In this guest post, Paul Isbell, strategy & social media director at Redengine SCC spills the secret ingredients needed to spice up Social B2B marketing.
If the benefits of social media have been largely untapped by companies marketing to consumers, trying to implement a B2B strategy is even more challenging as it is even harder to grab attention or ignite conversations around topics that leverage a functional approach rather than an emotional one.
However, over the past 12 months, this has started to change with many businesses already mining rich steams of untapped potential: unearthing B2B marketing benefits from one particular platform – LinkedIn, which, if industry experts are anything to go by, is the platform predicted to cement its position as a major player in 2019.
So why LinkedIn? Well for starters, the numbers don’t lie. Over the past 12 months, the platform has seen a 60 per cent increase in engagement with content on the platform.
93 per cent of B2B marketers say it is the most effective site for lead generation.
And, of all visitation to corporate websites from social media platforms, it accounts for 64 per cent, with 2018 seeing a huge increase in new ad formats and placements that will only continue to grow in 2019.
But for all us social media culinary experts who have been attempting to cook up social appetites amongst clients (and internal stakeholders) for a number of years now, marketing on the platform is not cheap and for many businesses, budgets are tight.
So, what’s the secret to showcasing why LinkedIn can be a cost-effective part of your social media strategy if B2B marketing is a core focus?
At Redengine SCC, we believe there are five key ingredients in cooking up the perfect Social B2B dish if you want clients and internal stakeholders to ‘eat it up’ and secure increased investment.
- Reverse your usual approach: the best chefs think outside the box.
Social has inherently been seen as a channel to drive scale amongst audiences who aren’t aware of you. This is all well and good for consumer marketing, but relevancy drives our approach for B2B.
Think about it, your BDM’s potentially have a whole heap of targets who they know could drive outcomes using a particular product that your business offers. So hyper-target initially to get quick and easy wins and then build out.
- Add some (lowest hanging) fruit initially before adopting a broad approach.
- The prospects that know you: utilise your CRM database to create matched (primed) audience lists for each product segment and relevant cross-sell opportunities.
- Targeting priority accounts (account based marketing): go after individuals in organisations that may not be customers but would be interested in a product that you have to sell as it would benefit them and their business.
- Adopt a performance approach: Retarget audiences who have visited your site with relevant communications, and build out with Lookalikes.
- Broad audiences: Once you have demonstrated the value of LinkedIn through the generation of leads, then expand your audience segments by reaching the people who don’t know you or may consider your competitors over you.
- Understand what content is flavour of the month on the platform and guaranteed to pass the taste test.
The three pillars that drive engagement and sharing are:
- Thought leadership: 73 per cent of would-be buyers say effective thought leadership impacts their decision-making process and 79 per cent say that it makes them want to find out more about the company. Utilise this stream to cement your reputation within the category and to get an edge over key competitors.
- Utility: create content that solves the various burning issues or problems that your audience want addressing. Single-minded, clear and solutions orientated content will deliver the results you need.
- Innovation: Don’t just rest on your laurels and tick boxes – how your business innovates and moves the dial on category norms will also demonstrate why a business is the right solution for potential business makers.
- Formats are essential utensils for which visual is the new headline.
Use a mix of video, images and white papers to deliver against your business outcomes and keep the following in mind:
- Video: social best practice still applies – deliver your hook in the first 10 seconds and optimise for a sound off environment – that means graphics and other visual cues guys. Tips on length: longer formats for users lower down the funnel and less than 30 seconds for broader brand awareness campaigns.
- Images – utilise infographics and statics to land single-minded messages and deliver information quickly.
- Articles – use visuals and stats to reinforce your message. Also, a little tip -utilise LinkedIn Pulse for increased reach and engagement benefits.
- Social channels are mass media restaurants, so distribution is as important as ever.
Delivering effective ROI through paid is best done by adopting the following approach:
- Get employees onboard: make sure that team members and other employee advocates engage with and share the content you post – it can dramatically expand your organic reach – especially if your customer base share too. This method delivers double the engagement and 97% of LinkedIn users trust content coming from individuals who work in the same profession.
- Initially share organically and then adopt a paid approach to drive increased results.
- Be relevant: Efficiencies are driven when you have a firm understanding of what you already know about the audience. Utilising ad formats to where they are in the decision-making process will ensure you don’t miss out on delivering high quality leads.