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Social media for B2B: 7 platforms you should be paying attention to in 2022

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B2B marketing boils down to one thing: storytelling. In one medium or another, we humans have bonded, grown, and learned through shared stories for some 30,000 years, and the art of storytelling is as vital today as it’s ever been.

Social media is an increasingly valuable tool when it comes to telling and hearing stories – even in the B2B (business to business) arena. People want to cut through the jargon and engage not as one business to another but as human beings. We want to see, hear, and resonate with the story a brand is telling us, and if we do, we are far more likely to engage with them.

To tell your business's unique story, you’ve got to make the most of today’s social media channels. If you can find a human-first, story-driven voice that helps your business stand out from the maddening online crowd, the results will follow.

However, engaging with social media can be a frustrating and time consuming process. Which channels are the best for B2B social content? What should you be posting on them, and when?

We're hearing these questions more and more often. So, we've gathered our insights on the topic. Here are some of the most important social media platforms for B2B marketing:

1. Facebook

a phone next to a laptop

The platform that laid the foundations for what social media would eventually become, Facebook has evolved from a college social intranet to the world’s most popular social media platform. Today it’s the owner of the equally pervasive Instagram, has reimagined communication for the umpteenth time with WhatsApp, and already has its sights set on digital world domination with its ongoing Metaverse project.

Why should you take notice?

Of its near 3 billion users, a majority 1.93 billion engage with Facebook daily, and the value it offers for B2B ads and marketing may play a significant role in that. Today, as organic reach becomes harder to achieve, paid advertising promises the biggest bang for your buck.

Facebook does this best; businesses can create highly targeted ad campaigns that reach an audience that matches their exact ideal customer criteria, generating highly relevant interest and leads for the sales team to pursue. With a reach like that, it’s no wonder that Facebook accounts for a quarter of all digital ad spending.

2. Instagram

a pair of hands holding a mobile phone

On the other side of Mark Zuckerberg’s social media coin, Instagram has undergone the same meteoric rise as Facebook over the past decade. It’s grown from a simple photo sharing app into a multimedium content kingdom, spanning microblogging, long and short-form video, stories, messaging and more.

Why should you take notice?

With around one billion users each month, Instagram is a vital tool for B2B engagement. Personal and professional seamlessly blur on this platform, making it the optimum space to shed the impersonal business front and adopt a human-driven brand identity that resonates with potential buyers and your wider audience.

This time last year, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said the platform isn't a photo-sharing app any longer. Instagram has been pushing short-form video content more and more – likely in an attempt to steal TikTok's thunder – so Reels should definitely have a place in your B2B social strategy.

If you’re still unsure whether Instagram has a place in your customer acquisition strategy, consider the fact that 80% of its one billion users (that’s eight hundred million people!) follow businesses on the platform. And if there’s any doubt in your mind about the power of human-first B2B engagement, just know that, according to Gartner, 84% of millennials agree that user-generated content (i.e., content shared by a brand that was created by an individual user, and therefore perceived to be trustworthy) influences what they buy – both personally and in their professional lives.

Speaking of millennials, Instagram is also where they all hang out. You may not think this demographic is high up your priority list, but today’s workforce is already made up of 40% of millennials – and over the next decade, that number will rise to 70%. Engage with them now because they’re going to become your primary audience one day soon.

3. TikTok

someone holding a mobile phone with one hand

This video-driven social platform took the world by storm in 2020 as users created and viewed choreographed dances, hilarious skits and other video clips. Rising out of Vine's ashes, the main difference between the two platforms is that TikTok videos lasted 15 seconds originally (up from Vine's 6 seconds), with later updates adding 60 second, 3 minute and 10 minute time limits. Maybe you've been thinking TikTok is for kids, or maybe you have it yourself but struggle to see any business use. In either case, we urge you to stick with us on this one.

Why should you take notice?

More and more, people are opting for video content over anything else. Marketers recognise this too: 60% agree that short-form videos garner the highest ROI, followed closely by live video streams, and 44% of them have plans to capitalise on that opportunity in 2022, according to recent research from HubSpot. And one of the first places you go today to seize the video opportunity is TikTok.

It may be entertainment-driven, but nothing is stopping you from following in the footsteps of Sage, Grammarly and Square and creating fun, entertaining, interactive video content that tells your story and helps you reach the (increasingly millennial) decision-makers you’re targeting. TikTok boasts a leading predictive analysis algorithm, too, and unlike other social platforms, the size of your audience doesn't matter at all when it comes to how many people your content might reach. As long as you’re creating good content your ideal customer will enjoy, the chances are they'll see it – with no ad spend needed.

4. YouTube

a laptop screen with video previews

YouTube, the video-sharing platform-come-search-engine, is the second most visited website in the world (right behind its parent company, Google) and is the go-to place for tutorials, vlogs, ASMR and, you guessed it, B2B content.

Why should you take notice?

Just because TikTok is taking off, it doesn’t mean long-form video content is dead. Over one billion hours of videos are consumed on YouTube every day by its two billion plus monthly users (though YouTube also lets you get a slice of the short-form pie with its YouTube Shorts).

Looking at the users, 77% of people aged between 15-35 are on YouTube, plus 73% between 35-45 and 67% aged 56 or older. So, no matter what the age of the business buyer you’re looking for, you’ll likely reach them on YouTube – especially through paid ad campaigns, which have the potential to reach 2.5 billion users across the platform. And the best part? 90% of them admit that they discover new businesses, services, and solutions via YouTube.

5. LinkedIn

A glass door with the LinkedIn logo on it

The only social platform built first and foremost for inter-business connections, LinkedIn can be polarising. Some live and die by it and its ability to put them in front of new and existing customers, while others shudder at the thought of a purely corporate social media space.

Why should you take notice?

Whatever camp you find yourself in, there’s no denying LinkedIn’s staying power as a core B2B tool. It’s the best platform for organic reach, beating Facebook and Instagram, meaning you can reach more people for less.

And there are a lot of people on LinkedIn you’ll want to reach; more than 65 million decision-makers actively use LinkedIn, and four out of every five users drive business decisions within their organisation.

If that’s inspired you to seek out new customers via the platform, LinkedIn has a wealth of insights in its brand new ‘Recharge Your Marketing 2022’ magazine, which offers everything from use case interviews, useful resources, engagement tips and more.

6. Twitter

someone holding a phone with one hand

The microblogging social media platform does a lot with very little (compared to some of the other platforms on this list). The concept of forcing users to tell their story in 280 characters or less may sound basic, but it’s the cataloguing of these posts, which can be ordered into hashtags, lists, chats and more, that drives Twitter's lasting appeal for B2B marketing (as long as new owner Elon Musk does nothing to jeopardise that.)

Why should you take notice?

Unlike Facebook, Instagram and the like, Twitter has seamlessly facilitated businesses and individuals from the get-go, making it as appealing to someone who wants to use it as a B2B selling platform as it is to someone who wants to keep up with the Kardashians in real-time.

When it comes to B2B, Twitter is the place to be; people there spend 26% more time viewing ads on Twitter than on any other social media platform, and it drives a 40% greater ROI for social strategies than those platforms, too (according to Twitter’s own research). 82% of the world’s B2B companies use Twitter, and those who actively launch products or services there are 2.3 times more likely to hit their KPIs than they are elsewhere. So what are you waiting for? Get tweeting!

7. BeReal

a woman taking a selfie

Last and least (for now, though we doubt it’ll stay that way considering its current trajectory) is BeReal, the photo-sharing site that’s taken the vanishing photo formula made famous by Snapchat and dialled it up to 11.

On BeReal, users are encouraged to, well, be real: once a day, they receive a notification to post, and from there they have just two minutes to share a photo that cannot be touched up or edited in any way. That’s it. It’s genius in its simplicity and who knows, it could sound the death knell of today’s premeditated, highly curated social media world.

Why should you take notice?

There’s a clear appetite for this new stripped back social platform. Not only has it experienced a 315% year-to-date increase in downloads, but 65% of its five million lifetime downloads have happened in the past four months, with many more downloads expected throughout 2022.

Compared to the tried and tested platforms above, BeReal is more akin to the wild west. There’s no rulebook, no winning formula, and what it could eventually evolve into is anyone’s guess. It’s the perfect space for forward-thinking businesses to try new social strategies, get creative, and secure themselves a spot as one of the first brands to realise the storytelling, service-selling potential of the next big thing.

It's time to ramp up your B2B social efforts

Social media and the art of storytelling go hand-in-hand. It’s a goldmine for finding, charming, and communicating with would-be customers – so long as you’re willing to forego the stuffy B2B perceptions of yesteryear and show a little humanity.

From there, it’s all about conversion. With the right marketing strategy, materials, and relationships helping you tell a compelling story, you can meet your business objectives and supercharge your selling as you create customers for life.

If you’re ready to seize the social opportunity, check out our social media services or contact us directly today.

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