B2B purchasing decisions, let alone those in the insurance, banking and financial services sectors, involve higher stakes, longer sales cycles and many more decision-makers than any B2C transaction. However, the way the decision-making process starts isn’t always so different, with it being reported that social media almost always plays a role.
Today, 40% of B2B buyers use social media to help inform their purchasing decisions, as per Gartner’s B2B Buyer Survey.
Of the buyers who have used social media, these were the top five platforms they used:
- Facebook: 70%
- YouTube: 62%
- Twitter (now X!): 52%
- Instagram: 50%
- LinkedIn: 47%
You’d be forgiven for thinking that LinkedIn is always the go-to social media platform for B2B interactions within financial services, but the research doesn’t bear this out – underlining why it’s important to take each platform on its own merits.
With that, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each platform, from a B2B perspective for financial services brands:
- Large and diverse user base, making it suitable for reaching a wide audience.
- Robust ad targeting options to reach specific B2B demographics.
- Opportunity to create a company page and share updates, industry news and thought leadership content.
- Engaging features like live videos and stories to connect with the audience.
- Facebook groups can facilitate community building and networking.
- Organic reach for business pages has decreased over time, necessitating investment in advertising.
- B2B content might not perform as well as B2C content and user-generated content on the platform.
- Often viewed as less professional than LinkedIn, which may impact the perception of a business in some industries.
- Ideal for showcasing product demos, tutorials and in-depth content.
- Second-largest search engine after Google, making it valuable for SEO and discoverability.
- Long-form video content is well-received by B2B audiences seeking in-depth information.
- Opportunity to create a branded YouTube channel for consistent branding.
- High competition for video content, making it challenging to stand out.
- Quality production which is necessary for a professional image can require larger budgets.
- Building and maintaining a YouTube channel requires regular content creation and engagement.
- Don’t have full control over how ads are served against your videos.
- Real-time communication and quick updates.
- Excellent for sharing industry news, thought leadership and quick announcements.
- Hashtags allow for content discovery and joining relevant conversations.
- Effective for engaging with influencers and thought leaders.
- Used by journalists across insurance, banking and wider B2B financial services publications.
- Brand safety concerns linked to issues with stability, performance and reputation following the Elon Musk takeover.
- Character limit may restrict the depth of content shared (even with the recently expanded limit).
- High frequency of tweets required for visibility.
- Content may have a short lifespan in the fast-paced Twitter feed.
- Visual appeal for showcasing products, services, and behind-the-scenes content.
- Utilise Instagram Stories for authentic and temporary content.
- Opportunity to reach a younger, tech-savvy B2B audience.
- Effective for brand storytelling and for presenting the culture of your business.
- Limited link options for directing traffic to a website or landing page.
- May be less suited for industries that lack visually compelling content.
- Analytics and measurement options may be limited compared to other platforms.
- Highly professional and business-focused platform.
- Effective for B2B lead generation, networking and building professional relationships.
- Opportunity to share thought leadership content and industry insights.
- Robust targeting options for B2B advertising.
- Engagement may be lower compared to more consumer-oriented platforms.
- Organic reach may be limited, necessitating the use of sponsored content or advertising campaigns.
- Becoming increasingly ‘noisy’ with content starting to be more personal.
A little word for the newly launched Threads, too. Created as a rival to Twitter, it attracted 10 million new users in the first seven hours of its launch. While it’s still far too early to definitively say how impactful the platform will be for B2B and financial services brands, it offers intriguing potential.
The platform is likely to be particularly powerful for brands with a large, engaged Instagram audience, who, thanks to its link to Threads, won’t need to build followers from scratch. It will also be attractive to brands who saw value on Twitter, but who have reduced activity due to brand safety concerns.
Ultimately, there’s merit in running experiments on new platforms to see what you can achieve. Providing it doesn’t cause a distraction from core marketing activities, there’s nothing to lose. That goes for some of the more established platforms you’re yet to try seriously, too.
Assessing what’s right for your brand
When clients come to us asking where they should be investing time and effort on social media, we work through some core questions and focus areas:
- Define your target audience: Understand your target audience’s demographics, interests, behaviours, and preferences.
- Set marketing goals: Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads or foster customer engagement?
- Analyse platform demographics: Look for matches between your target audience and the platform’s user profile.
- Consider content type: Evaluate the type of content you can produce and share effectively. Ensure that your brand’s content production capabilities align with the platform’s format and strengths.
- Analyse competitors: Identify which platforms they are most active on and how successful they are in engaging their audience.
- Review analytics: If your brand already has a social media presence, review the analytics and performance data for each platform.
- Consider resources and time: Evaluate your team’s capacity and resources to manage social media marketing on various platforms.
- Test and monitor: Consider conducting a trial period to test the effectiveness of different platforms. Monitor engagement, reach and conversions during this period to assess which platforms yield the best results.
We help clients across insurance, banking, and financial services run effective marketing activities. Find out more about how we can help your brand grow on social media and beyond or contact Elliot, our Head of Digital, to discuss our approach in more detail.