Ah, this is the million dollar question for B2B marketers. You’ve finally settled on the idea of creating and implementing a social media strategy for your business, but deciding which channels to develop and maintain accounts for can be daunting. With your fellow B2C marketers getting all of the heart-eye emojis on social from their audience, you’re probably wondering whether your B2B efforts on social media are worth the buck (and if it stops here or elsewhere).

Nearly 2.3 billion active social media users (almost a third of the world’s population!) are constantly creating, sharing and reacting to content every second of the day. Creating and building a presence on social media for your B2B business is worth it, even if it’s simply to increase brand awareness. But with an incredible amount of social media channels to choose from, finding out which one would work best for your business and industry can seem as confusing as navigating through a corn maze on a blistering day.

We get it. Social media channels are not one-size-fits-all for businesses because social media channels serve different purposes. For example:

Twitter is great for sharing news and short quips, but it can also rally engagement around ideas and movements through Twitter chats hosted by businesses and dedicated Twitter accounts sharing other users’ content.
Many people see Pinterest as a hoarder of all things DIY and crafts, but this platform can be used as a search engine for others to discover your business’s content.
Periscope is a neat tool for a business that has a lot of visuals to share, but it could also be fitting for a business who wants to humanize a brand with talks from senior leaders and on-the-go, behind-the-scenes look of a business.

Knowing which social media channels are best for your B2B marketing efforts is nearly impossible without having a good grasp of what your social media strategy is, unless you’re a fan of playing Marco Polo. To answer your question of which social media channel is best for your B2B marketing efforts, it all depends on a variety of factors that affect your overall business. These next few tips are what you should consider when you are developing your social media strategy and selecting social media channels to have a home:

Tip #1: Assess if your target audience has shown up to the party on [insert social media channel of your choice].

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: One of the biggest investments in social media is your time, because you’ll spend a lot of it on social media building your account, growing your audience and engaging with your ”tribe”. So, it’s critical to research if your target audience will be there, because “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t work on social media.

HOW TO DO IT: The easiest way to find your target market is by uncovering whether your industry’s influencers are there and if they are sharing content and engaging with others through information related to your industry. For instance, one of our clients wanted to reach the decision makers in their industry. The obvious choice may seem like a Facebook group, but after some digging, we found the big dogs in the industry chatting it up on Twitter. From this exercise, we saw what conversations they were having and how we could become a part of that, thereby inserting the client’s brand into the conversation au natural.

Tip #2: Determine what stories you want to tell about your brand.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: There are many ways to communicate via social media (hello, 140-character tweets and 30-second snaps!). But you have to know how best to share your brand story with limited space and time. And, don’t even think about using a system to repost your content in the same way across multiple channels: truthfully, people may think you’re being lazy.

HOW TO DO IT: Create a library of stories about your brand for your social media audience. For each story, ask yourself these questions:

– Who in our target audience would be most impacted by this story?
– What messages do we want people to remember about us after they see/read/digest this?
– How can we best share this content as a brand?
– What is the purpose of this content? Will it point back to our website?
– Does this content fall in line with our brand ethically? If we fail to communicate this in the right way, is there a chance for controversy or backlash? (If there is a chance for negativity, stay far, far away from it.)

Tip #3: Figure out what type of content you can produce.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Now you’ve addressed what types of stories you want to tell, you need to figure out how you prefer to communicate it with your audience. And let’s be honest, all types of content will not work everywhere. Uploading a video to Twitter will not have the same impact as sharing that same video on Snapchat. And a text-only update on Facebook is likely to flop whereas on Twitter, it may soar among the birds.

HOW TO DO IT: Take inventory of what resources you have that you can either pull together in-house or outsource.
– Do you have videos?
– High-res images?
– Infographics?
– If you don’t have any of these, can you get them designed or created without much hassle?
– What about written content such as blog posts that your company has on its website?
Once you’ve accomplished this, go through each piece and determine if you can repurpose any existing pieces of content to create something new. Here’s how this works:

You commissioned a study for your business and now you have all of these compelling insights about your industry.
Tweet the statistics in 140 characters with graphics (Twitter).
Gather the statistics and turn them into an infographic that can be posted online (Facebook).
Have someone on your leadership team talk about the statistics in a webinar or short talk (Periscope, YouTube).
Create a blog post publicizing these statistics, and post it on the company’s website and other appropriate platforms (LinkedIn, Medium).
Turn the statistics into a quick video (Snapchat, Instagram Stories, YouTube).

Think of each piece of content that you own (video, blog post, speech, press release) as an opportunity to communicate your brand and leverage the pieces of content to make your brand shine.

Tip #4: Know your team’s bandwidth for managing and responding on social media

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: You can’t get on social media and not be social. A large part of growing your audience on social media is making sure people know you exist on that channel. Do you have a dedicated team member or resource to manage any activity you might have around your content? Is there someone who can respond to questions or inquiries? What about someone who can participate or host Twitter chats or Instagram takeovers for the brand? Setting aside the time to manage a social media account shows that you are committed as a business to engage with your customers.

HOW TO DO IT: Design a process of how you’ll monitor, manage and respond to comments on each social media account. Creating a social media manual to reference is key so you don’t fumble over what to say or how to respond to frequently asked questions, and it also serves double duty to ramp up any team members who will help you on social media marketing efforts.

Tip #5: Game plan how you’ll analyze the effectiveness of your social media efforts

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: If your social media efforts don’t drive leads, engagement or interest from your target audience, then it’s a waste of time. Too many brands assume that the most you can get out of social media is engagement, especially if you’re marketing to businesses, but that is the furthest from being true. You can drive sales and lead your prospective customers into a funnel that will have them head over heels in love with your brand, all while making the magic happen on your social channels.

HOW TO DO IT: Make sure your content is purposeful. For instance, start off making 70 percent of your content focused on engagement by leading back to blog posts or other pieces of content that live on the internet that’s focused on your business. The other 30 percent can be focused on driving people to sign up for your email list or visiting your website or checking out a sales page. Tell people what you want them to do, but don’t shove your brand down their throats. At the end of each month, review the account’s analytics (most are located in a dashboard within the platform itself) review which pieces of content performed, and consider the time it was posted, the type of content that was shared and on which channel. Great content marketers know that the best way to capitalize on good-performing content is repurposing it, so don’t be afraid to share something again (a link to a blog post or sales page perhaps) as long as you switch up the language for the post.

Going through this process will have you honing in on your social media efforts and choosing the perfect social media channels in no time! Do you need any extra help to ensure your social media strategy drives leads and sales as part of your B2B marketing efforts? If so, reach out to us today, and we’ll get you started.