How to Use Social Media for B2B Sales in 2023
Social media is a big deal these days. Billions of people log in to one or more platforms each day to connect with friends and family, search out products and services, and see whatever happened to Jenny from high school.
There are 875 million users across 200 countries using LinkedIn, while Facebook has almost 3 million. Instagram is an impressively active place, with 2 billion daily avocado-toast sharers. And despite all its political issues and Musk-related tribulations in the last few months, Twitter still boasts 238 million users.
A simple search of “[platform] growth” will pull up illuminating charts with exponential curves, showing that these channels of communication are only becoming more critical to work and pleasure alike.
It’s not as simple as learning how to use a platform and sticking to a routine for years, though. Algorithms change, advertising models evolve, and user behavior fluctuates. A good social media routine, therefore, involves understanding that change is a part of life. You must build that simple truth into an automated, algorithmic, yet flexible routine of your own.
While it’s true that social media is typically known as a peer-to-peer, friend-to-friend, or B2C environment, there are huge benefits to using social media in the B2B space.
The good news is, you can leverage it for that purpose too. If you want to use social networks to your advantage to reach B2B buyers and influence their purchasing decisions, it’s time to educate yourself – and we’re here to help.
Today, let’s take a look at how B2B businesses can use social media, which B2B marketing trends you should pay attention to, and which tools are best.
What is a Social Media Marketing Strategy?
The best companies not only know how to use social, they know how to roll with the punches. Apple, Google, and Shopify have continued to grow their accounts over time for one simple reason. No, it’s not that they’re freaking ginormous and just throw money at the problem.
It’s the fact that they are used to pivoting as a way of life. These companies are inherently tech-forward. Whether they’re using social media for B2B sales or trying to reach influencers and individuals, they put that mindset to work for them.
If you want to succeed at using social media for B2B sales, then you need to design a sales and marketing strategy that works. This includes:
- Market research to find your target audience
- Audience persona identification and targeting
- Copywriting and content creation, such as infographics
- Account, trend, and hashtag research
You can do all of these right there, on social channels. Considering one of the most important benefits of social media for B2B sales is generating leads, it becomes even more important to design a cradle-to-grave social strategy.
For instance, if you’re looking to use cold texting or cold calling to build your pipeline, then you’ll need to get those numbers from somewhere. Ditto if you want to conduct research, find out who’s buying your products (or products like yours), continue to build relationships, and even close deals.
For each of these goals, social is an excellent place to start.
How Do B2B Companies Benefit From Social Media Marketing?
Before you spend the time to learn how to use social media for B2B sales, it behooves you to first ask… is it really necessary?
The answer is a flat yes. According to Hootsuite, “31.3 percent of global Internet users use the Internet for business-related research” while “22.7 percent of internet users use social media for work-related networking and research.” Also, 96 percent of B2B content marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing, while 89 percent use it to generate social leads.
Social is an ideal place to figure out who your ideal customers are, where they hang out, and what they want from you.
This isn’t simply aspirational, either. Many B2B brands have seen huge jumps in growth through social media for B2B sales. For instance, Adobe is well-known for user-generated content that inspires its followers, while IBM tickles people’s nostalgia nerve with throwbacks to its classic tech – which also doubles as a reminder of its longtime success.
These are excellent examples of using social media channels for brand awareness and lead generation, and you can mimic them in your own marketing.
How to Utilize Social Media to Maximize B2B Sales
If you’re looking to drive B2B sales via social media campaigns, it’s important to understand content creation and content marketing in order to capture your audience and convert them into leads. The following sections will explore just how to do that.
Understand Your Buyer Journey
Before you can put the marketing tool of social media tool to work, you need to understand your audience’s buyer journey. Ask questions such as:
- Why do they come to you?
- What makes them click “yes” to free downloads, subscribe to your channels, or start a free trial?
- How does it vary from segment to segment?
- What do they need at each stage of the journey to move to the next?
Set Clear KPIs, Goals, and Objectives
If you’re going to bother using social media for B2B sales, it’s important to devote time to developing a real content marketing strategy. You’re not a full-time parent posting pictures of your seasonal pies here; you’re a business. Set clear KPIs, goals, and objectives for your advertising campaigns, SEO density, and B2B content conversion. Only then do you have something to measure.
Research Potential Customer Demographics
To choose the right type of content strategy, you need to know what your audience is already pursuing. Do they like thoughtfully curated Instagram images? Cutting-edge Twitter soundbites? Newsy Facebook posts? Figure out where they’re already hanging out, and then you can go to them.
Build Trust via Client Relationships
One of the best ways to use social media for B2B sales is to become a thought leader (or turn your sales team into a group of thought leaders) in your field. Then you can take that knowledge and give it to people who are seeking it, which builds trust. Once you have that trust and have proven your expertise, you can leverage both to present your solutions to prospects.
Who (and How) to Target
The next question is who and how to target people when using social media for B2B sales. How do you determine whom to target? Where do you find them? How do you begin a conversation? What kinds of posts will best enable a budding relationship? Let’s take a look.
Select Appropriate Social Channels
Before you choose a marketing channel, make sure it will really work for your company. That’s not to say a SaaS company can’t use Instagram effectively, but they might not use it as well as a text-heavier platform like Facebook or LinkedIn. At the same time, companies that sell wedding supplies should one million percent be on Instagram and Pinterest.
Using the right channel or format in your digital marketing helps you reach your target audience faster and more effectively. When you target the right channels, you’ll get the right people seeing your content and submitting landing page conversion forms.
Gatekeepers matter, but if you can bypass them and go straight to decision-makers, do so! Design content that solves their problems, not their administrative assistant’s, and you’re likelier to get a response.
Include Employee Advocacy
One of the best prongs of social media for B2B sales is employee advocacy. When your own people talk about how great you and your product are, people know it’s for real. Because seriously, who is more likely to hate their bosses than an employee? No one. Which, conversely, means there’s a ton of social proof to be had in their enthusiastic posts.
Employee advocacy also positions your brand as an industry expert, and introduces your sales team as helpful consultants who can guide your target customers to the right solutions to their problems.
Use Social Media Management Strategically
Using social media for B2B sales means employing the right management techniques to reach the right people and involving yourself in the conversation that matter. Here are our favorite strategic tips.
Align Sales and Marketing Efforts
If your marketing team has no idea what your sales arm is doing, then you’re far less likely to meet your digital marketing and sales goals. One of the best ways to align sales and marketing is to create social media automation workflows. These give you a view from above that is hugely valuable in ensuring your resources get used well.
Use Social Listening Tools
Listening is a huge factor in social media for B2B sales. If you don’t know what people are saying and how others are responding, there’s no way to reach them. Or at least, it’s much harder. Social listening tools, which we discuss below, can help inform your approach.
Social listening also allows your sales team to jump into conversations that can turn into conversions. On LinkedIn or Twitter, you might find someone asking about a solution that your product or service provides—getting involved in that conversation can create a new sales opportunity.
Frequently Monitor Campaign Metrics
Campaign metrics are worth their weight in gold. (Metaphorically speaking, of course, since they weigh nothing.) Only by tracking and analyzing can you see where to pivot, what to enhance, and what to leave by the wayside.
How to Use Social Media Creatively
We heartily wish it were enough to throw up a post or two a day explaining what you do, and how and why you’re the freaking best at it. Unfortunately, it’s not. Businesses basking in their own glow are a dime a dozen; you need to be the company that’s all about your customers. Here’s how to go beyond the repost and truly shine.
Always Post in Your Brand Voice
If you want to generate leads, people need to know, like, and trust you. Now ask yourself: would you trust someone with multiple personalities? Probably not, so don’t be that person. Instead, your brand needs a single tone that’s well-aligned with your purpose. Craft it, then use it.
Create Thought Leadership Based Content
Social media for B2B sales is all about being the expert. Research each type of content before you make it, choosing the ones most likely to make you look like thought leaders. Write them, then have experts at your company check them.
Use Testimonials and Case Studies
Much like employee content, user-generated content brings a lot of value to the table for social media accounts. The same is true for testimonials and case studies. Plenty of people claim to specialize in something, but it’s the businesses that can really prove it that see growth.
Use Webinars and Video Content
Even a very small business can build up a strong social media presence with the right posts. Webinars and video content are both great ways to go. Social platforms love video and people love free content, which aligns excellently all around.
Experiment with Times of Social Media Posts
While you need to create good content to close sales no matter what, you can give your posts a boost by experimenting with timing. Make sure your accounts are all set to “business” so you get access to analytics that will tell you when your content resonates most strongly during the day and week.
Tools That Help Manage a B2B Social Media Strategy
Although this process might seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. There are tons of third-party tools and integrations that can help marketing managers keep track of their social media strategies and campaigns.
These will allow you not only to use social media for B2B sales more effectively, but to analyze your efforts and pivot when necessary. Here are just three you should know about to improve your sales funnel.
Google Analytics is the gold standard for building brand awareness and grabbing market share via the intelligent use of keywords. It might seem like a counterintuitive tool to help you use social media for B2B sales, but it’s actually very effective for a few reasons:
- Analytics can help you see where to put your marketing strategy efforts by showing which keywords are most popular
- You can use those keywords in social media posts
- By advertising only the social posts that leverage the most popular keywords, you can save on ad dollars
Depending on how many platforms you’re using, social media can get confusing real quick. Doubly so if you have multiple products, services, or campaigns – which most sales companies do.
There’s no better place to sort it all out than Hootsuite. This allows you to organize all your social efforts in one place. You can perform research on hashtags and target audiences, do some social listening, craft, and schedule posts ahead of time, and more.
UTM parameters are small snippets of text you add to a URL to glean information about how users ended up at that URL.
Let’s say you have the URL https://www.winteriscoming.com/homeheating. Lots of users end up on that link, but where are they coming from? UTM parameters allow you to tell. With just a few extra characters in each URL, you can track how leads and prospects landed on that page by differentiating between sources, marketing media, keywords, campaigns, and content types.
Confused? That’s okay; read more here.
Social media is not an extra for B2B companies. It’s an absolute must, and if you’re not using it smartly, then your competition is likely to steal your clients and customers – if they’re not already doing it.
Intelligent comprehensive strategies do more than boost the ego or increase brand awareness. They lead to measurably impressive growth for companies that do it right. Adobe has seen double-digit growth for the last several years, for instance, while IBM reversed several years of decline back in 2020 and has seen growth since then.
You can do the same by leveraging social media today, and Close is here to help. Our one-of-a-kind, easily integrated, cloud-based software has many benefits to assist in prospecting, building sales pipelines, and selling.