customer technology

How Social Media Platforms for B2B Marketing Actually Work

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Some people believe that social media is a B2C game. That’s it’s all cute cats, charity hashtags and artsy pictures of Sunday brunch. They couldn’t be more wrong. Social media platforms for B2B businesses are a big deal.

Of course, some platforms are going to be more relevant for B2B marketing. Instagram and SnapChat are generally less applicable to B2B as they are more visually focused social media platforms but let’s not forget LinkedIn and Facebook.

B2B companies can find huge benefits from LinkedIn and the business contact network it opens up.

Facebook has been around for an age now, and everyone and their gran is on it. So don’t brush it aside. Remember, that behind every company logo are the people who put it there.

In this post we’ll look at how B2B businesses can use social media within platform-specific requirements, including sizing, and how to keep to legal regulations and professional etiquette.

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Contents

LinkedIn – One of the Top Social Media Platforms for B2B Marketing

LinkedIn is generally the best social media platform for B2B marketing.

In most cases, the B2B target buyer persona consists of decision makers within a business. These people typically invest time and effort on their personal LinkedIn profiles.

With this in mind, you can use LinkedIn for a few things:

  1. A good source of company information for prospecting
  2. A good source of professional information about the individuals fitting in to your buyer persona
  3. Targeted advertising
  4. Organic traffic from followers of company pages
  5. Organic traffic from followers of staff personal profiles

LinkedIn Profile Types

Linkedin has kept this relatively simple with the three profiles and accessibilities:

  • Personal profile pages – Contains most of the information that you will find in the CV of a professional individual. Past and current employment can be linked to Company pages.
  • Company pages – Contains information about a company, including a list of employees that have linked the company page in their profile. It is often used to gain followers and provide news and updates to a pool of followers.
  • Advertising accounts for company pages – Tied to a company page and managed by employees linked to the company page. Use to create and publish ads for said company.

To gain editing rights to a company page, you first need to make yourself an employee of the company or become a connection with the existing page administrator.

Becoming an employee can be done when adding your Employment information to you personal profile. From there, the existing administrator of the LinkedIn page can add you and select the appropriate access level.

LinkedIn Advertising – Beta

At present, the LinkedIn Advertising platform is still in its beta phase and to be honest, it doesn’t have the smoothest or most intuitive functionality.

To be able to create ads for a company page. Your personal profile most first become an editor of the corresponding company page.

LinkedIn Video Ads

These display as short videos that auto-play in a person’s newsfeed. There is introduction text above, short text below and a call-to-action of your choosing.

The specifications for video ads change over time so it best to check each time for the current specifications for LinkedIn video ads and for instructions on how to create LinkedIn video ads.

LinkedIn Sponsored Content

If you want to increase the reach of your posts to an audience outside of your connections or followers, you should use Sponsored Content.

What’s great about these posts is that you can also tag or mention other LinkedIn profiles or company pages where relevant, and a percentage of their followers will also see the post.

In general, even if you don’t boost a published post, you should tag other profiles where appropriate, often to share credit where credit is due, or just as good marketing practice.

Again, check for the up-to-date Sponsored Content specifications

LinkedIn Display Ads

These ads look more like ads as they don’t show up in newsfeeds but in the sidebar of any LinkedIn page.

Check out the up-to-date specifications for Display Ads

Facebook  

Facebook is the most widely used social media platform in Australia for all adult age groups. This will include your target persona.

The only issue here is Facebook is usually checked when your prospect is in a different mindset, i.e.. a more personal and relaxed mind set rather than a professional one. For that reason, targeting your persona with ads about business may be a bit trickier.

You’ll need to consider your timing, wording and delivery differently. A/B testing would be particularly useful.

If targeting a member of C-Suite on Facebook, you’ll want to consider the time that they are most likely to be scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed. 9am, lunch time and 4pm tend to experience higher volumes of Facebook traffic during the workday.

Wording is best made more casual on Facebook ads, as you’ll be reaching out to people during their personal time.

Facebook Profile Types

Facebook is one of the oldest social media platforms. With that age comes the complications of evolution. Over the years Facebook has changed the many styles of profiles that they have and more importantly the way in which they function and serve your audience.

To make it simple, we’ll discuss only the profiles relevant to B2B marketing.

Personal Profile

This is relevant because you need one to open a company page. As long as you have a valid personal profile, it won’t really matter what you put on it. Unlike LinkedIn, visitors won’t typically search for personal profiles of owners of company pages.

Company Page

This style of page has been built specifically by Facebook for companies to be seen by their prospects in an official capacity. You need a company page to be listed as a company on Facebook and for the purpose of integrity and branding, it’s important to have.

However, because Facebook is always looking to monetize it’s platform, the frequency of your posts showing up on your followers newsfeeds are lower than a personal profile.

This is an algorithm that Facebook developers worked into the platform when marketing on Facebook took off about 7 years ago to encourage businesses to spend money on boosting posts.

The work around for this algorithm is to also run a Facebook group for your business for customer service or discussions associated with the goods and services you distribute. Posts on groups get far more newsfeed presence, but paid marketing isn’t possible.

Facebook Groups

These are the Facebook versions of discussion forums. Businesses often use multiple groups to allow their customers to discuss their product openly, post photos and comment on the business. Groups can also be created by individuals about other businesses. Groups are can be made completely private and can require permission to join or may be open to the public.

Groups can be moderated by owners and administrators. Members can be ejected by administrators whenever they see fit. Because anyone can start a group and its not a place that Facebook have yet to monetize, the algorithm is a lot more generous when distributing content to member’s newsfeed. So there are marketers that see a lot of value in posting inbound marketing posts in these groups.

The administrators of these groups often frown upon any marketing posts, so it’s easy to get ejected from these groups if they notice. Many groups require posts to be approved by admins, so you will be discovered. Although it is legal to post marketing material in groups, it will likely soon be considered a black hat marketing tactic.

Posting Specifications: Company Page Cover and Profile Photo

The ideal dimensions for a Facebook cover photo is 820 pixels by 360 pixels. Keeping critical elements within safe zones (in the centre) will ensure that nothing important gets cut off on either mobile devices or desktop.

This is the actual size and crop of our cover photo:

Desktop view of the Genroe Facebook cover photo

Here is how the photo is cropped to fit onto a Samsung S8 phone screen in portrait mode, which is how most will browse Facebook on their phone.

Mobile view of the Genroe Facebook Cover photo

Profile photos are exact squares varying in size depending on the device.

On desktop computers it shows as 170×170 pixels and on phones 128×128 pixels. They are shown as circles once published.

Check out the official specifications for Facebook Cover and Profile photos.

Business Manager Profile

This account isn’t a publicly seen profile. It is the account tied to your company page that allows you to create and manage all of your ads. You can access this account directly from your personal profile settings (Once you have set it up) or from your company page.

Facebook Advertising Options

Once you gain access to the Business manager, you can run individual ads or you can run ads out of campaigns.

Let’s look into the different ad types available and the associated dimensions and requirements for each one. Be warned, there are A LOT of options. You definitely don’t have to try or use them all. But it’s a good idea to understand what each one looks like and can be used for.

This blog will focus on the ads that are typically used for B2B marketing. There are other ad types like carousel and Slideshow that work best for B2C product marketing which won’t be discussed in this blog.

Find out more about Facebook B2C ad types.

Facebook Video Ads

Pretty self explanatory and growing in popularity. These ads if done properly can yield the greatest results out of all the ads.

The advised play time for an optimum ad is under a minute. Always ensure you include subtitles as over 70% of ads will autoplay on mute.  

The layout involves text on the top, text on the bottom and a call-to-action button on the bottom left with text of your choosing limited to 5 options. The button leads to a URL of your choosing.

Check out the official specifications for Facebook Video Ads

Facebook Image Ads

This is probably the quickest and easiest ad to put together in terms of production.

It involves introduction text above the image, a short sentence below the image and a call-to-action on the bottom right of the image. No more than 25% of the image space is allowed to be text.

Check out the official specifications for Facebook Image Ads

Boost Post Engagement on Facebook

These are posts published on your company page and then boosted to reach an audience outside of your page followers. It is, for instance, a good way to get visitors to your latest blog posts.

What’s great about these posts is that you can also tag or mention otherFacebook profiles or company pages where relevant, and a percentage of their followers will also see the post.

Check out the official specifications for Facebook Post Engagement Ads.

Instant Experience Ads (formerly called Mobile ads)

These ads are specific to mobile usage. But they are a bit clever in that they collect contact information in app without navigating away from the Facebook page. This allows the prospect to get to the offer more quickly, vastly improving user experience which is always a plus for increasing conversion rates.

Check out the official specifications for Facebook Mobile Ads

Facebook Page Likes

The number of page likes that your company has may not be a direct source of lead generation, but don’t make the mistake of not investing in this.

Page likes improves your reputation, boosts branding and provides you with a greater audience in the long-term. So if you’re looking to establish your brand and invest in your company’s future on Facebook, then invest in getting more page likes.

To do this, you need a good Facebook cover photo that’s attractive and clearly communicates what your company does and how it can benefit the people visiting your page.

Click here for the official specifications for Facebook Page Like Ads.

Get this FREE Facebook Reporting Tool Template for Excel to get Click-Through  Rates and Cost per Click Metrics.Click here to get it. 

Facebook Lead Generation Ads

These ads allow for native lead generation on the Facebook page or app without opening a different window.

Upon clicking on the ad, the prospect stays on the page and experiences a pop up form for them to submit their details. The prospect is then served with theoffer without navigating away from Facebook.

Theoretically, this kind of ad should work well for lead generation as it doesn’t force the user to stop browsing their newsfeed and allows the prospect to get what they want with fewer clicks. However, Facebook videos still have better conversion rates. Users log in to Facebook daily with the intention of engaging with all kinds of content including marketing content.

Check out the official specifications for Facebook Lead Generation Ads.

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