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Alison Osborne

9 Tips for Using Social Media in B2B Marketing

Image of phone in lights

Social media is used by 83% of B2B marketers use, making it the most common B2B marketing tactic (contentmarketinginstitute). Using social media isn’t only valuable for brand awareness, it’s also effective for generating leads, researching competition, SEO, and more. On top of this, 79% of marketers said they saw increased traffic with as little as 6 hours a week invested in social media marketing (socialmediaexaminer).

Last week we discussed the 4 Social Media Platforms That B2B Marketers Need to Be On, this week we break down how to use these platforms effectively by outlining 9 tips for using social media for B2B markets:

 

1. Define and Engage Your Target Audience

Whether you’re just beginning to use social media for your business or you already have a presence on multiple platforms, be sure that you’ve defined your target audience. Broadcasting your messages to anyone and everyone is a waste of your time and resources.

Engaging with your target audience on social media allows you to build relationships and showcase your value propositions. As a result, it also reduces the cost of building relationships and customer acquisition since your business can connect and reach out to clients or prospects through social media platforms.

 

Resource - LinkedIn Targeting Graphic

 

2. Utilize User Generated Content

It’s important to provide value to your audience and one of the best ways to do that is through good content. Make use of user-generated content. It not only makes it easier for you to create good content, but it also acts as a testimonial for the rest of your audience. A great way to begin encouraging user-generated content is by sending out company swag or hosting events and asking your customers or attendees to post in response.

 

Inspiration - link to WeWork Instagram

 

3. Monitor Your Competitors

A great thing about social media is that all of your competitors likely have a presence on multiple platforms. Social media is a great place for you to monitor your competitors and look into how they’re engaging with customers, who they’re engaging with, what content they’re producing, etc. You can gather great insights and research on your competitors through social media.

 

Tool - link to tools to monitor competitors

 

4. Use a Conversational Tone

Your brand is its own entity, so create a personality on social media for it. Use language like “we” or “our” when speaking about your company to anthropomorphize your brand. Social media was created for humans, not businesses, so don’t be afraid to add humor to your content strategy. But be tasteful with the type and amount of humour that you use in your content—don’t go over the top.

 

Inspiration - link to companies who use humour

 

5. Create Content for Your Marketing Funnel

Social media is great for awareness, consideration, and conversion. Identify which content fits into each stage and share content to audiences as they go through your marketing funnel. Also identify which stage you want more of an audience in at a given time. If you’re looking to increase your brand awareness, then build a social media content strategy around this stage. Follow this rule for the consideration and conversion stages as well.

 

Resource - link to blog

 

6. Improve Your SEO and SERP

Social media can significantly improve your business’s SEO and search engine rankings. When promoting your content on social media you’re also constantly driving audiences to your website. The more your audience likes, shares, and clicks on your content, the more Google will view it as valuable content and a valuable website. As a result, Google will increase your business’s SEO and SERP. If you are looking for a way to manage your business growth, you might be interested in finding out more check out, https://www.salesforce.com/products/guide/lead-gen/.

 

Tool - link to blog to improve SEO

 

7. Invest in Social Video for Lead Generation

Video was once seen as only effective for awareness, but it has shifted to being an incredible tool for producing leads in B2B markets. Videos such as demos, case studies/testimonials, and webinars are just a few key pieces of conversion content when generating leads. It is valuable to invest in impactful video content for your viewers so you can convince audiences that you’re the best business for them to work with.

 

Resource - link to lead generation video

 

8. Track Everything

Lastly, it’s vital that you are continuously monitoring and tracking all of your own activity and the activity of those who interact with you. This data will show you what is and isn’t working, what to continue doing and to stop doing, and much more. If you don’t track and analyze your activity on social media, you won’t know how you’re doing, what you’re achieving or how to improve, providing zero benefit to you and your business.

 

Resource - link to blog for analytics

 

9. Stay On Top of Trends

As a B2B marketer, it’s important to stay updated on any new trends that are occurring in social media. As new trends enter the market, you should begin to gather research on them and decide whether they’ll be an effective tool to use in your social media strategy. Staying on top of social media trends can increase your chances of being at the forefront of their popularity. A great example is Instagram’s IGTV. Instagram has recently launched a long-form content section on their platform, allowing users to make videos up to an hour long. This is one trend that all marketers will want to stay updated on and participate in. B2B brands like HubSpot are already beginning to take advantage of the benefits that IGTV can offer on social media.

 

Resource - link to IGTV blog

 

Want to learn more about why B2B marketers need to use social media and what content to promote? Check out these articles!

  1. 4 Social Media Platforms B2B Marketers Need to Be On
  2. 21 Pieces Of Content To Enable Your Sales Team With
  3. The Power of Emotion in Your Content Marketing Strategy

4 Social Media Platforms B2B Marketers Need to Be On

B2B Social Media Marketing Featured Image

When it comes down to it, there’s no replacement for social media. As a B2B marketer, you need to constantly be active on social media to engage with clients, customers, and prospects. It’s an effective and low-cost way to get your brand in front of the right people. Many B2B marketers will stop their social media usage just on LinkedIn, but you don’t need to limit yourself. There are many other platforms that are incredibly effective for B2B businesses. Below we’ve listed 4 useful social media platforms that your business should be on and also best practices for each one.

 

Infographic for LinkedIn Content

Overview

LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform in the eyes of many B2B marketers. The platform has developed a reputation for being the most effective for B2B businesses and for a good reason, 63% of marketers rated LinkedIn as the best B2B social media (Content Marketing Institute).

 

Why You Need It

LinkedIn’s most useful function is definitely lead generation for B2B marketers. 79% of B2B marketers see LinkedIn as an incredibly effective source for generating leads (LinkedIn). It has in-depth targeting options when creating ads which is a great source for getting your message and name in front of the right audience to convert. When you have a company page on LinkedIn you’re exposing yourself to over 430 million business professionals. There are endless amounts of value in having your brand on LinkedIn when it comes to awareness, consideration, and conversion for your business.

 

How to Use It

It’s no surprise that as a professional networking platform, your target audience will be spending their time here as a B2B brand. You want to provide value to your audience on this platform, provide them with information that’s useful to them. Post thought leadership content in your industry, company updates/culture, share your latest work, etc. And always engage; engage with your current customers and prospects since they’re already in a business mindset on this platform.

 

Brands That Are Doing Well

1. Hp

2. HubSpot

 

Infographic for Instagram Content

Overview

Visual content is only growing in popularity and value. Instagram is the perfect platform for showcasing your brand’s story and business while engaging with audiences through pictures and video. With the launch of IGTV Instagram is only going to become more effective for B2B marketers. Instagram now allows users to create video content up to an hour long, they’re also planning to develop Instagram Channels with their content to allow people to subscribe to and add links to their descriptions to help drive traffic elsewhere.

Read more about Instagram’s IGTV here: TechCrunch.

 

Why You Need It

There are over 1 billion active accounts on Instagram every month and 80% of those accounts follow businesses on the platform (Instagram). Instagram offers a variety of ad styles such as photo, video, and carousel. Each type of ad can be used for different campaign goals as well, businesses may advertise for awareness, promotion, driving sales, generating leads, etc.

Check out how SumUp, a financial technology company, used Instagram Stories to boost awareness and generate leads. SumUp Success Story.

 

How to Use It

Instagram is a full creative visual platform, take advantage of this. Post visual content that fits with your brand but get creative. You want to stand out visually compared to your competitors. Quotes, company culture, and user-generated content do incredibly well on this platform. Get involved in the community that you’re trying to target on Instagram, participate with conversations, hashtags, and engagement. It’s important to seem active and personable on this platform. Link your website and other relevant accounts in your bio, you can’t link to posts so this is the best way to begin directing users to your website from your account. And lastly, tell a story. Don’t get caught up in posting generic or general content, make sure everything you posts fits within your brand and the story that you’re trying to convey with your feed.

Hootsuite is a perfect example of a B2B brand that’s telling stories of their team and company culture. Check out Hootsuite’s profile here: Hootsuite.

 

Brands That Are Doing Well

1. Huge

2. Cisco

 

Infographic for Twitter Content

Overview

Twitter is a great platform to post content, answer questions, and comment quickly. This allows you to engage in a way that other social media platforms don’t have the ability to. With 87% of B2B marketers using Twitter as part of their content strategy, it’s clear that there are many benefits that businesses will see when using Twitter for marketing (Forbes).

 

Why You Need It

Twitter has more than 330 million monthly active users and over 500 million tweets going out per day (Weidert). Twitter users cover a wide spectrum of industries, job titles, location, etc. Use this to your advantage, your target audience and potential prospects will exist on Twitter. On top of this, Twitter can be used as a virtual customer service platform, answer questions that audiences have, explain how your service or product works, also making it easy for audiences to tag your handle and directly ask your business the questions.

 

How to Use It

Use Twitter to send quick updates and content to the masses. On the business side, you can promote your services, build your brand personality, drive traffic to your website and show your expertise. On the audience side, you should answer questions that people are having, research how your target audience is using their Twitter to better understand them and how to communicate on the platform, and identify and engage with influencers to promote what your business does. The most important tip to keep in mind is just to stay active, Twitter is a busy platform with constant conversation and content (over 500 million Tweets per day) make sure your business doesn’t fall behind and is active on this platform.

 

Brands That Are Doing Well

1. IBM

2. Deloitte

 

Infographic for Facebook Content

Overview

Facebook is more relevant for B2B marketers than most may believe. Facebook is a great platform to engage with audiences and learn more about what they want from your company. Audiences can easily interact with your company page, engaging with your content and rating your overall company. All of this engagement is effective for boosting your Facebook profile.

 

Why You Need It

Facebook has over 16 million business pages on the platform, providing a great outreach for your brand. Facebook is also filled with company decision makers who are actively engaging. The median amount of time decision makers spend on Facebook is 74% higher than the average Facebook user (Medium). This means that your company has the ability to get in front of the right people for generating leads. Facebook also offers great advertising options for B2B marketers, the platform offers unique options to advertise and assist your business to meet its specific goals.

 

How to Use It

Use Facebook to promote who your business is and what you do. Brand all of your content and utilize rich media, post content around thought leadership, how-to’s, company culture, latest work, etc. You can also generate leads through Facebook ads, you have many options for settings that you can use for your ads. Follow this step-by-step guide to creating Facebook ads here: Hubspot.

 

Brands That Are Doing Well

1. Intel

2. SalesForce

 

Interested in learning more about B2B marketing and content creation? Check out these articles!

1. Your Marketing Funnel – What Content Goes Where
2. 6 Common Myths/Mistakes When Creating Content
3. 21 Pieces of Content to Enable Your Sales Team With

Your Marketing Funnel – What Content Goes Where

Graphic of the stages of the marketing funnel

Video has evolved to become one of the most effective tools for marketers in all stages of the customer journey. Where it once was only valuable at the awareness stage, video is now essential for consideration and conversion as well.

We’ve broken down each stage of the funnel and given you the necessities for creating video content at each stage.

 

Graphic for awareness stage of the marketing funnel

 

In the awareness stage of your marketing funnel, you want to focus on creating videos such as brand spots, social content, and how-to videos. Share your video content on your website (specifically your homepage), social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.), and finally link to them in your blogs and other content you are putting out.

Keep your video under one minute in this stage since at this point you are just introducing yourself to your audience – letting them know who you are and what you do but make sure you don’t overwhelm them with information. Keep your call to action subtle and your content ungated. And finally don’t forget to entertain, educate and engage your audience.

 

Graphic for consideration stage of the marketing funnel

 

Now it’s time to begin to get serious about the benefits that you offer to your customers, show your audience what they could be getting. In the consideration stage of the marketing funnel, create explainer videos, case studies, testimonials and about us/corporate videos. Share this content across your website, on social media, and through your email newsletters.

Keep your consideration video content between 1-3 minutes since you want to start introducing more information to your prospects while you’re beginning to convert them. Tell them the most relevant information, what makes you different, why clients should work with you, etc. Have a strong CTA and share either gated or ungated content.

 

Graphic for conversion stage of the marketing funnel

 

In the conversion stage, you should be showing your leads what it will actually look like for them when they purchase from you. Create in-depth demos, case studies/testimonials, and webinar recordings. Share this content across your website, in emails, and in your sales decks.

Feel free to create conversion content that is longer than 3 minutes, at this stage, you have your prospects’ attention and they just need a final push to purchase from you. This is when you sell your company, your product, and give them all of the information they need to know to buy from you. Here you should have an obvious CTA and keep this content gated.

 

Want to learn more about video, marketing, and strategy? Check out these articles!

  1. 8 Factors to Consider Before Doing Video In-House
  2. 4 Quick Tips on Starting Your Video Marketing Strategy
  3. 5 Video Marketing Trends That Will Revolutionize Your Content Strategy

The Evolution Of Video Marketing And How It’s Going To Affect Your Business

Photo of old camera

The digital landscape is constantly producing new opportunities to reach and engage with audiences and consumers, and video is the fastest growing medium within this. Video has turned into one of the most effective marketing tools for businesses, with 52% of marketing professionals stating that it produces the best ROI (syndacast).

 

Header Graphic for the first official ad

Today, we see video everywhere. It is constantly impacting our lives as consumers, although it didn’t start out that way. Marketers have been advertising with video for almost 70 years, with the first ever commercial actually being traced back to a baseball game billboard in New York in 1941 for a brand called Bulova.

 

 

Header graphic for the rise of video marketing

After this, video marketing began to grow. The tactics grew and so did budgets. With the launch of MTV in 1981, it popularized and mainstreamed big budget music videos. This gave way to a new form of video marketing, using expression, music, experimental camera techniques and more. MTV opened the door to marketers using more creativity in their advertisements, showing that creativity and marketing can work hand in hand.

After this we saw ads take a turn; more creativity, individuality, and expression was put into advertisements. One of the most popular commercials in history happened at this time, Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial. This ad not only revolutionized the use of commercials in the Super Bowl but also ad creation in general. Apple made their commercial into an art form with clever cinematography and a powerful message.

 

 

 

Header graphic for influence from the internet

As technology advanced so did video; near the end of the 1990’s video was evolving for the digital age (the internet). Brands began adapting to the digital landscape hoping to grow their brand with the increase in internet users. With the launch of YouTube in 2005 brands had a whole other platform to grow their video marketing initiatives on. Brands like Nike took advantage of this by being the first ever brand to reach one million views on a YouTube video.

There has been plenty of innovation within the video marketing sphere and it isn’t slowing down. We’ve stretched from roughly a $9 budget with Bulova (Mashable) to the most expensive Chanel ad, costing the fashion house $42 million.

 

 

Header graphic for where are we now

With the continuing shift of marketing from traditional forms to digital, many brands are choosing to spend less on each individual piece of content. Instead of spending millions of dollars on a single TV commercial or ad buy, they are creating multiple digital assets and publishing them across various platforms.

Now that brands are creating multiple videos instead of one large hero spot, they have the flexibility to use them along different points of the customer journey. While video was traditionally used only for brand awareness, we are now seeing marketers creating videos specifically for stages further down the funnel, all the way to conversion and even post-sale.

And with the advanced analytics and targeting that marketers now have at their disposal, we are able to create videos that are even more specific – even down to the customer persona.

We created a campaign with our clients Deltek, that provides an overview video and then breaks down into specific videos for each of their customer personas.

 

 

Header graphic for path to personalization

But where is video going? With how fast technology is innovating it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the next 5 years, even the next 2 years. One thing we can say is that the rise of personalized video will be a large component of video marketing. Personalization has the ability to empower your customers as well as catching new leads. The average retention rate for personalized videos is 35% higher than for non-personalized video (vidyard). In a saturated market it’s easy to get lost among other brands but if you have the ability to personalize your content to each user, it’s much more simple to capture your audience.

Want to know more about video marketing and how to get started? Check out these articles!

  1. 12 Game-Changing Stats on the Power of Personalization 
  2. 5 Video Marketing Trends That Will Revolutionize Your Content Strategy
  3. How To Personalize Your Video Content

 

Why Content Will Always Be King in 2018

Guide to Content Marketing Tools and Media

Let’s start with this question, what is content marketing? Content marketing is when you create original content (blogs, videos, photos, white papers) and then publish that content across different channels. This is done for the purpose of generating leads, increasing brand awareness, and much more depending on what your strategy is. Basically, it’s a marketing tactic that you definitely want to implement.

There are many reasons why content will always be king. Here are just a few stats to show you:

  • 329 million people read blogs each month.
  • 27 million pieces of content are shared each day.
  • People spend more than 50% of their time online reading content. Add another 30% for the people that are on social media which is where the content is being promoted (entrepreneur).

Content marketing sets focus on the customers or audience rather than the company itself. Instead of interrupting your audience you’re attracting them with your content. Here are three reasons that prove why content will always be king and why you should implement it into your marketing strategy.

1. Content Improves Your Website’s SEO and SERP

Graphic of SEO text and tools

The first reason why content will always be king is simply because of search engine optimization, also known as SEO. Publishing quality content on your website can have a large impact on your SEO and search engine ranking.

How to take advantage of blogs for your SEO:

  1. Using keywords in your blogs (yet avoid keyword stuffing since it can have the opposite effect on your SEO).
  2. Adding links that can connect readers to other pages on your website or other web pages.
  3. Consistent updates and content being published will establish credibility with audiences.
  4. Keep users on your website longer since they will be engaging with your content. If a website only has a homepage, who really wants to stay on that?

2. Content Increases Engagement With Your Audiences

Graphic of engagement text with people

If you give your audience good content, they’ll engage. When you create a high-quality video, blog, social media post, really any type of content, users are drawn to engage with it whether they realize it or not. Good content will make people pause and consume what you’ve created. This is key. As marketers, if you can create quality content that will make audiences pause and consume then you have the ability to spread brand awareness, increase lead generation, and much more.

But how do you create good content that’s engaging for your customers, clients, and audience? Here are 8 things to keep in mind:

  1. Original
  2. Thought leadership
  3. Speaks directly to customers
  4. Answers questions
  5. Opens up dialogue
  6. Actionable
  7. Accurate
  8. Rich media (video, audio, or other pieces of content that encourages engagement)

3. Content Boosts Your Lead Production Through Marketing

 

Graphic of Leads and Chart

Content marketing isn’t just great for your SEO and engagement, it’s also effective for generating leads for your brand. 78 percent marketers in a survey stated that driving sales and leads was their number one goal (entrepreneur). And not only is content marketing effective, it’s cheap. Many B2B marketers believe that most of their targets and prospects are online so using the internet as a way to attract them can be pretty cheap.

When you create and publish good content it establishes authority and brand awareness in the market. This has the potential to generate sales and leads for your brand since you’re exposing more audiences to your brand with quality content. Good content also tends to be less ‘salesy’ which can turn possible leads away from your brand. Instead, if you have content that’s directed to the audience and not yourself, you are creating an organic way for possible leads to interact with your content.