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How to Build Social Media Strategies for your B2B business?

This candid tet-e-tete with Pooja Sriram, Head of Brand Growth at Chargebee spills the beans on how the best in the business use social media, find relevant channel, set the right goals, track them for their B2B businesses.

Priya Selvaraju
Building social media strategies for B2B businesses

I remember reading a book called "The Friendly Dragon". Zark, the dragon, would do anything and everything for its little friends. Social media is like a friendly dragon too. It can do a million things for your business, and it's up to you to decide what you want it to do. 

I spoke with Pooja Sriram, Head of Brand Growth at Chargebee, to understand the social media strategies, goals, metrics and more. 

Pooja is a working mom with 12+ years of experience in Digital Marketing and has predominantly worked in the branding, social media & content space at well known SaaS businesses like Chargebee, CleverTap & WhatFix. 

How to set up the right goals for your social media?

For any business, it is essential first to figure out what you want to achieve. And then plan how to integrate social media in a way to accomplish those goals.

Think about what social media is to your client or the company. Suppose you're treating it as a social distribution channel. In that case, your goals are very different v/s if you treat social media as a channel for being a thought leader. A social channel can do a million things to enhance your brand.

How?-Social media can also become a PR vehicle for many startups today. You can make a quirky story, write an exciting article, publish it, or even get employees to amplify your brand narrative. It will be available for the same number of people who would have read it in the newspaper or magazine if you plan it well.

You can use social media to try different marketing strategies and see what works better. It is a great platform to experiment with positioning your brand as you could change things in minutes on social media.

More than just a content distribution platform, you can use it as a community engagement platform, a research platform, a customer advocacy platform, or even as an employee advocacy platform. See what your customers are interested in by directly getting in touch with them through your content. 

When you use it as an employee advocacy platform and make your employees talk about the brand as individuals, you build more credibility.

To sum it all up, setting up goals for your social media depends on what you want to achieve with it. But make sure your goals align with your existing brand and business goals.

How to build a content strategy for B2B social media? 

While thinking of content for B2B space, people often think they can't be quirky. Many excuses come up - We are a small team, we can't make videos, we are not sure if it will work, nobody will engage with this. But at the end of the day, whether B2C or B2B, you are talking, selling, and communicating to individual people. 

People come to social media because they either want information or they want entertainment. And if you don't give them that, and if you're talking only about your own company and your products, you will not get any engagement or followers. So, it is essential to understand what they want and what they are interested in and weave your content to fulfil those needs. Here are some interesting content ideas you can try for your B2B brand - How to make B2B social content interesting? 

How to figure out what metrics to track?   

We've now established that you can do a lot more with social media. And, it's important to note that goals and metrics go very much hand in hand. Depending on what you set as a goal, you'll want to set targets, create benchmarks and work towards accomplishing these goals.  

The other way around is, only if you can measure something and say, this is my benchmark, and I want to go from 1000 to 10,000 followers, you will know how to put a goal around this. (Only if that 10K followers will mean something to your business & brand goals)

Even when you pitch to a client, you shouldn't say I am here to increase your followers. Instead, ask them what their goal is. If reaching more people is their goal, forget about the followers. Focus on reaching the right audience and get people to engage with the content so that they look forward to it. This will eventually increase the number of followers.

Whereas for an established company, if their competitors have 50K followers and are stuck at 5,000, then the follower number becomes essential. While you create content that will attract followers, you can also bring in influencers, run a couple of paid campaigns only for follower growth, etc. So in future, when you portray yourself as a brand, you will be in a similar space as competitors. In this case, even though follower count is a vanity metric, the brand needs to be considered credible in a market of established businesses. But it's important not to attract random followers; you need to focus on building the right audience.

You can even put up 50 job openings on LinkedIn, and if each job gets 100 applicants, you can call 5000 followers by default unless they uncheck the 'follow' box when they apply for the role. But you need to think about how that would help a brand and translate into business goals? If only prospective employees are following your brand and not prospective customers, partners or investors, it may not help achieve the purposes of the business.

Each channel will have its own goals and metrics. If your primary channel is LinkedIn, it's more about comments and engagement. The more people comment on your post shows that you are doing something well. The scenario is different for Twitter. You need to focus on retweets and virality. Depending on what channel you are working on, your goal and metric will change. 

The same thing applies to organic or paid social media efforts. When you have paid campaigns, you will optimize for people to click on the link, visit your website and more. You will measure your CTR, CPM, and the number of leads. 

But when you're doing organic social media, you're building stories; you're building narratives. Here the focus is on engagement. You don't want the audience to leave the page but rather have them comment and share on the social network.

Metrics also depends on the stage of the company. Startups will concentrate on the follower numbers. Because if you come to a LinkedIn page and have 20 followers, it looks a little odd. So they want to keep growing, especially when they want to hire people. In those cases, the small numbers become very important.

But for -bigger businesses, the follower number is not very important, and other metrics take precedence. However, social media managers will still keep track of all metrics, including follower count.

As professionals, tracking metrics and reporting metrics have to be treated as separate tasks, and you have to be brilliant at showcasing the right metrics. 

But in the end, it's more of your conscience of what makes sense for your company. And that's why you should be doing so. You can tell your clients that I can get you, 10,000 followers in two weeks, but you might not know whether that's what they want, but if you want that, you need to put in a lot of effort and start measuring things on LinkedIn. Where are people coming from, what is the demography, which functions are they from? 

For example, If you're talking about a marketing automation tool, you need people from marketing functions coming here. But if you see you are attracting only engineers, you need to change the language of your content.

How to choose the proper social media channels?

One of the essential things in social media is to decide what channels to focus on. And that depends on your capacity. If you want to be there on Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest, it will be a never-ending process. You have to choose any two primary channels and be active on them.

At times, you can also segregate based on functions. LinkedIn is only to educate the audience; Instagram is only going to be about company updates. You can draw the line the way you want to, but you have to be very specific in your strategy and about the platforms you choose. 

Can you tell us more about some of the remarkable social media campaigns you worked on?

I have so many examples. One of them is called Reimagine growth for CleverTap. The campaign is a video series that talks about how customers were able to reimagine growth with the help of CleverTap. We started promoting this on social media using different strategies, and the campaign was a great success.

You can check out the campaign here.

There is also a Twitter campaign that was very interesting and successful. A lot of thoughts were put into that specific campaign.

Check out the Twitter campaign here.

You can get creative with just content on social media. Here is an example of using the right text to convey a message, and here is an example of using the right content format to highlight your content. 

In a nutshell, social media can help your business or brand with a lot of things. To achieve your marketing goals with social media, you need to find the relevant channel, set up the right goals, keep tracking and improvise them. Above all, social media is a friendly dragon.

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