In this, the last in our series looking at social media tips for small business and startups, we are looking at the platforms, strategies, and approach small business owners should take when reaching and engaging a B2B audience through social media.

In recent years, many self-starters and early-stage businesses have found opportunity in overhauling old B2B tools and services with new digital technologies. However, not so many have concentrated on how to best advertise and communicate to a professional audience. 

Know your platforms 

For talking to business-minded people and decision-makers within business, LinkedIn is an obvious choice. As a platform, LinkedIn offer several packages to target advertising and communications to your audience, namely LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and LinkedIn Sales Solutions.

The former includes ad formats like InMail which appears in your prospect’s LinkedIn inboxes, display advertising, and sponsored articles. On the other hand, LinkedIn Sales Solutions leverages provides a dashboard through which prospects can be easily followed in the news and across networks. A great advantage of using a LinkedIn solution is that your audience can be segmented according to industry, job title, age, city, and more – meaning your leads will be the leaders you need to talk to.

Beyond LinkedIn, other platforms to consider include closed-group industry-specific channels such as Fishbowl and Angel List, as well as thought leadership platforms like Twitter – as a source of quick news from the source, Twitter is the predominant platform for a fast-paced business-savvy audience.

Short and sweet

Business owners, leaders, and decision makers are a time-poor crowd. The quicker you can get in and out with your message, the better – especially in the context of social media.

Dive in with the pain point your product or service solves and from there, a one liner on what your product or service does to alleviate that pain point. A shortcoming of many startups is too much focus on only the second half.

Look at long-form

Long-form content gives you an opportunity to go into greater detail about your product or service, albeit in a curlier way. The success of long-form content hinges very much on an engaging premise for an article or blog post, supported by valuable and industry-specific insight and clever integration or discussion of your product. Again, the key pain point is a good way in.

Because of its nature, product integration in long-form content works best when signposted subtly, rather than overtly or out-of-the-blue – we’re all in the business of business, so transparency is appreciated, especially for a savvy professional audience.

Pushing out long-form content as snippets and links via your business’s social media handles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook is a solid first-step strategy to starting the conversation with potential prospects.

Professionals aren’t robots

One mistake many make when talking to a business audience is talking to them in a stilted and dry voice. It’s true that, more than an everyday consumer, a B2B prospect will dig into the grit of your product or service in order to justify their purchase or investment in it – but before you get to that point, you have to make a connection which resonates.

Beneath the suits we wear, we all sit in the sunshine, have dreams, bleed, squabble, and sleep – social media gives your communications a license to talk in this space to this side of your prospects, so take it.

Speak the lingo

To the previous point, most small businesses who have developed a B2B product or service, tend to innovate from within the industry – they know and intuitively understand the pain-point their business solves, and the audience who will most benefit from it.

The best B2B communication over social media does not shy away from this fact and slip into generic sales-speak – instead it uses the lingo, the industry in-jokes and observations to break down barriers and gain credibility. Use this voice when posting on social media to your audience and trust will return.