From auto-publishing to social share buttons, 30+ marketers weigh in with their favorite social media plugins.
| Apr 13
Masooma Memon on January 6, 2021 • 23 minute read
75% of B2B buyers use social media to make their purchasing decision.
You know what that means, right? You’ve got to use B2B social media to convince these buyers to choose in your favor.
By increasing your social media engagement, you can not only get your brand in your target buyers’ good books, but also gain their trust and, ultimately, convert them.
But how do you go about doing that? To answer that, we’ve created this extensive guide that covers the A to Z of B2B social media engagement.
Here’s a peek at what’s covered:
In the end, we also cover some bonus tips that are specific to growing your engagement on social media channels.
So, what are you waiting for?
If you think having a high follower count on your B2B social media is the key to crushing it on social, you’ve got it all wrong, my friend.
Metrics like triple-digit followers are vanity metrics – they don’t actually tell you how well your social media accounts are doing.
What does paint an accurate picture of B2B social media success is engagement. This could be anything from organic likes to retweets/reshares and comments.
These engagement metrics tell you that your social content is resonating with your target audience, which explains why they’re taking the time to engage with your social profile.
Social media engagement is also a good parameter for judging how well people are interested in your business. The conversations that you have with your prospects keep your business on their mind and when they’re ready to invest, they’re likely going to reach out to you since they know you from social.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
In the business world today where everyone has lots of options at their fingertips, trust plays a determining role in helping them make decisions. And, one good way to earn that trust is by providing value on social media and engaging with your target.
Editor’s note: Get a quick picture of your social media engagement with this Social Networks Overview dashboard. It gives you engagement metrics like your reach and engagement on LinkedIn, Facebook likes and views, Twitter followers, and comments + likes on Instagram – all on one dashboard.
Businesses use social media much the same way as the B2C sphere. Here’s a quick how-to-use B2B social media checklist:
✔ Use social media for brand awareness or getting in front of your target audience.
✔ Provide valuable, interesting content to stay on top of your audience’s mind and engage with them.
✔ Tap into social for lead nurturing – attracting leads and warming them.
✔ Leverage social media for social listening or studying what your ideal audience and customers are saying about you.
✔ Use social media as a customer service channel to answer any queries that customers have.
✔ Drive traffic to your blog, landing page, newsletter, or any other page with the help of social media.
The short answer: the best social media for your business is one that your ideal audience uses. But here’s more: various social media channels are great for different purposes.
This means if you want to use social media as a purely traffic driving channel, you can benefit from Facebook as 20% of the B2B brands we surveyed do so.
Similarly, if you are all about converting leads into customers, B2B marketers think that LinkedIn can help you best.
And, if you want to stay on top of your audience’s minds by posting lots, you’ll find LinkedIn the best.
On the whole, B2B brands we surveyed rank LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook among the top three social media channels for brand awareness, driving traffic, and conversions.
Editor’s note: Find out if you’re hitting your goals with B2B social media engagement using this free General Social Performance dashboard. It gives you an account summary of major social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter so you can use the data to understand your performance and see which network is doing the best.
Honestly, there’s no one answer to this.
Why, you ask?
Because it boils down to how well you use a channel, be it social media or email marketing for your B2B brand. As long as you’re consistent at using a channel and doing it well, you can make the most of any channel.
With B2B social media, what’s useful though is that it helps you:
The tips that you learn in the next section will all show you how you can hit these three targets with social media.
From pairing with influencers to hiring social media specialists, a lot can help you grow your engagement. Here’s a snapshot of what tips have helped our expert respondents drive more engagement:
Let’s now arm you with the details:
“Like anything else in marketing, I think it’s important to start by understanding your audience and create content that they want to see,” notes HeyOrca’s Datis Mohsenipour.
The reason is simple: “Don’t just assume that you know what they want. Ask, and ask frequently. From there, you can work on optimizing your post’s copy and graphics. But, these are pointless efforts if you’re not creating the right type of content.”
Paul La Vigne from DVS Marketing & Advertising’s adds, “Generate more engagement by offering value in your posts. Whether through copy, images, or video, actively seek to solve the challenges particular to your audience.”
But here’s the kicker: you can’t do all of this without first doing some audience research. La Vigne point out, “having a clearly defined audience helps you craft content specific to their interests and problems. This will not only drive more engagement but will encourage audiences to engage more deeply with your brand.”
“The best B2B brands on social media humanize themselves,” Kyle Smith of BrandExtract observes. “They tap into the cultural zeitgeist (a lot of brands like Jeep and Southwest created clever content around the recent mysterious monoliths).
So, if a brand wants to stand out, the first step is developing a voice that’s authentic to their mission, vision, and values. From there, it’s relying on creativity to inject the brand into relevant conversations through copy, memes, pictures, video, etc.”
Kathryn Malabanan of Handshakin.com shares the same tip: “Build your business the personality you want to convey with people and develop a social media voice without being inappropriate and making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Make the tone of your content in a conversational way. Build rapport and engagement with your audience, may it be negative or positive feedback. This way, they’ll know that you are extending and really engaging with them. Making the mood so the light would also be a great help to increase connection with your audience. And also assigning the right people to interact with, is also a must.”
A proven tip to generate engagement on your B2B social media channels is to create engaging content.
Andre Oentoro from Milkwhale points out, “Don’t just advertise your brand. Instead, create valuable content for your users. For example, tips and tricks, tutorials, and micro infographics are awesome examples of engaging content.”
Jonathan Aufray from Digital Growth Hackers also chips in: “Don’t be bland with your content. To generate more engagement as a B2B brand on social media, you want to share interesting content.
This content may be:
Put simply, “you don’t want to post content just for the sake of it. You want to make sure that every piece of content is engaging and interesting in some way,” Aufray says.
Another way to make your posts engaging is by sharing life lessons or, put another way, your experiences.
Wynter’s Peep Laja writes about this: “Posts that add value and are drawn from actual experience do the best, get the most engagement.
How to never run out of things to share on social media:
Post 1 thing/day.”
This is a good approach to take for your B2B social media. In this regard, Nick Montagu of alphawhale advises, “Give your best and most useful content to your ideal audience before they are your customers with genuine intent to solve their problems rather than sell your services.
Aim to show up in their research/consideration journey more than twice and your sales team will love you for the data and goodwill you’ve already built with the lead.”
A B2B social media content format that’s often overlooked is video despite the fact that it works wonders in engaging your audience.
But a word of caution here: “you don’t want to share your hour-long webinar on Facebook,” PPCGenius.io’s Stewart Dunlop warns. “But trimming it down to a 30-second snippet and linking to the full session will be suitable to catch users’ eyes as they’re scrolling and attract them to click over to your website for the full experience.”
And to make your video content even more engaging, consider following this tip from The Advisor Coach LLC’s James Pollard: “include videos of people in your company” to your social media content mix.
Why? Because “at the end of the day, people do business with other people,” so they prefer consuming content that features other humans.
Pollard continues, “I’m consistently amazed at how much better companies do when they show a human side to their business. All you have to do is designate one employee to record videos (it could be as simple as using an iPhone) about stories related to the industry.”
Jessica Taylor of Portent talks about posting on optimal timings. “Post consistently, but use Page analytics to determine the most effective time to post for your target audience,” Taylor advises.
Speaking of optimal times, our respondents think there really isn’t one day that can be tagged as the best day to engage. But if they were to pick, some experts suggest that Tuesday is the best to engage on LinkedIn and Wednesday works great for Facebook.
As for the optimal time to engage on B2B social, our respondents opine:
On the whole, however, they say that optimal engagement time doesn’t matter.
Lastly, for the optimal posting frequency, our survey respondents think that posting once on all social platforms is great.
“Share your stories and thoughts on various social media channels. Make sure that you incorporate a story of how your brand came to be into your posts,” Linkody’s Francois Mommens comments.
“It doesn’t matter whether they’re success stories or horror stories, but do your best to tell real ones, or at least make them sound like they are. It seems that by humanizing your brand, people start to look at you differently. Your audience starts to see the person behind all of that instead just the brand.”
TJ Kelly from Mxt Media explains why this approach of storytelling works so well: “humans spent thousands of generations evolving and adapting to verbal, narrative communication.
Storytelling is a form of mind control. It’s all about brain chemistry—this is how our brains are evolved to think, remember, and use new information. In all major areas of digital marketing—SEO, PPC, SMM, and social ads—a good story will grab and hold your audience’s attention better than a direct sell.”
“Giveaways are popular because they work,” notes Mostly Blogging’s Janice Wald. “People love contests. A giveaway is effective for several reasons: People thrive on healthy competition. Next, User-Generated Content is trendy. Have your followers create your brand promotions for you and the best wins the prize.
Make sure they use a unique hashtag made just for the competition so you can find the entries. The hype generated will make others want the prize even after the competition.
Use the Countdown Sticker on Instagram before your launch to build excitement. This enables people to save the date which puts them in your sales funnel. Brands are usually happy to provide the prize in exchange for this promotion.”
Telling stories is just one way to humanize your brand.
Meara McNitt from Online Optimism shares another tip: “Showing off team members and their accomplishments is a great way for a business to get genuine engagement and build a connection with followers.”
Why? Because “followers love to see that the business is made of people.”
And, Natalia Kamecka from Applover adds another tip to humanize your business: “To generate more engagement, you need to be authentic.
Humanize your communication, show people that stand behind it, whenever you can show authentic photos of your team. Even behind the B2B brand, there are people who create it. Thanks to showing them, you can increase your engagement through authenticity and transparency.”
Nikola Roza from Nikola Roza- SEO for the Poor and Determined opines, “The best way to get more engagement on your posts is to engage with other people’s posts.
Use the law of reciprocity in your favor. Give to others selflessly and over a longer timeframe (several months) you’ll see those other brands and influencers start to engage with your posts. The key is to get out there and participate in your niche community.”
“The best way to stand out is to make connections and build trust with genuine conversations,” outlines Laura Rike. To this end, Rike writes, “my number one tip for standing out on social media and generating more followers and engagement is to engage on the platform for at least 30 minutes per day commenting and starting conversations with ideal and target audience.”
In short, “starting conversations in the comment section and indirect messaging will help you stay interesting and relevant on social media against big businesses.”
“Some form of community – like a Twitter chat, a LinkedIn Group or Facebook Group,” advises Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations.
Not only will this help you “build engagement on social media” but it can also “go a long way toward helping your audience feel as though they have a connection to your brand – and to other fans of your brand.”
This is an excellent way to start conversations and engage with your audience. And it comes from Joe Akers from Pyrpaw Marketing: “Ask questions of other small businesses that allow them to toot their own horn. Make it about them. I like to ask things like, ‘What’s ONE thing you’ve done this week to grow your business?’ and I give an example of what I myself have done to inspire others to chime in.
I’m genuinely interested in what others have done and I make sure to encourage them with whatever they comment on. Online engagement should be about relationships ahead of sales, in my opinion.”
This is another useful tip for growing your social media engagement.
Grin’s Brandon Brown shares their experience with it: “Our company GRIN.co, focuses on the importance of influencer marketing, which helps to grow your reach and engagement by utilizing popular social media accounts.
Social media feeds are already clogged with pages and pages of content, so it’s becoming increasingly important to make use of influencers, who have a pre-existing following. Generate great content, be open to new ideas, and understand that the world is changing every day.
Overall, it’s crucial to keep an open mind, be willing to understand new concepts, and acknowledge the opportunity that comes from influencer marketing campaigns.”
At Omniscient Digital, it’s all about clear writing, being interesting and honest. Their team’s Alex Birkett explains: “We’ve been experimenting with LinkedIn and Twitter, and I can tell you the three biggest levers when it comes to engagement:
Honesty is the root of interesting content. If you’re just rehashing what others have said or what you think sounds good, you are white noise.
Being interesting is a function of good storytelling. Know how to structure your insights and pull people in via good copywriting.
And writing clearly — well, that’s obvious. Rambling sentences and big blocks of text have no place on social networks. Get to the point and do it in a way that is crystal clear.
That’s what we’ve learned, anyway.”
This is another important tip to keep front and center as you use social media for your B2B company.
Blake Bobit from Solution Scout says, “use the 80/20 rule. TLDR; Majority of your posts should not be promotional. 80% of your posts should be reposts of other content, helpful tips, commentary, or questions. 20% (or less) of your posts can promote your product or service.
This strategy keeps your engagement high enough that the algorithms will display your posts more often, leading to better results.”
The LeadG2 team takes this approach to growing its B2B social media. Shaye Smith elaborates: “Our employees play a vital role in our B2B social strategy and they play a few different roles.
When the marketing team packages it together in one place, it allows employees to quickly and easily comment on a post or share a graphic or link without taking too much time or effort on their part. HOWEVER, this should NOT be taken advantage of. Do not abuse this – save it for major campaigns or announcements.”
By nature, social media is more for individuals. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t utilize it for your business. The key to solving this conundrum is your employees. In most cases employees privately follow other industry experts and leaders or are in groups related to your industry to stay on top of the latest changes and news.
“If approached well, your employees could easily become your public advocates,” adds Peter Thaleikis from RankLetter.“Who is more suitable to talk about the pressing topics of the job than the person doing it?
Provide them with time and resources to write blog posts based on their work and they will likely share them on social media too. Most likely your employees will mention your business in the post after providing the time and space for the post. If not, a friendly reminder will do so.
You can also take it one step further. The more value you provide to the employee writing the post, the more you will benefit: If you got a graphic designer set a little time aside to help with infographics, social sharing images, etc.
If you got a writer for your social media posts, set some time aside to write a Facebook/LinkedIn post or Twitter thread for the employee. These investments are likely to pay off in multiple ways: First, your employee feels heard and valued.
Both the reach of your employee and your business will increase. With this, your mention within the article is likely to be much stronger than with a stray article somewhere on the web. As a combined result, your business is presenting itself as an industry thought leader.”
This is an easy but often neglected tip that Brooklin Nash from Sales Hacker brings to your attention.
Nash advises, “Make your content ‘snackable’ — and digestible on the platform.
It’s an obvious point that we often forget: make it easy for your audience to engage and they’ll be more likely to engage.”
Don’t forget to be consistent. Johana M. Caba from JM Integrated Marketing elaborates, “As a public relations professional and social media marketer/manager, one tip for B2B brands to generate more engagement on social media is to remain consistent.
They should have a consistent posting schedule depending on the platforms, post relevant information, and engage with their audience/followers by answering questions and commenting on other’s posts. These are tips for generating more engagement, staying interesting, and standing out against their competitors.”
Lastly, as promised, here are some social media platform-specific tips for you to multiply your engagement:
“Effectively leverage Instagram Stories to increase engagement for your brand. Instagram stories offer several great features that will boost your engagement rates. Create an Instagram Story that prompts your followers to reply, use one of the features, or convert to a link. In stories, you can directly ask your audience a free response question, take a poll, add trending music, tag a location, hashtag, countdown to an event, and more. Using these features will boost your engagement and help you understand your audience on a deeper level.” – Rachel Nelson, Margaux Agency.
“As part of our marketing strategy at HelpSquad, we participate in Twitter chats as much as time permits us. For us, this is a great way to stand out and engage as a B2B brand on social media.
We see Twitter chats as a great way to engage with other companies, connect with other marketers, and learn new things on various topics. Self-promotion is not usually welcomed at Twitter Chats as this is more of a connection and engagement activity.
The connections a company or an individual can establish and the relationships they build through Twitter chats can result in traffic increase in the long run, however. If the insights one provides are valuable and relevant to people they will want to learn more. They will follow the individual or a company on Twitter, visit their website, read their blogs, and perhaps subscribe to additional content. All that leads to increased traffic, brand awareness, and eventual business growth.” – Natalya Bucuy, LiveHelpNow.
“Take time to curate threads of Tweets. For example, if I’m making a thread of SEO strategy, I’ll use each individual Tweet to explain my process.
Use a mix of text, video, and images to convey your threads. This keeps engagement high, as people don’t want to sift through a sea of text-only Tweets. Finally, have a number count on your threads. For example, at the end of my first Tweet in a thread, I’ll include 1/10. This means this is the first of 10 Tweets in this thread. That way, your audience has an expectation up-front of how long it’ll take them to read your full thread.
I like threads because, in a way, it allows you to tell stories on Twitter. This is interesting because Twitter is geared toward short-form content, but with well-curated threads, you’ll have no problem keeping your audience engaged.” – Devin Pickell, Nextiva.
“Use Tiktok for Inspiration and Content Testing. TikTok is one of the best places to go for motivation and to keep a finger on the beat of what’s new and trending in social media. Trends that start on TikTok spread everywhere.
Even to more commonplace for B2B channels, like LinkedIn. It’s also a great proving ground for new content forms and ideas. Content that performs particularly well on one channel will likely also do numbers on any other way you cross-promote to. The same is true for content you test on TikTok with the added benefit that the posts are incredibly low.” – Brack Nelson, Incrementors Web Solutions.
In short, use B2B social media in a casual manner, showcasing the human side of your business as that’s the best way to gain your audience’s trust.
Like Wendy Margolin from Sparkr Marketing puts it, “Social media is about connecting with people, so it’s important to show up there as a real person even as a B2B brand.”
Go on and “tell stories about how you have helped other businesses. Feature employees and the culture at your business. Share inspiring or funny quotes that relate to your industry. Ask questions and encourage followers to respond” among other tips that we’ve shared in this post.
Remember, “it starts by keeping in mind that your business is still made up of humans, so sound like one on social media,” Margolin concludes.
So are you ready to make the most of B2B social media?
| Apr 13
| Apr 2