Nearly 60% of B2B marketers agree that social media is the top way to drive brand awareness.
If you want new B2B prospects to discover your product, you need compelling social media campaigns that draw in your target community and fuel engagement.
But, with so many social media channels to choose from, which do you pick?
Read on to discover the top social media channels for your online B2B business and the best ways to use them to foster brand awareness and increase conversions.
Why Is Social Media Marketing Important for Businesses in General?
Since people spend an average of two and a half hours on social media each day, social media marketing is an integral part of any business’s marketing campaign. That’s why 74% of global marketers continue to invest in social media as a marketing strategy.
But social media isn’t just important for online brands — it’s vital for offline brands too.
For both online and offline companies, social media provides an opportunity to grow your market, understand your audience, and fuel higher sales.
The primary reason that businesses use social media is for social listening. This is an important strategy whereby brands collect behavioral data from potential customers.
56% of businesses use this information to understand their target audience. This helps to paint a clearer picture of their audience’s characteristics and what they like. By doing this, businesses can better target marketing campaigns to appeal to their target audience.
Brands also use social media to drive organic traffic. More than half of brands use social media content to increase web traffic by directing their social audiences to new products or website content.
One of the most critical uses for social media marketing is to grow brand awareness. 48% of brands claim this is the main reason they use social media — it helps them introduce themselves to new markets and potential customers.
Social media also helps brands drive engagement. 43% of companies say the main aim of their social media strategy is to increase community engagement. By creating connections between the brand and its target audience, companies can push prospects further down the sales funnel.
Lastly, 40% of brands use social media to drive sales. While some companies sell directly from social, others focus on offering promotions and offers that help to increase e-commerce conversion rates on their websites.
Why Is Social Media Marketing so Important for Online B2B Businesses?
Social media marketing is vital for B2B brands.
Don’t be fooled into thinking social networking is simply a personal activity conducted in one’s free time. Social media platforms are a primary research tool for company decision-makers looking for B2B tools.
In fact, more than 35% of decision-makers discover new B2B brands on social media and nearly a third of decision-makers consider social media platforms to be their most influential source for researching new B2B products.
This is why almost 60% of B2B companies use social media to share general updates and 53% use it as a way to distribute marketing messages.
Not only that, but social media offers a prime opportunity to connect with B2B prospects directly. This is why 58% of B2B companies use social platforms to talk directly with potential customers.
What Are the Top Social Media Channels for Online B2B Businesses?
Facebook is by far the most important social media channel for B2B businesses, according to Social Media Examiner.
That said, a third of B2B businesses consider LinkedIn to be the most critical social media marketing platform.
Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube also make it to the top five.
Facebook has 2.7 billion active monthly users, meaning there’s a huge potential market to target. This is why 91% of B2B businesses use Facebook for marketing.
But it’s not just that it’s such a popular platform. Facebook is a prime location for company decision-makers researching B2B products and services. In fact, almost half of decision-makers say that they use Facebook for B2B research.
On top of that, Facebook provides B2B companies with a good return on investment (ROI). Over half of B2B companies say they see the highest ROI from Facebook marketing over any other social media platform.
But how are B2B brands using Facebook as a social media marketing tool?
45% of marketers say their Facebook business page is the most important Facebook feature for meeting their marketing goals.
Use your Facebook business page to keep existing and potential customers in the loop and to engage them in your brand.
Videos are one of the most effective ways to engage your audience and drive sales. 96% of people have watched a product explainer video and 84% say they’ve been convinced to buy after watching a brand’s video.
What’s more, people are twice as likely to share a video than any other form of content.
In this respect, it’s wise to use your Facebook business page to share videos that engage your B2B prospects with product developments and brand updates.
Podcasts are another type of content that is great to share on Facebook. Since podcasts are a relative newcomer to the content scene – picking up in 2004, they’re a low-competition way for brands to engage with their audiences.
Don’t underestimate the power of podcasts though. In December 2020 alone there were over 62 million podcast downloads. Depending on the type of podcast you have, Linkedin can also be an appropriate channel to share it on.
In the US alone, LinkedIn has a potential marketing reach of 190 million. Not only is this a broad market, but it’s also specifically geared toward professionals, making it easier for B2B brands to target customers through their professional persona.
Right now, 81% of B2B brands use LinkedIn for marketing.
This isn’t surprising since it’s a popular platform for companies to research B2B tools. In fact, a third of decision-makers admit to using LinkedIn for B2B research.
To use LinkedIn as an effective social media tool, you need to turn your LinkedIn page into a lead generation machine.
This means structuring your LinkedIn business page so that it leads to a conversion action, such as heading to your website, signing up for a demo, or booking a call.
Look at how we achieve this with the SocialBee.io LinkedIn page.
Firstly, the header boldly and clearly explains what SocialBee.io helps potential customers achieve, as well as what they’ll get when they subscribe.
Next, notice how the overview is worded as a no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point sales pitch. It tells prospects exactly how SocialBee will solve their existing problems.
Lastly, note the call-to-action (CTA) links that encourage prospective customers to convert into leads, by heading to the website.
Now, look at the updates on the page’s feed.
Not only does the feed contain engaging images and videos to encourage users to share the information, but each post is also complete with a CTA.
No matter where a prospect heads on the SocialBee.io LinkedIn page, they’re encouraged to head to the website, converting themselves to a lead. Visitors can choose to follow you on LinkedIn, and your company updates appear afterward on their feeds. Growing your LinkedIn followers pays off also due to the notifications that are frequently sent to users about new content that gets published.
Instagram may not seem like a particular professional social media platform, but, surprisingly, 71% of B2B firms use Instagram for marketing.
Not only that, but 64% of B2B brands plan on increasing their Instagram marketing efforts.
This is because 36% of decision-makers use Instagram for B2B research, making it a prime location for targeting prospects.
One of the best ways to use Instagram is to create short 2D animation videos that demonstrate how your B2B product works, so customers can see it in action.
Make sure the videos are less than a minute and each one demonstrates a different use case. That way, you target all the potential customer personas in your target audience.
Look at how the team messaging app, Slack, does this on Instagram:
In this particular short video, Slack is showing how the ‘channels’ feature on its platform can be used by teams who want to share the big news.
With a few simple animations, the video shows users how they can use Slack to communicate with updates, replies, and emoji reactions.
By demonstrating the product, this video shows prospects how Slack would make their workday easier.
YouTube had two billion active monthly users, making it a crucial platform for businesses trying to reach large target markets. This is why 56% of B2B companies use YouTube in their marketing strategy.
Here’s the thing.
93% of Twitter users and 90% of Facebook users also use YouTube. This allows you to create campaigns that target the same profile of users across all three platforms. If a prospective customer sees your product on more than one platform, they’ll begin to recognize your brand.
When it comes to targeting companies looking for B2B products, YouTube is one of the top platforms that decision-makers use to look for new B2B products. Nearly 40% of decision-makers say they discover new B2B brands from video sites like YouTube.
Not only that but, decision-makers also head to YouTube to find out more about new brands. In fact, over half of decision-makers use YouTube for B2B brand research.
With these things in mind, it’s smart to build a twofold YouTube campaign.
On the one hand, you should consider paid-for advertising to help raise brand awareness within your target audience in the discovery phase.
On the other, you should be adding product and brand videos that help decision-makers discover more about your product in the research phase.
While Twitter isn’t considered as important as Facebook or LinkedIn by B2B businesses, it’s still in the top five social media platforms as it has a potential US marketing reach of 69 million.
In fact, nearly 60% of B2B companies market on Twitter.
While only 3% of B2B brands consider Twitter their most important social media marketing platform, almost 30% of decision-makers use Twitter for B2B brand research.
While you can use Twitter to build your brand identity through informative and entertaining tweets, it can be difficult to build an audience from scratch.
However, Twitter is abundant with influencers.
As a B2B brand, try using industry-relevant Twitter influencers to promote your products and services to their customers by tagging you in their tweets.
Each social media channel provides a different platform for communicating with B2B prospects. While LinkedIn might be best for generating leads, YouTube provides a way to demonstrate your products to decision-makers in the research phase.
Remember, most people use multiple platforms for B2B research. Make sure you’re using retargeting ads so that your website visitors are reminded of your product on multiple social platforms.
If this seems like a lot to juggle, start managing your social media marketing campaigns with Socialbee today!
Ray Hein, CEO & Founder of Propel PLM
Ray Hein is the CEO and founder of Propel PLM, a cloud-based product success platform. He is a SaaS veteran with 20+ years of PLM, development, and product launch experience in both hardware and enterprise software organizations. Ray has held multiple executive positions at companies such as Agile Software, Apttus, Vendavo, and Centric Software.