Social Media? Yes! But how?

Success factors for social media communications in B2B

Common knowledge has long held that B2B and social media don’t mix. But we now know that the two fit together perfectly if they’re approached the right way. Social media can no longer be excluded from a comprehensive media mix, including in the B2B sector. But how does social media fit into B2B, and what do you need to watch out for? We’ve summarized our top five success factors below:

1. Continuity

Everyone dreams of having a viral hit, the video that trends on Twitter and generates 10 million clicks on YouTube in one week. But honestly speaking, you know that the probability of a video achieving this kind of success in the B2B context is close to zero. For one thing, this particular brand of success can’t be planned. And this idea is also based on an incorrect understanding of social media mechanisms. Rather than focusing on the one super-spectacular post per year, you need to focus on the year’s other 155 posts if you want to communicate effectively on social media. If you don’t provide content regularly, you’ll not only be forgotten by your followers, you’ll also be penalized by the algorithms on the platforms. A lot of good content goes further than a little outstanding content.

2. The right mix

If you always post the same thing, your followers and customers will quickly lose interest: What’s important is maintaining the right mix. Don’t just post content about your company. Share interesting news and industry posts from other companies or journalistic media, take advantage of trending hashtags to participate in discussions, and offer helpful tips on your own products. This will keep your content relevant and varied. And most importantly, remember that even in a B2B context, users are people, and they occasionally enjoy content that isn’t so deadly serious. So find the right mix of entertaining, informative, and supportive content.

3. Strategy

If you want to be successful on social media, you have to make long-term plans. This is as true for professional YouTubers as it is for B2B companies, and for the corporate channel as it is for individual products. Where do you want to end up? What do you want to communicate? Who are you trying to reach? Unless you first find answers to these basic questions, you’ll never get anywhere on social media today. A few posts about a product launch at a trade show are a good start, but their success will be limited unless you make them part of a long-term communication strategy. Posts should also differ from channel to channel and address channel-specific target groups. It’s important to create a separate strategy for each channel.

4. Employees

Naturally, your own company’s channel is important, but you also need to exploit the potential of your employees: Experts who know their product inside-out and can offer helpful tips, and likeable product managers who are good at networking with customers, suppliers, and colleagues on LinkedIn. Incorporate these employees in your social media communications and make them brand ambassadors by asking them to post exciting product information on their “personal” channels, work with them to produce tutorials, and explain to them the relevant backgrounds. There’s no better advertisement than authentic employees who are passionate about their company and product.

5. Money

In the B2B sector, the prevailing prejudice often seems to be that social media shouldn’t have to cost anything. A few posts here, a few posts there: A trainee can do it. Then later on comes tremendous disappointment when posts get only three likes and 100 views and the number of people following the company’s channels stagnates. This then reinforces the impression that no one’s looking, there’s no point in investing so much effort, time, or money – a classic negative spiral. But the truth is, if you want to succeed on social media and reach your target groups, you have to take the subject seriously and you also have to invest financially. Successful professional social media communication is no longer free. It starts with developing exciting new ideas for posts on your own channel, but social media advertising should also be an integral part of your social media strategy. Especially in large companies where the global channel is centrally managed, it’s often your only opportunity to feature your own topics and your own product, because the central channel is already planned months in advance. Plus, social media advertising significantly boosts the visibility of your posts.

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