B2B Social Media Marketing Strategy, Like SEO, Takes Time
Ask almost any business owner, regardless of vertical, customer base, or the size of their operations, what their chief goal is, and most of the time, you’ll get some variant of this answer:
They increase authority, credibility, reputability, brand exposure, organic rankings, and follower count, which in turn translate into more sales, in the long term.
That is, in a perfect world, and assuming targeting and messaging have been properly researched, refined, and delivered.
This is not the only thing that eCommerce SEO and B2B social media marketing strategies have in common, by the way.
They also don’t work overnight.
One of our clients, which serves municipalities, contractors, and forestry, landscaping, and construction businesses with skid steer, excavator, and tractor attachments, learned that lesson firsthand.
Addressing The Myth of “Virality”
We’ve all heard about how social media marketing is instantaneous. At least, we’ve all heard about how social media has deleterious effects on our attention spans because it delivers instant gratification.
We’ve also heard that social media marketing can make something explode overnight.
There’s a glaring flaw here, though. This isn’t about social media marketing; just about social media in general.
Businesses don’t flourish because of a video of a guy setting his kitchen on fire that accidentally took off.
Frankly, no successful business strategy is, can be, or even should be predicated on virality.
Virality is fickle, unpredictable, and most disturbingly, unreplicable. No business can succeed without a long-term vision. And virality is the actual antithetical incarnation of vision.
This notion that social media makes things explode overnight is a dangerous disease for business owners. It sets false expectations that B2B social media marketing strategies should by right immediately take off.
This is dangerous, because not only is the expectation unreasonable, but it is also unrealistic, and unattainable, and what’s worse, if a business experiences some degree of virality at the outset of a campaign, the natural conclusion is a terrible recession.
That is, virality is not sustainable.
This was a bit of a roadblock for the client mentioned previously, who had big hopes for social media marketing.
It ended up turning out quite well – but it took a little bit of time and a whole lot of patience.
Challenges Associated with the Campaign; What Our Goals Were
As stated, this client sells attachments for, and equipment associated with skid steers, excavators, and tractors. This client’s customer base is largely comprised of other business owners, such as landscapers, contractors, agricultural companies, construction and demolition companies, and municipalities.
Operating in the business-to-business sector is challenging enough in its own right, but our social media marketing audit of this client’s competitors showed that their successes on their social platforms was likely attributable to their large following.
Therefore, one of the prime goals of our B2B social media marketing campaign for this client, especially in the short term, was to accumulate a larger following among users in their target market.
Early in the campaign, our social media strategists and content creators focused on improving visibility and authority on this client’s social media platforms, on Pinterest and Instagram, but chiefly through Facebook.
Consisting posting, focusing on the variety and versatility of the client’s products, as well as on their key selling points – they are made in America with American steel and do not use cheap foreign parts or raw materials – helped to gain followers and improve interactions and brand visibility.
But, as is often the case at the outset of B2B social media marketing campaigns, spend was not being substantiated with conversions, at least not from the client’s perspective.
Conversion Concerns: How We Turned It Around
Early in the campaign, between May and July 2022, the several paid and organic campaigns, though they were improving brand awareness, encouraging customer engagement, and gaining followers, were not generating any conversions.
Our dual approach of paid and organic marketing involved the creation of campaigns for prospecting and retargeting, and further segmented the audiences based on interest and location. We created multiple ad formats and performed A/B testing to continuously refine formats, creatives, and copy.
Our project managers knew that part of the slow start to the campaign had to do with low spend so we collaborated with the client to triple spend. The client, though hesitant, agreed.
Fortunately, after a few more months, we began to see consistent results, proving that our project managers’ assumptions – namely, that we needed more time and more spend – were accurate.
Our average ROAS (return on ad spend) for this client steadily grew to 10x, which you can see in the figure below.
It would be accurate to say that growth was slow but steady and that B2B social media marketing, like SEO, takes time, but it pays off in the end. In this case, the tale is told in concrete dollar values and ROAS.
We experienced similar gains in our organic strategy for this client, although it also took time.
Since organic social media marketing works a little differently from paid channels, our primary goals revolved around aligning brand messaging and promoting the company’s core values and unique value propositions to increase visibility among their target audience, so as to increase engagement and followers.
Our chief tactic in pursuing this strategy was to highlight the benefits of the client’s products; that is, how they can save users time, money, and effort, rather than simply enumerating product specifications. By addressing these potential pain points, we increased the appeal of our client’s products in the eyes of users.
We also increased exposure by posting positive client reviews, which helped address client hesitation and improved the brand’s reputation.
Serving this client a B2B social media marketing strategy, we knew that there were many in their target market that might not have a present need but who might also eventually become customers if presented with the proper circumstances.
Therefore, the main goal of the organic portion of the campaign was to favorably brand the company in the eyes of social media users and to amass the widest follower base possible. It continues to be our goal.
Like the paid portion of the campaign, growth started slow, but as you can see from the data below, growth has been very positive.
The data speaks for itself. New profile and page visits grew substantially, by more than 300%, from October 2022 to March 2023, and new likes grew well. Both started slow but really started to pick up starting in 2023.
This is due in part to our consistency of posting, paired with the relevance of the content of our posts to the target audience of this client. The frequency of posting played no small hand here.
As you can see from the graph above, we posted more frequently for this client than the majority of their competitors. It took time, but the results have responded in kind, and favorably.
In addition to making follower base growth a goal, we also doubled down on nurturing existing followers. In partnership with the company’s owner, we developed a campaign message, “You can rely on us because we want you to win,” while continuing to focus on the value and quality provided by the company’s products.
Together, these tactics ultimately enabled us to triple their Facebook follower base.
The Lesson: Patience Pays
All told, we were able to turn around this client’s paid campaigns and ramp up the initial slow growth in interactions and follower growth that the campaign’s organic channels experienced early on.
A key takeaway here is that as important as our consistency, target audience profiling, and brand messaging were, one of the most important aspects of success in social media marketing is patience.
Like most if not all digital marketing strategies, success doesn’t come overnight and only arises from hard work and patience.
It’s something our SEO and social media strategists know well, and a lesson learned for this client which comes with a desirable result: revenue and follower growth are still on a positive trajectory.