The exponential increase in the adoption of digital technologies and concepts has impacted personal and business life in a variety of positive ways. One such concept – an offshoot of social media technologies – is known as social selling. As you’ll expect, some of the world’s top social media platforms are also the leading B2B social selling platforms. The most notable platforms are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
LinkedIn is used by 96% of B2B content marketers, making it the top network for B2B content marketers, followed by Facebook and Twitter (80% and 71%, respectively). With these giant social media platforms boasting billions of monthly active users, any modern B2B organization that is not tapping into this huge market for social selling will have itself to blame and will most likely fall behind competitors in many ways.
The concept of social selling has no formally adopted definition since the ways both B2B businesses and private individuals use social media can vary. But, in its most basic form, social selling is a lead-generation approach in which sales personnel use social media channels to communicate and collaborate with their leads and prospects, with the major objective being sales conversion.
Today, with the steady growth in the user base of social media outlets, social selling has become a sine qua non for every successful social media marketing strategy. Social selling can be conducted in different ways, with some being more invasive while others focus on improving one’s personal brand to build trust within a community. Some are based on long-term goals, while others aim to achieve short or medium-term goals. Whatever the case, social selling can be a powerful tool a B2B business can leverage to close new customers and generate more revenue.
As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is the top B2B social selling network platform. It is also the most-used social media platform among Fortune 500 companies. Instagram currently has over 1.4 billion monthly active users, while Facebook has almost 3 billion and Twitter has 450 million. So, with over 310 million monthly active users, LinkedIn may not be the largest of the big social networks. But LinkedIn boasts more active millionaire CEOs and business leaders than any other platform.
So what are the unique characteristics of LinkedIn that make it such a vital tool for B2B sales?
With an impressive 58 million companies, 4 out of 5 decision-makers, and a 33 percent increase in purchase intent from ad exposure, LinkedIn is the most robust B2B lead generation platform around today. Additionally, 79 percent of content marketers opine that their best outcomes come from utilizing LinkedIn ads, while most startups and small and medium businesses leverage LinkedIn to generate business leads. What more could you ask for?
Notably, LinkedIn users are growing faster than those of any other site on the web. The majority of these new users are involved in business decisions, a factor that helps make LinkedIn renowned as the best social network for B2B lead generation. In a nutshell, it's time to get on board the LinkedIn train and make your marketing efforts robust and top-notch!
Two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies now use LinkedIn. This growth has been attributed to the ability of member companies to generate more business leads through LinkedIn than via any other network. The obvious lesson here is that, in comparison to others, LinkedIn has an edge when it comes to effective lead-generation strategies. With LinkedIn, companies can get in front of their prospects and close more sales without breaking the bank.
The first way your B2B business can engage prospects on LinkedIn is to use the recommended topics to initiate conversations. When you connect with a potential customer, it is easier to close the connection since LinkedIn automatically starts conversations on relevant topics. And since LinkedIn has over 930 million users in 200 countries, there is always a likelihood of sparking a conversation.
Companies that have used LinkedIn to promote their products and services have recorded outstanding results. This is one medium that allows you to offer solutions to your prospects' problems by connecting you to the right people that will help you solve those problems. You’ll also enjoy access to markets that you would ordinarily not reach while leveraging your connections to grow your B2B business. All these and more help explain why LinkedIn is such a valuable social media platform for lead generation and why more companies are turning to LinkedIn for their B2B social selling campaigns.
LinkedIn offers a broad range of exceptional social selling features that B2Bs can utilize to build their brands, engage their target audience, and drive business results. Here are some of them.
A LinkedIn Company Page is a necessary tool for every serious B2B business. With a LinkedIn Company Page, you can easily showcase your brand, build a following, and engage your audience. However, ensure that every member of your team has your company name on their profiles so that it links them to your company’s LinkedIn page. This will not only allow them to appear on that page but will also ensure that anybody looking to work with any of them navigates directly to your company page, which is a win-win for everyone.
LinkedIn Showcase Pages are extensions of a company’s main LinkedIn page but focus on specific areas of the business (including products, services, initiatives, etc). A Showcase Page makes it possible for businesses to tailor their content and messaging to a specific audience, thus creating a more personalized experience for their followers.
B2B companies on LinkedIn are increasingly embracing influencer marketing thanks to its significant benefits. For instance, through their large audience, influencers can be an asset for building brand awareness and credibility. To ensure the best possible influencer marketing outcomes, be sure to identify and partner with influencers that align with your brand’s values and target audience.
Start by searching for and identifying influencers in your industry. Watch out for those that regularly post content related to your brand and industry, have a strong LinkedIn following, and have high engagement rates.
LinkedIn groups enable B2B companies to establish or join viable communities. Community engagement is extremely valuable for B2Bs on LinkedIn with respect to their social selling objectives. For instance, it can help such companies build strong relationships with their followers, become established thought leaders in their industry, and hence, drive engagement and growth.
LinkedIn paid advertising is a powerful way for B2Bs to reach their target audience and boost engagement. An organic approach is still important, but complementing it with paid ads can yield better social selling outcomes if properly conducted. LinkedIn boasts a range of ad formats, for instance, sponsored content, sponsored InMail, and display ads, all of which can be targeted according to factors such as industry, job title, and company size.
A B2B company that manages to become a thought leader on LinkedIn is on its way to building a strong brand, becoming acknowledged and respected for its expertise, and attracting a large following which it can engage with constructively. The journey to establishing thought leadership starts with identifying your unique areas of expertise based on your product and/or service offerings and constantly studying to become extremely knowledgeable in them, as well as developing a content strategy that is in alignment with those areas.
When creating LinkedIn content, it is essential to focus on providing value that can cater to the pain points of your audience, including solving their problems. This may include sharing insights such as providing unique angles on industry trends and creating in-depth and high-quality educational resources that help your audience have better knowledge of your products and services, among others.
By going live and hosting webinars on LinkedIn, your B2B organization can seamlessly connect with your target audience, share insights and expertise, and build brand awareness. For starters, consider topics that will appeal to your target audience, and then create a plan for promoting your upcoming session via your LinkedIn company page, appropriate LinkedIn groups, and other social media platforms.
Linkedin articles and newsletters allow you to publish longer-form content that can offer greater value, resonate highly with your audience, and thus help to establish you as a thought leader in your industry. When creating articles or newsletters, be sure to concentrate on topics that are relevant to your target audience and provide insights that cannot readily be found elsewhere.
The following are some strategies your B2B organization can leverage for effective social selling:
Launched in March 2006, Twitter has grown fast to become a powerful social networking platform and search engine for reaching a wide audience and connecting with customers. It is now one of the world's most popular social media platforms, with over 450 million monthly active users and more than 500 million Tweets sent every day.
Twitter is a tool through which users can typically find the most current information about virtually any topic, including updates from B2Bs and other companies that interest them. When it comes to social selling on Twitter, it may interest you to know that 85 percent of Twitter users who follow a brand tend to feel more connected to the brand, and 52 percent of Twitter users have purchased items from a brand after seeing them on the platform.
Your B2B company on Twitter can engage its followers and other users, boost brand awareness, increase conversions, and more with the following strategies:
Consider your Twitter profile a second landing page, and optimize it for profile views and clicks that lead to your business offerings. First, it is essential to upload a quality profile picture that looks very professional. Next, try to match your profile picture with your company’s banner. Be sure to craft a catchy headline. Think of your headline as your sales pitch. Explain in one sentence what value your B2B business provides.
Though the urge to share product specifics can be very strong, try to focus more on sharing industry insights that will resonate with potential customers. In a recent survey investigating how US B2B buyers thought content meant for them could be improved, 96 percent said they wanted more insight from industry thought leaders, and 92 percent demanded "less focus on product specifics and more focus on value."
Avoid the habit of always Tweeting sales pitches, and instead focus more on providing content that adds value to your audience, including insights from senior executives and customer stories.
Twitter Cards are a source of rich experiences and useful tools for users within an expanded Tweet. The Lead Generation Card enables users to easily express interest in your B2B brand’s offerings. It also makes it easy for users to securely share their email addresses with a business without any need to fill out a cumbersome form or having to leave Twitter.
When a user expands your Tweet, they see a description of your B2B company’s offers and a call to action. The user’s name, @username, and email address are already pre-filled in the Card. All the user needs to do to send this information directly and securely to you is click a button.
For easy mobile digestibility and hence sales conversion, focus on breaking down research, infographics, original data, reports, and other content into visually compelling pieces rather than making lengthy Tweets or expecting your audience to go through a forty-five-page report or white paper on their mobile device.
Twitter influencers can be crucial social selling agents because they can use their authority and large followership to amplify the reach of your B2B business if they partner with your brand. Additionally, they can also help distribute your product or service, especially if they’ve tried out such products and services and like them. Therefore, do not take building strong relationships with Twitter influencers for granted.
Engagement ranks as one of the most important Twitter B2B social selling strategies. Why? The more you engage with both individuals and other businesses, the more they see your tweets, and the more they see your tweets, the brighter the chances of them becoming potential customers. Be sure to build an engagement list by using the list feature on Twitter.
For optimal results, ensure you’re targeting the right audience at the right time and that you filter your content throughout. Similar to Google AdWords, it is now possible to share specific information on Twitter. This will help ensure that your ads are shown to the most relevant users.
Decision-making processes in B2B tend to be longer, so it’s essential that your target audience accesses your Tweets multiple times. Twitter's internal data indicates that B2B audiences have a higher likelihood of engaging on Twitter after repeatedly accessing company messages. For example, an individual who has seen a business’s message four times is 335 percent more likely to click on a link in a Tweet by that business than someone who has only seen the message once.
Therefore, there’s nothing wrong with repeating messages more than once a day or every few days, as long as the Tweet is relevant and timely.
Paying to promote your account before your target audience in order to grow your following is good for social selling. Be sure to tweet about relevant content, and always include a CTA and a link.
With nearly 3 billion users as of January 2023, Facebook remains the undisputed champion when it comes to social media user base. Simply put, if your B2B company is yet to have a Facebook page, your credibility may suffer, meaning an increased possibility of lagging behind others who use it. But a well-maintained profile can boost your brand’s visibility and help you achieve your social selling objectives and more. Moreover, Facebook is the third most visited site worldwide, only behind Google and YouTube, making it all the more indispensable in today’s highly competitive business environment.
Like a website, a Facebook business profile has several pages. From your home page, visitors can see your cover photo, profile picture, about section, business location, reviews and recommendations, contact info, and content you’ve posted. That single profile page can provide evidence that you are real and actively doing business. Your company’s values are usually reflected in the information you include in your bio and the content you share.
In terms of social selling specifics, Facebook also boasts some impressive stats: One million brands sell on Facebook; Over 63 million shoppers in the U.S. made purchases through Facebook in 2022; More than 200 million active Facebook users interact on Facebook Shops
If you wish to achieve success in any undertaking, then strategizing effectively is key. Here are some simple strategies that can help you obtain the needed B2B social selling results on Facebook.
Your page is your virtual office and the first place your potential clients land. So, the need to optimize it for your B2B audience should not be overemphasized. The following tips will help:
Your company’s unique value proposition is what distinguishes it from competitors. Be sure to place it strategically on your Facebook page. You can include it in your page description and cover photo, as well as create a pinned post highlighting it and explaining how your products or services can be useful to your customers. Lastly, try to incorporate your UVP into your overall content strategy, including your ad campaigns.
Like in all other social platforms, visual content is essential for Facebook B2B social selling since it serves as a rich complement to other content. Use high-quality videos and images relevant to your target audience, as well as captions and descriptions that provide context and information about your products and/or services. Do not forget to also include customer testimonials and user-generated content to ensure credibility and authenticity.
If you want to always create content that will resonate with your audience, then the ability to correctly predict their psychological state is necessary. This is where effective engagement is important. Some forms of engagement include conducting market research to understand your target audience’s pain points, needs, and preferences; using social listening tools to monitor conversations and industry trends, and using feedback forms and surveys to obtain insights directly from your audience.
When you have determined what your target audience wants, proceed to craft a content plan that addresses their pain points, needs, and preferences. There are a variety of ways to go about this crucial component of your B2B social selling effort. For instance, you can use research to come up with a list of topics and themes that arouse the interest of your audience; organize your content plan (including topics, formats, and distribution channels) with a content calendar.
Depending on customer preferences, you should use a mix of content types, e.g., blog posts, PPT presentations, e-books, whitepapers, guides, tutorials, videos, infographics, and social media updates.
Customer success stories and case studies are very effective trust-building and credibility-boosting assets. What is involved? Identify customers that have achieved success through the usage of your products and/or services, and then develop case studies showcasing their success and the impact of your product or service on their business.
When you are through, share the success stories and case studies on your Facebook page (and other channels).
Crafting compelling content is necessary but, unfortunately not sufficient. If you desire to reach a wider audience and generate more leads, then using Facebook ads is a must. Facebook offers a variety of ad formats that you can use to reach your B2B audience, e.g., lead ads, video ads, etc.
Like in other social media platforms, influencers can help your social selling campaigns on Facebook. Luckily, Facebook hosts lots of influencers. All you need to do is to identify those that are relevant to your industry and collaborate with them.
Industry-relevant Facebook groups are good for engagement and hunting for leads. Focus on groups that have a large and engaged audience where your target customers are likely to be among the members. You can also create a Facebook group or more, though it’ll take time to grow, unlike an already-established group with many members.
As soon as you’ve joined a group, become active in group discussions. Share your knowledge and expertise, ask/answer questions, generate/stimulate debates, and solve problems. These will help establish you as an authority in your field, attract more followers, and enable you to build valuable relationships with other members, all of which can enhance your B2B social selling efforts.
If you’ve identified potential customers in any of your Facebook groups, you can use Facebook Messenger to connect with them directly for a more personalized communication.
A/B testing is one tool that can help optimize your B2B ad campaigns and increase your ROI. Create several versions of your ads with different headlines, images, and copy. Test each version against the others to identify the one that performs best. Adopt the best-performing ad as your primary ad and iterate regularly to ensure continuous improvements in performance going forward. This should not apply to Facebook alone but across all the other channels.
For a long time, people were under the impression that Instagram was only for B2Cs, or for people to post about their vacations, for celebrities to discuss their events and movies, and for influencers to speak about their collaborations. That is no longer the case today because the platform has metamorphosed into a business hub with over 200 businesses, including many B2Bs.
So Instagram is no longer just another social media platform where people share aesthetic photos and videos of their personal lives but also a powerful business tool. In fact, over 50 percent of buyers follow businesses on Instagram, making it the second most favored platform for following brands. Also, 60 percent of Instagram users discover new products on Instagram. B2B companies can use Instagram for content marketing, customer engagement, lead generation, customer retention, and more.
Implementing the B2B social selling best practices or strategies below will ensure that your B2B organization achieves its social selling objectives on Instagram.
Have a well-planned content strategy because uploading content randomly on your Instagram business profile without planning can sometimes be unsatisfactory for your customers and may negatively impact your brand’s image. So, developing a detailed content plan and having dedicated time for scheduling and publishing is recommended. Publish when your customers are most active on Instagram. Be mindful of the pain points, needs, and preferences of your customers when creating content.
Your Instagram bio is a reflection of the products and/or services offered by your B2B business. So, you should take time to write it most creatively and compellingly. Your bio is important because it is the first thing Instagram users and your customers, and prospects will see. A good business bio can boost your followership, while an inefficiently written bio can have undesired effects. So what makes a good bio? Providing essential information such as what your B2B company offers, your contact address, mission statement, a link to your website, and even your shipping details, among others.
Content plays a hugely important role in building and maintaining a B2B brand's reputation. So be sure to create very high-quality content that hooks your readers and keeps them yearning for more. Aim for content that educates, entertains, adds value, and solves problems for your customers and prospects alike. Content creation tools can help, but they are no substitutes for human creativity.
Keywords and hashtags are essential in B2B social media content creation. They serve as a support system for your captions and must be included. Without relevant hashtags, your content will lack the necessary boost and will likely not reach the right audience.
But hashtags should be used wisely. Adding too little or too many can negatively impact the potential of the content’s reach. Although it is possible to add as many as 30 hashtags, this is not recommended. A few hashtags should be enough.
Writing relevant captions will help your business profile in a number of ways, such as providing a quick description of your products and/or services, increasing brand awareness, and assisting your customers to make quick purchase decisions. Your captions should be crisp and consistently portray your brand voice. Captions can be written in different ways, e.g., story-telling, one-liners, and details. Be sure to use trending keywords and hashtags to support your captions.
Engagement is necessary if you crave excellent B2B social selling results. Creating a business profile and then staying dormant will not help. To achieve your B2B social selling goals, you must continuously strive to reach out to both your existing and potential customers through continuous engagement.
For instance, if a prospect asks a question based on one of your posts, it is your duty to adequately answer the question. If you decide not to, the person may become disappointed and move to a competing brand. People like it when they are shown a sense of belonging, made to feel special and involved. So always send direct messages to those who leave comments (especially comments that warrant a response) and tag those who reach out to you.
Ensure that your customer support system is efficient since it can boost your social selling outcomes and upscale your overall Instagram marketing efforts.
Like other B2B social selling channels, Instagram also allows you to create compelling ads. Investing in Instagram paid ads can give your B2B brand a quick boost. Your ads should be effective enough to make a lasting impression on the viewers. Therefore, writing click-worthy CTAs is a must. Use high-definition images and monitor the ad performance.
You do not have to bear all the burden of B2B social selling. There are lots of influencers you can easily partner with to help you create a strong brand. If you’ve been working alone in marketing and social selling efforts, then now is the time to bring in influencers. Partnering with influencers could be one of your best social selling strategies.
Influencers have authority, and a large following and can help your business earn more trust and followership, which can imply more sales conversions.
Social media giants such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are potent sources of B2B social selling. However, you need to adopt certain strategies if you wish to make the most of the huge market offered by these popular social media outlets. With the continuous increase in the number of social media users and the fast pace of technological innovation, one can safely say that B2B social selling has a bright future.
Therefore all B2B businesses that are still undecided about embracing this cost-effective marketing strategy should stop procrastinating and do so now. All the assets you need to succeed in your B2B social selling efforts are available. For example, you can leverage the services of a trusted agency such as JTN if you find it difficult to manage your social media activities.
Among other responsibilities, JTN can also help measure, analyze, and interpret your key social selling metrics/KPIs (including your content engagement rate, follower engagement rate, click-through rate, prospect referrals, etc.) to ensure the best possible results.