Exploring social media in the B2B space

Leena Shah, Marketing Communications Manager at Microsoft Advertising and Jasper Martens, Head of Marketing and Communications at Simply Business, outline some key tips to make social media work in the B2B space.

Last week, we were fortunate enough to take part in an IAB social media workshop for those in the B2B community. Whilst brands adopting social media strategies in the consumer world are frequently reported on, utilising social media in the business community poses new challenges that are less often explored.

Successful integration across the marketing mix was a key theme discussed.

Integration is key

Brands often panic if they haven’t already adopted a social media strategy, but the secret to success is integration between marketing, PR and social media. When it comes to integration, 30 per cent of CMOs still don’t feel they have integrated social media into their marketing strategy. It shouldn’t just be a ‘bolt on’; ensure it contributes to achieving the overall business objectives.

Bring it back to basics

Whilst it is easy to get caught up in the social media hype and think ’I need to run a social media campaign’, it’s important that brands take a step back and remember the tools in the marketing mix. Integration goes back to the marketing basics: any successful marketing campaign is based on a good plan and strong idea - the emphasis should be on the marketing message, not the communications vehicle.

Understanding the role of social media

Once agreed on the strategy, all parts of the business must talk to each other and agree a channel that works for all audiences. If relevant, consumer teams and B2B teams must communicate with each other so that they are on the same page.

At Simply Business and Microsoft Advertising UK, social media is used to engage with clients on a day-to-day basis, but this activity really brings results when owned estates are used to amplify  other news across the marketing mix (be it PR, SEO or marketing). 

Remember it is a conversation

Maintaining an open dialogue with your social media communities is vital. Brands far too often launch social media estates and treat them like a broadcasting vehicle. Despite communicating to completely different audiences, the same rules apply:

  • Social media is a value exchange. Talking to your clients, receiving feedback, opening industry dialogue, are all ways of making the social media content relevant and useful.
  • Content is king. Everyone now has access to their own aggregated and personally tailored news, so what additional benefit does your content provide? How can you use it to raise brand awareness by being transparent and a ‘voice of the people’?

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