Social media is more than the number of followers, or the posts shared. It is based upon engagement, rather than simply producing post over post in a row. Therefore, it is vital to understand the actual goal and benefits of social media and to find ways to boost engagement. Once B2B IT companies understand the importance and mechanism of engagement, only then will social media become a true asset for lead generation. So, let’s take a look at what engagement is (or is not) and share some tips for maximizing it.
Social media has become an integral part of our lives – in both personal and business terms. According to Statista, more than 3.6 billion people used social media in 2020 and the number is estimated to exceed 4.41 billion in 2025. With such a huge potential, B2B companies use social media as a communication and marketing channel, too. However, the main question remains: How efficiently is it used and what are some tips to increase engagement for B2B businesses?
1. What Is Social Media Engagement?
Before answering this question, let us remind you what social media is not. It is not an ultimate goal in itself or a KPI for businesses. It is simply a tool to improve brand awareness, corporate trust, visibility, and interaction. Therefore, it is not about how many posts a B2B company shares or how many followers (preferably organic, of course) it has. It is about the content of the post and how it is received by the audience. This fact takes us to the concept of “social media engagement”.
Social media engagement means building a solid interaction with followers, getting reaction or feedback for contents, products, or services. In other words, it is a process which the audience is also a part of. Without the audience interaction, we cannot talk about social media engagement.
And this interaction covers three main areas:
- Reaction (likes, dislikes, supports, all sorts of reaction emojis offered in the platform)
- Comment (direct feedback, comment, support, criticism messages written under the post)
- Share (retweeting/reposting the post)
2. The Importance of Engagement
According to estimates, approximately 10-20 percent of the social media content of an IT company experiences positive or negative interaction with followers. Social media engagement is not an easy task in B2B, even more so in B2B IT. However, this challenge does not mean it is not worth the result.
Whenever a B2B IT company improves its social media engagement, it also immediately wins new followers and higher new follower rates, which helps the company reach one of its ultimate goals: increased brand awareness and a larger target audience.
Another important advantage of increasing engagement reveals itself especially in LinkedIn. Imagine a B2B IT company releasing a social media post on LinkedIn. If the post does not attract attention and cannot succeed in generating engagement, LinkedIn algorithm does not promote it to be viewed by more people. Sad but true - this is how the algorithm works. However, when a post receives attention and interaction (through reactions, comments, and shares) and especially when this happens within the first hour of posting (a.k.a the “golden hour”) LinkedIn starts to show it even more. The logic behind this algorithm is simple: LinkedIn focuses on high-quality content. Greater engagement means better content and it needs to be seen by more people.
The end result for your business? More followers, better interaction, greater visibility and awareness, hence greater possibility of leads.
3. Engagement Levels in the IT Industry
Now that we know how important social media engagement is, we need to see how well we perform.
First things first – number of followers (even when organic) is not meaningful on its own. At Arina, we have made an analytic study to see the engagement rates of B2B IT companies and to understand the correlations among various aspects. In this study, we especially look at three critical components:
- Total post engagements (comprising reactions, comments, and shares)
- The ratio of engagements to posts
- The ratio of engagements to followers
Obviously, the study is based upon variable statistical data derived from LinkedIn, but major conclusions are more or less the same. For instance, there is usually a very strong correlation between post engagements and new followers, which proves the point above.
There is also a strong correlation between engagement/post ratio and new followers. However, the correlation between comment/post ratio and engagement/follower ratio is comparatively small. This is simply because comments can be irrelevant, less frequently used, and reactions through emojis are more preferred by followers.
We will soon release the detailed results of the study, however let us now focus on the main purpose of this blog post: How can a B2B IT company improve its social media engagement?
4. Tips for IT Companies to Increase Engagement
Obviously not through sharing cat videos - unless the cat is an IT genius or the content is relevant to the business, of course! The first keywords here are “relevant” and “entertaining”. Forrester says 68% of people don’t think brands share interesting content. Yet we know that humor generates the greatest engagement levels. Therefore, it is totally OK to be creative in content, images, messages, and videos. In this age of visual communication, you need to create authentic content to avoid being just another brick in the wall .
Here are a few more tips for greater engagement:
- 1. Avoid unnecessary links: LinkedIn makes money through ads and therefore needs users to stay on the LinkedIn page to see them. Whenever a company uses external links in its posts, LinkedIn algorithm shows these posts to fewer people, which results in less engagement. The safest way is to avoid using too many external links. Stay within LinkedIn boundaries as much as you can. Use links only when they are truly needed.
- 2. Tag 3rd parties: We live in a world of cooperation, rather than harsh competition. Every business needs another business to work together, to grow together, and to create together. That is why mentioning and tagging 3rd parties or other stakeholders is vital in increasing engagement. A new partnership, signing a cooperation agreement, a success story, new employees… Whatever the news is, get the approval of the 3rd party and tag it!
- 3. Benefit from thought leadership: In the IT industry we have key figures such as famous CEOs, chairpersons, evangelists, leaders. If there are such figures in your business, have them write LinkedIn posts or articles that position them as opinion leaders and pioneers.
- 4. Tap the charm of blogs: Blogosphere is not dead! High quality blogs are still valuable assets for businesses. Especially technical blog posts are of great value primarily in the IT world. Ask your technical experts to write blogs and share them on LinkedIn. Do not forget to tag the related people and institutions.
- 5. Quality beats frequency: Last but not least, remember that frequency of LinkedIn posts is not the key. As mentioned above, statistics reveal that a great number of posts does not mean greater engagement. Avoid posting content for the sake of posts alone. Start with less frequent, yet high-quality content. You can focus on increasing the number of posts later on.