We all know social media marketing is an essential part of a good overall marketing strategy. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter – the list goes on and on. Is it simply a matter of creating a post and sharing it all over the place? Hint: the answer is almost always no.
And what happens when your business goes one step further and dedicates marketing budget toward running ads on these channels?
Scatter-shot marketing doesn’t work. All social media channels are not equally appropriate for all goals, so the first question to ask yourself is what you want to accomplish with your marketing. Are you selling to other businesses or directly to consumers?
B2C versus B2B marketing
First things first, it’s important to make a distinction between business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing — because there are huge differences, and they matter very much when it comes to social media channels.
In short, B2B and B2C marketers aim to capture the attention of two distinct audiences. In an article by HubSpot, Jacqueline Zenn points out 10 key differentiators between the B2B and B2C crowds, which include everything from language, to driving forces, to types of marketing content, and the length of sales cycles.
Depending on these factors, you should leverage each social channel accordingly, especially when paying for ads.
“All social media channels are not equally appropriate for all goals, so the first question to ask yourself is what you want to accomplish with your marketing.”
Facebook ads are primarily for B2C
Facebook is used by a wide variety of people to share with others (think friends, family, and casual acquaintances) all kinds of life experiences, making it a strong B2C channel. More often than not, it’s where you’ll see funny cat videos and inspirational quotes. It’s also where you’ll connect with lots of potential individual buyers if you sell things like clothing, landscaping services, or food and beverage.
Facebook is nearly ubiquitous, with two billion users every month according to Facebook’s own report. Whether your business is simply posting updates, or you’re spending on ads, you’ll need to narrow your focus down just a bit – to put it mildly – and you can, by targeting ads to specific demographics and locations.
LinkedIn is all about the B2B crowd
Is your business B2B? If you’re selling enterprise software, CRM systems, or consulting services, you’ll want to prioritize LinkedIn, where users are business professionals with business on their minds.
According to LinkedIn’s own data, 500 million professionals use their platform. Four-fifths of them are business decision makers, and they have twice the personal buying power of the average web audience. Marketers rate LinkedIn as the top platform for B2B leads. LinkedIn ads can be targeted for things like job function and seniority.
At a LinkedIn advertising class I recently attended, someone asked the LinkedIn team how they are different from Facebook. Their answer was spot on: “People go to LinkedIn to invest time. On Facebook, they spend time.”
“It’s important to make a distinction between B2C and B2B marketing — because there are huge differences, and they matter very much when it comes to social media channels.”
No matter which social media marketing channel is right for you, develop a marketing plan to use it consistently, and use it well. This means strategic, professional-grade postings. This is your brand, after all. You aren’t sloppy or careless, and you don’t want to come across that way, ever. What you share needs to be meaningful and enjoyable to the people you want to reach or they won’t be drawn to engage with you. Short posts are best. Images increase audience engagement regardless of channel.
Speaking of which — image-sharing platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest can be useful, too, especially if you’re selling a visual product or experience. Younger customers, especially, tend to be heavy Snapchat and Instagram users. We know of restaurants and bridal photographers who are using Instagram well to reach their markets, for example.