Marketers tend to think of social media as a way to reach a vast world of consumers out there – and it is – but it is also an indispensable method for reaching other businesses. That means that B2B companies also need to be thinking about how they can use social media for marketing purposes.
In the information age, where people seek to educate themselves about products through online research, it is more important than ever for marketers to reach potential buyers early in the purchasing process – and social media can be a big help in drawing, informing, and qualifying leads.Most B2B companies are actually already in a good position to utilize social media as a key part of an inbound marketing strategy, given that they possess expertise in their subject matter, have experience in content creation, and are typically dealing with a sales cycle based on relationships. However, B2B social media marketing can be a minefield full of mistakes waiting to be made, so you need to approach it wisely.
Here are a few of our top tips for improving your business-to-business social media marketing strategy:
Devote Plenty of Time to Your Social Media Strategy
Your social media marketing can’t be a mere afterthought. To do it well is going to take longer than you might suppose, so allocate plenty of time in your schedule for your social media efforts. To find that time, you may need to look at your other marketing activities and see what is currently failing to generate results and can therefore be cut.
Bring Together a Great Marketing Team
Successfully marketing to today’s B2B customers, particularly through social media, requires skills and knowledge far different from that of yesteryear. Keep that in mind when forming your B2B social media marketing team. Bring on people who are great at telling compelling stories in an online-friendly format, who know how to analyse the data, and are prepared to always be altering and improving their strategies for a constantly-evolving medium.
Build Your Social Media Following
Understandably, B2B marketers often concentrate their efforts on creating those great, high-quality leads that result in a sale, but the internet is more of a “high volume” business. In other words, you need to make sure you’re reaching as many people as possible – and that means you have to build a social media following. You can do this by placing social media links on your website and by emailing current vendors and customers encouraging them to connect with your company on social media. Sure, many of your followers won’t become customers, but they may very well share your content with someone who will.
All of that talk about maximising reach does not mean that you don’t still need to focus on lead generation! The point of B2B social media marketing is to generate leads, so you absolutely must provide opportunities for lead conversion in your content. The best way to do this is to include a CTA (call-to-action) for a lead conversion form when you post updates on your social media and in any other place online where you get social media traffic.
Create Content That Focuses on Your Customer’s Needs
So you’ve created a social media page for the purposes of B2B marketing – now you should write a bunch of content about your products, right? No, not exactly. Sure, you will need to discuss your products here and there, but that shouldn’t be your focus. You want to build a content marketing strategy that will appeal to customers who have problems and needs that must be met, sympathizes with those problems and offers solutions (especially if your product is a part of the solution!).
Tailor Your Content to Each Social Network
Don’t think that you can establish your company’s presence on several different social media networks, and then just plug the same stream of content into each one. Each network has its own “flavour,” and your content must be shaped accordingly. For instance, Instagram and Facebook are more visually-oriented and are therefore great for sharing photos and video content. Twitter, on the other hand, is best for providing punchy, short bits of information and links.
Determine Your Return on Investment
It’s exciting to see likes, comments, and new followers when looking at your business’s social media channels – and it’s also tempting to think that an abundance of these things equals a good return on investment (ROI). But those really aren’t proper metrics for determining how many customers you are creating through your B2B social media marketing efforts. Instead, you need to gather data on the cost of customer acquisition and total lifetime value for your business. Those are the crucial metrics that will allow you to examine your ROI for each social media channel.
Social media is just one technique that forms part of a successful inbound marketing strategy. If you want to know more about inbound and how to apply it to your business, we’d love to help.
Are you interested in generating more new leads from your B2B social media? Download our free beginner’s guide: