Social media marketing forms part of a well-rounded inbound demand strategy. You can use it to connect with your audience, boost brand awareness, and give your business a voice.
89% of B2B marketers use social media platforms to organically distribute content, narrowly beating both email and blogging as a preferred distribution channel. This makes sense considering that 53.6% of the world’s population is on social media, so it should be easy to reach your audience… right?
Captivating a B2B audience is more complex. While people are hungry for social media content, effective B2B social media marketing is about more than posting content regularly.
To resonate with your target audience and build brand awareness, you need a strategy that’s packed with engaging content and tailored for each platform.
The top methods for increasing brand awareness using social media marketing:
- Understand your audience
- Use platforms that perform
- Prioritise in-feed consumption
- Curate channel-specific content
- Create visual content
- Lead with value
- Use paid distribution
- Be controversial
- Leverage social media trends
- Use humour
- Combine strategy and action
- Make relevant connections
- Engage with other creators
- Use your social accounts
- Make the most of personal profiles
- Try livestreaming
- Track your performance
To begin, you should know who your target audience is. If you don’t, developing personas is a key part of a successful social media strategy. For B2B marketers, it’s important not to make assumptions about the content or social media platforms your audience engages with.
To get to grips with your audience on social media, you should use your chosen social media platform as a search engine. Search for relevant hashtags, see where your competitors get the best engagement, and follow thought leaders to understand engagement levels. This will help you build a better picture of how your audience engages with social media.
Blend recommends: Talk to your audience. There's no better way to understand the way your buyers want and enjoy consuming content. This first-hand feedback can also provide helpful qualitative insights, like who your buyer's favourite creators are or their preferred content types.
IT director Dave might not be scrolling through Instagram to find the next greatest IT solution. Or he could be. That’s up to you to determine.
Explore where your audience is spending the majority of their time and stick to these social media platforms. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to how many profiles you should maintain. However, it's more important to make your efforts sustainable and consistent rather than trying to be everywhere at once.
Blend recommends: Go where your engagement is and maximise your efforts on those. You don't have to be everything, everywhere, all at once.
People want to stay within their preferred platforms. Clicking through multiple external links just read a piece of content can be more mind-boggling than meaningful. So keep it nice and simple by creating social media content that's easy to consume within your chosen social media platforms. This also encourages more engagement on your posts, which is a win-win for all.
Additionally, it's speculated that social media platforms reward accounts that create content for in-feed consumption. Think about it, external links that drive user attention away from that specific channel. Social media giants; like LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok, want users to remain within their channels. This lets them show advertisements more frequently.
Like travelling to a new country, it’s always best to get familiar with the local culture, language, and currency. With social media marketing, you should do the same. Research the correct character length for your posts, ideal image sizes, and the days or times that are best to schedule your content. For example, Twitter restricts the length of your message to 280 characters, but Facebook and LinkedIn don't.
Each social media channel has a preference for content type, too. For example:
Image dimensions or preferred content types will vary from platform to platform. The images you use on LinkedIn won't work on Instagram. Or if you want to create TikTok content, for example, you'll need to stick to a short video format.
Get these details right, and you’re one step closer to strengthening your social media marketing.
Getting your content noticed in the noisy world of social media requires eye-catching visual content, including images and video. It's no surprise that social media is a major use case for marketers using visual content; 33% use it for Twitter, 49% use visuals for Facebook, 47% use it on Instagram, and 42% are using it for LinkedIn.
Fortunately, this doesn't mean each post needs to be accompanied by hand-crafted illustrations. Royalty-free stock photos (from Adobe, for example) and GIFs can be used to add a simple visual element to your post, while tools such as Canva and Biteable, allow you to create bespoke images and video content.
Visual content for social media doesn't have jaw-dropping. Some of the most popular LinkedIn posts are simple images created with Canva. Or sometimes even scribbles on a piece of paper.
Blend recommends: Don't overthink the appearance of your social media content. It's up to you how much you want to align with your business branding. But the benefit of social media is that you don't need to get too caught up with it.
Content that provides value beats content with high production quality. Audiences are more engaged with content that is useful and more 'human' on social media. Instead of focusing on what you're selling, consider how you can educate your audience and address their needs and pain points.
If you've got educational blog posts or e-books, social media is the perfect place to share them. But don't just post links to them. Instead, repurpose your long-form content into social media platform-friendly content. This could be visual graphics, short-form informative posts, carousels, or videos. Your audience is more likely to engage with this valuable content, rather than following an external link.
In addition, you can also use social media to engage with your audience. Answer direct messages, mentions, and comments in a timely fashion.
Blend recommends: Provide value. People connect with brands that provide value to them. It makes your brand more human and helpful, instead of just pushing your services or products.
Not every user that you reach on social media will be your target audience. You're likely to have many followers who are employees of your company, competitors, or other professionals outside of your industry. There are many reasons people might follow you.
The most effective way to get your social media content in front of your target audience is to pay for it. Using paid distribution, you can target people by job function, job titles, groups, companies, or even skillset.
Importantly, paid distribution doesn't have to have a conversion-based outcome. The biggest benefit of this method is that it guarantees that your content gets in front of the right people.
Don't worry, we don't mean this completely literally. But it's likely that heading caught your eye. What we really mean is to share unique, attention-grabbing opinions on social media. Even if they go against the grain, you can do this in a playful but open way to prompt discussion.
You don't need to be controversial necessarily, but a strong messaging position and opinion will help your brand stand out in the sea of social media. It makes you more memorable and helps you resonate with specific audience groups.
Trending topics are an opportunity to share content that adds to, or piggybacks off of, larger conversations happening online. This is known as "Newsjacking."
“Newsjacking is when a brand or firm mentions or creates a campaign centered around a major, well-discussed news item.” HubSpot
However, this doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be headline news. It could simply be a topic of debate or a new trend within your industry. HubSpot has some great examples of brands that have done this well.
More recently, social media trends have developed into specific types of content. This might be a trending meme format or conversation happening within the platform. Of all places on the internal to capitalise on trends, social media is the place to do so.
Blend recommends: Avoid being late to social media trends. If the window has passed, it can make your brand seem more irrelevant by trying to hop on too late.
Ultimately, your brand is using social media to reach more people. So don't forget that there's a person behind the screen, who's likely drawn to the same things we all are. Helpful content is key, but adding a hint of humour can't hurt, even if it doesn't necessarily align with your brand guidelines or tone of voice. Remember that social media is a unique opportunity to experiment with how you engage with your audience.
Blend recommends: Where's the best place to hide a body? Page two of Google! (Not a tip, just wanted to make you cringe laugh).
Don’t fall down the social media strategy rabbit hole. It’s good to follow best practices, set measurable objectives, and stay consistent – but social media is an agile platform.
A quick Google search will suggest methods like 'the rule of thirds' (1/3 of posts promoting your product or services, 1/3 interacting with others, and 1/3 sharing industry news), or tell you that you should be posting to Twitter three times a day.
But take the time to measure what works for you. Try mixing it up in different ways and seeing what reaction you get from your audience.
Every industry has its influencers or relevant industry people. Even if you might not expect it.
Whether it’s thought-leaders, bloggers, or industry news websites, connecting with non-competing ‘influencers’ is a beneficial way to build your social media following. Making connections is more about the interaction you have with those people, the shared views and ambitions, or even the opposing views.
Engaging with others is important. When you do, your audience sees your post on their feed, and so on, so the power of connections is used to amplify your message.
You can also make sure you have good connections with competitors, as you ultimately share the same passions, which sparks conversation.
Engage on your company account with other creators by commenting or liking their posts. You can show agreement, expand on the topic with your own insights, or ask a relevant question. This makes your company more visible on other people's social media feed, even if they're not connected with you.
Blend recommends: Encourage your employees to engage, too. Whether it's by sharing your content or engaging with other creators with relevant information, it all adds up to be beneficial.
When it comes to social media, The New Radicals were right, you get what you give. And consistency is key. Posting a few times here and there isn't enough. Audiences are more likely to engage with you when you're posting more consistently as they will see more of your content. Social is about the long game, it's not a short-term focus.
Additionally, it's too much to hope that others will like and share your content if you're not doing the same. Rather than expecting engagement without anything in return, try sharing and liking the content of others.
Blend recommends: Free yourself from the expectation of anything in return. If you promote a culture of engagement, then others might do the same for you.
Sharing company-related content on your personal profile is optional.
But if you can encourage it, do so. For example, your CEO or Director sharing company content can help your business appear more human. When employees share their own views and knowledge, it helps them and your brand. Additionally, platforms such as LinkedIn show more personal profile content in-feed than company profile content, so you're more likely to get more visibility and engagement from personal profiles.
Some businesses create social media incentive schemes to encourage this. You could reward employees for the most engagement on posts or for regular sharing.
82% of people prefer live video from a brand as opposed to other standard social media posts. And it's not hard to understand the appeal.
Live streaming encourages your audience to have a conversation with you. It's a type of real-time content that provides an opportunity for interaction, just like you would have organically at an in-person event.
Blend recommends: Record your live streams so they're useful long after the event. Make the recording accessible to your audience and repurpose its content for your social media channels.
Most social media platforms will provide you with engagement statistics for your posts. Some marketing CRMs such as HubSpot provide in-depth social media analytics reporting options to give you even greater detail. You can also use the HubSpot platform to manage, publish, and monitor your social media content. This includes functionality that automatically creates trackable URLs for you, giving you a wide range of analytics.
Whatever you choose to use, tracking the performance of your social media marketing will give you better insights, so you can learn what works and what doesn’t, and continually optimise your approach.
If you’re looking to make the first step or want to support your demand generation strategy, social media is one of the easiest ways to grow. Follow these steps to building brand awareness using social media and you will be rewarded.