For many B2B businesses, the question of how best to market themselves on social media is a key one.
When social media first came on the scene, it was mostly thought of as a tool that could be used to reach a big audience. Many companies ended up learning the hard way that if they were to use it successfully, communication via such channels needed to be a two-way street.
LinkedIn was a gamechanger for companies. Not least of which because of its influence on recruitment, but also thanks to the role it has taken as an essential lead generation tool.
Today marketing teams and B2B sales are still getting to grips with how best to use social media to help them land more sales. And it is about more than just being able to produce a comprehensive B2B social media lead generation strategy. That is just the start. Getting the entire team on board and driving positive ROI are also essential elements that need consideration.
Here, we are going to take a look at the broader issue and will be offering some expert advice on how best to approach the whole B2B social selling game.
WHY SHOULD WE INVEST IN A SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN AND STRATEGY?
Customer behavior is changing rapidly. We are all now used to use smartphones and other gadgets on a daily basis, to search for information through different channels.
We were surrounded by information all the time – and this is not just true for end consumers. B2B customers are people too, who are likely to be engaging with social media in one way or another.
The goals teams set for using social media as part of their overall marketing and sales strategies will differ. But whether you want to generate leads or merely maintain a presence, you need to have a solid social media lead generation plan worked out.
70% of B2B customers are influenced by information they have found on social media. So, the question you need to ask yourself is – are they finding your data, or your competitor’s?
The role of social media for the B2B customer can’t be ignored. So if you have not already put a plan into action, it is time to act.
WHAT IS A GOOD B2B SOCIAL MEDIA TACTIC FOR GETTING SALES?
If you have an effective sales force with ambitious targets, then spending your time on social media may at first seem counterproductive. But it can bring excellent results if used well.
The biggest mistake most B2B businesses make is to go for the sale directly. But that approach does not work. Even if the prospect is the perfect fit and you have got the ideal solution for their problems, direct selling in this environment will turn them off.
But if you are not using social sites to sell, then they are just a waste of time.
The best B2B social media tactics to have is one of the following:
- Acknowledges who your customers are;
- How they want to be talked to;
- Where you can find them.
Almost all customers will do extensive online research before talking to a sales person directly. If they cannot find much online, then they’ll most likely pass your company by and check out a competitor who has a bigger online presence.
It is a crude example, but if your target customers use Facebook and happen to love cat photos, then that is your way in. You know where you will find them and now have a way to engage with them that will certainly get their attention!
A great strategy for any B2B sales organization to follow on social media should contain:
- A plan for that social platforms will be used actively, that will be utilized re-actively, and that not at all;
- Well written and filled out profiles;
- The person(s) who will be responsible for adding content, engaging with the audience and generally being the bridge between the outside world and the company;
- Objectives and goals;
- Ways to get buy-in and involvement internally from the rest of the team;
- High-quality content.
This is how you’re presenting yourself to the rest of the world. It should give an impression of what your company is like and the type of people who work for you.
People like to do business with people, and social media is the perfect tool to promote the personal side of your company. It can give prospects a peek behind the corporate brand wall.
Your social media profiles are what will help bring people to your website and can also help keep your existing contacts engaged with you. They’re a bit like a permanent online market stall that is showing off the social, human side of your company.
WHICH SOCIAL PLATFORMS SHOULD YOU USE?
There’re tons of platforms out there to choose from, some of the largest and most popular being LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The question is, which ones are going to be best for you to use actively?
For B2B organizations, LinkedIn generally makes the most sense and is becoming a must-have. Using the Sales Navigator function, anyone involved in sales can convert it into a powerful lead generation tool. Especially when it’s combined with other outreach programs, such as Lead Forensics, that can tell you exactly who is on your websiteright now.
The less obvious choice for B2B companies is Facebook, but B2B companies can have huge success in engaging with an audience here, particularly when using retargeting.
Again, it is important to stress the fact that on Facebook – like any other social site – nobody wants to be sold to.
Twitter, while having far fewer users, is still very popular. And if the audience you want to reach us on Twitter, then you should be too. Or at the very least, consider using it to help enhance your SEO efforts.
As well as the main platforms, there are tons of smaller niche social networks which could be perfect for you. Start by looking for groups and communities where people come together to discuss specific topics that relate to your business.
One thing to think about when you are considering platforms in which you will actively manage, and which you’ll have a presence on and only react when you need to. For instance, you might be active and be going for engagement on LinkedIn, making use of all its tools, while you only keep a low profile on Twitter, simply monitoring it for mentions.
WHO WILL MANAGE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA?
The next important question is who will be responsible for creating and maintaining your social presence, as well as actively pursuing a strategic approach – such as lead generation.
If you are serious about using social media marketing to the full (and you should be), you need to have at least one dedicated in-house person who is responsible for it.
You may start off with the help of an agency, who can get things off the ground for you and help you handle the steep learning curve. But it’ll always work best and most effectively with an in-house person at the center of the process. This is an issue we discuss in more detail in our thoughts on outsourcing social media article.
OBJECTIVES AND GOALS
Lots of the blog posts we have already signposted throughout this piece have some great advice on goal setting. Make sure you start by asking ‘why’ – why do you want to use social media? What do you want to achieve?
Make sure you set goals and know how you are going to track and measure your success about them. What do you want to put in place from the start to ensure this happens?
While direct selling does not work well on social media, building and engaging with a target audience does. This is where your aims should lie.
IT IS A TEAM EFFORT
One challenge that has traditionally been faced by sales-focused organizations is getting buy-in from everyone in the company and their active involvement.
Yes, you can put standalone campaigns together and run them via your social channels. But what will make them work even better is for you to be consistently active and to build engagement over time. Not just when there is a new product launch, for example.
Content marketing and social media marketing go hand in hand. The information that sits at the heart of the content, shaping and informing it, needs to come from the wider team. It is their expertise and the experience they have with customers that will help you create high-quality content that the target audience will find interesting and relevant.
To achieve this, you first need to get team buy-in.
Simply sending out an internal memo saying you’re now on social media and asking for support isn’t going to do anything. It is just not enough.
The best way to get employees involved is to hold an internal workshop where you educate them on exactly what the company is doing on social media, why and the role that everyone within the company has to play in its success.
At the other end of the scale you also sometimes get organizations that have control issues. If every single tweet needs to be approved by three departments before it can be posted, you are going to have a problem. Work on resolving that process before you get started, so you give yourself a fighting chance of success.
You need to be sharing and producing engaging content if you are to make an impact. But it can be easier said than done – especially if you work in a more mundane B2B industry.
If you have not done any content production yet, other than perhaps for advertising, then it is a good idea to engage the help of an agency (or at the very least a freelancer) to help you get the ball rolling.
High-quality content relies on you finding the right message and the right voice with which to deliver it. First of all, you need to be clear what the story is you are trying to tell.
Another aspect is quality control. Always let at least one person check text and visuals before they are shared online. Work with a professional who knows how to create appealing content.
CREATE VALUABLE CONTENT TO EDUCATE AND ATTRACT YOUR AUDIENCE
Social media is a great platform for brands to provide bite-sized, yet valuable content to their audience. This content should be engaging to your audience, and compelling enough to entice them into making a purchase.
In addition to promoting your blog posts on social media, you can also create bite-sized informational content that will provide value to your social media audience.
Ideally, you should provide how-to content and guides. The goal is to provide clients with the kind of information that will attract them to try your product.
For instance, Betty Crocker uses their Facebook page to share short recipes and videos as a way to better inform their followers. These recipes are simple enough to attract viewers to try them, and use the ingredients from Betty Crocker.
These’re some of the most effective ways your brand can increase sales by using social media. As you can see, these tips mainly involve winning the trust of your target audience through other people — influencers and clients alike.
You also need to ensure that your brand is highly visible to a relevant audience. And take advantage of the opportunity to use content that will
entice, engage, and compel potential clients to try your services or products.
It is also crucial that you make it easy to purchase your products through social media platforms when the option is available. The purpose is to minimize any hassles or steps that might dissuade people from making a purchase.
Got any questions about these tips or any tips to add? Let us know in the comments below.