People don’t use every social media channel in the same way.
I use Instagram for inspiration, LinkedIn to connect with colleagues past and present, and Facebook to check in with what friends and family are up to.
Think about this from the perspective of a company or brand. If they want to engage with their target audience on social media, they need an appropriate strategy for each channel. One for Facebook, one for Instagram, one for Twitter, etc.
In a bid to help marketers with this, HubSpot carried out a big piece of research exploring how consumers use some of the most popular social media channels - Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube.
HubSpot asked over 3000 people in the U.S. about their motivations for using each of the social media platforms, the behaviours they perform when they see content from brands or companies on a given platform, and their content preferences by platform.
This week, HubSpot published the findings.
Though the research was carried out with consumers, many of the takeaways are equally relevant to B2B marketers.
Social media isn’t just for B2C brands. 54% of B2B buyers rely on social media to research potential vendors and solutions.
And this number is growing, with B2B buyers becoming much more consumer-like in their behaviours.
HubSpot’s research found that while people primarily use Facebook to engage with friends and family, they also use it to discover interesting content, such as articles, videos, and events.
Therefore, Facebook offers huge potential for brands to engage with consumers and B2B buyers alike. And Facebook’s handy ‘Save’ feature means buyers can bookmark an article that catches their eye, and come back to it when they are able to give it their full attention.
Twitter users are mostly looking to discover new content and to network with companies and like-minded users. According to HubSpot, Twitter is the best social channel for facilitating brand investigation and brand advocacy behaviours. For B2B marketers, it’s also a great source for identifying and engaging influencers.
People use Instagram to bond with followers (by sharing details and images about their life) and to discover new trends. For B2B marketers, the key is to create broader content that showcases your company and your people ‘behind the scenes’. It’s an opportunity to show off your personality and connect with buyers on a more human level.
LinkedIn wasn’t covered by HubSpot’s research, but it is the top network of choice amongst B2B buyers. And 52% of B2B buyers say LinkedIn has the most significant impact on their research process - even more so than blogs (42%).
Here are some tips to inform your LinkedIn strategy:
- Look for opportunities to participate in discussions, and offer practical tips and advice where possible.
- As well as blog posts, share videos to demonstrate both your expertise and authenticity. Share a short explainer video talking about the eBook you’ve just launched, or a snapshot of an interview with an industry expert - the choice is limitless.
- Write compelling snippets to caption your content. Don’t just hit the share to LinkedIn button - think about what you can say alongside your content to help draw buyers in.
One of the biggest challenges we face is creating the right content for the right channels. We've found that audience expectations vary from medium to medium, meaning that you need to tailor each piece of content to the specific needs of that channel. What drives engagement on Facebook won't evoke the same response on Twitter. Understanding those differences, and having a framework in place to address them, is crucial to achieving a high ROI on your social efforts.