With each year that passes, it becomes increasingly tricky for B2B social media marketers to connect with their audience. Nowadays, posting organic content often feels like shouting into a void.
And this feeling is justified. Average organic reach on Facebook currently hovers around a measly 5.20%, while the platform’s average organic engagement rate settles at 0.13%. It’s no better with Twitter, whose average organic engagement rate lands even lower at 0.05%.
Unfortunately, it appears things are about to get worse, as research predicts organic reach will soon dwindle to zero in the foreseeable future, and social media marketing as we know it will become a pay-to-play service. For this reason, many B2B marketers may be tempted to pull back on organic strategies altogether, focusing their efforts on paid advertising instead.
But although this seems like a logical move, is it the right one to make?
We’d argue not. Here are six reasons why organic social still needs to play a leading role in your B2B marketing strategy.
1. Social Channels Are Your B2B Shop Windows
Consider this: you’re in the market for a winter coat. After a slew of duds that barely survived a year, you decide to invest in a quality garment expected to last a lifetime. Given high quality products often yield equally high prices, you take your time familiarizing yourself with the various options—touching fabrics, reading garment labels, researching brands. Only once this thorough review has taken place do you have the confidence to make your purchase.
People seek this same experience for B2B purchases. They want to window shop before committing and research vendors and products before making their final decision. Social media helps facilitate this experience, and it’s become a popular way for B2B buyers to conduct their due diligence.
Social is even starting to overtake search engines, as younger generations opt for the likes of Instagram over Google 53% of the time, according to Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Trends Report. This reflects our own findings in the B2B space, where buyers choose social media as their number one tool to evaluate potential vendors. Therefore, it’s essential B2B companies leverage social media channels to present their brand in the best light possible.
To achieve this, you need a robust buyer persona that enables you to understand potential customers’ pain points. Create content that addresses these problems and distribute it organically on your social channels to reassure buyers you understand their challenges. Over time, constant exposure to this content helps convince buyers to take the next step in their journey, progressing them further down the sales funnel.
2. Organic and Paid Work Better Together
Many marketers today experience the difficult task of delivering results that exceed expectations on a barely-there budget. For this reason, organic social is often shunned in favor of its conversion-driving sister, paid advertising. Yet marketers who make this choice seriously underestimate the impact organic social has within the buyer’s journey.
Simply put, paid strategies supported by organic content deliver better results. And it appears many marketers have realized this, as 65% have now completely integrated their paid and organic social efforts, according to Hootsuite. If you happen to find yourself in the 35% minority, it’s probably time you harmonize both paid and organic approaches.
Consider organic social as a perfect primer for your paid strategy, exposing your business to as many users as possible across your chosen social networks. Those prospects who have engaged with your organic content will more likely be receptive to your ads, given their familiarity with your brand. Then, use the data harvested from these interactions to feed targeting and create personalized campaigns. This holistic approach helps generate highly qualified leads who are more likely to convert.
3. Your Customers Expect to Reach You on Social
If your business prides itself on great customer service, listen up. Offering customer service support on social media is now non-negotiable. Your customer care team may be available via multiple channels. They may have lightning-fast response times. But unless they’re reachable on social media, your customers won’t be truly satisfied. Today, customers expect you to be available on social media to respond to their queries.
And they aren’t willing to wait around. McKinsey highlights that 40% of consumers expect a response within the first hour, and 79% expect to hear back within the first 24 hours.
Meet these expectations, and you’ll stand out from much of your competition, since McKinsey also found half of companies currently don’t have the ability to deliver this service.
4. Social Is an Opportunity to Build Communities
Social media is designed to be just that—social. As marketers focus on things like KPIs and ROI, it’s easy to forget the simple fact that relationship building goes a long way. On top of creating top-performing posts and ads, it’s also important to nurture conversations among target prospects.
Your social channels offer a perfect platform to facilitate an online community of individuals with a common interest in your brand, products, or industry. This is a natural, more intuitive way to create loyal brand advocates, bringing the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing to the digital space. Given word-of-mouth marketing may deliver five times more sales than paid ads, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Thankfully, social platforms offer multiple tools to help you create communities, including:
- Facebook Groups
- LinkedIn Groups
- Twitter Communities
If resources are tight, you don’t necessarily need a dedicated page or group. A highly-engaged follower base that regularly interacts with your organic content can be just as effective. When crafting organic posts, consider how your audience will interact with the post, and make sure to encourage engagement. This can be as simple as asking a question in a caption, diligently responding to comments, or creating a poll.
5. Encourage Employee Advocacy
If you’re only promoting organic content through your brand channels, you’re missing a trick. Employee advocacy programs enable company employees to share brand messages from their personal profiles. Not only does this spread brand messaging further, increasing that all-important reach, but it also delivers it with authenticity, which is key. Here’s proof: when employees personalize branded social media posts, they generate 64% more engagement versus non-personalized posts.
This is something we’ve had great success with at DemandScience. Using Bambu, our employees can easily share the latest company news with their personal social networks.
6. Social Listening Opportunities
Social media is not a billboard. It’s a two-way street, an opportunity to both speak and be spoken to. So, make sure you listen! Your social media channels are a rich source of customer data that can fuel your next marketing campaign. Use social listening to monitor conversations customers have about your brand, your competitors, and your industry at large. Covering all these bases provides a well-rounded view of the market zeitgeist. By adopting a social listening strategy, you can discover your customers’ wants, needs, and gripes before they even pick up the phone to reach you.
It’s disheartening to put time and effort into an organic social strategy only to see it deliver minimal results with limited reach. Instead, accept that significant organic reach is hard to achieve and reframe your organic social strategy to capitalize on all the other benefits it can deliver. Organic social is still a powerful tool—you just need to ensure your expectations of it are realistic. Only then can you and your customers reap the rewards of organic social engagement.
Ready to review your organic social media strategy? Download our “Social Media in a B2B World” eBook to discover a step-by-step guide to creating a results-driven social media strategy, with a section dedicated to leveraging organic and paid social to your advantage.