Social Media Marketing Trends 2023: The State of B2B Social Report
In 2022, as the economy tightened and budgets shrunk, B2B companies looked to their number one salesperson: brand.
As classic lead generation tactics failed to produce MQLs, B2B marketers focused on brand for the growth they needed. And if 2022 was the year of the brand, social marketing was the favored channel to build those brands.
At Oktopost, we’re always looking for innovative ways to use social media and how B2B marketers are finding success. So we took a look back at 2022 to better understand where the best opportunities were for B2B companies, and what we can expect in 2023.
What we’ve reported:
- Which social networks B2B marketers use most often
- Which kinds of posts earned the most engagement
- Which networks offered the most social conversions
Where Do B2B Marketers Post the Most Often?
LinkedIn is the reigning champion of B2B social networks. In fact, 68% of all social posts made over the first half of 2022 were to LinkedIn.
A powerful channel for corporate accounts and advocacy alike, LinkedIn is a favorite for B2B organizations. B2B organizations posted on LinkedIn 2.5 times more frequently than they did on Twitter.
The scale of how central LinkedIn is to a B2B organization’s social strategy can be seen when we compare the frequency of posts to other social channels. B2B marketers posted to LinkedIn nearly four times as much as they did on Facebook, and a whopping 18 times more frequently than Instagram.
When looking at the data visualized in a bar chart, you can truly see the scale of how LinkedIn eclipsed other platforms for B2B marketers in 2022.
Is LinkedIn Truly the End-all-Be-all for B2B?
We could guess that maybe LinkedIn and Twitter were better for B2B in general. While there’s truth in that thought, it’s a bit more nuanced than that.
While LinkedIn posts were more frequent than Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts, the social channels that matter most for your company will ultimately depend on where your target audience is, and how well you use each individual social network.
We also need to consider YouTube. While posts were lower on this social network, it doesn’t mean B2B organizations weren’t investing in video marketing. Au contraire, many B2B organizations leaned heavily into video as part of their social strategies, but made the shorter, vertical style TikTok and Instagram Reels videos.
Classically longer format, it’s more likely that YouTube videos were published less frequently because they take a bit longer to produce. What’s more, while YouTube is one of the most popular search-engine-gone-social sites in the world, there’s much more configuration and consistency needed when publishing video content here.
Where B2B Social Measurement Gets Tricky
It’s important to note posting frequency for many of these channels.LinkedIn’s algorithm prioritizes one post per day (24-hour period), and will actually display your posts less frequently if you publish more than that.
While LinkedIn usually caps out at once per day, and Twitter several times per day, most other social channels should expect a far fewer volume of posts.
Oktopost Pro Tip for Posting Frequency
LinkedIn, and to a lesser extent Twitter, will always be important for B2B because of the kind of interaction that happens on that platform. In these two networks, we find like-minded people are more ready to have a real discussion about the things impacting their work and careers.
This deep interaction makes these channels ideal for B2B, where social selling can help B2B marketers and sales professionals to create those strong relationships with prospects and customers alike.
However, a great social media strategy in 2023 will be diverse and span other networks as well. Focus on what makes sense for your business, and where your customers spend their time.
Social Engagement by Post: Has Video’s Crown Been Usurped in 2022?
We knew which networks B2B organizations preferred, but which posts were really working? We decided to take a look at which social posts got the most engagement in 2022.
We measured social posts and placed them into one of six categories:
- Video: Social posts containing a video
- Text: Social posts containing text-only
- Gallery: Social posts containing several images, like carousel posts
- Image: Social posts containing just one image
- GIF: Social posts containing a GIF
- Link: Social posts containing a link
The Rise of Gallery Posts
We’d guessed that video would have the most engagement of any social network, but surprisingly, gallery posts (so carousel-style posts) out-performed every other kind of post – including video marketing.
In fact, gallery posts earned 2.4 times more engagement than the average earned by any social post in 2022.
Of all types of social posts, link and GIF posts earned the least engagement of any others. In fact, gallery posts earned 8.3 times more engagement than posts with links, and 7.2 times those with GIFs.
Why do links and GIFs lack performance?
GIFs likely underperformed due to a lack of use in general. Of all post types, GIFs were considerably less frequent. It’s worth noting that B2B organizations made 44 times more social posts with links than they did with GIFs – and both earned nearly the same amount of average engagement.
For links, we can tie this directly back to the LinkedIn platform. The LinkedIn platform prioritizes social posts with engagement. Those social posts that garner reactions and deep discussion – for which the platform is known – will be those that make the most impact.
The Place of Video in 2022 Strategies
Despite being outshone by gallery posts in the first half of 2022, video did earn the second-highest amount of engagement for B2B organizations. Video earned 1.5 times more engagement than the average amount of social post engagement in the first half of the year.
Compared to a post with a single image, video social posts earn over 2 times more engagement on average. When stacked against a simple text social post, that engagement shakes out to 1.7 times higher.
Oktopost Pro Tip for Content Type
In 2023, you should absolutely be testing carousel-style gallery posts if you haven’t already. The engagement potential is far too high to leave them out of your social strategy.
If you’re using GIFs as a tip-toe into the world of video social posts, it might be time to take the plunge. The gulf in engagement between GIF and video posts is significant and will likely widen over the next year.
Social Conversions: Which Channels Will Make the Biggest Impact on Your Bottom Line?
In Oktopost, we track conversions based on what our customers consider the most important. Therefore, if reaching a “Thank you” page or filling out a form is considered a conversion for our customers, that’s the way we count it too.
With such clear preferences in post type and network for B2B, we wanted to see exactly which networks were performing best at driving those conversions. So we looked at all of the posts in each network and divided them by the number of conversions we counted from those networks.
What we found was very interesting.
Considering that B2B marketers posted on LinkedIn 2.5 times more than any other social channel, it may not be surprising to learn that LinkedIn also earned the most conversions of any social channel.
However, what might be more notable is that despite B2B marketers posting half of the amount that they do on LinkedIn, Twitter had the highest conversion rate among social channels – 1.1 times higher than LinkedIn.
It’s worth noting that as you push out more content on any given channel, social or otherwise, you can expect conversion rate to drop. For example, if you only have four posts in a month on Facebook and one of them converts, you could say you have a 25% conversion rate. Without context, that can look a lot better than 100 LinkedIn posts with 20 conversions.
Clearly, that thinking can be flawed, as the sample size is too low.
However, with that theory, you could estimate that YouTube or Facebook would have the highest conversion rates. That wasn’t the case – proportionate to the number of posts that went out on Twitter, it still offered considerably more conversions. While Twitter accounted for little over a third of the number of LinkedIn posts by B2B companies, which is still a substantial amount, it still maintained a slightly higher conversion rate overall.
Oktopost Pro Tip for Social Conversions:
In B2B, LinkedIn is still king. However, don’t discount Twitter just yet, regardless of how volatile it is at the moment. The best way to future-proof your social strategy is to diversify your content across different networks that make sense for your company. You don’t need to be on everything – especially networks where your target audience isn’t present. But it does make sense to commit to two or three channels to maximize ROI.
Social Media Marketing Trends in 2023: What to Prioritize
Rounding out 2022, social networks are in an interesting position. However, success for B2B marketers will be found diversifying social content across a few different platforms.
Here’s what we’d focus on in the coming year:
- LinkedIn is still the king of social networks for B2B. However, other channels pose significant opportunities for a variety of different social strategies.
- Invest in creating gallery type posts for engagement. Gallery (carousel) posts and video posts earn the most engagement – test a mix of different content types for best results.
- While LinkedIn carries much of B2B strategy, Twitter delivers on conversions at nearly the same rate. While Twitter is in a strange place, it’s worth investing time into for generating social conversions.
With new and emerging social networks rising across the past few years, the core for B2B marketers is staying the same. However, marketers would be wise to test other networks classically reserved for B2C, and innovate in the ways they use them.
A great B2B social marketer will have a diverse strategy across a few networks, and publish varied kinds of content that are adapted per each network. This is the best way to ensure you’ll get the most out of your 2023 social strategy.
Data is great – but as always, prioritize strategies that work for your unique business. While data might show how others are using social media to boost their B2B marketing strategies, it’s important to think about what makes the most sense for you and your customers.