How the new kid on the B2B social media block is ready to unlock new audience insights on every platform

With over 266 million new social media users coming online in the past year, it’s safe to say there’s been plenty of updates on the social media scene since we last gave our blog readers a crash course on all things B2B social media.

2023 made its mark in the history books as a year of new and emerging social media trends and tactics – think ChatGPT, Twitter rebranding to ‘X’, and the enigmatic rise of TikTok worldwide. But as social media grows busier, it can be hard to keep a close eye on your brand’s positioning and reputation on such platforms – enter social listening!

A number of new reports on the value of social listening for B2B companies made us think we should take a refresh on a previous blog in this throwback this week.

 We’ve all heard about B2C brands use of social listening to analyze consumer conversations, but is it applicable for B2B brands who might not use social media in the same way as B2C brands?

In a nutshell, social listening for B2B companies is the process of monitoring and analyzing social media conversations and narratives to gain insights into customer pain points, market trends, and brand narratives. It isn’t just for analyzing customer conversations as in the world of B2C, but more about tracking competitors and industry influencers, their views, their issues, and customer reactions.

Here’s our 2024 refresh on how B2B brands can make the most of social listening:

  1. Monitor consumer pain points – by listening to conversations about consumer pain points, your brand can unlock one major benefit – securing new leads! Social listening is a great way to find your ideal consumer, identify their issues, create valuable content to demonstrate how your solution targets their specific industry pain points, and let the leads roll in!
  2. Monitor brand reputation – reputation is everything in the B2B sector. Social listening allows you to gain a better understanding of your brand’s position among its customers by analyzing conversations about your organization
  3. Stay ahead of the competition – conducting regular competitor analysis is essential to help ensure your brand stands out from the crowd. Keeping tabs on your competitor’s marketing campaigns, target audiences, outreach efforts, and online reputation can provide your organization with valuable insights for your own online business strategy!
  4. Identify key trends – a watchful eye on trends is vital to keep up appearances on social media. This is where social listening can help evaluate each new macro or micro trend and distinguish if it is relevant to your brand before your content team taps into it
  5. Leverage influencers – yes, the influencer industry is still applicable to B2B! Use social listening to identify B2B influencers who are discussing topics relevant to your brand with an engaged community of followers

Make sure you’ve refreshed yourself of our social media must-haves below:

Social media usage continues to skyrocket with 4.62 billion users at the last count with new platforms rising each day, bringing in millions of active users – 424 million in the last year to be more precise. Just look at Tiktok – did any of us really know what the platform was before the pandemic hit? It now adds eight users every second. Using the power of social media to converse with a business audience is now essential for effective marketing across B2B, and has become second nature to B2B marketing teams.

But with business and customer needs, and cultural trends all evolving at rapid speed on social platforms, a brand’s messaging can sometimes get lost or even be tone-deaf, falling victim of not moving with the times.

X (formerly known as Twitter) recently released a new report analyzing tweets from over ten years and eight countries, and looks at ways brands can use the platform to elevate their success through effective messaging and creative engagement. Needless to say it claims seven out the ten people surveyed agreed brand conversation on X is the best part of the platform but we can see how the influence of social is not just rising on X, but across social media as a wholeLinkedIn, Instagram, and of course Tik Tok.

However, there are some downfalls if you get the messaging wrong – cancel culture is truly here, and any slip-up on the comment of consumer trends can knock your brand off the top stop, never to be seen again.

So, what can be done to ensure brand conversation is always on target and in tune with cultural trends when marketing on social media? Here are three IBA tips on how to maximize success the next time your company takes to the social airwaves:

1) Be authentic

We’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, when a viral trend goes around social media, it’s easy for brands to hop on the bandwagon knowing it will get the attention and engagement from its audience. But with this comes a huge pitfall that many don’t think about – If brands are using the same viral trends, i.e. the same formula when trying to achieve social media hits, everyone’s social media starts sounding the same.

A brand needs to stay authentic, creating posts which hit its target audience – no one cares about your latest opinion on the hit new TV show, or a viral video that’s going around that has no relevance to your business or the message you’re trying to convey. Know your target audience, stick to your brand identity and messaging – that is what will truly win the people over!

2) It’s not about what you say, but how you say it

Speaking out on cultural trends can sometimes feel like a daunting task, as a brands reputation can be tarnished through miscommunication. But this doesn’t have to be the case. The X report found eight in ten peopled surveyed expected brands to evolve their messaging with the times, connecting with their audience based on current affairs. So, this year we have International Women’s Day, which brings on Women in Stem, we have WFH, mental health and burnout…there is a lot of choice to help enhance the relevance of your brand to business decision making.

But it’s more than that. Ninety per cent of people surveyed say any topic is on the table and up for discussion, if it’s relayed in a way which is authentic to your brand and identity. If you can relay your message with the correct tone and look at the community you’re speaking for, you’re on the path to excellent engagement conversation and brand marketing.

3) Don’t be afraid to plan your posts

Once you’ve refined what the message is you want to portray, you could just post with no rhyme or reason, but consistency here is key. When curating your social media posts, it pays to set a framework in order for you to logically map out your content to ensure the correct message is going to the correct audience, at the correct time.

Setting up a framework of what days you want to post and even which times zones, can put your content into perspective, enabling you to analyze if your schedule is looking a little repetitive or not in keeping with your international audience – remember LinkedIn will let you tailor posts to appear to certain geographies. Once this is done, using a social media management platform such as Hootsuite or Oktopost means you’re able to schedule posts which fit company profile, even splitting them by campaign focus, industry topic and geography.

What’s more, their employee advocacy functionality means you can pre-draft content that employees are able to preview and share to their own following, ensuring brand messaging is consistent throughout corporate and personal channels.

Listen and learn

But the benefits don’t stop there – using a social media management platform will collate and manage click through and engagement analytics automatically, so you don’t have to manually hunt for stats to measure your social impact. All the data and insights you need will be there at the click of a button! Use the data to refine, re-group, re-engineer, re-calibrate, whatever. But remember – listen and learn.

Tweaking your tweet to make engagement sweet!

Marketing on social media is a powerful tool but in a huge global whirlpool of noise. So it’s just too easy for your posts to start sounding like everyone else’s. Listening, learning and looking at your core brand, its voice and the community you’re posting to, is a sure way to get your social media marketing standing out from the crowd!

Caitlin Goldsmith is PR Executive at IBA International.

Leave a comment