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Written by Sam Yadegar on Sep 11 , 2020

Odds are, your B2B customers are on social media — here’s how to make paid social ads work for you.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How paid social media marketing can benefit B2B companies
  • Which social media channels are worth your attention
  • The latest marketing tactics to employ for B2B paid social media
  • A breakdown of best practices on various platforms

The hype around social media marketing (SMM) doesn’t stop at the B2C level. In fact, more than 80% of B2B marketers reportedly use social media, making it one of the key digital marketing tactics to have in your arsenal.

B2B paid social media advertising can be an excellent lead generation and conversion strategy. Its ability to reach the target audience and point it in the right direction is highly advanced — and often underestimated.

Why you should consider B2B paid social media marketing

While many B2B marketers know all the staggering social media user statistics, they tend to focus on other strategies first.

Somehow, social media platforms earned a reputation for being places where people come solely for entertainment. The other myth is that it takes forever to achieve any results with social media advertising.

In reality, organic social media posting does take a decent amount of time and effort to show results. And B2B companies may not have sufficient time, resources, and patience to achieve the desired outcome. That’s where social media ads come in.

Paid social media advertising can achieve faster and more substantial results than organic posting, which is exactly what B2B companies usually want. Today, 72% of B2B marketers who use paid channels online take advantage of paid social.

b2b paid social media

For B2B companies, LinkedIn is widely considered to be the useful social media channel. (Image via Rawpixel)

The top 4 paid social media advertising channels to consider

It’s a good idea to use as many channels as possible when you’re first experimenting with paid social. That way, you can see which posts and platforms resonate most with your audience. 

However, we also know there’s a limit to how much you can stretch a marketing budget. These are the main social media platforms your B2B brand can start exploring:

1. LinkedIn

For B2B companies, LinkedIn is widely considered to be the useful social media channel. LinkedIn ad options include sponsored posts, sponsored InMail, and pay-per-click text ads. 

The platform also offers a variety of extensive targeting tools for reaching your ideal audience.

2. YouTube

Today, YouTube is much more than a video-sharing social media channel. Believe it or not, it’s the No. 2 search engine after Google

This video platform’s popularity makes it a top contender when you’re considering paid social. YouTube boasts a variety of paid advertising options, including display ads and bumper ads. You can promote both your videos and products through ads.  

3. Twitter

Twitter can be a highly productive social media channel when it comes to B2B marketing. Not only does it have hundreds of millions of users, but it’s also the second most-used platform for content marketing purposes after LinkedIn.

Twitter is also an excellent place for real-time interacting with clients and educating them about your products. The platform provides numerous opportunities for paid promotion of your tweets and accounts, and strategically leveraging hashtags can increase your exposure that much more. 

4. Facebook

While having immense outreach, Facebook has made it so that it’s nearly impossible to get significant traction from organic posts. Unsurprisingly, Facebook offers paid ad options, most of which are relatively cost-efficient. You can set a specific budget for running ads and promoting certain posts.

Even though this platform doesn’t have as many laser-focused targeting capabilities as LinkedIn, the 2.7 billion active monthly users make it a channel that’s certainly worth considering. 

b2b paid social media

Facebook determines how relevant your ads are to the audience you’re trying to reach. (Image via Unsplash)

Paid social media advertising tactics for B2B marketing

Best practices for B2B paid social media advertising change regularly. As these platforms add new functionalities, it’s vital to incorporate them into your strategy in a timely manner so you can stay relevant and competitive. Here are some ways to do just that.

1. Target group members on LinkedIn

To generate the highest quality leads, pay special attention to LinkedIn Groups when selecting targeting options. The platform describes their groups as “a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.”

People are likely to join the group only if they are explicitly interested in the topic, ao you can advertise to group members while being fairly certain you’re reaching the right audience. To find relevant groups, simply type the keywords into LinkedIn’s “what group you want to target” section.

Pro tip: When targeting on LinkedIn, don’t forget to exclude competitors.

2. Explore promoting posts over text ads

When it comes to paid social media marketing, most platforms tend to give more attention to promoting posts, accounts, and channels over text ads. Promoted posts usually stand out better and fit organically into the users’ feed as well.

If you’re on a tight budget, leave the text for PPC ads. If not, you can use both text ads and post, channel, or account promotion on social media. Of course, that means you have to make sure your social media content is high-quality, which is also beneficial for your organic SMM efforts.

3. Use Facebook’s Ad Relevance Diagnostics tool

Facebook determines how relevant your ads are to the audience you’re trying to reach. The more relevant the ad is, the less it costs, and the higher chance it has of showing up in the right place at the right time.

Use the Ad Relevance Diagnostics tool to find out how well you’re doing when it comes to relevancy. While relevance isn’t necessarily the key indicator of an ad’s performance, it can help you increase the overall ROI of your campaign.

Need more help with your paid social strategy? Let’s talk. 

4. Leverage lead gen forms on Facebook and LinkedIn

Lead form ads are designed to collect information from the target audience, offer deals or promotions, and manage inquiries from potential customers.

By properly designing a lead form ad, you can collect valuable data not just from your current audience, but from lookalike audiences as well.

Pro tip: When uploading your CRM data to Facebook to find your clients on the platform and create lookalike audiences, don’t be taken aback by a low list match rate. Matching emails to accounts can be tough, since people usually use personal emails to sign up for social media.

5. Use website demographics on LinkedIn

It’s no secret that paid advertising on LinkedIn is more expensive than on other platforms. To cut costs, you need to focus on analytics. Luckily, LinkedIn allows you to monitor who is interacting with your ads.

With Website Demographics, you can check job titles, employers or companies, and industries of ad viewers to adjust your paid marketing campaign accordingly.

The takeaway

Paid social media advertising can be a highly useful B2B marketing tool. The ability to reach a wide audience coupled with an impressive variety of targeting options can help you improve advertising efforts substantially.

Once you’ve seen success on a platform or two, you can put more effort into those social media marketing ads and conduct tests to help you optimize accordingly.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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