Talent Acquisition

How to Make B2B Marketing Successful on Social Media

Capturing the interest of consumers online is packed with challenges, and B2B marketing is a whole different ballgame. Agency recruiters are tasked with a unique combination of both agendas – both attracting candidates and winning clients.

Operating in such a saturated and competitive industry, recruitment agencies must have a strong B2B marketing strategy in order to cut through the noise of the competition. Sometimes, the best way to develop the agenda is by absorbing lessons from those who are leading from the front.

Katie Canton is the social media and content marketing function at Informa Business Intelligence. It’s part of the Wider Informa group, which has a range of news products, analyst products and database products surveying several key market sectors including pharmaceuticals, technology, maritime and financial. For them the emphasis is not so much about community size, but about community engagement. They do this by focussing on fleshing out interesting niche topics that will resonate with their target market and actually engage their audience.

You can listen to her full guide to B2B marketing below, or just read on for a summary of her top takeaways!

The challenges of B2B marketing

One major challenge is that people are wearing their business hat while they wear their sort of non-business hat. So it’s harder I think to get people to engage in a business-to-business environment on social, which is kind of a challenge. But the nice thing about where I am now is that business intelligence is a content business essentially, so we have loads and loads of really good quality content. And the easiest way to get someone to engage on social media is to give them something of value that they actually want to engage with.

What’s your step-by-step guide to social and content success?

We’re very much in a process to get to where we want to be, but we started about a year ago and did a lot of research, so did a lot of auditing about our current social media state, competitor landscape obviously. Did a lot of customer surveys and customer research and a lot of customer visits to find out what people want from us. And then we had the joy of distilling all that information down. Well, first thing is deciding what we actually then wanted to get out of our social media activity because, like most businesses, we don’t have loads and loads of people on our social media marketing team, so we can’t just do everything for the sake of doing everything and being on every platform for the sake of being on every platform.

Everything we do needs to be quite strategic and quite planned and make sure we’ve got a good effort to return ratio. So we took all that research, we had a lot of thought internalizing the marketing teams and the marketing teams and our product teams and the senior management team to come up with our overall objectives, which is that community focus. And then we had to come up with a plan of how we were going to do that and who was going to be involved. And a lot of that planning was done within the marketing team and the product teams. And then it was about implementing, for getting the right tools and to help us implement was a big part of that and training was a big part of that. So training the whole marketing team so that everybody knows about the importance of social media and content marketing, not just the social media and content marketers. And then another big part is training anyone in the wider business who wants to get involved in social. So that’s something that we’re currently starting to roll out is making sure that our analysts and journalists and sales and client services are as upscale as they want to be on social media.

And then, obviously, once we study implementation and then it’s report and review and tweak, and that’s kind of what we’re in the process of doing now. So it’s an ongoing process.

What pitfalls should B2B marketers avoid?

Pitfalls, let’s see. I think in the beginning we were focusing on the wrong things. So in the beginning, the overall feeling was to just grow big communities and get the numbers up. And so that’s what we were measuring against and that’s what you’re tracking against and that’s what you’re tracking against and that’s what’s where the goal was, and it just really wasn’t working in a sense that we were growing but we weren’t getting any more visits from that, we weren’t getting any more leads from that, we weren’t getting much more than that other than that Twitter ticker going up. So I think a pitfall, I guess, to avoid is making sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons and those reasons are in line with your overall marketing objectives and your overall business objectives, because there’s no point in going off and trying to accomplish one thing on social media that actually doesn’t move the business forward.

How do you go about measuring ROI on social and content marketing?

Essentially we can distil our social media metrics into three buckets. And one is community growth, one is engagements, and that includes lots of different things, and then the other one is moving those people from engagement through the funnels, so whether it’s visits to the site or whether it’s context or whatever that next step is. So all of our metrics fit into those three buckets. And then any time anyone within the business comes up with a suggestion of a piece of content we should be creating or different social network we should be joining, we need everything to come back to, A, the objective and if we can measure it. We need to have return for that effort, so everything needs to come back to those three buckets or the overall objective.

What’s next?

With all the different networks turning towards the more algorithm-based news feed and making it really hard for people and companies to continue to grow organically on any of these channels, I think if anyone can find a way to get around that or best that or utilize it better, I think lots of companies would pay lots of money for that.

Follow Katie on Twitter @katiecanton and subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.