Social media is a cost-effective, relatable way to generate leads, engage with customers, provide customer service, and build brand advocacy. Establishing and growing an audience and developing an authentic, respected online presence all comes down to creating great B2B social media content.
User-generated content (UGC) is the lifeblood of social platforms – it creates a constant stream of new things to read, watch, and engage with that keep people coming back for more. Unfortunately, businesses often miss out on the opportunity to add their voice to the conversation. They treat their social accounts like the homepage of their website: a static, rarely updated page with little to no content for curious potential customers.
Conversely, businesses that do excel at B2B social media content benefit from huge organic reach and establish themselves in potential customers’ minds. The rapid pace of change online is a real opportunity for proactive businesses, as they can drive the conversation forward and stand out with impactful posts.
Here’s what you need to know to create effective content that advances your B2B social media strategy.
What do CMOs and marketing managers think about B2B social media?
To get a sense of the state of B2B social media strategies today, we conducted a survey of 500 CMOs and marketing managers.
The top reasons that B2B businesses use social media were to increase or generate brand engagement (51% and 46% respectively), drive website traffic (41%), and generate leads (38%). Other popular uses (each undertaken by a third of respondents) included supporting recruitment, updating internal audiences on activity, and demonstrating company culture.
Each of these goals can be achieved with carefully constructed B2B social media content – but getting it right requires time and dedication. Almost three quarters of respondents (72%) say they post on multiple channels at least five times per week, but three in ten (28%) report that they don’t have time for content creation, and 16% repeat the same content across channels.
Another major concern held by 28% of marketers is that their business doesn’t have anything interesting to say. This isn’t true, every business has something to contribute, and social media is the place to share it! To help identify and craft high-quality social media content, half of the decision makers surveyed (50%) say that they work with a B2B social media agency.
B2B social media is a critical part of doing business today, and businesses that aren’t using it are missing out. Revenues for businesses that use social media to generate leads are, on average, 24% higher than those that don’t. According to LinkedIn, 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives factor social media into purchasing decisions.
Businesses should post content on social media that connects with potential and existing customers. That can include everything from case studies to data, thought leadership, reports, guides, and more. Businesses can also engage directly with individuals and other businesses in the industry.
If you’re facing writer’s block – or you’re one of the three in ten marketers who feel like your business doesn’t have anything interesting to say – we can help. Here’s are some ideas for creating impactful B2B social media content:
Use tools to understand what your audience is searching for
In addition to thinking about the topics that make a splash in your sector, there are several tools for finding out what’s on people’s minds. Our favourites are:
Google Keyword Planner. Designed for creating pay-per-click ads, Google’s keyword research tool helps you understand what people are searching for online. This tool can provide valuable insights into the topics your audience needs help with, enabling you to tailor your social content output accordingly.
Features on the Google results page. Google also surfaces trends on the search pages with features like ‘People also ask’ and ‘Related searches’. These can help you get an idea of what people want to know so you can create content that meets your customers’ needs. Check out our essential guide to B2B SEO for the full rundown on how Google’s tools can supercharge your marketing.
Answer the Public. This service also draws on search information, but it presents it in a unique way. It creates branching trees of search queries, making it easy to visually identify topics that your content could address.
HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. If you input a noun – such as a product or service your company offers – into this handy tool, it will spit out a selection of free content topic suggestions.
Buzzsumo’s Content Discovery tool. This tool analyses trends to identify what topics have ‘buzz’ right now. This makes it easier for your content to get engagement, as you’ll be joining a conversation that already has momentum. It can even suggest which days of the week are most popular, so you can get as many eyes as possible on your B2B social media content.
Google Trends. For the big picture on trends, you can also use Google’s tool. It’s not very detailed – it provides popularity as a score out of one hundred rather than in terms of average monthly searches, like the Keyword Research tool – but it’s useful for understanding which topics are growing/shrinking in popularity as well as any seasonal patterns.
Share your thoughts on news in your sector
Hopefully, your research has helped you to uncover what’s going on in your sector. Perhaps something from your world has entered the news more broadly, or there’s a new piece of legislation that is changing the landscape. What does the news mean for you and your clients? Can you offer to help them or provide advice? Do you have answers to the questions that people are asking? If so, it’s time to get posting.
A conventional media approach would mean working with a journalist or publication to get your voice out there, but with social media there are no such barriers. Effective B2B social media content can simply be your expert opinions, written up or filmed, and published on your social channels.
Create useful resources, such as guides
A great way to demonstrate your expertise and stimulate engagement online is to produce content that is useful to your target audience. Your business is probably home to significant industry expertise that could be useful for prospective customers. Sharing this, in the form of reports, guides or advice, is a great way to demonstrate that your brand is knowledgeable and trustworthy.
For example, our in-house social experts have put together guides like B2B Instagram: the essential guide. This is entirely free – you don’t even need to enter your email address – because we believe that it shows that we know our stuff. We’ve based the content on research and years of expertise, so it’s designed to be as useful as possible for potential customers.
Join the conversation
It’s called social media for a reason – part of what makes it so effective is the ability to engage with others. Whatever your sector, it’s likely that individuals and businesses within it are already engaging online. Engaging with their opinions, whether to agree or politely disagree, is a great way to build a reputation as a thought leader.
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to say, it’s time to think about how. B2B social media is a competitive landscape, with lots of voices clamouring to be heard. It pays to put a bit of additional effort into production to ensure that your content stands out. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a writer or a designer to create high-quality content.
When it comes to writing, it’s worth developing a process for producing, checking and publishing. You certainly can fire from the hip and send out posts the moment they occur to you, but you’ll have far better results if you can enlist a second pair of eyes to review your work and suggest improvements. Ideally, the copy you produce retains your unique voice, but with any errors or typos stripped out.
Hashtags are another consideration. Different platforms use them differently, but generally, they provide a way to find related conversations. Including relevant hashtags on Twitter, for example, is a great way to boost engagement. To find the right hashtags, you can use a tool like Hashtagify.me.
Posts with images or video associated with them receive higher levels of engagement, so it’s important to take the time to create a visual element to your posts. There are lots of tools available online for creating professional quality visuals – here are some of our favourites:
Canva. This online image editing platform makes it easy to produce slick graphics, gifs, and videos. The site offers a free option or a subscription for unlimited use. It’s extremely user friendly and has plenty of pre-made social media templates that will add an instant sparkle to your B2B social media content. Another option in this vein is Crello.
Kapwing. Some businesses aim to put forward a fun, relatable image, and posting industry-relevant memes is a great way to boost engagement. This online generator provides easy access to common meme formats – all you need to do is provide the text.
Animoto. This tool’s drag and drop interface means anyone can create a smooth video with animated overlays.
Google Charts. The search giant’s free chart creation tool is a fast way to create clean data visualisations. You can even embed them on a website – though images of the finished chart are better suited for social posts.
EZGif. If you’re looking to make an animated gif from a video, this is your most straightforward option.
Giphy. Animated gifs, especially as reactions during interactions, are extremely popular on social media. If you’re looking to use an existing gif rather than making your own, Giphy is the place to go.
Make sure your carefully created photos look crystal clear on every device by cropping them to the platform’s preferred sizes. On Instagram, the standard sizes are:
Landscape images: 1080 x 566 pixels
Portrait images: 1080 x 1350 pixels
Square images: 1080 x 1080 pixels
If you have an image that doesn’t fit these guidelines, you may still be able to post it! Instagram supports any aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5. Here, the ideal width is still 1080 pixels, but the height will vary depending on the ratio.
Most platforms offer similar guidelines. If in doubt, you can always refer to their ad guidelines, which are often clearer – here are LinkedIn’s, Twitter’s and Facebook’s.
Right place, right time
The next considerations for getting your B2B social media content to reach its intended audience are where and when it’s posted. Choosing the right platform for different types of content is essential, so it’s concerning that our research found that 16% of marketers reuse the same content across channels.
Every channel has a distinct style and community, and engaging with this helps you fit in. A piece of content that may work well as a tweet could be a bit insubstantial for a LinkedIn post, for example. This isn’t to suggest that businesses need to craft entirely new content for each platform – instead, it’s a matter of tailoring each piece of content on a single topic to suit the platform.
As if that’s not enough to consider, each platform also has a range of types of posts. Instagram, for example, has regular photo posts, photo carousels, Stories, Reels, Lives and more. Each one has immense potential, but it makes sense to start with the most straightforward types of posts and expand your approach as you gain confidence.
People’s social feeds are a constant stream of new content, so each post has a natural lifespan. After this, it probably will be buried by newer posts. This means that it is essential to post your B2B social media content at the right time.
Several tools are available for helping you fine-tune your schedule, but a simple approach is to consider when your prospective clients are likely to be online and checking social media. Are they checking their feed at lunch on a workday? A quiet afternoon toward the tail end of the week? Try posting at these times and use the platform’s built-in metrics tools to identify what works.
Posting manually isn’t always convenient, but you’re in luck: there are a variety of social media post scheduling tools that will automatically post your content for you. Another major benefit to these tools is that you don’t need to be constantly logging in and out of the various platforms to post – you can do it from one centralised place. Many tools can even manage different platforms simultaneously and recommend ideal posting times. Here are some popular options:
Loomly. This tool combines research features, like highlighting upcoming holidays and spotting trends on Twitter, with powerful scheduling features.
Sendible. Trusted by over 30,000 users and integrated with the image editor Canva.
Hootsuite. One of the largest and most well-established scheduling tools.
Brandwatch. For marketers looking for an all-in-one solution, this is a suite that combines research and social media management tools.
Later. A visual scheduler and post editor, designed for ease of use.
SocialPilot. This tool combines standard scheduling with analytics, so you can improve your approach over time.
HeyOrca. A tool designed to be used by multiple people, with features for internal and external collaboration. Ideal for larger organisations and those which work on social posts with clients.
Enlist the experts
B2B social media content isn’t easy. The landscape is constantly evolving as platform owners add and change features and users harness them to communicate in new ways. As a B2B social media agency, we work to stay one step ahead of these changes and help our clients to make the most of them.
If you’re looking for help, get in touch – half of marketers in our survey partner with an agency to get ahead on social media, after all. We can set you up for success, run all of your accounts, or anything in between.