In today’s economy, B2B companies that want the competitive edge must pay attention to social marketing. You might think, “Sure, using LinkedIn makes sense, but what about Facebook? Twitter? Instagram?” The answer is “Yes” to all of them!
Social gives a tactical advantage to B2B companies. It connects you with your customers, creates conversations, and can increase the speed of sales and lead generation. There is one caveat, though – B2B social marketing works a little differently than for B2C companies. Let’s take a look at why every B2B advertiser should use social and how it can drive your brand and business forward.
The Human Side of Business
Companies may send the checks, but humans make the buying decisions. Unless you’re the only game in town, B2B companies need to connect with buyers and decision-makers just like a B2C company needs to connect directly with its consumers. People buy from businesses they like. In a 24/7 world, where can you find the person who makes those buying decisions? That’s right. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.
Here are a few ways B2B companies can start building relationships through Social Marketing:
- Consistently post on social pages with updates that are both educational and entertaining. For example, a company that sells food can post creative recipes including products they sell as ingredients (think Chex Mix and puppy chow).
- Respond to comments and reviews from disgruntled AND happy posters. While easing tension from dissatisfied customers is usually a company’s first priority, forming close relationships with brand advocates can be even more rewarding from a lifetime value perspective.
- Repurpose internal assets for your social media audience. Team photos, impressive business results, contest victories, and industry conference pictures can all turn into engaging content with the right messaging.
Connecting With your Customers
The scale, reach and sheer volume of social offers makes social media an amazing opportunity for every business, but success in these platforms does come with risk. Get the audience wrong or offer the wrong type of content and the campaign could fail.
In B2B social, we don’t worry about attracting the biggest audience; we aim to reach the key decision makers on each social platform. Ideally, a B2B marketer will hone in on a very distinct audience that’s not too broad and not too narrow. Layering multiple targeting methods is good, but too much layering can shrink the audience to such a small size that there isn’t enough volume to perform well.
Here’s the next possible pitfall: Each platform needs its own content type, even if your target audience fits the same profile. LinkedIn users appreciate long-form content that’s very different from the 120-character posts with links that Twitter followers expect. With Facebook, you’d better have eye-catching images and short, direct content. Instagram and Pinterest, however, are all about eye-catching images!
Whatever you do, avoid this big social No-No. Never, ever take one message and broadcast it across every platform.
Increase the Speed of Your Sales Funnel
When evaluating the success of your social marketing, remember that social is special. It plays by a different set of rules than other marketing channels. Without a separate set of metrics for social marketing, you might turn off tactics that drive downstream activity and business without knowing it.
Positive attribution models give credit to channels that drive activity leading to hot leads and sales. It’s a linear model of measurement. Of course, social marketing doesn’t operate in a linear fashion. Last-click and time-decay models lead to a lot less love for social.
Social is a key part of the marketing conversion path but is often not the last click before converting. Build your marketing attribution model so you can track beyond last-click all the way to final conversion to fully understand the role social plays in driving conversions. This data can also help you understand which ads perform the best, allowing you to hone your messaging and grease the wheels of your sales process.
Social marketing typically drives brand awareness and acts as the first touch-point for potential customers, but remarketing can turn this medium into a powerful sales closer. By re-engaging past visitors to your website, you can help nudge potential customers to return to your site and complete a sale they previously abandoned.
Having trouble getting people to your site? Try offering some free content through social media. A compelling case study or video link can be shared on Twitter or Facebook and drive people directly to your website. If it’s YouTube or LinkedIn content, try to include a “call to action” to visit your main site for more information.
If you want to take it one step further, try offering a whitepaper or free quote on your site that requires an email address or some contact information to view. You can then re-engage this interested prospect with social media ads, moving them into your sales funnel.
Social Marketing – Where to Start
Start with your current customers. Find out where they spend their time and what made them choose you in the first place. Then, assemble your social marketing plan based on these shared characteristics. With targeting options ranging from demographics and location to interests and affinities, social ads can reach an even more targeted audience than most marketing platforms. Once you understand what your customers have in common, you can set up your social marketing campaign to grow that audience segment with tailored ads and relevant targeting.
Still looking for help getting started? Be Found Online has a team of experts who have helped big and small clients reach their social marketing goals. Contact us today so we can help you get your social media strategy off the ground!