The Best Social Media Platform for B2B Marketing in 2023
Written by Ilia Tretiakov
Go to where the audience is. The best social media platforms to use for B2B marketing and using social media to reach new audiences.
Written by Ilia Tretiakov
Go to where the audience is. The best social media platforms to use for B2B marketing and using social media to reach new audiences.
The old adage, which has been true for all marketing, is – to go where your audience is. The same is true for social media marketing. Nonetheless, every year the question gets asked – what is the best social media platform for B2B marketing? The answer may be all of them, but it may not be why you think.
B2B (Business-to-business) marketing is the promotion of a product or business to other organizations to use. The literal definition may not mention people directly, but we all know who runs organizations; decision-makers, C-suite executives, directors, or anyone else with purchasing power within the organization. The last point is important to emphasize because the human element often gets lost when marketing to businesses.
B2B social media marketing comes in many forms online, including advertising, community growth, organic posts, and videos spread across many platforms. Which one of these platforms has the senior-level employees you’re looking to target? Again, the answer might be all of them. Here’s what the numbers look like:
In 2021, nearly 70% of adults in the U.S. said they used Facebook, which hasn’t changed drastically from user rates in 2016. Meanwhile, only 40% of adults say they use Instagram, while 36% of American adults between 30 and 49 years old use Linkedin. Finally, only 30% say they actively use Pinterest.
So, if you have an account on one or more of these platforms, you’ve proven that social media use overlaps exist across platforms. So why only choose one platform in your marketing efforts?
When marketing your business, remember: you aren’t marketing to companies, but rather, you are marketing to the decision-makers for those companies. That person you are trying to reach could be active on many platforms and communities, and you’ll want to meet them there.
Social media is one of the most prominent tools used in marketing and purchasing, as 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers use it for purchasing. In the B2B space, 75% of buyers look to social media to make a purchasing decision.
Unfortunately, the assumption that businesses can only advertise on LinkedIn because that is where the professional audience is is incorrect. This implies that other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram are somehow devoid of a professional audience.
There’s no statistic that proves there are more c-suite executives using LinkedIn than there are Facebook, and no statistic that shows they are in a greater purchasing mindset when they’re on LinkedIn. And yet, LinkedIn is often assumed to be the best place to do B2B marketing.
Many stereotypes about social media platforms come to mind. Like that Facebook is only suitable for family photos, that Instagram is a haven for influencers and images of food, that TikTok is fortressed by Gen Z’s TikTok dances, and that Twitter is a political battlefield rather than a place for serious B2B discussion.
Your buyer is complex, with many interests. Indeed, your B2B buyer could take time throughout their day to visit Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and maybe even their favorite professional or hobbyist community on Slack while at work or home.
You need to reach your audience where they frequently visit. Will your target audience be in a buying mood when on Instagram or Facebook? As marketers, we cannot make these predictions, but we can create successful touchpoints along the way to make buyers remember our brand and company’s offering.
Creating many touchpoints, or contacts with potential customers, is extremely important. In 2022, it is predicted that it takes eight touchpoints before a customer decides to make a purchase. This means your business needs to be visible everywhere your potential clients could go.
This means that the first time a buyer sees your ad, there is a good chance they might not click on it, let alone be ready to make a big purchase. Seeing your ad on multiple platforms builds familiarity and their curiosity for your brand which will eventually lead them to learn more.
There is no one best social media platform for B2B marketing. All top social media platforms have B2B marketing potential since there’s a high likelihood that the decision maker you’re trying to reach uses one or many of these platforms for leisure, work, or some combination of both.
While it’s best to have a presence everywhere that your target audience may be, depending on your budget, resources, and even creativity, it makes sense to start on one rather than spreading yourself across all the platforms. Some platforms are more beneficial for marketing than others regarding cost-effectiveness, ease of use, and what your audience research might tell you.
Running tests and gathering preliminary data is the best way to gauge which platform deserves your attention, but before you do, here’s everything you need to know about each platform in relation to B2B marketing.
The once king of social media platforms has finally stopped growing and adding new users, but Facebook groups continue to be one of the most active environments on Facebook. They are places where people can talk to others about hobbies, political interests, neighborhood gossip, and much more. Don’t underestimate the amount of trust people place in their Facebook community. However, the powerful aspect of Facebook is not the organic social media growth; rather, it’s a sophisticated advertising platform. It is where all B2B professionals can be found using their titles and industries. In fact, up to 955,394 IT decision-makers can be found on Facebook.
Those selling big-ticket items or services know that Facebook is unlikely to make a big sale, but it’s absolutely necessary for the overall decision-making process. Be it brand awareness or keeping your brand fresh in the minds of buyers through remarketing. While Meta has experienced a downtrend in trust and popularity, and tracking has become more difficult, it continues to be one of the most sophisticated advertising platforms available.
Take a look at Ads Manager in your Facebook Business Manager account for the exact number of professionals available to market to in the industry you’re working in. Wish to see if your target audience is available on Facebook? Our team would be happy to do a free search on your behalf. Use this advertising behemoth to your advantage to get more people acquainted with your brand and company culture.
Facebook continues to be the most affordable platform, allowing for the greatest number of touchpoints, it works especially well for video and is a great testing ground for campaigns. Once again, these leads will rarely make a purchase through Facebook.
You may even have a hard time setting meetings with them if you’re looking to create a lead generation campaign. Still, it is a cost-effective opportunity to bring as many individuals from a certain field to your website and increase your chance of having them return.
Remember, all the data you acquire and the campaign history you build is transferrable to Instagram. Even if you don’t see the need to have an active Instagram account for your B2B brand, advertising on Instagram provides another opportunity for you to be where your audience is most active.
Don’t limit yourself to the Facebook news feed either. Meta allows you to advertise directly in Facebook Messenger, which continues to be a preferred chat platform for those who rarely visit their Facebook account but want to maintain relations with their Facebook friends and community.
Facebook may even be the best platform for community engagement. Facebook groups continue to be niche enough and engaging enough for professionals to use. If they are reminded of the group each time they visit the site, the group will continue to grow incredibly quickly. This is the best way for B2B companies to bring in new traffic. The more niche the group, the more targeted the persona.
Twitter is an absolute must for anyone running a public relations campaign. Public relations professionals can reach out directly to journalists on the platform, and these pitches are often met with enthusiasm. This approach is far more successful than email pitching because you stand out more by reaching the journalist on a platform they frequently visit. Ideas, leads, and pitches are all easy to find on Twitter as direct outreach is still very much welcomed. Take a moment to reach out to them. Your B2B Marketing PR campaign will thank you!
Twitter can be tricky for B2B companies since a good Twitter presence requires a personal touch. Twitter has become the virtual “town square” and continues to be a great place for discussion. This is especially true if your C-level executive is participating in conversations directly. Do you have a leader within your organization willing to join the discussion? Start engaging with others in the field, including peers as well as prospects. Account-based marketing (ABM) techniques can thrive on Twitter as you identify and target companies your sales team is eager to engage with.
Twitter also has a great advertising platform that’s ready to remarket your ads to people who have visited your website. Continue to follow the audience where they are to help them notice you and become more acquainted with your brand. Experiment to see if Twitter reengages prospects and helps them along with the decision-making process.
The year 2022 has been an interesting one for Twitter. Now under new management, many changes have been promised, and even its collapse publicly alluded to. While volatility could mean opportunity, this has seen the rise of the most viable Twitter alternative to date – Mastodon. Should your company be focusing its marketing efforts on Mastodon?
Currently, Mastodon has no advertising function – and it promises to never introduce one. So while it acts as a Twitter clone, if you’re expecting to run an advertisement campaign similar to the one you would on Twitter, you’re out of luck. But if you have an executive team willing to participate in active discussion, much like Twitter, Mastodon gives you the perfect opportunity to show your expertise in a much smaller intimate setting with individuals eager to listen and connect.
Small, niche communities are growing rapidly on Mastodon. Just take a look at all the different Mastodon servers you can begin participating in. The creation of new servers is closed as of Winter in 2022, but only because unprecedented interest has created a backlog. Marketing on Mastodon will be difficult if community engagement is not part of your marketing plan. So Good Digital frequently helps C-suite executives build and schedule messages to keep the conversation going.
The biggest hurdle for businesses is the resources needed to do YouTube well. Videos continue to be an uphill battle for companies that hide behind stock images and have a camera-shy executive team. Animated videos can still get you exposure, but it takes a personal approach to have a video worth watching.
If you are willing to invest in a well-made video, YouTube advertising allows you to beam it to the right audience fairly easily. Brand story videos talking about your company are a great way to get exposure and is perhaps one of the strongest awareness campaigns you can create. Product demo videos can be very affordable to create and a great way to answer common questions about your business.
Search engine optimization benefits are one of the biggest highlights for YouTube B2B marketing, that’s often overlooked. The easiest way to get to the first page of your search results might just be through video. It needs no reminding that Google owns YouTube and prefers it when YouTube videos effectively answer the questions posed to the Google search engine. Get your SEO team to suggest queries or commonly asked questions related to your niche. You might find the videos begin to quickly outpace your blogs for organic search traffic.
Dark social refers to the sharing of content on private channels, such as messaging apps, email, and other closed platforms. This type of social sharing is difficult to track and measure, making it challenging for marketers to understand how their content is being shared and consumed. Despite this, dark social is a significant part of the social media landscape, with many people using private channels to share content with friends, family, and other trusted contacts. Organizations can better reach and engage with their audience by understanding the role of Dark Social and incorporating it into their marketing strategy.
The most popular B2B marketing social media channel is Slack, and yet no one is talking about it.
You might be familiar with Slack as an email and Microsoft Teams alternative for your business, but the broader professional community is starting to use it as a discussion community. You’re missing out if you haven’t joined a public Slack group! These communities give you access to a new level of professionals asking for advice and speaking about their work. These communities are active and filled with engaging discussions. Here, you’ll find the most engagement for your marketing efforts if it’s done properly. Just make it seem natural and make sure to read the policies set by administrators. Overt marketing is most likely forbidden, so make sure you’re contributing to the conversation and providing value. The biggest x-factor for Slack marketing is individuals trusting their communities. In addition to seeking advice, you’ll often find suppliers looking for providers, business references exchanged, and it’s even searching for talent.
Try using Slofile to find a public Slack community to join. As of late 2022, there are over a thousand options, from channels dedicated to startups, hardware, business, or just entertainment.
However, suppose you don’t have the resources or willingness to have a community manager join these communities and actively participate. In that case, you may want to try out the next best B2B marketing social media channel, LinkedIn.
Although LinkedIn is often thought of as one of the best social media platforms for B2B marketing, the answer to that depends on your needs. Does the best mean cost-effectiveness? If so, you’ll be surprised at the initial costs of growing a campaign on LinkedIn. If it’s lead quality you’re after, LinkedIn might have the perfect audience for you, but generating those leads may be difficult and costly. Depending on your strategy, LinkedIn may not be the obvious choice you may think it is.
There are two different sides to LinkedIn. There is LinkedIn for personal use and business LinkedIn. They operate so differently they may as well be two entirely separate worlds. Company LinkedIn pages have very little presence on LinkedIn, and primarily appear on newsfeeds of those directly associated with the company, or those who engage with the page frequently. This is no accident either, company posts are seen as less valuable than posts by individual users because they tend to receive less engagement and are deemed overly promotional by the algorithm. If you think you will have more organic growth success with a company LinkedIn page, without a distribution plan, you should rethink your use of this platform for B2B marketing.
That doesn’t mean LinkedIn is a lost cause, but you will find yourself bound by advertising through paid LinkedIn ads, or a sophisticated distribution plan that results in immediate engagement with your posts (or both!) . LinkedIn has a much less refined advertising platform, with less users to target, but one that allows you to target specific job titles and industry with greater accuracy. But advertising on LinkedIn is expensive, and you’ll often find that you are limited by your budget, as you’ll likely have to pay top dollar before seeing results.
Is organic growth possible on LinkedIn? The term “LinkedIn Influencer” has become a somewhat humorous term among marketers; with gurus providing catch-all business advice to try and grow their following. Nonetheless, good content has the ability to be spread far and wide by the LinkedIn algorithm, and while these influencers may not be at the same level as a TikTok star, CEOs, decision-makers, business coaches, and other leaders are successfully growing their following, and subsequently their business, on LinkedIn. If someone in your company has a large social network and is prepared to be the face of the company using their personal LinkedIn page, growth is possible. In that case, a mixed use of both company and personal LinkedIn accounts, will benefit your B2B business’s marketing strategy tremendously. Pair it with LinkedIn Sales Navigator and other outreach strategies for very targeted marketing.
One of the assumptions we hear all the time is that putting resources toward B2B lead generation on LinkedIn is paramount because “that’s where our audience is.” A poorly conceived campaign is the fastest way to spend a budget. Given the high advertisement cost on the platform and understanding that the beginning of any advertising campaign will be costly while the algorithm learns about your audience.
But LinkedIn users are more professional than, let’s say, those on Instagram, right? You’ll soon learn that both platforms’ audiences are identical – people visit multiple social media platforms; it’s just a matter of reaching them.
Remember, decision-makers don’t only have LinkedIn profiles.
The question you should be asking is what is the most effective method to get exposure to our ideal audience, where we can experiment with new campaigns, and how widely we can remarket to convince prospects that have considered our businesses but have yet to make a purchase. Multi-channel marketing has evolved, and you should view each platform as its own separate channel rather than one broad “social media” label.
Overall, advertising on social media is still very effective for B2B marketing, but the field, advertising platforms, and data regulations all continue to evolve at a breakneck speed. Platforms will continue to tout ease of use, but marketers know digital advertising is anything but easy. When algorithms determine the costs per click based on their understanding of a good campaign, you literally cannot afford to get it wrong.
So Good Digital is at the forefront of B2B marketing. We take the guessing out of digital marketing with a suite of specialists ready to create your ideal campaign – evidence-based, creatively inspired and led as if your business is our own. B2B clients have trusted So Good Digital to be an extension of their marketing team, allowing for expert-level social media campaigns to be designed, tested, and implemented with a data-backed approach, saving you time, money, and headache along the way. Whether you’re looking for advice to do digital marketing right, or you’re looking to outsource all your company’s marketing efforts, So Good Digital is your ideal partner to get the task done.