March 15, 2016: Social media isn’t most B2B marketers’ first choice for most effective platform, but highly targeted advertising campaigns are starting to change that line of thinking. If you don’t think your audience is on social media, you’re wrong. A study published on the Think With Google blog found that about 50 percent of B2B researchers (who usually make many of the purchasing decisions on behalf of their company) are millennials, or professionals aged 18-34.
If you look at who is using social media, you’ll see that the majority of millennials (as well as the adult population) are using at least one social media platform, with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter being the most popular. According to Pew Research Center, “82% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook, along with 79% of those ages 30 to 49.” This age range likely makes up many of your target audience who are making regular B2B purchases.
Bottom line: your ideal prospects are likely using social media.
That being said, taking advantage of social media for B2B advertising and marketing campaigns can have a major impact on your revenue, so it’s important to think through how and why you want to be allocating budget to this endeavor.
Below are a few ways B2B marketers can leverage available social media advertising opportunities:
Target Professional Groups
Facebook and LinkedIn have very active groups, which people use to build community, ask questions, and interact with others in their community. As I’ve mentioned on Social Media Examiner before, many active local community and industry groups are rife with opportunities to connect with an audience that may be looking for your exact product or service.
Usually Facebook has more discussions going on, and LinkedIn groups have turned into users sharing their content or events. If you aren’t sure where to find groups, use open graph search and use key terms to find active groups, according to social media consultant Jackie Johnstone.
Target Job Titles in Campaigns
Social media campaigns are allowing advertisers to get more and more precise with who they show their ads to. Rocco Baldassarre of Zebra Advertisement recommends targeting job titles of B2B decision makers for specifics ads. Even though most people get on Facebook for fun and personal use, that won’t prevent them from noticing your ad while looking at friends’ updates or recommended articles.
Just like with paid search, experiment with your offer, graphics, and wording to determine what gets the most engagement and clicks. Because you’re targeting specific people, make your ads about the products or services that you want them to purchase.
Push Sponsored Content to Ideal Audience
There are two types of advertising on Facebook: boosted posts, and advertising campaigns, which allow you to do the most targeting. Many marketing specialists recommend ad campaigns over boosted posts for this exact reason. However, what is best for your business depends on your goals.
To get better visibility for your content on Facebook, it’s basically required (depending on your existing Facebook page size) to boost posts to get them in front of your audience. As mentioned in AdWeek, only about 2 percent of users who have liked your page will see updates organically in their newsfeed, according to a 2015 study.
You can also promote your content on Twitter and LinkedIn to get it in front of more people. These types of B2B social media ads can be used to:
- Get more exposure for your content, whether that’s e-books, blog posts, or others to set yourself up as a thought leader
- Drive leads to landing pages to get an offer or sign up for an email list
- Introduce new products and services
Research Related Interests
Besides using job titles to target users, you can also target by interest on Twitter and Facebook. Do research on what your target audience is interested in online: Could it be related (but not competitive) products or specific local organizations?
If you aren’t sure where to start, it might be worth doing a focus group to see what related interests are or to get a good idea of what appeals to your audience based on their online behavior. By including related interests, you may face less competition from others in your industry and may be able to present your products as a useful, accompanying product.
Advertise on YouTube
One great thing about YouTube is that almost everyone uses it, on almost every platform. Mobile YouTube views are up 100 percent year over year, and overall watch time is currently up 60 percent year over year, according to YouTube’s official statistics page. A study from ReelSEO found that 76 percent of B2B marketers surveyed use video content marketing, and YouTube is their top choice for publishing. So while B2B marketers are fairly comfortable with the idea of creating video as part of their marketing campaign strategy, executing YouTube campaigns might not be as top of mind.
One benefit of YouTube advertising is that you can implement it through your regular Google AdWords platform, so it’s simple to look at all your campaigns at once to see what’s working best. YouTube ads are available as text, video, and images.
Since the ads are available in three formats, they can be utilized for several different purposes. Search consultant Will Marlow suggests that YouTube advertising can be used for remarketing, targeting audience by keyword, and promoting specific products based on a combination of the two.
Whether it’s experimenting with different types of ad formats on YouTube, pushing sponsored content across different social media platforms, or highly targeting your ideal decision makers based on job title or interests, social media advertising for B2B marketers brings tons of options and opportunity.
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