Not sure if your industry fits in with the social media crowd?

Digital360 on 25 August 2017

When was the last time you liked a photo on Facebook of new hardwood flooring being installed by your local builder?

For most people, the answer is probably never.

When it comes to marketing, social media is dominated by B2C companies who sell consumer goods like clothing, cosmetics, food, video games, toys, computers and phones. These companies are highly skilled in promoting their brand and building a loyal community based around their products.

So, when it comes to businesses like trade and manufacturing, it’s easy to see why some B2B companies get cold feet adopting social media for business.

The good news is that B2B companies can and do succeed on social media – you just don’t hear about it that often. And the ones who are succeeding are reporting fantastic results for their business.

Why don’t more B2B companies use social media?

Some B2B companies lack the staff or resources to run a dedicated social media campaign.

When a company is short on resources, the responsibility of running a social media campaign often falls on someone who doesn’t have the time, skills for running it successfully.

Another problem is a lack of confidence. Some companies believe their industry simply isn’t interesting enough to promote on social media. Considering there are over 2 billion monthly users on Facebook alone, to assume that no one is interested in your industry is far-fetched.

It only takes minutes to find a range of businesses who are succeeding in their Facebook marketing campaigns. From Super Fund providers to cargo and freight companies – almost any business can succeed if they target the right audience.

Social media tips for trade industries

Running a social media campaign gives businesses the chance to reveal their human side and develop an identity people can connect with.

But how do you promote your business to people who mostly use social media for personal reasons? The key is to stop thinking about social media as a tool to generate leads. Instead, use it as a platform to:

  • Share new ideas
  • Help people solve a particular problem
  • Talk about current events and topics
  • Respond to comments and feedback
  • Reveal an exciting new product
  • Share an insightful thought about your niche or industry

When you shift the focus away from generating sales and engaging with people – the possibilities start to open up. Here are a few ways to increase the effectiveness of your B2B social media marketing strategy:

1. Connect With People

By developing a personality that resonates with your target audience, you can start to build a following from people who’re genuinely interested in your industry. From responding to customer enquiries, sharing original content and asking insightful questions – make every interaction with your followers a positive experience.

Once you start getting regular responses from people, you can follow-up with exclusive offers or deals to generate leads.

2. Start a company Blog

If you don’t already have a company blog – start now.

In a 2016 report released by Social Media Examiner, blogging was considered the most important form of content for marketers. That’s because blogging is an effective way to share useful information, boost your SEO rankings, and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

No matter what you want to write about, there are literally hundreds of formulas for generating blog ideas that have been successful for many businesses.

Use these ideas as inspiration to promote your business on social media.

3. Remarketing

Staying fresh in the minds of consumers requires more than posting on your social media page.

Remarketing is an effective way to promote your brand outside of your actual social media page. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have their own system for running remarketing campaigns.

By determining which users are visiting your website, you can display ads on social media to those users who’ve already visited your page. This system is effective because you’re advertising to people who’ve already expressed interest in your business. And they don’t have to follow your social media page to be exposed to your brand either.

What is the best platform for trade industries?

There is no one ‘best’ platform for manufacturing and heavy industry businesses. Whether you choose one platform or spread out to multiple, there are a few things to consider for each one.

Facebook

With 2 billion monthly users, Facebook is often the first choice for companies who want to use social media for business.

However, keep in mind that most users on Facebook aren’t interested in being given the hard sell. They want to be entertained, learn something new, and be up-to-date on the news.

Most importantly, they want to connect with an identity that reflects their values and beliefs. Your job is to create that identity and gives audiences a reason to stay connected with your brand.

Examples of good Facebook content include:

  • Blog posts and articles
  • Infographics
  • Photos of people in your workforce
  • New job opportunities
  • Asking questions and responding to comments
  • Sharing how-to-guides and video tutorials

Twitter

According to Social Media Today, B2B marketers who use Twitter generate twice as many leads as those who don’t.

Much like Facebook, most people on Twitter use it for personal reasons. The good news is you can apply the same strategy you're using for Facebook to Twitter.

Twitter’s greatest asset is the ability to share content and connect that content with influencers. By having content shared by your followers and their networks, people outside of your audience may take notice and will start to follow your business with interest.

LinkedIn

With over 300 million monthly users, and a large user-base of mature professionals – LinkedIn is a goldmine for generating quality leads.

Do you have technical articles, research papers and documents with in-depth information about your products? LinkedIn is the place to share these kinds of articles. Since the LinkedIn demographic largely caters to business professionals, it’s no wonder that 40% of LinkedIn members use the platform to learn about new technologies and products.

With the ability to engage in community groups, promote upcoming events and network with like-minded professionals – LinkedIn is an ideal social media platform for B2B companies.

Examples of good content for LinkedIn include:

  • Research papers
  • Survey results and statistics
  • Opinion pieces
  • News events
  • Blog posts and articles
  • How-to guides and tutorials

Conclusion

B2B marketers face many unique challenges when promoting their business on social media.

With the sales process being much more involved than simply buying something online or off-the-shelf – B2B marketers have to work incredibly hard to generate leads and convince a prospective they’re worth the investment.

However, by taking the time to understand your audience and the platform you’re promoting yourself on – you have a much greater chance of success on social media.

Talk to an experienced B2B social media strategist about your business and marketing strategy.