Stop and Rethink B2B Social – Part 2

(Read the first blog in the series.)

Most B2B social media strategies start and end with Twitter and LinkedIn. In the US, Twitter is used by 84% of B2B marketers (Content Marketing Institute). Across the globe, there are social media managers hard at work, writing and scheduling tweets, searching for third-party content to retweet, crafting their #WednesdayWisdom and #MotivationMonday posts…

The fact is it requires a lot of time and resource to build and maintain a brand presence on Twitter – to grow your followers, find and repurpose content, maintain engagement rates and demonstrate results.

The dispiriting truth is that a lot of this effort is in vain. Which is why we see so many dormant corporate Twitter accounts. People give up. And that’s a terrible shame, because Twitter is awesome for B2B, providing that the approach plays to the platform’s strengths.

An example of where Twitter really comes into its own in B2B is during events. Pick an industry – any industry – and I’ll show you a spike in Twitter activity around conferences, exhibitions, awards nights…

The mobile nature of the app and the ability to share images, use hashtags to find, follow and contribute to conversations in realtime, makes Twitter the natural choice for social networking at events.

Industry events have always been important in B2B, but these days the opportunities extend well beyond the event itself. Use events to grow your followers, join in conversations, share your own content, and engage with customers and prospects.

Of course Twitter is also where people go to complain. If someone takes the time to complain to you on Twitter, don’t be the company that provides a phone number or an email address for the customer service team. The best customer service is real-time and personal, and with its fast moving conversational nature, Twitter most closely resembles traditional chat.

So here’s a #ThursdayThought: stop jumping on irrelevant hashtags and start building out your Twitter strategy around events and customer service.

Getting back to our typical B2B social media strategy. LinkedIn is used by 94% of B2B marketers (Content Marketing Institute).

On LinkedIn our social media managers are plugging away on the Company Page, sharing updates, posting blogs on LinkedIn Pulse, possibly running some paid activity, and probably targeting the C-suite – because that’s how we think about LinkedIn, right? It’s where the C-suite hangs out…

I guarantee that what our social media managers are struggling with is how to get the business more engaged with LinkedIn. Employee advocacy is a huge part of success on LinkedIn. Tapping into the real-world professional networks of everyone in the business is really as simple as getting employees to share and engage with LinkedIn company updates.

But it’s hard to affect a shift in company culture towards employee advocacy. Even we struggle at The Crocodile, but when we do manage to get people sharing on LinkedIn, we routinely see 20-25% spikes in traffic to our site.

Employees need to be supported in their use of LinkedIn and I’m not talking about setting the sales team up with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. We need to do more to help the business as whole to understand why LinkedIn is important and why everyone needs to get involved. That starts at the onboarding stage with new employees, and continues with each new blog post, business win or product launch.

Another area to focus LinkedIn strategies on is advertising. LinkedIn targeting parameters are unparalleled in B2B social advertising but it’s important to test multiple targeting strategies – job title and industry targeting alone doesn’t cut it.

If you have an EMEA remit, consider that Skills targeting can be more effective in some markets. I also recommended targeting by Group membership. Try it and I guarantee your CTRs will go up.

Tempting as it is, try and avoid hyper-targeting, or overly targeting directors and the C-suite. Executive audiences are difficult and expensive to reach, plus keep in mind these audiences look to managers and senior practitioners to inform business decisions. Include these decision influencers and consider using Years of Experience targeting to filter out entry-level and less influential audiences.

The good news is LinkedIn Marketing Solutions have never been better. You no longer have to guarantee £10k quarterly spend to access InMail – it’s available self-serve. They’ve launched Lead Forms and announced Integration with Marketo and Eloqua.

It’s a exciting time for B2B social and we, as an industry, need to make sure we’re set up to move quickly and take advantage of new functionality and tools as they become available. And that demands that we take a step back and reset our perspective.

In next week’s blog on B2B social… We need to talk about Facebook.