If you work in B2B marketing, you’re almost certainly making use of social media already.
But with LinkedIn constantly expanding its capabilities, and new regulations making social media an ever-more appealing marketing channel, we thought it was time to recap some of the reasons why Linkedin should be a key part of your B2B marketing strategy.
Social media - a vital component of B2B marketing plans
With referrals and reviews on social media playing a growing role in B2B buying decisions, it’s a channel you ignore at your peril. We recently identified it as one of the four essential marketing tools you should be using.
So are you and other B2B marketers making the most of it?
Optimising your use of social media means creating engaging content. This is what will deliver the shares and likes that amplify your social media presence, and the clicks that take people to your website.
It also means keeping it compliant. The FCA has strict rules around social media – make sure you’re familiar with them and read our 10 tips for social media success in regulated firms for advice on how you can make the most of this channel in a way that meets with regulatory requirements.
A social media style guide is essential to ensure that, whoever is posting on behalf of your firm, you have consistency in brand and tone of voice. And you can read more here about how to create a successful social media strategy.
Firstly, it’s a platform recognised specifically for its business-related content. Unlike Facebook, which tends to focus on people’s personal lives, and Twitter, which has both business and personal content, Linkedin is very much a work-related site.
If you’re a B2B marketer, therefore, it’s where you will find your target audience. As of April according to the site itself, it had 500 million members across 200 countries.
So how can you make Linkedin part of your marketing strategy?
1. Create a company page
Set up a page for your company and you have a vehicle for all your corporate content. You can invite clients, contacts and key influencers to follow your page, and they will see everything you post. It can be a good way to gather together content on a range of topics and keep all your posts in one place.
2. Post links to share content with your key contacts
There are a number of ways you can share content on Linked in: firstly, you can post a short item with a link to more content online. You can post as a company, via a company page, or as an individual – and anyone in your network or who has liked your page will see your post.
This is great for short snippets of information, ideally with links to more in-depth material on your website. You can share intellectual capital – reports, whitepapers – as well as invitations to attend seminars and events or to take part in surveys. The clicks and views are measurable via analytics provide by Linkedin.
By connecting with key prospects or clients – again, either as an individual or via an invitation for them to follow your corporate page – you can ensure they receive relevant content about the issues that matter.
3. Share longer articles and thought pieces
Another option is to post longer articles, rather than headlines and links to longer content. This puts your thinking right in front of your connections, enabling them to read your views on key topics without needing to click through to your website.
You still get data about the number of views your content gets – though as you’re not (necessarily) directing them to your own site, you won’t have the additional metrics you might get from your own web analytics. But if you want to share more in-depth content straight onto the site, this is the way to go.
4. Join relevant groups - or set up one of your own
There’s no shortage of Linkedin groups on any topic you can imagine. There will be a number covering areas of interest in your sector. Join these and you can share content into a group of highly-relevant individuals, all of whom have an interest in the topic. A ready-made audience for your content.
And if there isn’t already a group covering the area you want to focus on – or even if there is – you can set up your own. This can be a great way to build a community of targeted individuals. They can debate current hot issues and you can share relevant materials with them: setting up a group can answer a genuine need within your market.
5. Explore paid-for options
Because Linkedin is so business-focused, it is sitting on a wealth of valuable data for B2B marketers. Not surprisingly, the site is making the most of this asset, and there are a number of paid-for marketing tools you can use to reach your audience.
From promoted posts to certain sections of the community – by job title, sector, or geography, for instance – to adverts within relevant groups, there is a range of ways you can pay to market via Linkedin. If you are trying to reach a particular segment – especially if your own database is poor in the area in question – it can be invaluable in helping you to be seen by your target market.
With the GDPR rules coming into force next May and impacting Marketing teams’ ability to contact individuals directly, social media use is predicted to increase.
Making the most of one of social media’s key B2B channels will be a vital component of your strategy going forward. Hopefully this has given you some tips for success.