Social Media Marketing

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B2B Marketing Guide

Social Media Marketing

Building Brand Community

Social media plays an important role in B2B marketing. Unlike many other tactics, social networking platforms give your brand the opportunity to build communities and engage in two-way conversations with your customers. Over the last year, we’ve seen just how important these channels can be as we try to stay connected with friends, family, colleagues, and the brands and causes we care about. Amidst the global pandemic of 2020,

Not only are people using these channels to stay connected with their friends and family, but to connect with brands. The proof?

From social media:

social media website statistic usage

91% of users will visit a company's website

social media buy statistic

89% will buy from the brand

social media recommend statistic

85% will recommend that brand

social media choose statistic

84% will choose that brand over a competitor

social media visit physical location statistic

84% will visit physical location

social media spending with company statistic

75% will increase their spending with that company

Here's why people follow brands on social media:

57%

want to learn more about their products and services

47%

want to stay updated on company news

40%

want to learn about promotions and discounts

40%

want to be entertained

37%

want to be educated

Whether you fall on the B2B or B2C side of the coin, all marketing is B2P: business-to-people.

Being active on social media channels helps make your brand more personable and approachable, making it easier to cultivate relationships with your current and prospective customers and to help guide them through the various stages of the buyer’s journey.

And like all marketing, successful social media marketing starts with a sound strategy.

Start With Strategy

Before diving headfirst into publishing content, take the time to think through how social media channels will be used in your communication mix and how they can be leveraged to support your business and marketing objectives.

Consider developing an executional playbook, which helps get everyone’s buy-in and keeps everyone accountable to your overarching social media goals and objectives. Sound social media strategy ladders together business, marketing, and social media objectives and goals in the following way.

business goals

Business Goals

Measurable statement(s) that relate to the overall health and growth of a company.

Example: Generate $10 billion in revenue during FY21.


marketing goals

Marketing Goals

Measurable statement(s) that indicate how marketing can help achieve the established business goals.

Example: Generate 8,000 marketing leads to nurture to sales qualified leads during FY21.


social media goals

Social Media Goals

Measurable statement(s) that indicate how social media will be used to help achieve the marketing goals that have been set and support business goals.

Example: Increase leads generated from social media by 200% in FY21.

Social Media KPIs

List of measurable indicators of your progress toward achieving the performance goals of each channel.

Example: Leads, cost per lead (CPL), conversion rate benchmarks


Documenting this information sets the stage for building out in-depth channel strategies. Below, we’ve detailed other sections you might consider including in your social media strategy.

  • Social media mission: A statement indicating the intersection of company goals and your target audiences' needs.
  • Social media goals and benchmarks: Clearly documenting the goals and benchmarks for each social channel can help you measure the success of your efforts. (Historical data is a great place to start when benchmarking).

The list below is a good place to start with your metrics.


Awareness Metrics Icon

Awareness metrics

  • Impressions
  • Reach (Facebook and Instagram only)
  • CPM
  • Page follower growth

Consideration Metrics Icon

Consideration metrics

  • Link clicks
  • CTR
  • CPC

Conversion Metrics Icon

Conversion metrics

  • Leads
  • CPL
  • Conversion rate
  • Sales

Loyalty Metrics

Loyalty metrics

  • Engagement rate
  • Post amplification (shares and comments)

  • Creative execution: In this section of a social media strategy, we recommend documenting:
    • How your brand’s voice and tone are evoked on social media
    • The content pillars you’re developing posts around
    • The audiences you’re connecting with, including their challenges, needs, and messaging points to help address these points
  • Channel breakdown: This section is the meat of a social media strategy. It’s where we break down the role of each social media platform as it relates to the other digital channels a brand leverages in a media matrix. We also recommend detailing the channel situational analysis and algorithm, platform goals and purpose, audiences, strategies and tactics, platform best practices, and metrics to track.
Media Matrix Template

Understanding the role your social media channels play in relation to your overall digital marketing mix is an important step to developing your channel strategies. Download our media matrix template to help guide you through this exercise.

Download Now

  • Search and social: Here, we recommend addressing how social media can be leveraged to help drive users to your content, whether it’s in the search results of a search engine or social media platform, or to related content on your channels and website.
  • Paid social media: Another key part of any social media strategy is documenting how you’ll use paid advertising on social media to help achieve your goals and objectives.
  • Monitoring and community management: To wrap up your social media strategy, we recommend documenting how you plan to engage and grow your community through monitoring.

Once you have your social media strategy documented, it’s time to put it to use. Whether you’re using your channels to promote your products and services, recruit qualified candidates, or to showcase your community involvement, the strategy can be used as your guiding light as you continue to enhance your social media efforts. Revisiting your strategy annually will ensure it aligns with your business and marketing goals, as well as any changes in the ever-evolving social media landscape.

Putting the “Social” in Social Media

If we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s the importance of community. From a marketing perspective, social media channels present a unique opportunity for customers to connect with companies. Using social media channels to help build a community around a brand is something we expect to continue this year and beyond.

There are several ways a brand can build an engaged community online. You can share entertaining content, tap into user-generated content (UGC) to showcase a positive customer experience, cultivate an active group of fans, or use influencers to expand engagement with your brand.

From a tactical perspective, video (both prerecorded and live) is the current king of the social media mountain. Around 46% of consumers prefer to watch videos on social media compared to TV and studies show that videos can generate as much as 12 times more shares than text and image content combined. We’ve also seen success when leveraging “stories” on social media. On Instagram, branded Stories drive an 85% completion rate, presenting an opportunity to capture your audiences’ attention organically. When using paid story placements, expect to see a higher CTR and a lower CPC compared to in-feed posts.

Thinking about going live from a social channel? Check out our how to guide on executing a live stream.

Learn More

User Generated Content

In the media, social and otherwise, representation matters. This has led to a rise in the importance of User Generated Content. UGC allows people to see people like themselves using the products they use or are considering — reinforcing loyalty or purchase consideration. From a marketing standpoint, leveraging UGC is also a great way to easily gather authentic assets to use that will resonate with your audiences.

Groups

Groups on social platforms are another great way to engage fans. Facebook has continued to recognize the value in this platform feature, which is why they’ve continued to optimize their algorithm to favor Groups and are introducing new features for brands to take advantage of, including advertising within Groups. These communities within your larger community allow for more focused nurturing of relationships and deeper conversation.

Influencers

Tapping into the power of influencers is another great way to grow and engage your community on social platforms. Influencers are considered trusted sources by their followers and are often leveraged by brands to help increase awareness, engagement, and sales for their products and services.

Of course, these are just some of the factors that help build and nurture your brand’s social media community. Customer service, leveraging social media intelligence and advertising capabilities, demonstrating thought leadership at your company, and meeting people on the channels they’re on will also help you in building your community and turning prospects into brand loyalists.

Social media: Your New Customer Service Tool

Customer Service Tool

Half of all interactions social media users have with a brand are customer-care related. They turn to the channels they use and trust to reach out with questions and comments about the products and services they use. And when they do, they expect a quick response ... ideally within three hours.

Staying on top of customer inquiries can be a difficult task, but doing so presents your brand with an opportunity to meet and exceed expectations and help increase brand loyalty.

Properly handling customer service requests that come in via social media channels requires structure and planning. A framework for monitoring activities can help your team quickly and efficiently respond to the in-the-moment challenges that come with social media channel moderation. This framework should outline your process for engaging with fans, provide standardized responses to frequently asked questions, and detail your escalation response protocol should any urgent needs or crises emerge.

Social media management platforms are also a key tool for managing customer service requests and other moderation needs. While some tools are more advanced than others, the biggest benefit to adopting a tool is aggregation. By pulling most engagements into one place, your entire team will gain visibility to your company’s social media activity, and can then work together to respond to any challenge or opportunity that might arise.

When used correctly, these platforms allow you to learn more about your audience’s needs and values and stay on top of what your competition is up to.

007: Gaining Intel With Social Media

007 Spy

Social media is a great way to learn about your audience and competitors in real time. By conducting regular audits and reports and engaging in proactive listening programs, you gain a near-real-time view of your marketplace. These free focus groups provide valuable insights into your competitors’ brands and activities, sentiment around you and your competitors’ brands, and your audiences’ needs and challenges. When combined with information from related platforms (competitors’ websites, paid digital media, and earned and paid print placements), you’ll have a clear view of the competitive landscape.

Tools like RivalIQ, Meltwater, Sprout Social Advanced Listening, and Salesforce Social Studio can help uncover thoughtful insights and provide strategic direction based on channel usage, audience trends, and other conversations taking place in your market. Properly leveraging these insights and recommendations can further your overall marketing goals and help you establish a foothold as a thought leader.

Be a Thought Leader

Thought Leader

Incorporating a consistent social media presence and training into your marketing strategy can help enhance the thought leadership of your brand and employees.

Thought leadership for your brand

When thinking about building your thought leadership as a brand, collaborate with your product experts and engineering teams to build your strategy, which should encompass your brand’s approach to content, channels, execution, and measurement.

Your employees

When thinking about how to elevate the thought leadership of your employees, whether your leadership team or subject matter experts (SMEs), we recommend implementing a formal employee advocacy program. Such programs have risen in popularity as companies and platforms have started to more fully understand the ROI on activating employees. On average, employee shared content has a 561% increased reach compared to company shared posts and gains an average of 8x higher engagement.

Once you’ve developed this valuable content, it's important to ensure it’s seen. Organic and paid social media is a great tool to leverage to increase the reach and amplification of your messages.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

As social media platform algorithms continue to favor content from family and friends, the organic reach of company posts continues to decline. For brands, this is turning social platforms into a pay-to-play space. Leveraging social media advertising is a great way to reach your audiences with highly targeted, relevant content that speaks directly to their challenges and needs. It can be used at every stage of the customer journey — from generating awareness and consideration to driving conversions and loyalty.

52 percent

52% of all online brand discovery happens in public social media feeds

Organic/Paid Reach

Average organic reach for Facebook posts: 5.17%
Average paid reach: 28.1%

This presents unique opportunities for B2B advertisers to target the right ad to the right audience at precisely the right time — and to do it cost-effectively. Using the right ad types for each stage will help you maximize your results.

Paid social posts are a vital part of the ever-growing digital media mix. By combining it with your organic social, community building, and thought-leadership efforts, you’ll find a synergy that will help you fully realize your overall marketing goals.

Social Platforms: What’s On the Horizon?

2 RM 2001 Social Image Template Platforms to Consider FB

New social media platforms are emerging all the time. As a B2B marketer, it’s important to keep track of channels users are flocking to even if it’s not something you’re ready to invest in right away. Although you may not be active on those platforms, it doesn’t mean your brand isn’t being discussed on them — it’s possible the next generation of decision makers is already using those new tools. It’s also important to understand these emerging channels, as their unique functionality may soon be adopted or acquired by more established channels.

This past year, we saw TikTok emerge as one of the most popular social media networking sites and apps in the world. While this platform tends to engage a younger demographic, the platform has tremendous potential for B2B marketers. From driving Instagram to release Reels (a copycat feature of TikTok) to brands leveraging influencers to increase brand awareness, TikTok has certainly caused a shift in the social media landscape.

Although not new, other platforms the team at Two Rivers is monitoring for B2B use are Pinterest and Spotify. From increasing usership and engagement to shifts in the way people work and conduct research, these platforms could present an opportunity for early-adopter B2B brands to jump ahead of their competition.

It's Time To Evolve Your Social Strategy

While nearly every area of B2B marketing is undergoing rapid evolution, nowhere is that evolution more profound than in the social space. These platforms are quickly finding a home alongside — or in place of — traditional channels. And the COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating that trend. Contact us if you’re looking for a partner to help you build a bigger and more active community, position your people as thought leaders, and keep your sales and customer service teams connected in real time.