Right, let’s get this out the way. If you’re doing any B2B marketing, you’re going to need to use LinkedIn at some point. The platform is pretty much tailor-made for connecting businesses and sharing B2B orientated content. There are over 55 million companies using LinkedIn, and while we’re not sure what that is as a percentage of the total number of companies in the world, that’s a hell of a big audience. It’s no wonder that 96% of B2B marketers use it for organic social media.
But why stop there?
There are loads of other social media platforms out there. Facebook and Twitter are used by 82% of B2B marketers which is pretty decent, but usage drops off sharply when it comes to other social media like Youtube (69%), Instagram (49%), and Pinterest (9%). There are others, but usage by B2B marketers is negligible. But why are B2B marketers so willing to neglect other platforms, especially when they’re free to use? Our B2C cousins seem to have gotten the hang of using lots of different platforms.
It’s got nothing to do with capability. B2B marketers have got the skills and creativity to make the most out of every platform. And with the effects of the COVID pandemic making digital content more important than ever for B2B marketers, now’s the time to be looking at new ways to diversify your content. A great way to do this is looking at new platforms.
To this end, we’re going to take a look at some of the social media platforms which B2B marketers are currently neglecting. We’ll highlight what unique benefits these platforms offer, as well as show some examples of the B2B brands that are making the most of them.
Pinterest started out as a tool to explore, collect and share visual inspiration, which was a great platform for artists, crafters, and designers (not just graphics, we mean fashion, interiors, and more). But it’s expanded massively over the years and is now a great resource for inspiration and information on just about every subject you can think of. But with 459 million monthly users in 2020, only 9% of B2B marketers were utilizing it.
But how can B2B brands use Pinterest? Let’s break it up into two distinct categories: Pinterest that’s about your brand, and Pinterest that’s for your target audience.
We’ll start with Pinterest that’s about your brand. As we said, Pinterest started off as a tool for collecting visual inspiration cues, and you can do the same on a public board. A well-curated Pinterest board can show the philosophies behind your brand and its products. You can highlight the causes your brand supports. Display the cool design influences of your newest products. Give the creative minds behind your brand a platform and show off their interests.
All in all, it’s a great way to set your brand apart from the crowd in a visually appealing way. Ideally, you want the majority of this to be your own content, but you can sprinkle in some pins from others here and there.
Now for the target audience. Infographics are the bread-and-butter of informative visual B2B marketing content, and there’s a pretty prodigious population ‘pon Pinterest (couldn’t resist the alliteration, sorry). If you’ve got a bank of infographics that have been doing well on LinkedIn, repurpose them and you’ve got a decent Pinterest board already. If you don’t you can, repurpose old blogs fairly easily into infographics.
B2B brand highlight: IBM
IBM’s Pinterest board is pretty much the gold standard for a B2B brand. It’s a great assortment of visual content which highlights everything that makes IBM a world-leading brand. They show off their heritage with vintage images from their archives. They show their design influences and philosophies in visually engaging ways. They’ve got a great bank of interesting applications of their various products. It’s the whole package.
The result is over 292,000 monthly views.
One thing in particular that IBM does really well on Pinterest is catering their content to the platform. 78.3% of Pinterest users are women, and in fact, 42% of all adult women in the US use the platform. So IBM has taken the obvious (and correct) course and used Pinterest to highlight the ways they’re supporting women in the tech industry and giving a platform to the important women in their many projects.
Now IBM has the advantage of being a huge multinational corporation with over a century of history, so they’ve got plenty of resources to work with to create a varied and interesting Pinterest board. But it’s certainly something to aspire to, and we’ve all gotta start somewhere, right?
Instagram broke the 1 billion user mark back in 2018. If just 1% of them were amenable to B2B marketing, that’s 10 million people. That’s a whole lotta audience. So why on earth are only 49% of B2B marketers using it?
It’s a bit of a mystery with all the tools on offer. As the premier photo-sharing social network it’s a great opportunity to show off the visual flavor of your brand, give insights on some exciting design influences, show off interesting applications of your products and services, and give behind-the-scenes looks at the wonderfully creative minds that drive your brand forward.
But it doesn’t stop there! Instagram stories offer a great way to document progress through any events you might be hosting, show quick behind-the-scenes snapshots, or run fun q+a’s and surveys. Instagram Live can be a great platform to showcase product launches, events or engage directly with your target market.
B2B Brand Highlight: Mailchimp
If you’ve read our guide to putting the fun into B2B marketing, you’ll know we’re big fans of Mailchimp’s branding and social media (if not, here’s a handy link for ya). All of Mailchimp’s branding is based on making what some might consider a slightly drab task (it’s a rare marketer indeed who’ll say they got into marketing because they love emails), into something quirky and fun.
Their Instagram (@mailchimp) is a great example of this. They show off their kooky branding with fun visuals. They effectively highlight other companies that are using their services in engaging ways. They even take their team highlights an extra mile by showing funny outtakes in the production. All in all, Mailchimp’s Instagram gets a 10/10 from us as a B2B brand and deserves a follow whether you use their products or not.
Video’s a pretty darn important part of B2B marketing. Ads, how-to guides, thought-leadership content, behind-the-scenes/development clips, and are all an important part of B2B digital marketing. If you’ve got videos, they should be on YouTube, no question. And yet only 69% of B2B marketers are using it.
Now that percentage seems a bit higher than the other channels we’ve discussed, so we’re gonna blast ya with some stats to show why it’s bizarre that number isn’t 100%:
- 74% of all adults in the US use YouTube.
- It’s the second most used website in the world (behind Google).
- It’s the second most used social media network with 2 billion monthly users.
- 50.9% of B2B decision-makers use YouTube for research purposes.
- 70% of viewers bought from a brand after seeing it on YouTube.
So yeah, if you’ve got videos, stick them on YouTube. Not only does this make your videos easier to find and access all in one place, there are some great tools that YouTube provides which can make your videos even better. The transcription and translation tools are getting better and better, making it quick and easy to make your videos accessible to both international audiences and viewers with audio or visual impairments. YouTube Live can be a great platform for hosting launch events or any type of content involving direct interaction with your target market.
B2B Brand Highlight: Too many to mention!
If there’s a great piece of B2B video content, there’s a high chance it can be found on YouTube. The real question is, if you’ve got video content, why the heck isn’t it there already?
There you have it, three social media networks currently being neglected by B2B marketers. But there are always more networks appearing, with new audiences and opportunities for marketers. It won’t be too long until we add TikTok to this list, as more and more Gen-Zers enter the workplace.
Which social media networks have you had successes or challenges with? Let us know!