420 billion people are online and active on social media, as of Q12020 according to Statista. It goes without saying that every business should have a social media presence in some shape or form. It's 2021, there is no excuse. Imagine if we were still talking about phone line penetrations and how every business must have a phone number to call. It would be ridiculous! According to statista.com, over 90% of US businesses are active on social media. 

You are not reading this to find out that your customers are online and if you should be there too. You're here because you are already online and want to know what exactly is it that you should be doing online.

We will attempt to answer the following questions:

 

Does social media work for B2B?

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According to a B2B Procurement study by Accenture, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research before making a purchase, with 84% of B2B buyers use social media to support purchase decisions. There are many ways to make social media work for your B2B business. Your business can achieve any one of the following goals on social media:

  1. Raise brand awareness
  2. Manage brand reputation
  3. Build and manage a community
  4. Increase conversions/sales
  5. Identify and nurture leads
  6. Deliver customer service/support
  7. Attract candidates to hire
  8. Identify crisis and manage communications
  9. Improve internal communications

Social media platforms are always changing and it is difficult to predict how things will look even a few years down the road. New players are constantly challenging the incumbent. For example, Clubhouse has given all the major social network a run for their money, with different platforms offering their own versions of audio socials.

Which social media is best for B2B?

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When it comes to social media platforms for B2B marketers, Facebook is still leading the pack, trailed by LinkedIn and then Twitter. 

How do B2B marketers use Facebook?

Facebook is Goliath to all the other social media platforms. Despite all the snarky comments on other platforms about Facebook, they remain as one of the most effective ways to leverage C-suite personal profiles, creating groups/forums for community discussions, not to mention the business Pages.

How do B2B marketers use LinkedIn?

When we think of LinkedIn, a lot of people think of sales. A lot of salespeople use LinkedIn because of its great ability to narrowly target your prospects. But, it's not just salespeople who are leveraging the network's social data, marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing as well.

LinkedIn's Articles offer great distribution within the network. It is worth noting that managers, VP's, directors and C-suite executives represent about 45% of Article readers. 

Linking off-platform always represents a challenge for marketers on any platform, so taking advantage of internal options give your content an advantage.

How do B2B marketers use Twitter?

Twitter is all about the conversation and so it isn't where user go to read the latest from a brand, but it is where they expect to find quick real-time engagement. Twitter's conversational nature makes it a somewhat challenging platform to crack for B2B businesses. 

One of the easier ways to get started on Twitter for B2B businesses is to use it for lead generation. After all, as users discuss their pain points, brands have an opportunity to engage and act as top of the funnel in their marketing strategy.

Some blogs suggest that B2B businesses use Twitter to share blog posts and other useful resources. Keep in mind that linking off-platform is going to be penalized by Twitter's algorithm and it may be a better idea to re-purpose your blog posts into threads.

What is Social Listening for B2B?

Social listening for B2B comprises of methodical listening, analyzing, reporting and engagement. There are two primary reasons why B2B business should hire a social listening agency, as opposed to using freely available tools:

1. High volume of social data: As the number of topics/issues that a B2B business wants to monitor and listen to, managing this with free tools becomes unrealistic.

2. Historical data: Almost all social media platforms offer a way to search through their archive, but they seldom make it easy to perform analysis on historical data.

But it's a lot more than that. Social media monitoring for B2B businesses involves sentiment analysis, generating social analytics, and distributing reports to stakeholders.

What can social listening do for your business?

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Social listening is not a one-off project, it is an active practice that creates a feedback loop to your B2B business. It would be a mistake to think that social listening is for larger organizations and businesses only, because the truth couldn't be farther. To help you put this in perspective, in a survey by Content Marketing Institute, half of B2B marketers said their marketing teams are small or made up of 1-person only. 

Regardless of the size of your team and/or your organization, social listening for your B2B business helps you in:

Giving your business objectives clarity

Aligning your social media strategy with your business objectives becomes clearer when you are able to research through social listening. Setting specific measurable goals, such as "increase reach by having 10,000 new followers in 6 months." 

Your objectives should be possible to achieve, which you can glean by competitor benchmarking. It's also important to make sure that your goals have business benefits. We are increasing reach to generate more leads to nurture (translates to $$).


Identifying opportunities

Social media monitoring for B2B opens the door up for identifying opportunities that were otherwise missed or never even considered. Listening to online conversations gives us insights to pain points and guides us to asking better questions.

Developing buyer personas

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your customer archetypes. The buyer persona can include things like: 

  • Where they like to spend their time online?
  • Where do they shop for clothes?
  • What car they drive?
  • What kind of income bracket do they fall under?
  • How do they like their coffee?

Through social listening, we can use real examples of people in conversations and add bits and pieces of our imagination. 

Finding your platform of choice

Knowing which social media platform is best for your B2B is not always obvious. Social listening makes this very obvious very quickly. Keyword searches will reveal how much people are talking about it through engagement. Competitor mentions will tell you about your competitors' presence and how active they are on different platforms.

What is the best B2B social listening tool?

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B2B businesses are spoiled for choice when it comes to social listening tools, but there are some ways to narrow down which tool is most suitable for your needs. 

Some of the questions you should ask any social listening agency before you make a decision is:

  • What social networks do you cover? Make sure that social media platforms used by your B2B are covered.
  • Do you offer sentiment analysis and analytics? This is where you start filtering out hobbyist tools from B2B social listening platforms.
  • Can I export my reports' raw data? This is key to any marketer who knows they are going to have to generate reports for their customer. Analytics tools provide great insights, but there are times when you want to create your own reports in a format specific to your customer. 
  • How much does it cost? A lot of social listening agencies have started to share their pricing prior to talking to a representative, but some still don't. 

At SOCIALHOSE, we pride ourselves at being frictionless and self-serve. You can start social listening for as little as $2/mo. 

How do B2B sales use social media?

Social media is used in B2B sales for prospecting and qualifying leads. Social media acts as top of the funnel for most B2B businesses due to the complexity of the relationships, unlike with B2C businesses where social selling is easier.

Social media leads generation is perhaps the low hanging fruit that is easiest for most B2B businesses to quickly implement. 

Conclusion

It is difficult to put together a social media strategy for your business without an active social listening operation. This is akin to shooting in the dark, especially when enterprise level social listening tools have become affordable to the smallest of brands and agencies.