A while ago, we published a guide on how B2B companies can get the most out of social media. One of the points we mentioned was that many companies view social media as one entity that you’re either good at or bad at. One channel doesn’t work for them and that’s it, social media doesn’t work for them as a whole.
But, each channel works in different ways and has a different audience. It’s important to figure out how to best leverage each channel for your company, including knowing which content formats best fit which channels. It’s best practice to cross-pollinate content on most channels, tweaking posts to the particular style and need of each platform.
If you’re not sure which content you should be posting, we’re going to run through the content that performs best on the most popular platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Before you skip over this section, those of us working in deep tech markets, should not be put off by misconceptions of Instagram. Just look at this account to see how engaged engineers can be if you post the right content.
Since its 2012 acquisition by Facebook, Instagram has become the go-to photo sharing platform with over 112.5 million users as of 2020. This large audience, combined with new features added over recent years, means it can be highly fruitful for B2B technology marketing—perhaps surprisingly so. According to TrackMaven, Instagram produces up to 20 times more engagement than LinkedIn for B2B brands. So, let’s dive into how B2B brands can use Instagram effectively.
- A key feature for marketers is the Business Profile, launched in 2016 to help brands maximize value from the platform. Business profiles have the capability to access follower demographics, post statistics and one-click contact buttons.
Photos and Videos
- To stand out, brands must have engaging, informative and aesthetically pleasing posts. Stock Photos are not recommended; not only do they look inauthentic, they tend to perform poorly compared to original photos.
- Before businesses start following and engaging with other accounts, it is critical to have a partially populated grid. Users will be more inclined to follow and will also see content to engage with immediately. When launching a profile, it is best practice to plan ahead and post your first 9-12 images before official roll-out.
- To organically attract followers, incorporate trending hashtags related to your business. Once your audience is better established, creating hashtags that are unique and branded to your business and story can help with direct follower engagement. Publitek suggests using the platform Hashtagify to screen hashtags for performance and accuracy.
- Diversifying content is a key to success. Brand profiles should consider showcasing storylines from employees and customers, in addition to industry-related and self-promotional content.
- Instagram Stories lets Instagram accounts post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours, and boasts many features that native posts do not.
- The 24 hour lifespan is one of the many benefits of Stories, allowing businesses to post more content, more frequently, without saturating their main feed, and mitigating the risk of annoying or fatiguing followers.
- Each Instagram story has a 15 second maximum length, which brands can leverage to create episodic content. For example, explaining how a new technology works, or showing behind the scenes footage of an operating plant or warehouse.
- Stories can be used to drive traffic to new posts from a brand’s main feed by sharing the post to the story with added CTA verbiage.
- Verified accounts and profiles with 10k+ followers are able to activate the “swipe up” feature. This allows brands to post a Story with a URL link. When followers swipe up, they will be redirected to a desired landing page. This is particularly valuable since URLs do not have much real estate on Instagram; they are only clickable in profile bios and swipe ups, not in post captions.
- Other features that can be leveraged through Instagram stories include: polls, open-ended questions, countdowns, follower quizzes, personal direct message buttons, challenge nominations, donation buttons, registrations, gifs, stickers and much more. All of these features allow for much more active engagement with followers versus regular posts.
- Instagram TV (IGTV) launched in 2018, following the success of Instagram Stories. IGTV allows the sharing of long-form video and is a standalone section on the platform. It gives brands the opportunity to share videos longer than the typical Instagram stories (15-seconds) and posts (60 seconds). Verified users can post IGTV videos up to an hour long.
- Brands can share a 60-second preview clip of an IGTV post on the main profile grid. The post will always include a CTA to watch the entire video.
- Brands can repurpose more technical, in-depth video that may be too long for a story or feed post (i.e webinars, tutorials, Q&A sessions etc.), or record and share original content directly through the app.
In recent years, LinkedIn evolved from a job-hunting platform to a robust network of professionals who share ideas, career advice and industry trends.
- With a dialed-in profile and few thoughtful posts per week, well-connected executives can use this to their brand’s advantage by establishing themselves—and their companies, by extension—as thought leaders in their industry. The person-to-person nature of LinkedIn means one of its greatest B2B marketing values lies in elevating brands through their leaders.
- A mixture of industry-trend content, company news, blogs, photos, videos and engagement with commenters and influencers goes a long way toward boosting one’s reputation. Here are some key considerations:
- There’s no such thing as a company blog on LinkedIn, only individuals have access to its highly effective, free publishing tools. Still, 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. When sharing thoughtful, relevant written content natively on the platform, LinkedIn will reward you with more views, through both algorithmic preferences and direct notifications to some of your connections (and sometimes beyond!). Other content hosted on LinkedIn, like direct-upload photos and videos, also gets preferential treatment.
- The platform makes it easy to connect with people in any industry. Unlike on Twitter, individuals cannot run paid follower campaigns on LinkedIn, but organic connection growth and consistent network engagement help you build an audience that counts and is likely to be relevant for your shared content.
- LinkedIn is unique in that its algorithms highly reward consistent engagement over time. As long as a post continues to see new reactions, comments and shares, it will be served to larger and larger networks for weeks to come—even to people who aren’t connected with or follow you. It only takes one great idea and a bit of engagement cultivation to go viral on LinkedIn.
- Contributing to LinkedIn groups is another excellent way to engage with others in your industry and build a network. Most verticals have a number of groups with hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of members who share content and engage with each other. Finding success in a group requires valuable content just like what is shared on the main feed, but they can serve as a shortcut to higher levels of influence.
- Personal profiles aren’t the only way to boost your brand on LinkedIn—a robust corporate account helps promote executive-driven thought leadership success. A dialed-in company profile makes your organization look professional and on top of its game to prospective hires and customers alike, as well as providing another outlet for news and activity.
- Think of it like this: corporate pages and thought leadership-driven personal pages are a team, like in doubles tennis. Each player has their own separate, crucial role, but together they are much more effective than alone. Executives can share company news, driving their large, personal networks to the company page, and companies can celebrate the executives and their teams, bringing them into the spotlight.
- LinkedIn offers a tool for corporate pages called Elevate, which serves as a repository for corporate-aligned content and messaging guidelines that all employees can access, customize and amplify. This feature is designed to help everyone, not just messaging-savvy executives, participate in industry conversations and organically promote company news to their own networks.
- If leads are your goal, LinkedIn can deliver. Corporate pages have a robust suite of tools that allow for company- and role-specific account-based marketing, as well as native content gating forms that automatically populate contact information from users’ profiles.
- This versatile targeting and seamless lead capture experience means LinkedIn is an excellent place to gate your high-value content—so much so that 79% of marketers see LinkedIn as a very good source of leads. Corporate advertising on LinkedIn may be an entirely separate endeavor from organic thought leadership growth, but lead generation and brand awareness go hand-in-hand.
Although Facebook is a significant platform (as has been repeatedly demonstrated in our annual social media report), it has seen a sharp decline in recent years across usership and engagement metrics. Beginning in June 2020, a massive advertising boycott by more than 400 companies, largely consumer brands but several tech B2B companies as well, pledged to halt advertising on the social network, in a growing protest over how it handles hate speech and other harmful content. While this boycott has not yet extended to organic use of the platform, it is important to monitor the impact.
For brands using Facebook for organic purposes, here are some useful best practices.
Facebook Business Pages
- Facebook business pages are publicly accessible and search-engine visible. They’re designed to help build brand awareness and community engagement, containing tabs for reviews, events, background info, community discussion, visual media, and a direct contact line via Facebook Messenger.
- These pages are straightforward to set up and maintain with company updates, photos and news, providing another useful avenue for prospects to learn about your company. Like with other social media platforms, video tends to be a top performer, so natively uploading short promotional videos or webinar clips as part of your normal content cadence can markedly increase audience engagement.
Facebook Groups and Communities
- Facebook communities and groups host topic-specific content on any subject matter, often with large, segmented, highly engaged audiences. These spaces can be an effective avenue to promote brand messaging through content, events, webinars, tutorials and audience engagement.
Twitter has been a staple for brands, businesses, celebrities and personas since its launch in 2006, and has generated over 330 million monthly users, and 152 million daily active users. Twitter is one of the best platforms for real-time updates, but the 280 character count limit and over-saturation of constant posting can lead to challenges for B2B marketers.
- Networking and engaging with influencers within a brand’s respective industry is key for growing an online presence. Follow top market leaders and influencers, such as CEOs from leading companies, journalists, analysts and other thought-leaders. Watch how they engage with their followers, and monitor opportunities for engagement. Mention, comment, like and Tweet with them on a regular basis to increase chances of interaction.
- Twitter lists are an easy way to organize followers and influencers. Once key thought leaders and influencers are identified, they can be further tracked and sorted through the creation of a private list. Monitor the list on a regular basis to cut through the noise of the Twitter feed and easily identify opportunities for engagement with this pool of users. Lists can be categorized based on job functions, geographics, demographics, psychographics and more.
- Using relevant hashtags in Tweets can make the difference between a few views and a few thousand. Be wary that some language may result in a different meaning online. Publitek suggests using the platform Hashtagify to see how strong and accurate your hashtags are.
- It’s important to not overuse hashtags. Not only do tweets look messy, it is a waste of character count and may attract an irrelevant audience. One to two hashtags at most is best practice.
Be generous and share!
- Sharing, liking, commenting, retweeting, and quote tweeting are some of the best ways to grow and interact with the audience. If there is a tweet that is particularly relevant to brand objectives or storylines, join the conversation and showcase subject matter expertise by commenting.
- Citing and sharing credible sources can help put a brand on influencers’ radar, and helps to build a trust and credibility.
Photos, GIFs and Videos
- Posts with photos, GIFs and videos historically show stronger performance. For example, tweets with GIFs generate 55% more engagement while videos generate 10x more.
- The tech industry gets criticized for its “speeds and feeds” focus, but images and videos can easily dispel that stigma by showing a personalized, human and engaging side of the industry.
- Each second 6,000 tweets are sent out, so the odds are low that every tweet posted is going to be read by the majority of followers. This is why brands must remain short, concise and to the point in tweets. Twitter threads, which breaks up tweets into multiple posts, can be used to share lengthier, more intricate content.
- Twitter polls are a great tool that allow brands to listen to and engage with followers, opening an avenue for receiving feedback and input about specific topics. Polls can live on your feed anywhere from 5 minutes to 7 days depending on the desired duration.
We hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful.
If you’d like to talk about ways Publitek can support your social media programs, please reach out to us.
This report is a collaborative effort from members of the Publitek North America Social Media Team