There are two types of social media marketing you need to consider in your B2B social media marketing strategy, organic social and social media advertising. In this article, we look at social media marketing options.
What is social media advertising? – In social media advertising, you pay to reach your audience in social. The different social networks give you a variety of social media advertising options. Typically in social media advertising, you can show traditional ads or pay to increase the reach of your content. LinkedIn also has a unique advertising option, which is to send your audience a Sponsored InMail.
What is organic social media marketing? – Organic social refers to the tactics you undertake to grow your social media following naturally. This includes regular posting of great content and building an audience.
Social media marketing is much more than setting up social media profiles on every network you can think of and waiting for something to happen. Organic social media marketing for B2B businesses is about building and engaging with a community. When marketing through organic social media we are connecting with a relevant audience, engaging in conversations, curating content and sharing our content. Organic social is building engagement by adding value. There is no direct cost to organic social, unlike paid social where we are paying to display ads. The most effective social media marketing strategies use organic and paid social in tandem.
Why is social media marketing important in B2B?
Put simply, B2B buyers are researching their next purchase using social. Social media gives prospective customers direct access to existing customers. Social media has also become a powerful tool for salespeople to prospect and sell. LinkedIn can tell you where someone works, their job title and more. Leading social sellers combine this with other channels to build a full profile of their prospect before engaging them.
Given the essential role social media marketing plays in the research process, it’s a vital source of traffic for your marketing funnel. In the middle of the funnel, social media marketing can also be used to nurture leads.
Deciding between paid and organic social media marketing options for B2B businesses
The selection of which social media tactics you deploy depends on your objectives.
If you already have an engaged audience and you want to share content you believe they will find valuable, then organic social is a good option. It’s excellent for building and nurturing relationships without resorting to email. If your content gets engagement, then organic social can generate plenty of high-quality traffic back to your website. Sharing content on social media builds your reputation for being an authority on your topic. The quality content you share positions your business as adding value beyond just the product or service it offers and this value-adding content will be encountered by prospects doing their research. If you don’t have time to write fresh content, curating content others have published is also a good way of adding value. With organic social media marketing, you need to provide value before you can ask for anything back (like data capture).
Paid social/sponsored social is an advertising channel; you pay for your content to be seen and reach new audiences. Paid social is an excellent tool if you want to target the social followers of your competitors. Paid social can drive traffic to your websites, your social profiles and much more besides; you control where you want to point visitors. There are different types of advertising on social media. You can amplify your content to new audiences, or you can show traditional display ads.
At a high level, paid social helps you reach new audiences and organic social helps you build relationships and engage the audience you already have. To get the best results, organic and paid tactics should be used in tandem.
Here are a few of the differences between paid and organic social media marketing:
- With organic social marketing, there is no ad spend; you’re reliant on the quality of your content.
- The organic reach of your content is dependent on how many followers you have, and who might follow the topics you’re posting about. With organic social media marketing, you are relying on your followers to amplify your content by re-sharing.
- Organic social media marketing is also about getting involved in conversations that are already happening and starting new conversations. For example, if someone is asking a question, can you help?
- Through organic social media marketing, we aim to engage with industry influencers and get on their radar so that they talk about your business and your content.
- Organic social media marketing aims to grow your trust and authority so that you can influence the buying decisions of your prospects
Six quick tips for developing your B2B social media presence
- Know your customer – It goes without saying that in any form of marketing you need to know who your ideal customer is. This is very important in social media where you need to share content they will value. There is no point in crafting a great article on a topic that won’t get engagement from your ideal customers.
- Go where your customer is – Once you know your ideal customer, go where they are. If your ideal customers are on LinkedIn, focus your efforts there.
- Think about your content mix – How much time do you spend talking about yourself and how much do you spend sharing content regardless of source? Social media is never about the hard sell. You need to focus on building relationships not selling. Your prospects will signal when they are ready to be sold to.
- Answer questions & be a resource – Social is about conversations. The most effective social media tactic is answering the questions people have even if it’s not directly relevant to what you sell. The people you help will remember you helped them even when there was nothing in it for you
- Measure and improve – In B2B digital marketing, we often have more data than we can use, but in social media, data can guide your activity. For example, if you see infographics are getting the most engagement, it gives you an indication of what you need to produce.
- Employee advocacy – B2B businesses can significantly increase their organic reach by putting in place employee advocacy programs, making it easier for your employees to share your content on their social networks.
Employee advocacy helps B2B businesses win at organic social media marketing
With a majority of web users having a social media presence it’s almost certain your employees will also be on social media. Employee advocacy in social media is overlooked but can give you a winning advantage. Employee advocacy is where you enable and encourage your employees to share your content. Here are three reasons why you need to encourage employee advocacy to increase your organic social media reach.
People buy from people. People buy from people they know like and trust and only 33% of buyers trust brands, whereas 90% trust recommendations of people they know. The content your employees share with their networks will resonate further than the same content shared on your business branded social channels.
Branded content shared by your employees will be reshared more frequently than when you share it on your own branded channels. Research shows that messages were re-shared 24 times more and reached a greater audience when shared by employees.
There is little overlap (2% to 8%) between the social network of your brand and that of your employees. Employee advocacy extends the reach of your brand.
There is no doubt employee advocacy in social media works, and it can be a cost-effective way of increasing your reach without paying for advertising. It also works better than advertising because people pricing contents share by people they know and follow. When considering your organic social media marketing strategy for your B2B business think about how you can encourage your employees to share your content. There are employee advocacy tools on the market, but it’s a simple as making your employees aware of new content and inviting them to share it.
Stats for your B2B organic social media business case
- 74% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn to inform their purchasing decisions.
- 78% of people who reach out to support via Twitter expect an answer within an hour.
- 79% of marketers report an increase in site traffic after investing 6 hours a week on social media.
Need help with B2B social media marketing?
Organic social media marketing is all about building a community. You can’t build a community by broadcasting your marketing content. You need to be relevant and give people a reason to hit follow. Social media advertising is all about extending your reach. Need help with your social media marketing? Start with Free Digital Marketing Consultancy & Advice.
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