In today’s B2B marketing arena, everyone is doing some form of social media marketing. Social media is part of how today’s brands prove their legitimacy, credibility, and hone in on public-facing branding. That’s why 83% of B2B marketers are on social media.
But how and where are B2B brands thriving on social media? What kinds of content do they use to achieve that success?
Those are the questions we examine in today’s post.
What channels are the most successful for B2B?
To determine which channels your brand should focus on, we looked at a CMI report, which outlines where B2B marketers spend their time and marketing budgets. According to this report, here is the breakdown:
LinkedIn – Around 94% of B2B marketers are on LinkedIn and there are 500 million members on LinkedIn. Most of those aren’t your target audience and that’s okay. Focus on your niche by posting on your company page, groups that you run, or even your personal pages to extend your reach to those that matter.
Twitter – Twitter is the place where the news lives and where conversations start. Around 77% of B2B marketers say they use Twitter and there are about 330 million monthly active users on Twitter. The biggest challenge is finding the right users to converse with in that group.
Facebook – There are 2.45 billion monthly active users on Facebook and 77% of B2B marketers use it to distribute content. That means that while you might not consider B2B and Facebook a match made in heaven, it is still worth having a presence.
YouTube – YouTube has around 2 billion active monthly users, not bad for one of the oldest social platforms on this list. That because YouTube is a platform that appeals broadly to all ages. There are YouTube videos for children and for Baby Boomers, with just about every topic in between. Youtube is a good place for short, informative content.
Instagram – Instagram is the hottest, fastest-growing platform today, reaching 1 billion monthly active users. That’s up 200 millions from 800 monthly active users in 2017. An impressive leap for two years. Just 33% of B2B marketers use Instagram, but I’m sure that number will continue to grow.
Beyond these platforms, we are interested in following the growth of a couple other platforms in B2B.
Pinterest – Pinterest is the home for visual content with 291 million monthly active users as of Spring 2019. There aren’t that many B2B marketers on Pinterest, which means that you could likely find a decent niche to work within.
Medium – Medium is comparably much smaller than the other platforms we mention here. Medium has 60 million monthly readers and 7.5 million posts. That means there are a lot more readers than content created, which means better odds for your brand.
Okay, so with the popularity of these different channels, let’s look at the best types of content for each.
On LinkedIn, you want to focus on your brand, company culture, and your brand authority. LinkedIn drives people to your B2B website; as much as 46% percent of the social media traffic to B2B company sites is from LinkedIn.
Here is the content you should share on LinkedIn:
- Jobs – Show off the positions you have open in an inviting way. After all, many people are on for the purpose of finding jobs.
- Company culture – Talk about how the team got together to go bowling or had a disco ball in the conference room for the holiday party (it’s still in there). If your brand had its own local, in-house news station, what would it report on?
- Long-form content – LinkedIn drives leads for B2B brands, so share long-form content that will impress your audiences and drive them to your website.
- Memes, jokes, pictures of people – Yes, we said it. Professional content is all over LinkedIn. That means that anything that isn’t classic, boring B2B content will stand out. That means that content that is the norm on platforms like Facebook stands out on LinkedIn. Define the line of what is appropriate, then create more personal, relatable content for LinkedIn. It will be shareable, which is critical in social media today.
- SlideShare – If you upload a PDF to LinkedIn, it becomes a SlideShare. Is SlideShare the new white paper? Maybe on LinkedIn. This is a newer form of content on LinkedIn, but it is certainly one to explore. New forms of content often perform better in social media algorithms because it encourages adoption.
I like to think of Facebook as a sort of free extension to a company’s website. Unless you are committed to putting a budget into Facebook, the company’s Facebook page needs to be updated frequently.
Here are the types of content you should post to your Facebook feeds:
- Short videos – Think 30 second to 1-minute videos. They can be smart, silly, or strictly informative.
- Stories – There aren’t that many pages using Stories on Facebook. Use Stories to humanize your brand and share more about your day-to-day. Use them on a limited basis to advertise a special offer, but don’t overdo it.
- Curated content – This includes the content of others and your content. Pick what you want to see when you scroll through your page’s updates. You might not share more than once a day on Facebook. Make it good.
- Company culture – This is another place where you should show off company photos and news from your organization. This is a chance to make your page more than a logo with a set of links.
YouTube is probably the most active social media network because it spans every generation and niche audience. There’s a YouTube video for everything.
Use YouTube to show off your expertise. What kinds of content does that involve?
- Short FAQs/Explainers – Answer your most frequently asked questions in captioned videos that are no longer than 3 minutes maximum.
- Conversations – Use YouTube for longer-form conversations. You’ll find a lot of podcasts on YouTube. Can you podcast about your industry’s most relevant topics? They don’t have to be an hour, either. Imagine a 15-minute podcast on a relevant B2B topic. Long enough to be thorough, short enough to hold today’s short attention spans.
Instagram isn’t a wildly popular place for B2B marketers, but it will only grow. Instagram is poised to become the next Facebook. Many millennials and Gen Z individuals are exclusively on Instagram. Often, when I meet professionals, we exchange Instagram handles instead of business cards.
What kinds of content can you experiment with on Instagram?
- Stories – Stories happen live, and they’re a great way to show the day-to-day of your organization. Use it to curate content created by your employees at company HQ. Connect with your employees and share stories that they do from the workplace. Share posts from your feed to get extra views. You can include everything from holiday decorations to the company mascot. Just use discernment in what you post here. Stories only last for 24 hours, but screenshots last a lifetime.
- Event photos – On your feed, consider posting the best pictures from the latest company outings or holiday parties. Use your discernment to ensure the images you share reflect on your brand and employees positively.
- Short quotes and stats – Just because Instagram is a visual platform suited to quick, digestible content doesn’t mean you can’t use it to cultivate your brand’s authority. Think about statistics that others might want to share or quotes that might inspire. These are a great way to add diversity and authority to your feed.
- Memes – Memes are shareable, and that’s the name of the game on social media today. Allow your creative team to create memes relevant to your industry. It’s a great way to connect with other professionals in the industry. Memes can be like inside jokes to a niche or market.
Pinterest is for inspiration. How can you inspire on Pinterest?
- Infographics – Turn blog posts into infographics and put them on Pinterest. These are shareable and digestible. Pinterest gives you a much wider potential audience than sharing an infographic on most other social networks.
- Step-by-step guides – The most successful content on Pinterest is stuff that stands alone. People are on Pinterest to be inspired, give them a short guide, a visual how-to on a topic, so your brand provides value.
Medium is the place to be for the written word. Put your original blog posts here. Bonus points for posts that are inspiring and informative. Medium is a place where you can import the blog posts you write and reshare them in an enclosed ecosystem.
HIPB2B has done the best with posts that offer unique metaphors on B2B marketing.
Get ready for 2020 by rethinking what B2B brands can do on social media. You don’t have to be stuck in the blog post and white paper loop in the coming decade. Try integrating some of these ideas into your social media strategy in the upcoming year.
Let us know what you think:
- What kind of content will you post in 2020?
- Will you change your B2B social strategy in the upcoming year?
- What will be the hot new social media trend in 2020?