Your B2B Social Media Plan Needs to Include These 8 Steps - 9 minutes read

It’s not too hard to see why social media marketing is often associated with the B2C realm. There are many popular consumer brand applications for this approach, from celebrity Instagram influencers to TikTok contests and beyond.

But make no mistake: social media marketing can be extremely effective in B2B, helping marketers drive awareness, build community, establish credibility and much more. To generate these results, it’s critical to go about it the right way.

B2B social media marketing requires more than just the occasional post from the brand account. It needs a well-thought-out strategy that is grounded in research, planning, and continuous optimization. 

8 steps in a successful B2B social media marketing plan

TopRank Marketing has helped many Fortune 500 B2B companies with their social media marketing. Here’s how to create a B2B social media marketing plan that gets results. 

#1: Dig into audience research

As with any marketing plan, the first step is making sure you know your audience. Understanding your target audience — their demographics, interests, pain points, and social media behavior — is a firm foundation for building a successful plan.

Start by updating your buyer personas that represent your ideal customers. Consider factors such as job title, industry, company size, challenges they face, and goals they aim to achieve. This will help you tailor your content and messaging to resonate with their specific needs and preferences.

You can also pull in data from your existing customer base, website analytics, and social media analytics to gain deeper insights into your audience’s behavior and preferences. Identify which platforms your audience frequents and what type of content they engage with the most.

Finally, analyze your competitors on social media to see what they’re posting and which posts resonate the most with their audience. Identify gaps in the market that your brand can fill and opportunities for differentiation.

#2: Select and prioritize channels

Should your brand be on TikTok? Do you need an Instagram strategy? Should you post short videos on YouTube as well as LinkedIn? 

The answers will vary depending on where your audience is. It’s best to post more fitting content to fewer channels than to spread yourself too thin posting everywhere. Take these steps to find out which channels align best with your objectives and target audience.

Understand platform capabilities: Familiarize yourself with the features and capabilities of each social media platform. Consider factors such as audience demographics, content formats supported, and engagement mechanisms available.
Align with audience preferences: Choose platforms that are frequented by your target audience. For instance, LinkedIn is often the go-to platform for B2B professionals, while platforms like X and Facebook may also be relevant depending on your industry and target demographics.
Consider content suitability: Evaluate whether the content you plan to share aligns with the platform’s format and audience expectations. 
Prioritize resources and effort: Managing multiple social media channels can be too taxing for even the most efficient marketing team. Prioritize channels based on where your audience is most active and where you can achieve the greatest impact.
Monitor emerging trends: Stay abreast of emerging social media trends and platforms that may present new opportunities for reaching your target audience. Be open to experimenting with new channels but remain focused on channels that consistently deliver results.

#3: Engage in social listening and sentiment analysis

Before you start actively posting, take stock of the current social media landscape for your brand, industry and audience. You wouldn’t want to jump in with jokes, for instance, if your audience was angrily posting about a service outage. But you also wouldn’t want to post only professional, posed photos if your competitors are posting candid behind-the-scenes content that resonates.

Social listening tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Meltwater can help you:

Track mentions of your brand and tag them as negative or positive
Monitor conversations about key industry topics
Determine what types of posts are most popular with your audience
Identify trending topics and opportunities to add value

Use the insights gained from social listening to inform your social media content strategy.

#4: Build a community

When you’re establishing your brand presence on social media, it starts by attracting an audience with great content. Then you can nurture the audience, encourage them to share content, and expand from there.

These steps are the same if your brand is already present on social media but you’re launching a new marketing plan.

Create valuable content: Share industry insights, thought leadership articles, case studies, and practical tips. You should aim to give value to the community with every post.
Facilitate two-way communication: Don’t think of social media as a broadcast; think of it as a conversation. It’s important to actively respond to comments, messages, and mentions. Let your followers know that you’re here to build rapport and create relationships, not just talk about your brand. 
Foster engagement: Involve your audience in the content creation process by soliciting user-generated content, hosting contests or challenges, and seeking input on future products or services. This fosters a sense of ownership and belonging among your audience and can help generate more content for the community. 
Create a welcoming and inclusive environment: Make sure your followers feel valued, heard, and supported. Recognize and celebrate their achievements, milestones, and contributions.
Empower advocates and ambassadors: Identify and nurture brand advocates and ambassadors within your community who are passionate about your brand. Provide them with exclusive access, rewards, and opportunities to further deepen their connection with your brand and empower them to amplify your message.

#5: Co-create with influencers

Our agency is pretty sold on influencer marketing for B2B. But that’s only because it has consistently worked well for clients — brands like Dell, Adobe, LinkedIn and more. Adding influencer content to your social media strategy can help expose your content to new audiences, gain new followers, and establish more credibility.

Start by identifying influencers that are truly influential to your audience. That doesn’t necessarily mean those with the highest follower count — look for the folks whose content sparks engagement and discussion on social.

In B2B influencer marketing, relative to B2C, there are fewer people who make a living as an official ‘influencer.’ That means you’ll find more success with relationship-building than with a purely transactional approach. You will likely pay influencers for their participation, but that doesn’t need to be the totality of your relationship.

It’s better to co-create content with influencers than to ask for an endorsement or repost of your brand messaging. This can include a social media takeover of your brand’s accounts, co-hosting a live stream, engaging in a comments-based Q&A, and much more.

#6: Foster employee advocacy and executive participation

You don’t have to rely exclusively on internal influencers to add credibility and reach to your content. Your company’s executives and employees are influencers in their own right. Here’s how to leverage your employees and executives to enhance your B2B social media marketing efforts:

Establish executive thought leadership: Encourage, manage and facilitate executive social media accounts to share your C-suite’s insights, expertise, and perspectives on relevant topics. Offer support and guidance to executives who may be less familiar with social media or hesitant to engage actively.
Empower your employees: Make sure employees know that they’re encouraged to post on social media on the brand’s behalf. Build confidence with training, resources, and guidelines for representing the brand professionally.
Highlight employee stories: Share employee success stories, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and testimonials. These help to humanize your brand, build trust with your audience, and make employees feel more valued.  
Encourage sharing and engagement: Encourage employees to share company updates, industry news, and relevant content on their personal social media profiles. 
Make employee advocacy part of the culture: Recognize and celebrate employees who actively contribute to social media advocacy efforts.

#7: Explore paid strategies

Organic social is essential, but it never hurts to boost your best content with paid advertising. Try these tactics to round out your strategy:

Targeted advertising: Use the advanced targeting options available on social media platforms to reach your ideal B2B audience. Targeting is especially useful on LinkedIn, where you can segment based on job title, industry, years of experience, company size, and even specific companies. 
Promoted content: Sponsored content is a great fit for your top-performing organic audience. If a post is proving popular, that means it’s likely to resonate with a wider audience if it gets the chance. 
Lead generation campaigns: LinkedIn makes it easy to run lead generation campaigns directly from the platform. You can host an entire gated asset, complete with lead gen form, in an ad that will appear natively in users’ feeds.
Retargeting: Implement retargeting campaigns to re-engage website visitors, email subscribers, or users who have interacted with your brand on social media. 

#8: Monitor, report and optimize

Marketers are born tinkerers and optimizers, and that instinct should extend to your social media marketing. Keep an eye on how your audience is growing and what types of posts get the most interaction. Each platform has its own set of in-house analytics so you can keep close tabs on how you’re doing.

Interaction may be the most important KPI for B2B social media marketing. It’s the one thing that signifies you have actually earned attention from specific people. As social media algorithms get stingier with organic traffic, it’s important to know how well your posts are being received.

Build a more sociable brand with a proper plan

Social media has come a long way since the days of vacation photos and Farmville requests. B2B brands can build a social media presence that establishes their credibility, builds relationships, and ultimately drives revenue.

Learn about TopRank Marketing’s social media marketing services, including strategy and planning.


About the author

Joshua Nite is dedicated to bringing humanity, empathy, and humor to content marketing. His two ironclad rules: Never settle for commodity content, and never write anything you wouldn't want to read. Great writing takes heart, soul, guts and rhythm. Josh is also the once and future Pundamonium Pun Slam champion, a stand-up comedian and storyteller, and is getting pretty good at electric guitar. His only weakness: Extreme self-consciousness when writing about himself in the third person.


Powered by