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How to use social to supercharge your ABM strategy

Author's avatar By Daley Robinson 21 Aug, 2018
Essential Essential topic

Real world examples of a range of platforms that help land & expand

‘Social’ is an absolute phenomenon. Apparently, if Facebook was a nation, it would have more people than China. Serious scale to say the least.

In today’s world, it’s not whether your ideal audiences are on social media, but a question of where they are.

When we see life through an account-based marketing (ABM) lens, we want to work with as many of our target accounts as possible. That’s what it’s all about. So if organisations you want to onboard are there - you need to be there. If you don’t grab the opportunity, you can bet your bottom dollar your competition will - so get to it!

Hello account-based social

Account-based social can be defined as using social as part of an ABM campaign. In other words, using a social platform, or platforms, to communicate in a highly focused way to a defined list of organizations.

You mean social selling?

No. Granted, that can be part of a wider account-based social approach, but it’s only a small part of what needs to be done across the board.

Social selling is all about personal selling using social networks and involves engaging an individual contact in a sales process. Clearly, this can come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, but regardless of the details, it’s focused on individuals.

On the flipside, account-based social is all about the organization. It’s a much broader scope that thinks about the specific campaigns that are needed to bring the whole decision-making unit along for the wide - and often the wider business.

ABM relies heavily on the principle of ‘land and expand’. Yes, you want those individual relationships with people within the organizations you’re targeting - you’ve gotta start somewhere. Beyond that, you need the engagement to go as deep and wide to include as many relevant people as possible to get a true network effect.

I’ve personally been involved in some cracking ABM campaigns on social, which I’m going to share with you in the hope it gets your cogs going to push the bar even higher as part of your own ABM strategy.

The competitive type

Land and expand can be dynamite as part of a competition campaign on social. In one project, we created a skill-based competition that had a real meaty prize.

All members of the decision-making unit within the target accounts were identified and then targeted with specific outreach to encourage an entry (things were fair and open to all).

After the rightful winner had won, account-based social was used tactically to build up the winner in celebration of their achievement. Predictably, this was shared by said winner on their personal account. It was also jumped on by a keen-eyed internal comms person, who got it shared on the company’s social profile. This got it on the radar of huge swathes of employees within the target account, and was also responsible for igniting some follow-on content in the company’s internal comms (newsletter and website).

This was a really strong foundation of awareness to build content and other campaigns on top of as part of a strategic relationship building.

social ABM

You get what you pay for

Account-based advertising can be attacked in a number of different ways now depending on the platform.

Even with stripped back post-GDPR targeting options, you can still create Facebook ad campaigns using relevant interests that correlate with your respective product/service, or target people who have their current workplace as the company you want to engage with.

Retargeting is part of the mix, but clearly that’s not going to be too useful early on as part of an account-based marketing campaign.

LinkedIn weren't only on the ABM gravy train early, they were practically driving it. Now a relatively mature commercial offering, a Premium account will be a minimum for getting off and running with your land-and-expand strategy. Sales Navigator can also add some interesting account insights and analysis into the mix too for just a little more coin per year.

It’s also worth pointing out that LinkedIn has a strong account-targeting game too on the ads front - their sponsored content can easily be put in front of individual companies, or groups of companies.

This means you can supply much needed ‘air cover’ using personalized ads on LinkedIn and then support that with a well thought out and refined process of building engagement with the contacts inside the organization in search of that initial ‘land’. Awesome!

Content that matters

Social is all about video and imagery these days. Crafting specific content for an individual organization, or small group of organizations works extremely well when social media is the destination channel.

From videos that work on specific pains that you know an organization is facing, through to bespoke infographics that sets out in a brutal us vs. them fashion the respective strengths of your solution when compared to the one they’re using currently.

The sky's the limit in terms of personalization nowadays, and you can test out different extremes to get the right blend for your brand. It’s an approach that I’ve seen work well for a number of tech brands now.

And that’s that

Account-based social as part of a wider ABM approach is still in its infancy. There are few practicing it as a specific methodology, and their learnings from any experimentation even sparser.

This means if, like me, you’re a B2B marketer that thrives on getting ahead of the competition, you could get some incredible results with a firm focus on it. So what are you waiting for, get cracking today!

Author's avatar

By Daley Robinson

Daley is the Marketing Director at midland-based ABM agency Inflowing. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn

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