branded header images. And the second being a pinned post.
The header image is a prime opportunity to list out some business information like a domain, email, and social handles. It's the first thing a visitor sees on arrival so it draws a lot of attention.
Something should always be pinned to the top of your social feed as well. A new promotion, contest, or new piece of content should be pinned to bring attention to it.
GetResponse's new automation hub unveiling is pinned to the top of the Twitter feed so that curious tweeters will see it first.
WordStream took the opportunity to brand their cover image and pin a tweet to the top of their Twitter feed.
A branded cover image and a pinned post is an easy win for businesses and will focus more attention on to important content.