The Future of B2B Sales – Part 3: Why B2B Social Media Is Imperative to Sales Success
If your company is in the B2B sphere, you may believe that marketing on social media is not for you.
You are not alone in your thinking. This article from Forbes states…
“The first reaction to social media marketing by B2B companies is often doubted — until they see the increases in lead generation and even brand new sales channels that sprout from these efforts. The reality is that not being on social media is hindering your growth”
The 5 reasons why B2B companies should not ignore social media are as follows:
- It helps in tapping into your customers’ emotions
- It allows you to remain present in your customers’ minds without being invasive
- It promotes your thought leadership
- It gives you the chance to gain your customers’ trust
- It allows your company to leverage video content
As you can see, if you are not yet on social media, the time for your B2B company to begin is now. But where do you start, and what social media channels will deliver the greatest results?
The following statistics show which social media channels B2B marketers are using:
As you can see, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are the main places B2B social media marketers hang their hats. However, we can almost hear you thinking, “But what if I spend all the time it takes to set up social media accounts and put my marketing team to work, then nothing happens?” Have no fear. We would never suggest you set up social media accounts and then not show you how to use them to your best advantage.
We’d first like to direct you to this article. As the introduction of that blog post states, “Some business owners still think that just being on social media is enough. But any marketer worth his or her salt will tell you that’s totally false.”
Basically, if you are not using your social media channels effectively, you might as well not have them.
We strongly suggest you read the aforementioned blog post in its entirety, but for your convenience, below are some of the major highlights from the post:
- How brands such as Starbucks and Nike have used their logos to create major brand awareness, and not just on social media, but across all marketing channels
- Why you must catch the attention of your B2B prospects immediately since the average attention span is 8 seconds
- The urgency of being consistently active on your social media channel
Once you have created a strong visual brand, your next most important consideration is discovering exactly who your B2B social media audience is and streamlining your social media marketing campaigns to reach those people. Where a lot of B2B marketers go wrong starting out on social media is being too widespread and general.
A great resource to help you avoid the trap of generalization and hone in on your target social media audience is this article from ClickZ. As you can see from the following quote from that article, ClickZ totally agrees with our point about being too widespread and general in your social media marketing campaigns.
“Many built audiences so wide that, slowly but surely, they lost sight of who they were trying to reach.”
The ClickZ article offers the following 4 ways to keep your social strategy in line with your company’s marketing persona:
- Choose your metrics wisely – Rather than just focusing on vanity metrics, consider those that have more of an impact, such as your click-through rate or engagement rate.
- Run previous social media posts past a focus group – Diving into old posts can give you insight into the attitudes and behaviors of specific users. Ask specific questions and encourage focus group members to explain their reasoning.
- Refine avatars with focus group and platform insights – Once you have a better idea of what your audience likes and dislikes about your existing social content, use it to expand on your avatars.
- Plan your paid and organic posts together – Each week, gather your team together to plan out your sponsored, boosted, and organic posts. Target them toward the avatars you refined. Further, make sure there isn’t any messaging conflicts between posts.
Another major thing to keep in mind as your business strives to create successful and effective B2B social media campaigns is the drastic impact of millennials.
Individuals in this age bracket are known as “digital natives” because they can’t remember a time without the internet and mobile devices. They grew up using the technology, so it’s their go-to resource for almost every aspect of their lives, including the way they make purchases.
You rarely find a millennial who is not on social media.
Never make the mistake of discounting their influence when it comes to B2B decision-making either. This blog post notes that…
“According to the 2017 B2B Millennials Report by Merit, Inc, which surveyed 2000 employed millennials across the U.S., 73% of millennials are involved in the decision-making process, and 33% are the sole decision makers. And that will continue to increase in the years to come.
If your website still markets primarily to high-level executives, and if your sales team assumes they’re the decision makers, it’s critical that you reassess. According to the Google/Millward Brown Digital B2B Path to Purchase study, which analyzed 13 months of clickstream data and a survey of 3000 B2B researchers, the younger millennials are often doing the initial online research and then providing recommendations to their supervisors. While the top dogs often have final say, 81% of non-C-suiters have a say in the purchases made, and more and more non-C-suiters can make the final sign off as well.”
If the only thing you did was apply the advice provided in this post, you could still pretty much guarantee yourself B2B sales success on social media…
However, if you don’t have time to handle the B2B social media marketing efforts required for your business, we can definitely help you with that.
If you haven’t already done so, check out Part 1 and Part 2 in this series for ways to increase your chances of B2B sales success.