Breaking news: social media can be effective in B2B marketing! Even more shocking, it can be fun and engaging.
That being said, it requires a strategic approach and use of each platform in order to reach your audiences efficiently and communicate the right messages.
Leslie Denson, Director of Marketing at Ascend.io, takes you through some of the top reasons you should invest in social media for B2B marketing and how to make it work for your business.
- Finding the right platforms where your B2B consumers spend their time
- Taking a more targeted approach
- Engaging only with relevant threads and communities where you can be seen as a thought leader
- Identifying your goals and the resources needed to achieve them
Want to revolutionize your B2B social media marketing strategy? Tune in now!
CAROLINE: Hi, welcome to Growth Marketing chat. Today, I'm here with Leslie Denson. She's the director of marketing at Ascend, and she also has had great success with social media in B2B. And so, Leslie, I'm so excited to have you with us today.
LESLIE: Yeah, thank you for having me. I'm excited to chat more about social and marketing. That's always fun, so I'm looking forward to it.
CAROLINE: Yeah. So, you know, for years people have, so it's like, oh, you know, social media is really more for B2C, and then B2B companies have been doing it in a very boring way.
CAROLINE: And now more and more companies are finding success with social media in B2B. So, I'd like to ask you a couple of questions. Why should marketers, in B2B, actually invest and prioritize social media, and how can they go about it?
LESLIE: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I think one of the main reasons why people have always considered the social B2C construct is because there may have been a slightly, and probably because there needed to be, a slightly narrow view of what social really is. If you're looking at something like Twitter, or you're looking at Facebook, chances are it's probably a little bit more B2C. It's a little bit easier to convert somebody if they're going somewhere and buying a product if they're buying makeup if they're buying- I am the like worst person about seeing one of those lists.
It's like 15 things under $15 on Amazon, and then like adding them all to my cart, from like a list from Twitter or something. But I think social has a much broader- It's got a broader base than that. You have to look at new things, like Reddit, Stack Overflow, even Clubhouse at this point, you know, whether that stick around, who knows? But there's a ton of other social avenues that really are geared towards more B2B style things. This is where people go to ask questions about their work. This is where people go- They spend their time there. So, they obviously are going to spend their time trying to find people who are like them. So it's finding areas like that, that you can really do a much more targeted outreach on social, or at least tend to find better results.
You know, B2C can kind of- I hate to use the term for this, because I know this isn't what they do, but they can kind of spray-and-pray a little bit, when it comes to things like Twitter ads, or Facebook ads, or, you know, any of those, you know, Pinterest, or any of those type of things. With B2B, there's a lot to be had there. You just have to be a little smarter, and a little bit more targeted about what you're doing, and you have to think about where you are advertising, or where you are engaging. If you're on Twitter, what you do is probably very different than what you do if you're on LinkedIn, which is probably very different than what you would do if you're on Reddit or Stack Overflow, or Clubhouse, or any one of these other things. And so you have to think about who's engaging because that's really important, you have to think about what you're trying to get across, and then you have to think about how people want to interact with content on each of those different platforms. And it takes a little bit more brain work, but the results can be pretty amazing when you kind of latch on to that.
CAROLINE: Right, right. And you know, something you said, I think, when you resonated with me because when you're on, let's say Instagram, you know when I go on Instagram, and if I see an ad for like business, like something that may or may not serve my needs in my work, but I'm like, come on, like, it's 10:00 PM.
CAROLINE: I've been spending all this time working. I've been on LinkedIn. I deserve my break. I don't even want you here.
CAROLINE: Like, go away. This is not my time to think about you. And so I think, you know, thinking about what do people expect, what do they want when they're on these platforms, is pretty important too.
LESLIE: It is, and it's one of those things, I think, whereas marketers, we also have this feeling of wanting to be a part of like the next big thing, and try the newest platform. And I'll never forget, I was doing PR for a network test equipment company, and our VP of marketing was like, "We should be on Pinterest." And I was like, "What exactly about network test equipment screams Pinterest? Because there's literally nothing, and you're just gonna be wasting your time." And so, it's hard, I think, for a lot of people to go, there's a giant audience here, and we should be tapping into that. Well, maybe if you have the right thing you can tap into it. But I would be hard-pressed to say, yes, let me go put a bunch of Pinterest boards up there about network test equipment, and see what we get out of that because it's just probably going to be a waste of time.
And I keep going back to it, cause it's something that we're looking at right now. If you go on Reddit, and you find the proper subreddit, and you start engaging with people there, you're gonna get a much bigger bang for your buck, because people in that subreddit, maybe asking the questions that you can help answer, and you're actually gonna get a response from them, and you can get something out of it, as opposed to just making sure that you're on the next big thing.
CAROLINE: All right. Right, and it's helpful for people that are on there, right? It's helpful for the people in the subreddit. It's not helpful for people on Pinterest. And like at this point, there are also so many different platforms.
CAROLINE: You can't be on all of them, and do a great job on all of them.
LESLIE: No. And you have to. Especially in B2B, you can't just go out with any message, and you can't just- I, as the marketer, can't go on Stack Overflow, and start answering questions for most things, especially with the type of company I work for, where we deal with developers and data engineers. They don't wanna hear from me. It takes a subject-matter expert, and somebody who is like them, to go on there and actually be able to drive the results. Now, I can help them with that. I can flag posts, that maybe need a response, I can do some of the advertising. I can do all of these things to make the process easier for the person who should be engaging, but it's gotta be somebody who matches with both the platform and with who you're going after, and that takes a lot of time. Usually, your subject-matter expert is not- It's large companies that usually have somebody who's fully devoted to community like that, who can literally just sit on like Stack Overflow all day, every day. It's very rare that you find that, or somebody who can sit on Twitter, and like respond to a bunch of people on Twitter all day, every day. And they have to have a passion for it.
And a lot of times these people don't. And so, it takes time, it takes energy, and it takes the right person. And getting all three of those, at the same time, can be really difficult. So, it's really one of those things where- I know this is gonna sound stupid, cause you should sort of do this with all the things in your marketing stack, but you really have to look at the amount of effort you're gonna put into it, the ROI you're gonna get out of it, and then make the best decision that you can, because, you know spamming people on Instagram is probably not the best use of your time. But making very articulated, very relevant, responses to post on, you know, Stack Overflow or Reddit might be.
CAROLINE: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then, you know, you can test. But yeah, I think, really thinking through where is my audience? Who are they? What do they want to hear, when they're in these specific channels? And then as you said, right, like, prioritize where you're going, because it takes time. It takes time, and time is really limited.
LESLIE: Yeah. And I think it also depends on if you're trying to engage a new community and drive leads, or if you're trying to engage the community that you already have. So, you know, I'll be really honest, B2B- Facebook is not the first thing I think of, and we don't advertise on Facebook. You know, people have their feelings about Facebook, but I'm always shocked if I- Cause I log in because of work. If I log in, and all of a sudden it's like, you know, 10 people have followed your Facebook feed, or followed your Facebook account, in the last week, or whatever it might be. It always- For me, I don't wanna follow companies that I- I don't follow marketing automation vendors on Facebook. It's not how I want to engage with people, but there are some people out there who do wanna engage like that. So, maybe throwing a post out there every so often, isn't a terrible thing, because they've asked to engage with you that way.
And that's the other thing you have to think about. Maybe you do have an Instagram account, and if people follow you, they've asked to engage with you that way, but maybe you don't advertise on Instagram. You know, maybe LinkedIn was one of those places where you do a lot of advertising because that is more business-centric. But maybe it doesn't work. Like, I feel like people are inundated with, you know, LinkedIn ads at this point. So, you have to kind of find a way to get around that and really engage with the audience that you're trying to get. And that shows massive results when it comes to also gaining new followers. So, it really is, to me, you have to not only think about the content, not only think about how people wanna engage with you, but like what is it that you're trying to get out of it, because every platform is a little different, and what you'll do is a little different.
CAROLINE: Yeah. All right, well that was great. Thank you so much, Leslie. I really appreciate it.
CAROLINE: Yeah, thank you, this was fun.