Social media marketing might initially appear to be the sole preserve of the business-to-consumer (B2C) marketer. But according to a recent study into B2B Social media marketing, not only can business-to-business (B2B) marketers benefit from social media, but it could be their most effective marketing channel of all.

The study showed just how far B2B marketing has shifted away from broadcast media (owned or paid for) and towards social engagement. Thanks to the recent corona virus pandemic, and the issuing of lockdowns in countries across the globe, the shift has been even more pronounced. 

Social media engagement rates during coronavirus continue to shift as brands and agencies respond to the pandemic. If as a brand, you’ve been shying away from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram because you think it won’t work for companies that serve other businesses, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. 

We’d show you why, starting with how social media trends have changed starting March 2020.

How social media trends have changed due to COVID-19

  1. Volume of COVID-19 mentions have peaked, and started to show signs of a decline; engagement is moving towards quarantine topics. 
  2. Social media ad inventory and ROI has increased. Businesses are starting cut budgets and the amount of money they spend on ads. 
  3. Executive social is taking center stage, as leaders are working towards humanizing their brands. 
  4. After March 2020’s bump in engagement rates, channels and industries are trending down again.
  5. On LinkedIn, there’s been a 55% increase in engagement between connections. The number of contents being posted, and the number of messages being sent have also increased. 
  6. Posting frequency is starting to rebound as brands adjust to the new normal, which helps explain a decrease in engagement rates.
  7. Video has become the preferred content format across all platforms, as 53% of audiences say they want more. 

Now, here’s how to create a B2B social media that will grow your brand and earn leads.

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MarketBeam’s customers saw an uptick in engagement starting March 2020

MarketBeam’s customers observed a peak in engagement on the first week of March 2020 when business started to close down, shelter-in-place was adopted and further internet usage in general was increasing across the world.

Our customers saw over 200% increase in engagement on Twitter and continued to increase for close to 10 weeks. Contrary to that on LinkedIn, though the engagement increased over 150% on the first week of March 2020, the engagement stabilized after a few weeks.

This shows that the trending hashtags like #COVID-19 #workFromHome #remoteworking and others have started to stabilize.

How brands can think strategically about using social media during and beyond COVID-19

  • Brands have to stop thinking about themselves and LISTEN. More attention should be paid to customer needs.
  • Brands should prioritize quality over quantity. You shouldn’t be a part of digital noise problem. 
  • More attention should be paid to videos. Live stream contents and split screen interviews/expert panels would do. 
  • As a business, you should put out more interactive contents that entertain and educate. 
  • Brands should seek out industry influencers to reach new audiences, and generate creative content.

How to enable sales teams while in-person meetings are canceled

  • Brands should design campaigns with a social-first approach.
  • Get closer to your audience, first of all, through social listening.
  • Train your sales team to be social savvy.
  • Implement employee advocacy.
  • Get executives to use social media.
  • Measure marketing ROI per product line, target markets and GEO. 
  • Invest in keeping customer support and deal momentum. 
  • Host social selling training sessions. 
  • Share marketing insights with your sales team.  

How marketers are responding

Short-term adaptation

Recent research has shown that 61% of marketers are altering their short-term media strategy. However, only 9% are making long-term changes. 

There is a slight move from offline media to online, as marketers in the same study made clear that they would take a more online approach. 

This budget shift is not surprising considering that digital media is consumed at a higher rate due to the online lifestyle of the post-corona consumer.

Adapt to the new audience

For a brand, an online presence has never been as important as today. Try to treat your daily work as business as usual, but keep it digital. 

Locate your target audience and how their lifestyle has changed and map out how you should be targeting them. 

Choose the right employee advocacy tool for economical and yet effective strategy

While social media has become a leading channel for marketing and communications, businesses are seeking advanced, safe and efficient ways to reach existing customers and new audiences every day. To help businesses, MarketBeam has created an AI-driven social amplification platform that utilizes untapped social networks of executives and employees while maintaining control of corporate messaging.

Final thoughts

There is no doubt that the coronavirus has left its mark in history. The question is rather how much things will change and how the world will look when it’s all over. 

We have now seen the effects on different industries and marketing efforts, but how will marketers adjust? More digital solutions need to be considered for all industries. Webinars, digital entertainment and virtual doctor visits are examples of solutions to come when physical contact is restricted. 

Even during a time that feels like a downward spiral – there can be an opportunity to be seized.