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The Case For Embracing B2B Social Marketing
If you've been sitting on the fence, the time to jump off is now. There are plenty of compelling reasons to stop worrying and love the social media.
Social media can no longer be ignored as a viable marketing tool no matter what your industry. Social marketing has been able to convert leads and customers with unprecedented power by creating a community of loyal brand ambassadors.
Social marketing is a powerful tool that is critical in B2B sales. B2B organizations are just beginning to embrace social and understand how to tie it back to their business objectives. Brands that don’t capitalize on it are handing the advantage to their competitors.
Google Plus content appears prominently in Google search results, and authorship images are even shown when users are logged in and the authors are in their circles. Twitter Chats are becoming a popular B2B conversational and lead generation tool, as well as an easy way to promote news, announcements and articles. Every business should have a LinkedIn company page to announce new hires, product launches and open positions.
Why You Need A B2B Social Life
• Social Media Is A Data Goldmine. With the right tools, social campaigns can be launched and measured immediately, while buyer’s social accounts will provide a wealth of information to help you tailor your approach and develop meaningful connections. This is why is why 68 percent of B2B marketers use social media to gain market insights (PDF), according to a Social Media Examiner study from 2012.
• Your Competitors Are Doing It In Some Capacity. In our online age, businesses are measured in part by their social media presence. The same Social Media Examiner report found 83 percent of B2B marketers use social media to increase brand visibility. If you don’t believe that, look up your competitors on Google Plus, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. You’ll see everything from product demos to news releases to team photos and executive blog posts.
• Your Buyers Are On There. If your typical buyer is a top executive, you might assume your targets are too busy to visit Facebook or read tweets. In fact, many of today’s decision-makers and C-suite leaders are turning to social media for research, recruiting, and networking. According to InsideView, B2B marketers that use blogs generate 67 percent more leads, and those who use Twitter generate twice as many leads as those who don’t. The interaction and authenticity of social media often allows businesses to provide further insight about the people behind the offerings. Ultimately every deal comes down to people doing business with other people – and people with purchasing power have a social presence.
• You Need To Stay Relevant. Businesses without a thriving social presence look out of touch. Customers hop between social, mobile and digital landscapes without thinking twice and they expect to find you wherever they go. Your brand presence must flow consistently across all channels, devices and platforms.
• You Want To Be Interesting. Videos, blog posts, photos, educational tips, conversations: every user can access information via their preferred social media site. Companies with solely staid websites and no social presence are underselling themselves. Remember, according to Forrester Research, today’s B2B buyers complete the majority of their journey before they reach out to your sales team — social media is your chance to make your brand stand out with compelling content that lingers in a lead’s mind.
• You’d Like To Build Credibility. Social media might strike you as too informal to develop that crucial trust between B2B businesses and buyers. In fact, it’s the perfect channel for it. Webinars, demonstrations, “behind the scenes” videos and candid blog posts will go far in building rapport with potential buyers while answering their product questions. According to a 2013 Forrester Report, 74% of business decision-makers in North America and Europe say they use LinkedIn for business purposes, or for both business and personal purposes. Be sure your social pages are designed to let buyers move forward at any time by providing links to your sales and support teams.
Today’s tools can monitor social conversations and launch polished, on-message campaigns across multiple platforms. There’s really no excuse for not building an impressive B2B social presence. Social media is where your buyers are – and the connections you’ll build will turn into sales before you know it. Remember, the online conversation will happen with or without you.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.