The rapid growth in online B2B marketing, accelerated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, is highly evident in social media marketing. Methods for gaining B2B leads have significantly advanced in recent years, driven by developments in technology and changes in buyer behaviour. Even without the effects of the pandemic, engagement and traction within online communities increase every single day. We expect that by the end of 2021, 4.7 billion people will be connected to the online world.
This digital growth is exactly what businesses need to tap into, to reach more of their target customers and prospective clients. And they are surely getting the hang of it. Today, social media plays a significant role in content marketing, and with this in mind, we are excited to share the B2B Social Media Trends of 2021. Our team at SnellMedia has been helping B2B companies maximize their social media presence since back when MySpace sites first appeared.
So just what are some of the top trends for social media marketing in 2021? Video-based content and competing for SERP ranking are high on the list. Working with omnichannel management and multi-platform content will help B2B organizations optimize exposure precisely where it’s relevant to their business.
When we mention omnichannel management, we’re referring to the following powerful platforms:
Getting ahead of the trends and advancing your social media marketing skills is what this year is all about. Read on to discover which social media trends you should utilise, and how, to propel your business to success in 2021.
In an earlier post we covered the top trends in B2B marketing as a whole - trends which have been highly impacted by the global pandemic of COVID-19. The social media trends of 2021 however, have emerged due to our immense desires to digitalise the world. 83% of marketers use social media, so pandemic or no pandemic, adapting to these trends can elevate your social media presence to a whole new level this year.
Ready to discover the vital trends in social media marketing? Let’s go!
Facebook is a mogul of social media marketing. 67% of marketers deem Facebook to be the most effective social media platform. It boasts a vast and active audience: out of the 2.7 billion Facebook users, 1.56 billion visit the platform daily, and many users value the business-related ads for their highly reliable content. Today, 74% of people leverage the platform for professional purposes, and decision-makers spend 74% more time on Facebook than any other users. We see it too, here at SnellMedia: scrolling through our feeds, we often find ourselves drawn to company ads or content shared by viable brands which stand out above the noise.
Furthermore, from what we’ve seen over the last decade, not having a Facebook page as a business can be detrimental to your credibility. Not only will you miss out on a crucial channel giving you access to a vast and receptive audience, potential customers will not take your business as seriously without a company Facebook page.
More than being great for exposure, equity and engagement with your audience, Facebook is also a great platform for targeting lost audiences. If your brand is active on Facebook and people start clicking on your website link, you are getting leads - awesome! But sometimes people click through from Facebook only to leave your website without further interaction or purchase. That’s a lost conversion.
To rectify that, your Facebook retargeting strategy needs to be on point. Facebook retargeting lets businesses reach out to users who’ve visited their website and left early. It will display relevant ads from your company in their news feeds, also in the feeds of people with similar interests, and people who’ve visited companies much like your own. In other words, Facebook is a wonder-works tool for companies in several stages of attaining clients’ attention.
When leveraging the power of LinkedIn for marketing, you need to understand that people come to the platform with a specific focus: their job and career. When we publish and promote content on the platform for our clients, our desire is to stimulate that mindset with offers that augment that objective, and get the audience excited about what our clients bring to the table.
While we are seeing shifts in the world of Linkedin organic reach, we can say, without a doubt, that LinkedIn is becoming a more relevant content platform by the minute, especially for B2B marketers. The opportunity to create visibility, community, and reach via content is something every B2B business should be leveraging. By providing your audience with solutions to a work-related problem or satisfying a work curiosity, you’re setting your brand right up for conversion success.
While still predominantly business-related, we are seeing a shift in the platform towards a more conversational, transparent, community-focused culture. We see this clearly when considering their launched features in 2020, with events, polls, and stories playing a big role in the community-building spectrum.
LinkedIn is also becoming much more diverse in its content, and if you publish your blog content and video media on Linkedin, you’re increasing your chances of greater organic reach. Additionally, Linkedin has, by far, the best targeting of any platform worldwide for B2B. At SnellMedia, we target anything from roles, departments, level of seniority, individual skills, groups, company, company size, sector, and then of course traditional demographics.
Among the many social media trends of 2021, LinkedIn is the most important platform for B2B marketers to embrace along with their new features and culture shift. Conversational, community-building contexts will be the rise of 2021, largely driven by the increase in remote workplaces. Staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably had some negative consequences, for instance 37% of employees announce feeling less connected to their teammates, and 40% of employees announce feeling less connected to their friends.
This is what LinkedIn is trying to address by integrating its latest features.
Instagram is one of the most visited platforms to date. According to the 2021 Social Trends Report, 64% of marketers are using Instagram Stories to reach clientele or maximise discoverability. In the B2B environment, we know a lot of companies are struggling to understand how Instagram can be relevant to them, but if there is one perception we are eager to debunk in 2021, it is that Instagram isn’t beneficial for B2B marketing. Why, you ask? Well, research proves that B2B companies are encountering their largest engagement ratios on Instagram.
One of the reasons for this is that businesses can leverage Instagram in the same way as standard SEO. When it comes to Instagram search optimization, we focus greatly on the discoverability factor with our clients. One of the fundamental tools is hashtag maintenance. In some English-speaking countries, keywords are now at play, without the need for a hashtag. That’s setting a whole new standard for Instagram SEO, and we’re eagerly waiting for it to be a worldwide feature. Until then, we focus on the optimization of industry-specific, brand-affirming hashtags that catch B2B buyers’ attention.
Other Instagram SEO optimizers include:
Search optimization is just one of the compelling reasons for B2B businesses to get on Instagram. As mentioned above, a great exposure-related feature is the use of Instagram stories. One third of the most viewed stories are made by businesses, and at least 200 million users visit at least one business profile a day. And don’t even get us started with Instagram Reels, a mindblowing video function that significantly increased the number of platform users and business-account visits. Is your curiosity piquing yet?
The reality is that B2B businesses accounts on modern media channels like Instagram do not have to be boring or uninteresting. On the contrary, we help businesses leverage social media for showcasing their culture, presenting them in a more casual, creative manner, and maximising the ‘show’ dimension of brand show-and-tell.
Fourth in line of the leading B2B social media platforms is Twitter. This microblogging platform has 145 million daily active users who send over 500 million tweets each day. This instant engagement platform can help your B2B business maintain relationships with customers and offer a direct channel for you to communicate with prospective clients.
In 2021, as all focus shifts to online interaction between suppliers and buyers, Twitter is a digital forum no B2B businesses should sidestep. Today, 75% of B2B businesses market their offerings on Twitter. Many of our clients at SnellMedia are highly receptive to the idea of adding Twitter to their marketing mix as it’s perfect for on-the-fly information sharing, i.e. promoting original, new knowledge before competitors.
Like with any other social media channel, the aim is not to serve direct sales ads. Twitter has, for many years, been a great tool for conversation, connecting directly with clients, and sharing insights related to your business. We consider Twitter a channel for engagement and entertainment, and that is what we help B2B businesses provide for their audience. More than that, we harness the platform to give B2B buyers a unique insight into what it’s like to work with our clients; what values they focus on and ideals they employ in their everyday work.
Videos are amazing tools. They can be vibrant, they tell stories and they are great for capturing a larger audience. We’ve really gotten crazy about video media lately, and for good reason: they are hugely engaging and rarely fail to entertain. On a monthly basis, YouTube attracts 2 billion logins. It’s safe to say, a part of that popularity, at least from the perspective of businesses, has to do with the audience potential. 56% of B2B-oriented marketers state that YouTube content is a big factor in their overall marketing success.
And the future is big. According to a prediction study, 82% of all online content is expected to be video-based by 2022. This explicitly suggests that video content is a tool your business needs to employ. In the near future, videos will dominate the social media scene even more than now, so creating video content is essentially a do or die deal. While video is only one part of a well-rounded B2B marketing strategy, it is one that plays a crucial role in campaigns that appeal to buyers, engages with them, and compels them to convert.
But what kind of videos should you produce? Let us reassure you that you definitely don’t need to be making monotonous, production-line videos in order to succeed as a B2B organization. There are many alternative content tactics that will intrigue B2B buyers, including:
If you still need convincing, let us just say this: 70% of researchers watch a video-formated piece of content some time in their buying journey. And 71% of B2B marketers include YouTube in their content strategies, so it’s crucial to follow this trend if you want your business to get ahead in 2021 and beyond.
At SnellMedia we consider Youtube as a standout search engine, just like Google or Bing. Video content is an essential part of online marketing, and we make sure to always highlight to clients the need for applying visual media to their marketing strategy. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, 64% of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video when making a purchase decision, and this speaks volumes to the extensive demand for B2B businesses to get started on creating video content this year.
This image-sharing social media service is starting to measure up to other social media platforms, more so than you would probably expect. The platform has amassed beyond 330 million monthly active users, with a 26% growth last year alone. This platform is becoming a real contender, and we believe that B2B marketing has a veritable place in that.
A key concept of Pinterest is creating mood boards and canvases. In creating Pinterest business accounts, we help B2B businesses assemble boards featuring company infographics, images of products or services, and blog posts. More than that, we leverage the fact that Pinterest boards can be viable for SERP ranking on Google, and bring in the most valuable keywords from your marketing strategy into board and pin titles.
Just like most of your social media platforms, Pinterest is excellent for image and video sharing, but also allows you to neatly sort your content into various canvases, and make sure that really valuable information is less likely to be lost in an ocean of promoted content. As our team works thoroughly in making B2B brands appear more humanised, we harness the function of Pinterest to create boards dedicated to the people behind a corporation, i.e. employees, management, and even stakeholders.
Lastly, boards can be utilized to bring B2B buyers into the daily activities of your business, showcasing special events, and providing a tasteful personality to your brand. Probably the most incredible thing about Pinterest is that the platform can be used as a published library for repurposing your images, slides, infographics, and keywords, and thereby making sure that all of your material is attaining maximum impact.
With a real risk of surprising quite a few B2B marketers, we can announce that, while email marketing is still a great option, the open rates of Messenger reach-outs compared to email reach-outs are off the chart! We are talking an immense 84% for Messenger reach outs versus 23% for emails. In our experience, Messenger and chatbots help reduce conversational friction and turn business relationships into personal relationships, even for B2B businesses aiming to interact better with their clients on a one-to-one level.
Additionally, direct message tools work wonders as an extension to marketing and sales initiatives, and trends suggest that messenger bots are becoming more popular in B2B social media marketing. In our experience this is due to the flexibility of reach-out, especially for Facebook Messenger, as the feature is available both in-app and in-browser, and the conversations are saved and linked to specific accounting, making it seamless to chat at any point in the buyer’s daily routine and quickly re-capture the topic later.
We leverage Facebook Messenger capabilities to build demand for our B2B clients through the use of automation workflows. This requires setting up a Messenger bot through a visual bot builder tool and maintaining a flow of leads through automated sequences. These workflows let us create auto-responses, promote blog content, gain feedback and client insights, and optimize any chance to start sales conversations with B2B buyers.
Snapchat is a lot of things, depending on who you ask. With our expertise and experience, we can confidently state that Snapchat is a useful option for B2B marketing, and here’s why:
Snapchat is gradually transitioning into a commercial platform. The channel management team are shaping partnerships with huge media publishers, and trends suggest that the platform is gaining innovative advertising features making it an exciting and viable marketing option for B2B marketers. You might be shaking your head right now, but most technological breakthroughs are written off for being too obscure at first, and our investigations show that this is a platform to keep a close eye on.
If you’re still shaking your head, perhaps thinking that the user base of Snapchat is too young, you are mistaken. Granted, 71% of users are 25 or younger, but if anything, this is something to take advantage of. Increasingly, the younger generations in businesses are having a larger say in final purchasing decisions. 81% of non-management employees have a say in purchasing, and surprisingly, many of them are millennials. And where do we find many millennials? On Snapchat.
The Snapchat “cool” factor is growing, and the channel is starting to gain a huge account base, with 200 million daily active users. As the platform is turning more mainstream for advertising efforts, the big wow-factor benefiting marketers includes immediacy, engagement, and authenticity potential.
Here at SnellMedia, we’re having our fair share of laughs when it comes to the acceptance of TikTok as a marketing tool. As we work with B2B companies, we see a few interesting reactions when we mention the platform in strategy discussions. Rest assured: TikTok is and will continue proving itself to be a viable content platform. Diversity of content is expanding rapidly, far more professional content is being produced and their predictive analysis algorithm is insanely good. A few videos in, and the app knows exactly what you like, and the content suggested is surprisingly aligned to the interests of the user.
As video-formatted, interactive content is all the rage, TikTok is the perfect tool for businesses to create friendly, helpful content that more people can engage with. Trends are showing success among business-affiliated accounts. You can create insight-based content, fun team-oriented content, or even tutorial series. 2021 is the year for digital marketing, so get yourself accounts on one of the most up-and-coming platforms for B2B marketing.
While 70% of buyers in general will search for reviews on a product before purchasing, a whopping 91% of B2B buyers are far more likely to purchase on the basis of having read a trusted review. Amazing, right?
The B2B environment is ideally positioned to capitalise on online reviews, especially now that the global pandemic is forcing us to stay at home and minimizing our opportunity to conduct word-of-mouth insight sharing. Reviews are, in this sense, the online version of word-of-mouth marketing. Since online reviews in B2B circumstances often involve case studies which the business isn’t directly in control of, acquiring positive reviews can really boost your reputation and trustworthiness and help increase positive associations to your brand among B2B buyers.
If you haven’t already bought into the potential of online reviews in your marketing efforts, these reasons might help convince you:
Even with social media becoming the biggest communication tool and interaction channel, email marketing is still doing quite well. Specifically, 84% of B2B marketers say that it is one of their leading tools in marketing.
While this marketing practice is not a social media platform, we are mentioning it here since we are seeing trends that the practice will still be hugely important in 2021 and it dovetails really well with your social media efforts. While social media lets you attract prospective customers, email marketing highlights the strengthening of current, loyal relationships. This works both to retain new buyers and make them feel valued, as well as helping your existing community interact with your social media accounts.
We want to make sure that you are up for the challenges that await you in the 2021 social media domain. If you haven’t yet mapped out a bulletproof strategy, get going with it right away, and if you need help, visit our other blog posts for more tips and tailored advice.
Are you a B2B company looking to start a successful email marketing campaign in 2021? Or do you need help optimizing your email marketing today? Do you feel that your email marketing has great potential, but you aren’t too sure how to optimize your leads or where to start?
In that case, look no further, ‘cause SnellMedia is here to guide you. As an experienced B2B digital marketing agency focusing in part on valuable email marketing solutions, we can build personalized, intriguing campaigns designed to maximize your ROI in 2021. If you’re curious to know more about what we do, and how we can help you grow your business online, feel free to reach out to us when you need us. We’d love to hear from you!
This article is part of our digital marketing trends series, showcasing the primary pillars of digital marketing that we at SnellMedia focus on; PPC, SEO, Social media, Email marketing, Web design, and content marketing.