Edelman B2B

Explore marketing insights and trends from our B2B team as we evolve the way we drive our clients' business forward.

social media, social engagement

Social Selling and its Role in B2B

Social Selling and its Role in B2B

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B2B marketers are pros at creating content. But how do you get that content out to your key audiences? In today’s day and age, key stakeholders such as customers, prospects, media and investors are shifting away from consuming news and information from traditional media to doing so almost exclusively on social media platforms. Leveraging social media to laser-target prospects and establish a rapport through existing connections and networks is a great way for B2B brands to use content to engage and sell.

To further complicate things, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, for the first time in 18 years, media is the least trusted institution globally. As a result, exactly half of those surveyed indicate that they interact with mainstream media less than once a week. Additionally, 63 percent of survey respondents say they do not know how to tell good journalism from rumor or falsehoods, or if a piece of news was produced by a respected media organization. This absence of trust positions businesses to be an agent of change and communicate truth directly to stakeholders.

Here are three ways B2B organizations can leverage organic social media to engage with target audiences:

Map your content to your audiences

In all things marketing, know your audience and cater your social content accordingly to the specific social media platforms. When looking at your approach to content development, identify two or three content buckets that align with your company brand and the industry. When mapping out your content on a monthly, weekly and daily basis, make sure you have an appropriate mix of owned and third-party content. Share company news, executive point of views, trends and industry happenings to keep your followers engaged. Remember, your brand is now a sought-after publisher of truth.

We like to tell people to consider the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of content should inform, educate and entertain your audience while the other 20 percent should directly promote your business. Be authentic to your brand voice and share consistently.

Don’t be afraid of trial and error

Social media is a fluid and fast-paced channel that allows for quick and easy A/B testing. Regularly – weekly is best but monthly is more realistic – review how your content performed. Make note of which posts and topics garnered the most engagement and adjust accordingly. The key to increasing engagement through organic social media is to constantly post relevant and stimulating content that your key audiences want to read. You’re engaging on their turf, so respect their time by sharing relevant content and in turn, you’ll earn your audience’s trust.

And remember, social media shouldn’t be used as a megaphone. Engaging is a two-way street, so liking and responding to comments on your posts is critical. Better yet, encourage your employees – and salesforce – to do the same.

Solidify your role as a thought leader

Use your social media channels to take a position on topics affecting your industry. Position your executives to provide compelling point of views on articles, industry happenings and economic factors on the appropriate social platforms. In the B2B world, we’ve found the best way to engage with key audiences – ranging from customers to prospects and employees to investors – is through LinkedIn. Leverage the platform to drive executive and organizational credibility by both sharing pieces of IP and thought leadership to engage relevant audiences. As we learned from this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer, voices of authority are regaining credibility where “technical experts” are at an all-time high and “a person like yourself” is at an all-time low. Businesses are expected to lead the conversation, so use your social media presence to start the conversation.

Employees are a great resource to build your brand’s thought leadership platform, particularly the sales team. Encourage your employees to share relevant content on their social channels that further promotes your company’s thought leadership, and to engage with the company’s content to build relevance.

As people search for truth, own the opportunity to elevate your B2B brand through social media. Be brave, be bold, deliver truth and your brand will be rewarded.

Joseph Tateoka is a Vice President in Edelman’s Integrated Business Marketing/Technology group.

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