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The social media boom has brought countless benefits for us as individuals, businesses and society as a whole. It’s given us connectivity we could only have dreamt of in the past, created new ways for businesses to market themselves through b2b social media marketing campaigns and opened up a whole new world of entertainment.
Unfortunately though, as much as we’d love them to be, social media platforms are far from perfect. We’ve been shown in recent months that they do a pretty poor job at dealing with issues like hate speech, cyberbullying and the spread of fake news. Combine this with other high-profile scandals like Facebook’s handling of personal data, and it’s no wonder trust in them is eroding.
Sri Lanka’s ban on social media following the tragic Easter Sunday attack is just one example of the broken trust in social media platforms. After more than 300 people died in a series of bombings at churches and hotels, an outright ban was enforced on a series of social sites including Facebook, Snapchat and Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram – all in an attempt to limit the spread of misinformation. This, of course, all has an impact on b2b social media marketing.
How have businesses reacted to negativity surrounding social media?
The truth is that many haven’t reacted at all. After all, interacting and engaging with customers on social channels is just so convenient. Others have taken small stands, like removing their paid ads, but they still heavily rely on social platforms for various communications.
On the other hand, some have made the bold decision to completely ditch their social media. I say bold because 90% of brands use social media, 45% of the world’s population are active social media users, and digital consumers spend nearly two and a half hours on social networks and social messaging every day.
Lush, the cruelty-free cosmetics retailer, is one that recently announced it is stepping away from social channels in the UK. In a statement, it said: “We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed.” Well fair enough I guess, but completely dismissing social media definitely invites danger.
This leaves the question: can brands realistically have control of their message and shape conversations without using social channels? Probably not. People will discuss companies on social media regardless of their presence, so they may as well be there to monitor the conversation. Right?
By getting involved in social media conversations, you can stay on top of what is being discussed, steer the discussions in a favourable direction and maintain control of your message. Without doing this, you risk engagement dying or turning negative, and your message can easily get lost like a game of Chinese whispers.
What’s good practice for b2b social media marketing?
It seems many b2b companies simply don’t have the same passion for social media as those in the b2c space, which are for the most part embracing the opportunities social media presents. This may be because b2b companies believe their industry isn’t exciting enough for these channels, or because they focus on more traditional tactics to drive leads – like email marketing or networking events. But b2b social media marketing is about more than driving sales, it’s about establishing a personality for the business. Here are a few tips to help make your business shine on social:
- Don’t just rely on LinkedIn. While it’s a fantastic platform for driving leads, others like Instagram and Pinterest shouldn’t be ignored – we’ve seen that they can be fantastic for building a brand!
- Social content needs to be interesting and offer something beneficial. You won’t grab your audience’s attention by simply churning out social posts about the services you offer – a post offering fresh views on relevant industry news is far more appealing.
- Go behind the scenes to show off your team and the great things about your business. This cements your belief in your employees to potential partners and is also great for attracting new talent.
- Respond to comments and interactions you receive on your social media. Because no one likes being ignored!
- Monitor trends – you should always be on the lookout for themes that you can jump on board and offer insight on. Following relevant hashtags on platforms like Tweetdeck is a good way to keep on top of things!
- Your posts need to stand out on packed news feeds. You only get a split second to grab someone’s attention, so images, infographics and video content are a must.
- Inspire curiosity to drive link clicks. While long-form blog posts are ultimately more useful to your target audience, long paragraphs of text aren’t for social media feeds.
Finally, don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun with your social media! At the end of the day, people use social media for entertainment. So bombarding them with product information, no matter how well it’s written, is not going to capture their attention. That’s why your website is there. The idea of b2b social media marketing is to create a presence and humanise your brand. Generating leads shouldn’t be your first objective of social media – if it is you’re probably just going to come across robotic. Leads come as a result of successfully capturing attention, engaging with audiences and building relationships.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you develop an effective and engaging social media strategy, visit our website or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.Sign up to our newsletter