Social Media Marketing

The big overview: Social Media Marketing in B2B

For some years now, social media have been an integral part of every company's marketing mix - now it is also a must in B2B.

Table of Contents

Over the past 15 years, social networks have revolutionized the way we communicate and interact with each other. Especially for young people, platforms like Youtube have replaced traditional media like television or radio. Therefore, for some years now, presence in social media has been an integral part of the marketing mix of every company that seeks direct contact with its customers, but also wants to position itself better in B2B. Depending on the business model and target group, everyone should be active on the appropriate channels and interact with their potential customers. Here you can find out which social media you should use for your marketing strategy and with which strategy you will become visible. Because with the right Social Media Marketing you can turn your customers into your fans - in no time.

How does Social Media work?

Social networks, which began their triumphal procession around the world in 2005 with the spread of YouTube, are characterized above all by the strong content design by their users. They are digital media and methods that enable users to network, exchange, create and share content themselves. Thus Youtube still works with the claim "Broadcast yourself" - Transfer yourself. This approach, which was revolutionary at the time the first social media platforms were created, is also known as Web 2.0. The high level of interaction is the significant difference between social and classic media such as newspapers and magazines, radio and linear television. Depending on the orientation of the social media platform, texts, images, audio or video material are used as means of communication. Since the user can almost effortlessly change from recipient to content producer, there is a smaller social gap between sender and recipient in social media than in traditional media. Here the content is not prepared by experts, but shared by equals with equals. For example, on Instagram or Youtube, teenagers or young adults who act as influencers on their own often have gigantic communities of subscribers or followers.

What are the areas for Social Media Marketing?

Before you start your own channels and online marketing campaigns, you should first think about what strategy you want to use there. Social networks can of course be used to advertise and present specific products in the classic sense. However, this is only a fraction of what you can achieve in social networks in terms of branding and customer loyalty. With the right setup of your online marketing strategy, you can succeed with little effort in strengthening your brand core and further expanding your awareness. On such platforms, you can also get in touch with your customers at very low costs and to an extent that is otherwise hardly possible. If you succeed in even turning users into fans of your brand and products, they will advertise you and your brand through their own likes and shares to their own followers, friends and subscribers.

Use for branding and customer loyalty

Social networks can of course be used to advertise and present specific products in the classic sense

What strategies can I use to achieve this?

Strategically, there are different approaches, of which several can be pursued simultaneously. The best known variant is viral marketing. Here, one focuses on an unusual, creative or even profound message to draw attention to one's own brand or product. The viral video is the most successful method. With a message about your brand, you can make your video set the trend and only in a second step draw attention to your brand.

Successful examples from the recent past include EDEKA's various campaigns with the music video for "Supergeil" or the Christmas advertisement with the father who can only unite his grown up children under the Christmas tree at home by faking his own death. The Gillette company even attracted international attention in a viral commercial, in which it takes up the current topic of toxic masculinity and encourages its male buyers to be the best a man can be.

Influencer marketing works completely different. This can be particularly useful if you want to open up new markets. This is a person who has a large community of his own on one or more platforms and can serve as a multiplier for you. In the context of a cooperation or a sponsored post, for example, the Youtuber or Instagramer presents your product to his followers. This way you can reach a large circle of potential new interested parties that you might not have been able to reach directly before. With this form of social commerce, the multiplier becomes the testimonial of your brand.

Another strategic approach can be to build your own community by connecting your channels with a blog or forum. It is worthwhile to generate an added value for the user in terms of content that goes beyond your actual advertising purposes. How this can look depends on your product. Do you produce food? Then it would make sense to present recipes that contain your goods. The Hengstenberg company, for example, has succeeded in using a broad-based campaign with recipe videos to communicate that its more traditional products such as sauerkraut also find a place in hip dishes such as wraps and barbecues. In fashion, for example, styling tips and fashion trends can be used as themes. The mail-order company Otto, for example, has been working for some time with the fashion blog Soulfully, which deliberately focuses on fashion in oversizes.

You can build up expert status in B2B

Inform other companies about current developments on the market that directly affect them. What does it mean for the business? How can you not only combat climate change by using sustainable materials or green electricity, but also acquire customers who demand exactly this from partners and suppliers? With regular formats such as podcasts or videos with industry experts, you can also tie your followers to your other content. Other strategic approaches can also be optimization and monitoring. With optimization, your activities in social media improve the findability of content on your own website. Monitoring is used to analyze your own campaign. Thanks to the extensive analysis tools of the networks, you can determine relatively effortlessly how your marketing measures are received, reached and received by people.

How do I reach which target group?

Just as with strategy, before you start your presence in social media you should think about who you want to reach, what content you want to convey and through which channel this makes the most sense. Here is an overview of the most common channels:

Facebook

With over two billion users worldwide, it is the largest social network and has the most regular users. Its enormous reach alone makes it very attractive as an advertising platform.

A separate page there is now an absolute standard for companies. Since texts, pictures and videos can be shared here, it is versatile. But here it is important to note: The community is aging. While you can reach millenials and meanwhile also more and more baby boomers via the platform, many younger internet users often do not have an own account anymore.

Instagram

This platform owes its enormous success and its meanwhile more than one billion users to its visual orientation. Here it is mainly about aesthetic photos, which are presented in a relatively simple side mask. It is therefore particularly suitable for companies with a large display value and can be connected to Facebook.

Twitter

As a short message service, Twitter still generally functions via text, whereby a single post, i.e. a tweet, may not exceed 280 characters. What makes the microblogging service particularly attractive is that it has far more passive than active users. The number of users who post themselves is in the minority, so few talk and many listen. Twitter posts also often achieve a higher Google ranking than fixed websites. Furthermore, the platform is very popular not only with American presidents but also with journalists, who can be reached easily via this channel.

LinkedIn

With about half a million users worldwide, LinkedIn is the largest career network in the world. If you're looking to attract business professionals or position yourself in the B2B sector, LinkedIn is the network of choice and can also be used for recruiting.

YouTube

With its launch in 2005, Youtube is the oldest platform that is still successful. With 1.9 billion users, it is one of the giants in social media. Youtube is the second most used search engine worldwide and the third most visited website ever. Especially among the under-30s, Youtube is used more often than linear television, for example. A good YouTube presence is therefore worthwhile for practically every company that wants to work with videos. Classical advertising finds its place here, but also image films, a look behind the scenes of the company or other unique content. With the commentary function, you can use your videos to make direct contact with your community.

TikTok

Especially young people use this app. Here you can create short video clips, cut, edit and share them yourself. Frequent contents are karaoke and dance videos, but also short sketches. But also more and more companies and broadcasters are discovering the platform for themselves. The Tagesschau, for example, the time-honored institution of the ARD, has been represented there for a short time now.

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Are there any special tips and tricks?

Not every content is suitable for every platform and not every network is suitable for every company. Recently, the CSU exposed itself to the ridicule of users with its pseudo-youthful YouTube format "CSYou". So first think about which channels you want to use and how. Hip, fun videos certainly work better on TikTok than on LinkedIn.

Don't be boring. Users expect added value if they follow you. Plan interactive formats like voting or raffles that get your followers into active interaction with you.Cultivate your community and get in touch with them. Don't let commentators wait too long for a reaction or comment yourself. Actively upload content and posts from your followers and reply to messages in Messenger promptly. Do not leave your fans alone.
Plan a budget. Even though social media is largely free and therefore a very inexpensive marketing tool, you should provide funds to increase the reach of your posts. Often, your posts will only appear to a fraction of your followers in their news feeds. The more they link and share the posts, the greater the natural reach, but the more efficient the artificial increase is by financing the posts.

Keep an eye on your competition. As you have seen in this article, it is worthwhile not to lose sight of the strategies of other companies in social networks. This way you can observe which tactics work well and which do not.

Evaluate your results. Use the analysis tools that platforms offer to improve your performance. After only a short time you will be able to determine what kind of posts work well and can achieve high reach.

Define communication guidelines. This is particularly important if several employees are responsible for different accounts. Are the users formal? Is the tone of communication serious and binding or can it be ironic? Do the posts have a certain structure or a fixed frequency? With an editorial plan you can determine which content should be posted and when. In this way you avoid duplication and at the same time ensure that nothing is forgotten.

Be prepared for criticism and crises. Constructive criticism should always be faced and reflect to users that they value you and your opinion. This is how creative arguments can arise. However, there are also many trolls on the Internet, i.e. users who only leave negative comments. Try to remain objective. You cannot discuss with trolls and in a shit storm there are only losers. If the comments escalate, you can delete them or turn off the comment function. This should always remain the last option, though.

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