5 expert, no-nonsense, tips for your B2B social strategy

Laying down your social plans for 2023?

Most of us know the process. The need for objectives, the strategic approach, the clarity on audiences. The only fly in the ointment is that social is such a moving beast. Channels change. Audience behaviours shift and your organisation’s goals are moving fast to accommodate the madly changing world of business.

Your B2B social strategy needs to be smart and flexible. The latest livestream “How to Create a Killer Social Strategy and Build a Talented Team to Deliver It?” uncovers expert advice from Nada Alkutbi, Geo Social Media Lead at IBM, and our own Katy Howell – all beautifully managed with pithy questions from Tim Williams, CEO at Onalytica.

The recording (you can watch below) is stuffed with meaty advice. The five smart nuggets that stand out for me are based on real-world experience: from those living and breathing social…

The goal is not JUST leads

Tempting though it is, a strategy focused wholly on generating leads, misses the point. Sure, performance matters, but just grabbing the low-hanging leads misses the real business opportunity in social.

Focus instead on creating a rounded view of your brand. Build better customer relationships, establish trust and credibility, focus on memorability, as well as, of course, driving through to lead.

This is where the real value is. Get it right, and your social will do more than generate leads from social, it will drive up performance in email, in search and across your sales teams.

The best plans have Stakeholder buy-in

To get the best from social you need more than a goal. You need a vision and a clear mission to give you the direction that delivers success to the business.

And that vision needs to be developed in partnership with ALL the key stakeholders and key disciplines

Nada Alkutbi, IBM

Nada suggests that with an agreed vision, the next step is for comms and marketing to get together to agree the mission statement. The value in this, is not just in gaining internal buy-in, it is also in making sure you have alignment on messaging and priorities. Otherwise, your social can flail between so many topics you leave your audience with their head spinning.

It’s not about you

I was at an IPSOS research event, and they were talking about the sense of belonging that customers have with organisations. And how social can really drive the customer experience. It’s a key component of a social media strategy.

Tim Williams, Onalytica
B2B Social Trailblazers Summit - click to join as our guest

If you want social to work, then you have to look at audiences first. Everything from what they are doing, where they are playing, to what interests them. You need your vision and mission to align with audience expectations.

But even a social audit of your profiles and audiences is not enough. It is crucial to know why your product matters – what are the pain points that drives purchase, what are the buying scenarios. Start with why and you will be able to build your content framework that creates a sense of belonging. Which in turn makes you memorable to your audience.

Build out the story

We call it sequential storytelling or the story arc, it doesn’t matter what name you give it, the reality is you should be planning to tell your story through many different lenses.

Your aim is to nudge and nurture the buyer through the funnel on social. A variety of hooks, angles that move from initial attention through consideration and ultimately ask for action – such as a sign up, or download.  One of the biggest challenges in B2B social, is organisations trying to cram the whole story into one post! How many times have you seen that super detailed LinkedIn post, with lots of words squashed on an image, inviting you to a webinar!

Once you start thinking about widening the story arc, you can also consider co-creating content with external influencers, execs and employee advocates. This adds the value of credibility, authenticity and reach. Oh, and a plethora fabulous quality content.

The story arcs and influencer types need to be built into your plan – better still get buy-in from your subject matter experts and leadership, and your content plans will almost write themselves.

Create fast and slow B2B social strategies

Take your brand on a journey. You cannot do everything at once so plan. Starting with the quick win opportunities to prove value to the business.

Build in experimentation so you can test and learn. You should be running a trial each week. As Nada says in the livestream, benchmark your metrics. Give your tests and experiments context that you can share with other disciplines and leadership teams.

Plan for the long term doesn’t just mean hopping on the Web 3 bandwagon. Think more about how you will create quality content, how you might expand your channels to say Facebook or even TikTok as buyer.

Oh, and Katy reminds us

Social is not the answer to everything. As much as I’d like it to be, it isn’t. Stay focused on what it can achieve for your business and integrate with your wider marketing mix. It will deliver at its best when you start with your audience and focus on your goals!

Katy Howell. immediate future

Watch the recording for a bunch more thoughts on developing your B2B strategy, plus a deep dive into skill sets needed to deploy your plan.

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