Tag Archives: b2b

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Oct 4 , 2022

Odds are, your B2B customers are on social media. Here’s how paid social ads can help you connect with them.

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

When it comes to social media marketing (SMM), the hype doesn’t stop at the B2C level.

In fact, more than three-fourths (77%) of B2B marketers reportedly use paid B2B social media ads and promoted posts, making it one of the most effective tactics to have in your digital marketing arsenal.

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

Why you should consider B2B paid social media marketing

While many B2B marketers are familiar with the staggering popularity of social media, they tend to focus on other strategies first.

It makes sense: Social media platforms once had a reputation for being places where people come solely for entertainment.

Another myth many buy into is that it takes forever to achieve significant results with social media advertising.

In reality, organic social media posting does take a decent amount of time and effort to show results. And marketers at B2B companies may not have enough time, resources, and patience to achieve the desired outcome.

Plus, organic B2B social media posts typically only reach people already following you, if that. (Thanks a lot, shadow banning.) As a result, the number of people outside your existing network likely to see your content is very limited.

This makes organic B2B social media content a great strategy for growing customer trust and loyalty or spreading the word about new offers to existing customers and others likely to be interested in your products and services.

However, being limited to your existing social media audience also makes organic social posts not-so-great for brand awareness and growing your following on its own. It can also be hard to know exactly how well it’s working without the benefit of detailed analytics. That’s where B2B social media ads come in.

Paid social advertising can achieve faster and more substantial results than organic posting, which is exactly what B2B companies (and everyone else) usually want. However, the ideal strategy if you really want results requires using both in tandem.

b2b paid social media

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

Top 4 paid social media channels to consider

Experience tells us it’s wise to use as many channels as possible when you’re first experimenting with B2B paid social as part of your marketing strategy. That way, you can see which posts and platforms resonate most with your audience and choose the best one to put more effort into.

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

1. LinkedIn

For B2B companies, LinkedIn is widely considered to be the most useful social media channel. In fact, 93% of B2B marketers reportedly use it for their organic B2B social media content, with 77% ranking it as the best of the bunch.

Plus, three-fourths (75%) use LinkedIn for B2B paid social ads with 79% saying this social network produces the best results. LinkedIn ad options include sponsored posts, sponsored InMail, and pay-per-click (PPC) text ads. 

The platform also offers a variety of extensive targeting tools for reaching your ideal audience. Using this business-oriented social platform for B2B social media content and targeting only the users in your demographics is such a wildly successful strategy that approximately 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.

Feedzai came to HawkSEM for help with lead generation and growing their awareness, specifically via LinkedIn for time-sensitive campaigns such as a webinar or newly published article. We helped them increase click-through rates to 28% higher than the average LinkedIn CTR and launch a video campaign that received more than 419,000 views. Here’s how we did it.

2. Facebook & Instagram

Since they’re owned by the same company, marketers can create and manage both Facebook and Instagram ads from one convenient platform. Not only that, but as long as you’re following best practices for each social network, you can post the same ads to both platforms with a single click.

The proof is in the data: Facebook is reportedly used by 79% of B2B marketers (60% for Instagram).

While having immense outreach, it’s nearly impossible to get significant traction from organic posts on Facebook. Unsurprisingly, Facebook offers paid ad options, as does Instagram, 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 nearly 3 billion active monthly Facebook users alone make it a channel certainly worth considering. 

3. Twitter

Twitter can be a highly productive social media channel when it comes to B2B marketing — so much so that 60% of B2B marketers use it. Not only does it have hundreds of millions of users (229 million) but it’s also the third most-used platform for content marketing purposes.

Twitter is also an excellent place for real-time interactions with clients to educate 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. YouTube

Today, YouTube is much more than a video-sharing channel. Believe it or not, it’s the second most popular website in the world, and over half of all B2B marketers (55%) use it. 

This video platform’s popularity, helpful features, and ad options make it a top contender when you’re considering B2B paid social. YouTube boasts a variety of ad options, including:

  • Unskippable pre-roll ads
  • Trueview ads (which can be in-stream or video discovery ads)
  • Display ads
  • Bumper ads

You can promote both your videos and products through ads.  

Pro tip: For B2B e-commerce brands, you can leverage video action campaigns (formerly called Trueview for Shopping). These ads offer a virtual storefront showing viewers shoppable product images links to product pages on your website.

b2b paid social media

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

Paid social media advertising tactics for successful B2B marketing

Because social media apps evolve and update so regularly (and quickly), so too do the best practices for B2B paid social media advertising.

As these platforms add new functionalities, incorporating them into your strategy in a timely manner will ensure you 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, and 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 B2B 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. Mind your Facebook Ad Relevance Score

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

Use the Ad Relevance Score 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 social media campaign.

Pro tip: Not only is TikTok fast-becoming a popular search engine in its own right, but ads on this platform are seeing sizable results. Research to see if your target audience is using this platform and what B2B success looks like here. After that, you can consider creating some organic and paid content, then monitoring metrics to see what resonates.

4. Leverage lead generation forms

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 on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, you can collect valuable data and metrics 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

Because of the high success rate many marketers see, paid advertising on LinkedIn is often more expensive than on other platforms. But don’t panic: There are things you can do to cut costs.

First, focus on analytics. Luckily, LinkedIn allows you to monitor who is interacting with your ads.

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

6. Explore social media influencers

Influencer marketing isn’t just a B2C endeavor. This can also be an effective marketing tactic for B2B buyers and other decision makers you want to target (or retarget).

In fact, 86% of B2B brands find success with influencer marketing, according to Search Engine Journal. And Bloomberg reports that, “While channels for B2B marketing can include anything from in-person appearances at conferences to Twitter posts, the key forum is LinkedIn.“

Influencers can provide a dose of third-party credibility and social proof that can help, well, influence your audience in a way that a first-party ad just can’t.

When exploring an influencer marketing partnership, we recommend:

  • Mapping out your plan and goals
  • Conducting research to identify the top influencers in your industry
  • Determining which kind of influencer you want (this will depend on your goals and budget)
  • Having an idea about the content type you’re looking for
  • Aligning with the influencer on details and expectations
  • Optimizing all of your brand’s social profiles
  • Reviewing campaign performance to see if this ad type works for you

The takeaway

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

Once you’ve seen success on a platform or two, you can put more effort into those B2B social media marketing ads and conduct tests to help you optimize your social media strategy accordingly.

This article has been updated and was originally published in September 2020.

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 Oct 20 , 2021

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 plays a key role in customer acquisition
  • Winning 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. In 2009, less than half of B2B sales cycles were longer than three months. That number has grown to 75% today.

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. 

Here’s 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, customer retention is often much more cost-effective and produces valuable, long-term, loyal customers who, in turn, refer new ones.   

Leveraging Google Ads for B2B

The chief avenue for B2B advertising dollars, not surprisingly, is Google Ads (“Google AdWords” until mid-2018). Worldwide, Google accounts for over 85% of desktop search traffic and significantly more mobile search traffic.

While many have heard that almost half of all Google searches are linked to something local, that number hasn’t been updated in a while. Considering that the pandemic has caused a 1,000% to 3,000% rise in various local search terms (think “near me” or “curbside pickup”), it’s definitely much higher now. 

The likelihood of local intent is part of the reason why the biggest 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:

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 your B2B 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 your return on investment (ROI) becomes crucial. 

It helps you determine what’s working and what’s not when it comes to your bottom line. Research shows that the cost of acquiring new B2B customers increased by nearly 70% within the last several 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. 

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’ll 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.

Need more help with your B2B paid search initiatives? Let’s chat.

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.

Key features of an effective message include:

  • Creativity
  • Audience targeting
  • Knowledge of your service or product
  • Writing ability

It’s also worth noting that 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 becomes 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 B2B marketing 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).

Pro tip: Google isn’t the only way to bring in leads. HubSpot makes a compelling case for why using Facebook Ads can be better depending on goals and circumstances. For most businesses, using a mix of both is a worthwhile strategy to explore.

The takeaway

A big aim of most digital marketing initiatives is to grow your business through customer acquisition.

With 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.

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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