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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. Sometimes, when brands want to humanize and grow their online presense, they use marketing agencies like NGP Integrated Marketing Communications to manage their social media for them. 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

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

 

4 Quick Tips On Starting Your Video Marketing Strategy

Before creating video, or any content for your brand, it is essential to have a content strategy in place. Having a strong strategy behind your content marketing campaign will play a large role in its success.

If you have never built a content strategy before we understand how this can be intimidating. But don’t worry, we’re here to give you a step-by-step process and show you that building a content marketing strategy may be complex, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you imagine. If you go to the core of your strategy, it really just comes down to discoverability. That’s the outcome that every marketer wants for their content, to be discovered. Whether you’re targeting a broad or niche demographic, you just want trust and attention from your audience.

To begin we need to build a roadmap. This roadmap is your strategy and you’re going to outline where you want your content to go and what you want it to achieve when it’s there. And you’re in luck since content is the most effective way to target and connect with clients, prospects, and audiences (basically anyone and everyone with a screen). So let’s get started.

 

roadmap for content marketing graphic

1. Set Your Goal

Your goal is at the very core of your content marketing strategy. Establishing a detailed goal will give direction when making decisions, help discover what metrics you need to measure performance, and allow for clarity. When making strategic decisions, your goal should always be in the forefront because if you lose sight of your goal, you lose sight of your strategy.

There are many considerations that need to be taken into account when setting your goal. It should revolve around your marketing objectives and seek to either educate, entertain or inspire (or all 3). Remember, content is versatile and allows room for creativity.

Key questions to ask yourself when setting your goal:

  1. What is the purpose of your content?
  2. Who is my main demographic?
  3. What type of content are you making: Educational, entertaining, practical, a mix of all 3? This will depend on the audience that you’re targeting and the tone that will fit well with them.
  4. What do you want your audience to take away from your content? What value are you adding to this content and how is it relevant to your audience?
  5. What is your call to action? What do you want your clients, customers, audience to do after they view your content?
  6. Does the content align with marketing goals?

 

Quick Tip for Content Marketing Number One

2. Pick the stories you want to tell

Once you have established your goal the next step is to determine what types of stories would best compliment your marketing objectives. Different types of video content achieve different objectives. The traditional approach is to use video content solely for top of funnel strategy; but video is flexible, and luckily, can be applied to all phases of the buyer’s journey.

Awareness:

This is for the top of your sales funnel. These stories can be more focused around company culture, how-to content, and thought leadership content. With this stage, you want to create interest and have audiences learn about your brand.

Consideration:

This is the middle of your sales funnel. These stories will revolve around product demos, client testimonials, and case studies. At this stage you want your audience to be evaluating you as a company.

Conversion:

The bottom of your sales funnel will revolve around customer check-ins, FAQ videos, and instructional videos. This stage is focused around justifying your brand which will lead to purchasing.

 

Quick Tip for Content Marketing Number Two

3. Decide who will develop your content

The next step in our roadmap is implementation, so ask yourself: who will develop your video content? Understanding who will produce your content can be based on a number of factors. Firstly, you must decide whether you want to produce it in-house or outsource. Whichever one you choose make sure you create an outline of the project with timelines, budgets, roles, etc. This will streamline the process and make it just a little easier.

If you decide to go with an agency or production house then there are quite a few benefits that go along with it. You get the expertise, the guidance, another viewpoint, and less work for you. You’ll be able to give your ideas to the company that you’re working with and then continue on with your day as usual. Trust us, it’s much less stressful than trying to learn how to film and edit a video on your own (also less time).

 

Quick Tip for Content Marketing Number Three

4. Promote

The final step in our roadmap for your content marketing strategy is deciding how to promote your content. You have many options but you’ll want to pick platforms and promotional strategies that will reach the target audience that you want to attract. You may choose to promote your videos across various social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Tips for promoting your video is to:

  1. Optimize your thumbnail.
  2. Set up a publishing schedule for the various platforms you want your video to live on.
  3. Ensure that you are featuring your videos on your website. Think about creating a seperate page on your website specifically dedicated to your videos.

 

 

Want to learn more about content strategy? Check out these articles!

  1. 5 Video Marketing Trends That Will Revolutionize Your Content Strategy

  2. 6 Common Myths/Mistakes When Creating Content

  3. The Power of Emotion in Your Content Marketing Strategy