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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.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Apr 28 , 2020

When it comes to running a successful business, customer acquisition is built into the foundation. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • What makes B2B customer acquisition unique
  • How Google Ads plays a key role in customer acquisition
  • PPC strategies for B2B brands
  • Questions to ask yourself when building your strategy

Having a solid strategy for attracting new customers helps keep your business running, growing, and sustaining — even when the unexpected arises.

But customer acquisition isn’t one size fits all. What works for a B2C brand might not work for B2B. Not only that, but B2B sales cycles are reportedly getting longer. It’s not just about attracting swaths of leads — it’s about garnering quality traffic and improving conversions.

To connect with potential customers, it’s key for B2B companies to have a cost-effective customer acquisition bidding strategy. So, how do you know your strategy is working? One way is by determining your cost per acquisition (CPA), but that’s not the whole story. 

Let’s break down how B2B brands can streamline their customer acquisition.

customer-acquisition

While customer acquisition is key, don’t forget about retention. (Image via Unsplash)

Customer acquisition strategies

The strategy that will work best for your business depends on your target audience, among other factors. Basic customer acquisition strategies include:

  • Content (things like blogs, e-books, templates, and guides)
  • Social media (organic and paid, to build engagement)
  • Email marketing
  • Referral marketing
  • Search engine marketing, or SEM (paid ads on search engines)

These are methods that attract potential buyers to your brand or website. From there, it’s up to you to engage them, educate them, and make them want to know more. 

No matter which avenues you choose, having a strategy that’s relevant to your audience, scalable with growth, and customized to speak to each stage of the buying funnel will help set you up to succeed.

Pro tip: While acquisition is key, don’t forget about retention. As Salesforce explains, “it’s important to view customer acquisition as something that’s influenced by the rest of the stages in a customer’s lifecycle, including retention.”

Leveraging Google

The chief avenue for B2B advertising dollars, not surprisingly, is Google Ads (“Google AdWords” till mid-2018). Worldwide, Google accounts for 75% of desktop search traffic and significantly more mobile search traffic.

Almost 50% of Google searches are linked to something local. And, believe it or not, the big domains don’t dominate — just one in eight Google clicks go to the top 100 domains.

You want as many of those searchers as possible to click on your offering. To get that visibility, your options are to:

  • Work toward “organic” search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Use the Google Ads system to bid for the strategic placement you seek

Most marketers do both. Organic SEO is a long-term process with gradual results. It can be significant, but it also must be sustained by a regular investment of effort. Google Ads gives you immediate placement for a “price” (in money and other factors that Google Ads uses to rank your particular ad).

Focusing on return on investment (ROI)

With plenty of digital marketing avenues to go down — and they become increasingly complex with new technology and growth of your business — measurement of ROI becomes crucial. 

It helps you determine what’s working and what’s not when it comes to your bottom line. Research from HubSpot shows the cost of acquiring new customers has increased by more than 50% in the last five years. 

You can calculate ROI by comparing the cost of your advertising to the revenue it earned for your company. That basic formula, of course, is only part of the big picture. But once you know where you stand, you can analyze the success of your ads and campaigns, including the role played by content, placement, timing, and much more.

How to achieve B2B success with PPC

Let’s take a closer look at a few questions you can ask yourself in the Google Ads process that tend to determine the ROI of your investments when it comes to pay per click (PPC) or paid search ads. 

What is your ad goal?

Potential goals for your ad could be to:

  • Drive searchers from your ad to your website
  • Increase visits to your online shop
  • Motivate calls to your business
  • Get searchers to sign up for your emails
  • Take some other particular action on your website

The more you can narrow your focus, the easier it will be to get your visitor to take the desired action. Searchers give you only seconds (at best) to persuade them your ad satisfies their search. The message must be clear and unambiguous — almost instantly.

Where are your customers?

Do you want to advertise locally? The Google Ads system is extensively organized to accommodate local searchers, which represents a huge percentage of the total. 

If you want to advertise globally, think about areas of concentration and other parameters around language, demographics, or interests. This way, you’re not being too general, which can lead to quickly blowing through your budget.

Customer Acquisition Bidding: What Every B2B Company Should Know

Speak in your audience’s language, address their pain points, and do so as quickly as possible. (Image via Unsplash)

What is your message?

In most Google ads, you get about three short sentences to make an impact (although you can also create a banner ad with text and images). Those sentences must seize interest, provide essential contact or next-step information, and, above all, motivate the searcher.

This is another reason why knowing your target audience is key. Speak in their language, address their pain points, and do so as quickly as possible.

Creativity, audience targeting, knowledge of your service or product, and writing ability are as important as in any other advertising medium. However, the brevity required of ads paired with the psychology of internet searching (which can be restless, fast-moving, and demanding) can provide an additional challenge.

What is your budget?

What do you want to spend on this advertisement, and when? Essentially, for Google, what will you “pay per click” — and what is your cap (usually monthly)? How many clicks are you willing to pay for?

This is where timely, accurate, analytical reporting on your ad results become relevant in ascertaining your ROI. Google will provide considerable data and other feedback, but your marketing department or digital marketing agency will translate that into ROI terms most relevant for your decision making.

Pro tip: Don’t let your online marketing strategy become stagnant. Rotating your advertisements and updating your keywords is a great way to keep your content refreshed and without spending more on bids. 

Additional factors to consider

When you submit your advertising copy to Google with your monetary bid for placement corresponding to specific keyword searches, Google will rank your advertisement among competing ads for the same spot. 

Not only the size of your bid, but also Google’s assessment of the relevance of your ad and website landing page to searchers, will determine whether your ad is accepted at all, and where your ad will rank (top place, second place, and so on).

The takeaway

At the end of the day, the aim of your digital marketing initiative is to grow your business through customer acquisition.

Through the proper mix of inbound and outbound strategies outlined above, which includes leveraging Google Ads, you can take all the knowledge you’ve gleaned about your industry and B2B customers, then turn those efforts into closed business.

Need more help with your paid search initiatives? Let’s chat.

This article has been updated and was originally published in September 2014.

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.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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