3 Steps for B2B Social Media Marketing Success for Your Business
Social media has always been seen as the playground for B2C companies. While it’s true that many of the top brands leveraging social media operate in the B2C segment (such as Nike and Starbucks), it doesn’t mean that B2B companies don’t have a place in the social media arena.
There are companies of all sizes that have already tasted success with B2B social media marketing, and continue to grow as a result of tapping into the major social networks for more customers.
However, it’s easy to find a travel company making the most of Twitter or Facebook in terms of marketing and customer service, but what about a residential management company? Or a trade staffing agency? Or a PR firm? Take any B2B company that you can think of. The question is: can it successfully tap into the world of social media and grow as much as a B2C company?
The answer is a definite yes. If you look around, you’ll find hardcore B2B companies killing it on social media. Whether it’s IBM on Twitter, Cisco on Instagram or Intel on Facebook.
The problem that many B2B companies often face is a lack of knowledge and an awareness of social media. Many of them still believe social media is not for them, which is costing them sales. Or they don’t have the right staff/resources to run their social media campaigns.
It’s important to keep in mind that if a B2C company that sells fashion products can use social media to market its products, then a B2B company dealing in office supplies has an equal shot at it. But in order to see real-world results, such companies need to embrace B2B social media marketing with full throttle. And stop relying solely on old-age marketing tactics such as attending networking events, cold calling and direct mail.
Getting great results with B2B social media marketing is not rocket science. In fact, it can be as effective as B2C social media marketing, as long as the fundamental goals are not ignored.
Any B2B company can grow awareness about its products and build a stronger brand by strategically leveraging popular social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
So, if you think it won’t work for your B2B company, then think again. By not jumping on the social media bandwagon, you are in fact leaving money on the table.
Omobono, a global B2B creative and technology agency, conducted research that found B2B businesses can see real results with social media. And if done right, B2B social media marketing can prove to be the best marketing technique to promote their products and services.
Omobono basically surveyed 115 marketing experts working in B2B companies and found that a whopping 79% of them felt social media is the most effective channel for marketing. What’s more, 38% of them said if they had access to extra budget for the coming year, they would want to invest it into B2B social media marketing.
Even though the data shows that B2B companies are eagerly investing in social media, there is a need to focus on increasing revenue.
While there is no doubt that social media is a powerful marketing method, it has to be done effectively to achieve a high return on investment.
For successful social media marketing, a B2B company needs to take a strategic approach and execute their campaign with precision. Below we’ve outlined some steps that are crucial to create a profitable B2B social media marketing campaign.
Step #1: Define Your Marketing Objectives
Without defining the right objectives, you’ll find it difficult to make your B2B social media marketing campaign profitable. Why? Because your return on investment depends on setting marketing goals that contribute to your company’s overall growth.
Having measurable goals that are relevant to your big or small business will help you create a winning B2B social media marketing strategy. You need to ensure that each goal you set is smart and measurable in nature so that gauging success becomes simpler.
Every decision that your company makes towards getting more prospects and converting them into customers should reflect these goals. And more importantly, how you plan to achieve them.
Also, companies using B2B social media marketing need to realise the importance of gaining visibility in the competitive social landscape. Social news feeds today are crowded, and your company has to stand out from the crowd without losing focus of its core objectives.
Let’s look into a few objectives that you can consider for your B2B marketing company.
1. Generate Targeted Leads
It’s a fact that B2B companies operate differently than B2C companies in more than one way. The techniques that work well for a B2C business, may not be that viable for a B2B.
For instance, B2B clients are known for being more likely to make bigger investments, which brings down their chances of impulse buying. So, if your B2B company wants to leverage social media for marketing, it makes sense to do so for lead generation rather than sales.
If you’re a business that thinks long-term, and if you truly want to get a healthy ROI from social media, then your top priority could be about generating new, quality leads. Above all, each lead that you generate via social media gives you the confidence and direction to gain even more leads in the future.
Studies have shown that any businesses (B2B or B2C) that use social media to generate leads can be in the position to earn 24% more revenue. Whether you choose to use LinkedIn for generating leads or Twitter, depends on the kind of business you are running and where your audience tends to hang out the most.
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Capturing leads and nurturing prospective buyers can be via social media, as long as you do the following effectively:
- Build a strong, positive network and grow your reputation
- Add a clear call to actions to your social media pages, profiles and posts
- Improve your brand and focus on establishing yourself as a thought leader
- Leverage paid ads to consistently generate quality leads
- Track and measure your social media performance/progress
With B2B marketing, it’s important to take a unique approach in order to generate high-converting leads and achieve a bigger ROI.
2. Build Your Brand
Your social media optimisation efforts can make a positive impact on your company’s brand development. Being on a social network such as LinkedIn is not enough to enhance your brand. Your business needs to be active when it comes to protecting its reputation and giving away value. One wrong step on social media can diminish your brand’s value.
Here are three efficient ways to enhance your brand and get the most out of your B2B social media marketing efforts:
I. Create an Online Brand Persona: Similar to a persona of your ideal customer, an online persona of your brand will take you a long way. Creating an online brand persona helps your prospects and customers connect to your core values on social media, which affects the overall results you get. In order to be successful online brand persona, focus on the voice you will be using on social media. Keep your long-term vision in mind when doing so.
II. Have a Crisis Management Plan Ready: There may be times when you’ll see the unhappy side of your customers on social media. This is when your brand’s reputation can go for a toss if no steps are taken to resolve the issues. When you have a crisis management plan ready, you’ll be in the position to deal with a problem when it arises.
III. Connect with Media: Connecting with your prospects and customers is an obvious step when you’re using social media. But being a B2B company, you shouldn’t stop there. In other words, you also need to interact with bloggers and journalists who are actively writing or creating content in your niche. By using social media for reaching out the right kind of media and building strong relationships with relevant media contacts, you will be able to get on their radar.
3. Offer Better Customer Service
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are great for improving your customer service and gives better value to your B2B customers. Social media gives you the opportunity to see how your customers are interacting with your content and what they are saying about your brand. By taking the right steps, many customer problems can be resolved without having them escalated further.
Here’s how you can do it effectively:
A. Go Beyond the Major Social Networks
Where are your customers hanging out? What websites are they using to talk about your brand and your competitors? You need to do a bit of homework to find out what your customers are spending time on, so that you can connect with them. Just because you’re running a B2B business does not mean your focus should only be on LinkedIn.
Sometimes you need to go beyond the traditional social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. For example, if you’re running a travel business, you may want to keep a tab on your customers by being active on a website like Flyertalk. This is the site your travel customers would be discussing everything airline related. Join these discussions to learn the concerns of your customers and come up with solutions to make them happy.
Regardless of the industry you are in, you should try and learn what your customers are talking about, before it’s too late. The more you study and participate in these discussions, the better it is.
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B. Keep Monitoring Your Online Reputation
The best part about social media is it allows you manage your reputation. By monitoring the major social networks and forums, you’ll not only be helping out customers in need but also avoid any negative effect on your reputation.
In order to make the most of social media in terms of customer service, you need to use professional tools that let you track your mentions and listen to customer queries aired. You can start by setting up Google Alerts, and later on move to a more premium tool when you’re ready. Remember, a tool is only as useful as you make it.
C. Respond the Right Way
An important rule of serving customers via social media is to that you take care of their issues without making the situation ugly. In other words, you need to deal with customers the right way instead of getting into heated arguments. Since your discussion is happening on a public platform, you want to avoid any unnecessary debates.
Most of the time the issue can be resolved without any verbal spats. Sometimes the customer is genuinely wrong, and this is when you deal with the issue privately and resolve it quickly. Try to cooperate with the customer as much as you can, even if they are difficult. Responding the right way is the key to building better business relationships. No matter how annoyed you may be now you never know when someone will be useful to you, so respond smartly.
Your image and brand are critical, and you need to safeguard those by showing everyone that you truly care for your customers. Any prospective customers monitoring your discussions will be in a better position to do business with you.
At Englander Davis, we are experienced in handling tough situations when it comes to reputation management. Contact us to find out more.
Step #2: Identify Your Target Audience
Social media is made up of diverse people, so not everybody is going to be interested in the content you share. Which is why it’s important to reach out to an audience that connects to you and your content. You want businesses who pay attention and listen to your advice. Being in the B2B segment, this not only helps you build a list of followers, but also lets you create real authority and a positive brand in your niche.
Identifying your target audience is the first step to sharing information with businesses who have interest in your area of expertise and possibly have goals that connect to your product or service. If you manage to build a relationship with an audience that shares the same level of passion about your industry, then the updates you share with them will get even more exposure.
The last thing you want is to deliver your content to an audience that is least interested in what you’re sharing. And that can easily happen if you don’t know who exactly you’re targeting.
You want your business to deliver value to other businesses because it helps you gain influence in your niche and increases your reach. By adding more value to your social media content, you will slowly but steadily differentiate your business from other companies that are not putting the effort in B2B social media marketing.
1) Know Your Priorities
Your goals and your priorities shape up your marketing. Using social media to grow your business is what you’re aiming for, but how do you want to accomplish that? What do you want to get out of your B2B social media marketing? How do you plan to increase your business with the help of social media?
2) Analyse Your Competitors
Every healthy business has competition, and so do you. Which is why you should spend some time analysing the social behaviour of your competitors. Find out what and how they are interacting with their customers and utilising each social networking platform. You also get an opportunity to understand the kind of content they’re creating, and which of it is helping them generate engagement.
Your aim is to fully analyse and grasp the social media tactics of your competitors so that you can do better in those areas. For instance, if your competitor’s posting frequency is low, you could ramp up yours by sharing high quality content more regularly. Everything that you learn from your competitors will help you improve your own B2B strategy. Which will have an impact on the overall results you achieve from your B2B social media marketing efforts.
3) Decide on What Content to Share
If you already have a content marketing strategy and content development team, you already know what type of content you will be producing for social media. But in order to find your audience and make B2B social media marketing work for you, you need to know what type of platforms will be receptive to your content. The clearer you are about this, the better results you will see.
For instance, if you publish a case study in the form of a long-form blog post, then it would make sense to distribute it through Twitter and LinkedIn. On the other hand, if you have a video version of the same case study, you should share it via YouTube and Facebook. As long as you know your audience is there on a certain platform, there’s no reason to not share your content with them.
4) Create and Assign Personas
Knowing your audience is not enough, you also need to put them in appropriate categories or “personas” according to their needs/requirements, their overall buying behaviour or based on the different kinds of responses. This sorting out is crucial to serve your customers better and give them an experience like never before. This step allows you to create a specific strategy for each customer persona you create. Which in turn improves the chances of getting more sales.
Step #3: Choose the Right Social Media Platform
Every social media network is different. And the people that use it have different interests and priorities. When your B2B company experiments with social media marketing, it’s important to understand the importance of selecting the right social media platform.
Your social media efforts need to be directed in the right direction because unlike a B2C company that deals with the general public, you work with companies and businesses. Which makes your choice of social media platform a crucial part of your B2B social media marketing strategy.
Even though LinkedIn is a pure B2B channel, Facebook ads can help you get similar results. Why? Because Facebook has two billion monthly active users. And there is every chance that your B2B audience logs into Facebook as much as they do on LinkedIn, if not more.
Your social media efforts should focus on not only forming the right marketing objectives but also on building a strong relationship with your target audience. Which can only happen when you are focused in the right direction.
How do you do that? By working on both, leveraging the right social network and as well understanding the behaviours of your target audience. And since these keep evolving, it’s crucial to move with changing times.
For example, take the industrial companies and manufacturers that are using social media for their advantage. Many B2B companies in this sector are using videos to reach their marketing goals. Which are being uploaded to video focused social media networks such as YouTube. These sales and marketing videos are helping add to the bottom line of companies by helping with demonstration of products and the functionality of each equipment.
When selecting a platform, it is important to assess how it can be used to reach the organisation’s main objectives and build an audience. Instead of starting with the question, “What platform is the best?”, you should ask, “What platform aligns the best with our marketing objectives?”
When talking about B2B social media marketing success, the focus is usually on how amazing the results have been. Or how the B2B company managed to make the most of social media marketing at a limited budget. But it’s important to understand that these results are possible only due to effective preparation and a flawless execution of the campaign.
If you need help with your B2B social media marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Englander Davis team. Using our vast social media marketing experience, we will help you formulate a B2B social media marketing strategy that aligns with your company objectives.
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