More than 95 per cent of B2B companies use social media as a marketing tool. Discover here which platforms are gaining importance, which trends can be seen, and what you need to consider when posting to gain the best possible reach and to generate the highest possible engagement.
Social media and its importance for B2B marketing
In this new century, there is no getting around social media, now a mainstay in the repertoire of B2B marketers. The number of B2B companies using social media as a communications tool has again grown. All in all, according to the latest survey from 1. Arbeitskreis Social Media in der B2B-Kommunikation (German only), in collaboration with ALTHALLER communications, the value is at 95.5 per cent.
LinkedIn has defended its top position and has even gained importance again: around 80 per cent of B2B marketers (71 per cent previously) use the business network for communication. Facebook (68 per cent), XING (61 per cent), YouTube (53 per cent) and Instagram (51 per cent) follow. In contrast, Twitter has lost in significance and is no longer represented amongst the top five.
The growing importance of social media for B2B marketing can also be seen in the responsibilities: as a control entity for social media activities, the management clearly gains power, while the marketing or PR department lose their influence. At 38 per cent (33 per cent previously), this task is already moving into the C-level of companies.
Likewise, the corona pandemic has, according to the survey’s initiator Jacqueline Althaller, had an influence on the marketing strategies of the companies questioned: “In the latest situation, many companies feel compelled to restructure their communication, both in terms of their resources and their budgets.” For instance, the budget for social media in 2021 has increased once again in many companies.
Future topics and trends
Based on the above-mentioned survey as well as the Social Media Trends 2021 (German only) study, future topics and general trends in B2B social media marketing can be identified. Essential knowledge in this respect includes:
- Lead generation: The number of followers or fans continues to dominate when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of social media activities. But successful leads generation is becoming more and more important. No other category has shown such a significant growth than this one, compared to the previous year.
- Employee profiles: Employees should represent the company to the public to a higher degree in future, servicing as a kind of “lighthouse” for building up a better image. This aspect is seen in the trend that companies want to appear closer to the people and more transparent.
- Social media as an HR tool: The importance of social media as an HR tool continues to steadily increase. XING is mainly leveraged for recruiting but losing in relevance to LinkedIn and Instagram according to the latest trend. The latter platform is now mainly used for influencer communications.
- Visual content: It is winning in importance and generating 94 per cent more views as well as 200 per cent more shares. Facebook and Instagram, above all, are used for advertising videos and similar. For serious content such as special interest articles or white papers, companies prefer LinkedIn and XING.
- Messenger communication: Potential is hidden here, whether it is Facebook Messenger, Telegram or another instance messaging service. They offer good opportunities for a scalable, 1:1 dialogue marketing.
- The importance of agencies: Agencies play an important role when it comes to content generation for social media communication. Compared to 2016, the value of this importance has doubled. A good 86 per cent of B2B companies relied on their help in 2020. They support the development and execution of communication strategies as well as the realisation of daily business, such as the maintenance of social media channels or editorial pieces.
Tips on posting to gain the best possible visibility
The authors of the study Social Media Trends 2021 determined, for the most important social networks, the times and under which conditions the best possible reach and the greatest engagement can be achieved.
- Facebook: Users and communities are most active Tuesdays as well as Thursday to Sunday – in the afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and evenings from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. A frequency of two posts a day with images measuring 1,200 x 630 px is optimal.
- Instagram: Users can be best reached Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, in the time between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. One to two posts a day is enough. But keep in mind: photos with faces get 38 per cent more likes. The video functions from Instagram Reels allow more creative advertising options.
- LinkedIn: In career networks, users are most reachable from Tuesday to Thursday – namely when the workday begins between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., or after work between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. More than one post a day is not necessary. Visuals should measure 1,200 x 1,200 px for good presentation. What’s more, personal branding is gaining importance on LinkedIn: profiles with professional portraits receive 14 times more clicks.
- XING: Users and communities in this career network of the DACH region are also most open to posts at the same as those on LinkedIn. A post a day is also suitable here. To increase the interaction rate, image posts should be 720 x 450 px large. Event marketing on XING has an especially big impact.