Social Media for beginners: Learn the basics
Social Media is one of the only digital channels that allows B2B businesses to generate high-quality leads for free!
B2B businesses thrive on social media.
B2B businesses are notoriously ‘boring’ and many business owners accept that. They think that they can’t stand out and build an audience, leaving it to B2C companies to flourish on social media.
But the reality is that B2B businesses are proof that there is always a market on social interested and wanting to find out more.
When a B2B business finds its social voice and the medium between creating engaging content and upholding its brand, it will see an increase in high-quality leads and a community of people who are hungry to connect.
The rise of social media
Social media platforms have been around for a long time. The first recognisable social media platform was Six Degrees which was created in 1997. Six Degrees allowed users to upload a profile picture and connect with friends. Then in 1999, blogging was invented – a sensation that we still use today.
In the early 2000s, Youtube, LinkedIn, and Myspace were created which added depth to the social media experience we know today.
But it wasn’t until Facebook was invented, in 2004, that social media started to gain some legs. From a campus connection platform to over 2 billion users, Facebook paved the way and was the start of the social media ‘boom’ we are experiencing today.
It first started as users connecting with their friends and sharing images but in 2007 fan pages and Facebook ads were launched and changed the game for businesses.
Soon after, other social platforms caught on and we started to see them introducing the ability for businesses to run ads.
Businesses realised the potential in social media. Giving them access to target markets they have never had and the ability to reach them without spending a cent.
Why B2B businesses need to use social media
Social media is a channel that B2B companies just can’t ignore. It has the potential to get your brand exposed to markets that you couldn’t get through other channels. 90% of digital marketers say they use Facebook to promote their brand and 60% of users say they follow a business. Or look at Instagram, 90% of users say they follow at least one company!
It’s also one of the only channels that allow you to generate high-quality leads without spending a cent. Social media is built on content, something that every business has a lot of. Whether it’s company updates, sales, feature announcements or thought-leadership blog posts – this content can be used to build your following and increase leads.
The trick is making sure this content is high-quality and engaging. While social media has the potential to grow a business, every other business is trying to do the same thing, including your competitors! So standing out from the herd requires a lot of testing to find the types of content your audience reacts positively to.
Social media creates transparency for brands, giving potential clients insight into the business with 53% of users saying they are more likely to buy or sign up with a business if they’re active on social media.
The best platforms for B2B companies and what content to use
When you’re just getting started on social media it can get overwhelming with the number of platforms that are available with many businesses choosing to be on all of them. This is a big mistake.
It’s far better to choose one platform and give it 100% rather than trying to be on all of them and doing a bad job. Remember 100 followers on one platform is much more worthwhile than 1,000 followers across 6 platforms as those 100 on one platform are more engaged and you’re content will be better.
As a starting point, we recommend that you focus as much time as possible on LinkedIn.
“50% of B2B web traffic originating on social media comes from LinkedIn.”
It’s no surprise that LinkedIn is the most valuable platform for B2B businesses.
LinkedIn is similar to Facebook except all users are professionals. It lets you connect with professionals, send messages, post content and create a business page.
User profiles are set up like a digital resume. You can see where they’ve worked, where they currently work, what their title is and everything they’ve posted. This is incredibly valuable for B2B businesses as it lets you find specific people you want to target within a company and reach out to them.
With a company page, you can post content to the page’s newsfeed and start growing a following for your business. This could be business updates, photos from around the office, showcasing current clients, posting blogs, sharing videos or whatever suits your strategy needs.
From the LinkedIn ads manager, you can set up highly targeted campaigns by selecting your target market based on specific companies, levels of seniority (45% of LinkedIn users are upper management), job titles and locations. For comparison, Facebook only offers to segment by location or interests, which is great for B2C but not for B2B when you need to reach a certain person within a company.
Tips for growing your business’s following and engagement
To reach new markets and grow existing ones, you need to remember the following:
- Consistency – social media works off momentum. You need to be posting constantly and consistently. The more you post, the more your following and engagement will grow. Remember, the second you stop is the second the momentum goes away.
- Engagement – The content you’re posting needs to be engaging. You can’t try and ‘sell’ your audience in every post. Remember, it’s called social media for a reason!
- Communication – Communication works both ways. You can’t just post content and that’s it. You need to be speaking to your audience. This means responding to messages and comments.
If you’ve decided to be active on LinkedIn, you must know a few key points for increasing your following and engagement:
- Create a high-quality profile picture and banner. Companies that do get viewed 11x more than those that don’t.
- Posts with images get twice as many comments. So try to create eye-catching images with your posts.
- 91% of executives prefer LinkedIn to get their professionally relevant content. So posting your blogs is important.
- Comments help with engagement. Respond to all the comments your posts get.
- Search by a specific job title or business to get a list of people who you can reach out to.
The cost of social media
Getting started and managing your social profiles yourself is free unless you pay for high-quality images or content. But it is time-consuming to do. So many B2B companies decide to outsource.
Paying for social media management is a great investment and is a way to let someone else build your following, create and post content, and generate leads.
Generally, prices are split up into two categories; setup and management.
For setup, the cost should fall between $1,000-$4,500 depending on your needs and the number of accounts. This will include banner creation, profile picture development, bios and prefilling the feed with a few posts.
Social media management is a monthly cost and the price depends on lots of different factors; the number of accounts, frequency of posting, quality of those posts, image and video development and data research. For one platform it will cost between $1,000-$3,500 with the price increasing the more platforms/accounts you require.
As a B2B business, you need to remember that you shouldn’t just hire anyone to manage their social media accounts. It’s very common for B2B businesses to hire the cheapest or bring on a ‘social media consultant’. This approach will result in you losing a lot of money with no results.
Make sure the person or agency can prove they have worked in the B2B space or even your industry and get them to prove that they have had experience generating high-quality leads through social media.