Two colleagues work together to develop their company’s social media branding strategy.
July 6, 2023

The Complete Social Media Branding Strategy for B2Bs

by Michael Brenner

A social media branding strategy is a core part of every larger B2B marketing strategy. 

And today, with more than 90% of companies using social media as a key marketing channel, it’s also a competitive imperative. Not only should companies have social media accounts, they should be leveraging them to communicate with customers, amplify content, and build brand awareness (among other critical strategic goals).

In this guide, we’ll walk step-by-step through actions you can take to build and maintain a social media branding strategy that aligns with your company’s objectives, fosters stronger connections to your audiences, and helps you grow your business.

Quick Takeaways

  • The first key steps to building a social media branding strategy are to set goals, do competitor and audience research, and choose the right platforms.
  • Launching or refining your social media branding strategy presents a timely opportunity to revisit your brand voice and to ensure it’s current, accurate, and effective.
  • Social media is the top content distribution channel for B2B marketers, so your social strategy should be strongly aligned with your content plan.
  • It’s essential to plan thoroughly for direct engagement with your social audiences (i.e. ensure you allocate bandwidth for doing it daily).
  • Your strategy should have a documented execution plan behind it to keep your team accountable and help you track progress over time.

Set SMART Goals

You’re likely developing your social media branding strategy at least partly because it’s become the status quo for B2B marketing and for meeting customers where they are online. But you’ll also have unique goals you want to achieve for your business by getting more active on social, including things like:

  • Building greater brand awareness
  • Sharing content more widely
  • Engaging directly with customers
  • Holding online events
  • Developing a brand personality

These are just a few examples. It’s up to your marketing team to establish the goals and objectives you’re trying to achieve with your social strategy, and define them in detail so you can track progress.

We recommend using the SMART goal framework (outlined below) to help you do it.

Graphic outlining the SMART goal framework, which says that goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

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Pick Your Platforms

Not all platforms are created equal for every business. Depending on your industry, product and service offerings, target audience, and unique brand, you may need to be more active on certain social platforms and less so on others.

LinkedIn, in general, is considered a central B2B platform and most businesses do choose to be active there. If you’re launching a social media branding strategy for the first time, start with LinkedIn and perhaps one other platform you know is important to your target audience (that requires some research), and build on success.

Once you’ve established your brand and following on your first few platforms and gotten your internal processes down for managing them, expand to include others.

Research Competitors

It’s important to know what top competitors are doing on social media in order to position your brand competitively. Take time to explore your competitors’ social media accounts, the platforms they use, the content they post, and the way they engage with their audiences. While you don’t want to duplicate everything they do, you do want to look for opportunities to do things better and find other ways to gain a competitive edge.

Establish Brand Voice

Your brand voice is the unique personality you share with your audiences in your marketing communications. On social media, you have more opportunities than through any other channel to establish and develop your brand voice through direct engagement.

Launching a social media branding strategy is a good time to revisit your current brand voice and refine it to reflect your brand exactly as you want it to be perceived by your audience. Think about things like:

  • Consistency — Is your brand voice consistent across your current channels? How can you make it the same on social media?
  • Connection — Does your brand voice foster connection with your audience? How can you improve in that area even more?
  • Accuracy — Does your brand voice accurately reflect your brand in its current form? Does it need to be updated or changed in any way?
  • Alignment — Is your brand voice aligned with your industry, type of offerings, audience preferences, and current trends?

You want to launch your new social media strategy with a strong sense of who you are as a brand and how you want to be represented online. Your brand voice is a key part of that. 

As a B2B brand, don’t be afraid to move outside of the strictly professional to embody other brand personality traits like humor, sarcasm, and even snark to grab attention and help people relate to your brand.

In addition, think about featuring the actual people at your company—leaders, subject matter experts, innovators, and anyone else who contributes value to your company—to humanize your brand and build even greater connections with your audience.

Align with Your Content Strategy

Social media is a key channel for content sharing—in fact, B2B marketers rate it above all other channels, with 89% saying they used social media platforms to distribute content.

Bar chart from a Content Marketing Institute report showing that social media is the top content distribution channel for B2B marketers, with 89% saying they used it this year.

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As such, it’s important to align your social media branding strategy with your current content strategy. More specifically, be sure to explore how you can leverage social media to amplify your content, and in turn leverage content to boost your social media presence.

Consider questions such as:

  • What are our best-performing types of content? Which platforms support sharing them?
  • Can we create new types of content using social media?
  • How can we integrate social media publishing into our current content calendar?
  • How can we repurpose current content so that it performs on social media?
  • How can we leverage social media to target certain content assets to target audiences?

Engage Actively

Social media is perhaps the most powerful marketing channel that exists for brands to engage directly with their audiences—customers, potential buyers, peers, competitors, and any others who come into contact with your social content.

A core part of your social media branding strategy is the way and the extent to which you take time for engagement and interact with your followers. This includes responding to comments, answering questions and messages, leveraging tactics like online events and live stories for real-time engagement, and more.

Determine how you’ll execute to this end. Who will be responsible for handling engagement? How will you handle negative feedback and/or interactions? What software tools will you use for notifications and updates?

Prioritizing direct social media engagement and planning for how you’ll maintain bandwidth to do it are two key parts of your strategy that will help you maximize its ROI—especially in the B2B world, where expectations for timely and professional engagement are even higher than in other sectors.

Create a Documented Plan

Last but not least, create a documented execution plan that includes platforms, content, tasks, schedules, deadlines, persons responsible, and all other important information needed to carry out your strategy.

A documented plan holds everyone on your team accountable, keeps you on track, and allows you to track progress toward your social media goals.

The best way to build and maintain your documented plan is through a shareable platform where everyone involved can access and view it in real time—places like Google Docs, OneDrive, or whichever team-based  tools your company uses to execute marketing activities.

Putting it All Together

Having a strong social media branding strategy is an essential part of making your brand’s online presence complete. For B2B brands, it can be a key driver of brand awareness, customer engagement, and competitive positioning—being active on social media enables you to connect directly with your audience and make your buyers and customers feel connected.

Whether you have a social media branding strategy already in place or are preparing to launch a new one, the time is now to expand your brand reach to social platforms and capitalize on the opportunities they offer to drive growth.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.