When social media first launched, many companies were skeptical that these new platforms could be used to support their business initiatives. Today, if you hear of a company that is not on social media, you find yourself wondering “What are they thinking?”.
According to NewsCred, 87% of B2B marketers use social media to distribute content. However, many B2B brands are still trailing behind their B2C counterparts when it comes to social media strategy and results.
There is no denying that social media can be used to build brand affinity and increase engagement for B2B companies. Below are a few lessons and examples that B2B companies can learn from successful B2C companies to increase their “likeability” on social networks. You’ll also find a few B2B companies that are already proving it’s possible.
#1 – Highlight Customers & Community
Because of the loyalty that is often built with consumer products, B2C brands have a lot of opportunities to feature their customers or online community. Featuring different people outside of the organization is a fantastic way to better connect your audience with the content shared on social media channels.
GoPro has done a fantastic job of featuring different people within their community regularly on their Instagram account. It can be everything from a smiling baby, to someone using their GoPro to show off their skateboard moves like the image below.
A B2B brand that is also incorporating their community is MailChimp. Along with some of the best brand visuals I’ve ever seen, MailChimp highlights individuals in a super creative way that anyone that is following them can appreciate.
#2 – Support Content Marketing Initiatives
As the largest professional social network, LinkedIn provides many opportunities for B2C and B2B companies alike.
Starbucks is a B2C company with a great LinkedIn feed. Instead of simply sharing a product list or their latest news, they’re creating video content that their audience will find interesting. This post for example provides a sneak peek into how Starbuck’s locations transform for the holidays.
HubSpot is well-known within the online community as a marketing automation tool that businesses can use to create more meaningful interactions with potential customers. However, HubSpot provides some of the most useful content I’ve ever uncovered and does a great job of showcasing that content in an enticing and clever way on their LinkedIn page.
#3 – Show The Human Side of Your Company
Many B2B companies have built their business around process, technology and reliability. However, that direction often cuts out one of the most important elements of a company, the people that are a part of the experience.
Love or hate them, BuzzFeed constantly features their employees in different videos and articles. One of their staff members, Matt Bellassai also has a popular weekly video series that is so good, he’s been nominated for a people’s choice award.
B2B companies have equal opportunity to feature stories about their staff. Salesforce has taken a simpler approach and recently shared a post showcasing some of their employee’s giving back during the holiday season.
#4 – Create Anticipation
When you have a new release or something exciting to share with your customers, it’s a great idea to publish teasers on social media that create anticipation. This can help keep people glued to your feed waiting to see what happens next.
Royal Dutch Airlines created a series of teasers and videos that featured the “unboxing” of their brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Were they talking about ticket prices? No. However, they were creating an experience to connect their audience to the content.
Creativity and building anticipation around an event or unveiling isn’t relegated only to B2C companies. Adobe is currently running what they call a “binge-worthy” docu series where three teams are competing to create a holiday campaign. Adobe published teasers leading up to the launch of the series and is frequently providing status updates and encouraging their audience to catch up on the latest episode.
Bonus: Invest in Targeted Social Media Advertising
One challenge that B2B marketers experience (unlike their B2C counterparts) is that there are often multiple decision makers, at different stages within the purchasing cycle.
If you aren’t already, test creating separate ad campaigns for each of the audiences that you want to attract and engage on social networks and then target appropriately based on their common characteristics.
Can You Spot the Similarities?
Did you notice something similar about all of these examples? No matter which social network both these B2C and B2B companies are using, they’re including great visuals alongside engaging content.
This post just scratches the surface of what is required for a truly successful social media strategy. But what it does highlight is that one of the most important things a B2B company can do is treat their audience in a way that highlights their needs and interests as people, not just as potential buyers.