Social media, once an interesting upstart, is now a monstrous force.
From social causes to political agendas to sharing vital health information, social media covers (and influences) all of it. But, what benefits can marketers gain from social media? More specifically, how can that force translate into a successful B2B social media marketing strategy?
According to Social Media Examiner’s annual report, 88% of all marketers say social media efforts generated more exposure for their businesses, and 79% reported increased traffic being the second major benefit. Those likely aren’t surprising numbers.
The exciting part for marketers is that the benefit of generating leads has surpassed developing loyal fans (69% to 61%).
Yes! Social media is indeed a trusted marketing tool; it’s expected to be a revenue builder.
The big question that naturally emerges from these numbers is, “Are B2B marketers who properly use social media actually achieving better results?” This article, with help from the annual report, will answer that question.
The Report, Lead Generation, and ROI
Social Media Examiner’s 2021 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, its 13th edition, provides a comprehensive look at how and why marketers use social media to grow their businesses. If a fact is not otherwise noted in this article, it came from this report.
Consider this sales-related fact: the benefit of improved sales correlates to the number of years a marketer has used social media. The report (see page 9) shows that marketers generate more leads via social platforms with more experience. About ⅔ of marketers with 2+ years of social media marketing experience are generating leads through social platforms.
Marketers generate more leads via social platforms with more experience.
Perhaps experienced marketers have the necessary tools to track social media sales.
Speaking of tracking, only 30% — nearly one-third — of global marketers believed they were able to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their social media marketing efforts (Statista, Jan. 14, 2021). That’s a huge amount of professional marketers who can’t defend their efforts.
Surprising or Expected? Here Are Some Platform Data Insights
We recently posted advice about getting more connections on LinkedIn, what we call “the clear leader” in B2B prospects, hires, and business relationships. However, here’s what the Social Media Examiner found (see page 17 of their report):
Most Important Social Platform (B2B Marketers)
For B2B marketers, Facebook continues its slip (down to 40%) as Instagram (16%) and LinkedIn (35%) creep up. For instance, 59% of B2B marketers plan on increasing Instagram organic activities, and 74% plan on increasing LinkedIn organic activities.
As far as which social media platforms B2B marketers want to learn more about, LinkedIn tops the list at 72%, followed by Instagram (63%) and Facebook (57%).
When it comes to the platform most utilized for its digital advertising, B2B marketers use Facebook at a 70% clip, while LinkedIn comes in at 39%. Instagram, while not as heavily used, makes an impressive showing when it comes to the ad platform B2B marketers want to learn more about: 54%.
Video Continues to Surge
People love videos! The human brain is wired for watching moving images, and videos can often give people what they want, from product info to learning a new skill.
Studies and stats are backing up what we’ve been saying: video marketing executions continue to increase up and down the board. Watch our video, “B2B Video Marketing Statistics for 2021,” and you’ll see what we mean.
Similar to social media platforms overall, what B2B marketers are interested in learning about reveals a lot about where things are headed. Learning about LinkedIn video tops the list at 66%, followed by Instagram video (62%) and Facebook video (61%).
Inbound marketing leader, HubSpot, offers these quick stats on video:
93% of all brands (not just B2B brands) got a new customer because of a video on social media (Animoto)
88% of video marketers reported that video gives them a positive ROI (Wyzowl)
Using video on landing pages increases conversions by 86% (Wordstream)
A final word about video: marketers of all types (B2B and B2C) plan on increasing their use of Instagram video (72%), YouTube video (71%), and Facebook video (66%). So it’s a must-have to stay competitive in your industry.
2021 Trends to Know
Whew, you’ve just consumed a LOT of numbers! It’s time to review some B2B social media marketing strategies for 2021 that aren’t driven by facts. We’ve broken down some top considerations:
Trust — Global trust in social media is only 41% (sorry, another number), yet B2B buyers are looking to brands for more authenticity, transparency, and active discourse with the buying audience.
Storytelling — Off-the-cuff, in-the-moment video and photo stories resonate with and engage social media users. HubSpot suggests live video and virtual events, which naturally became more popular during the pandemic. These are practically “best practices” now for many marketers, so look for on-staff talent who are comfortable on camera.
Social Video — Bring solutions and services to life in a compelling way. Video presented as short-form or “snackable” content really works for today’s viewers.
Groups — Check out LinkedIn and Facebook for groups that attract people who are actively looking to engage and want to be part of a specific community; just make sure your contributions aren’t all product-centric.
Social media use overall is at an all-time high. In fact, social media is the #1 channel used in marketing in 2021 (per HubSpot’s Not Another State of Marketing Report). B2B marketers must also adapt to build stronger, trusting relationships with audiences. Keep in mind that prospects and customers of all types are generally skeptical. They want the truth and meaningful engagement.
Posted by Megan Hansel Megan was most recently a marketing assistant at Neuroscience Group. She brings experience across a broad range of marketing functions for employers in healthcare, B2B industry, and finance. Her experience includes research, digital and social media marketing, podcasting, graphic design, e-commerce, and customer care.