“Engagement” is Digital Meaning’s Word of The Year for 2022. We’ve prioritized creating content that invites conversation, engaging in dialogue with our audience and investing in the platforms that resonate with our audience the most. Through lots of iterating, experimentation and research, we’ve come to a few conconclusions and are here to share the wealth.
2022 called for a major shift in B2B social media marketing strategy. Priorities moved away from driving traffic to websites to boost SEO, as algorithms bury content that pushes users off the social network they’re currently browsing.
The numbers bear that out. On LinkedIn, for instance, posts with links get less engagement and reach of any other content type, falling far behind alternatives like videos, photos and giveaways. Analytics experiments on other social channels like Twitter and Facebook have come to similar conclusions. Additionally, with Instagram no longer a “photo sharing app,” the algorithm now strongly prefers video over photos.
In order to remain agile, it’s time to shift your brand’s strategy. Prioritizing engagement takes precedence, with brands succeeding most when they can build relationships with followers, rather than simply driving a few predefined actions.
Ironically, the shift away from trying to drive website traffic actually has long-term benefits for your website traffic. By getting your audience engaged enough, they’ll want to take that next step on their own terms. These 7 tactics can help you grow that traffic through a focus on social media engagement.
1. Choose the Right Channel(s)
Trying to spread your content across all social media channels that your audience might be on does not allow for an effective strategy on each channel. Instead, it pays to pick the channels your audience is most active and engaged on and meet them where they are.
LinkedIn is the most robust and effective social media platform for B2B organizations, but it’s not the only option. Depending on your audience demographics, Facebook or Instagram may generate more engagement for your employees and customers. On the other hand, Twitter helps build strategic partnerships and keeps your brand in the loop with news in your industry. Research your audience behavior using sources like the Spark Toro or Adience (just a little permissionless co-marketing). Or ask them directly.
2. Create Engagement-First Content
Traditionally, especially in business-facing environments, social media is considered an add-on to long-form content marketing that is largely taking place on the brand’s website. This approach is still an effective option, especially if you’re able to distill and repurpose visuals like infographics or memorable quotes from lead magnet pieces.
A more sustainable approach, though, is focusing some of your content creation efforts on engagement. From graphics to engaging video, this engagement-first approach allows brands to more closely align posts with what their audience expects specifically on primary channels.
3. Tell Your Brand’s Story
Let’s dig into the specific content that can reach and engage business audiences effectively: first, brand storytelling. Over the last few years, positioning and distinguishing your brand has become increasingly important.
Done right, brand storytelling goes beyond simply talking about your products or services and their benefits. Creating a narrative around your brand, building authenticity and highlighting unique selling points in meaningful ways is imperative in 2022. According to one survey, 50% of B2B buyers are more likely to close a deal if they have an emotional connection with the brand.
Telling your brand’s story means leaning into your company history and reason for being. Especially through short-form videos, brands can tell effective stories that captivate audiences and set them apart from the competition. On social media, visual, compelling stories are exactly what audiences look for.
4. Lean Into Your Brand Voice
It’s not just about telling stories, though. It’s also about how you tell these stories that makes your audience pay attention. Brand voice is just as important as the visual content you post to engage your followers.
Done right, your brand voice becomes your “personality.” It’s how your customers perceive you, whether they receive a lead nurturing email, visit your website or see your social media posts. That personality can be anything from traditional and reliable (common in manufacturing) to fun and playful, which many SaaS providers now lean into.
The key here is not only differentiating yourself from others in your industry but also finding and developing a brand voice that matches your company’s history and hits a tone your audience expects. Once defined, all your social media content can speak in the same voice, developing consistency and increasing audience engagement.
5. Start Conversations
Sometimes, the easiest way to prompt engagement on social media is to ask for it. Of course, that doesn’t mean asking your audience to like or share a post. Instead, it’s about framing social content in a way that prompts them to answer, leading to valuable conversations among your followers.
For instance, brands can share current industry trends in a post, before asking followers about specific trends they’re seeing in their company. But at its simplest, it means engaging with your audience in the comments and direct messages, answering their questions and keeping the conversations going.
6. Leverage Opportunities Beyond the News Feed
While most brands tend to focus on newsfeed posts to build their social media presence, the opportunities to engage your audience don’t end there. Cut through the noise on social media by exploring other possibilities:
- Instagram and Facebook have a Stories feature that allows you to share more temporary content in a mobile-friendly environment.
- LinkedIn Groups have long been a favorite among B2B marketers, but its blog-like Articles can also provide long-form content opportunities.
Familiarizing yourself with these options allows your brand to unearth social media opportunities that are tailored for engagement and less crowded by other B2B brands.
7. Focus Your Analytics Around Engagement
Finally, even if you already leverage social media analytics to guide your strategy, it might be time for a shift. Move your core KPIs from tracking impressions or follower counts to metrics like comments, shares and mentions rate to better understand which of your content performs best. Use that information as a guide to emulate successes in future efforts.
Focusing your analytics around engagement also means studying your audience in a way that improves your efforts. For example, Facebook Insights shows the times and dates at which your followers are most likely to be online, allowing you to schedule your posts around those times for maximum engagement. A data-driven social media strategy, as always, has the potential to far outperform any alternative that is based on hunches or non-industry-specific best practices.
Preparing for the Future of Organic B2B Social Media Success
Over the past few years, organic social media marketing has been relatively volatile. Organic reach has been declining, but you can still succeed in driving customer relationships and conversions when using your channels for what this communication type was created: two-way engagement with your audience.
The key to getting there is optimizing your B2B social media strategy for engagement. With the right content and strategy in place, you can future-proof your efforts and turn your social channels into a reliable and valuable part of your larger marketing strategy.