For B2B marketers, social media has been on the up for the past few years, and continues to grow with 87% of B2B organizations using an average of 6 different platforms for marketing. It is now one of the most widely used channels in B2B marketing, however to see lead generation success, you’ll need to take certain steps when building your social media strategy. 55% of B2B buyers use social media platforms to conduct research, and as B2B marketers start to employ social media strategies in response to this, over 50% of them have seen the positive impact on their sales in the first year. So how is it done?
B2C businesses use social media to capture on-the-spot buyers, where something catches their eye and the ease of transaction leads to impulse purchasing; this of course is not the case for B2B organizations using social media, who instead see business lead generation and brand awareness as the driving goals. This blog brings you 7 different ways to build and improve your social media strategy, so you can see the lead generation results you want. For more information of revolutionizing your B2B lead generation, check out our free eBook!
1) Know your platforms
There are plenty of social media platforms to choose from. Facebook and LinkedIn are known to be widely used by B2B marketers and buyers everywhere, but other platforms such as Pinterest and Snapchat seem more niche- how do you know if they’ll help your business lead generation?
You need to do your research into all of the social media platforms available to you, and choose carefully which ones best suit your B2B marketing needs and buyer tendencies. Using a vast amount of different platforms is not unheard of- but this requires time and attention- so make an informed decision and ensure you’re using a few to their fullest potential, instead of using too many ineffectively. To help you out- here’s some information about a few of the social media platforms you can utilize:
- Facebook– the platform with the most users (1.13 billion daily!) and the most popularly downloaded social media app for mobiles. Facebook is everywhere, and an essential B2B marketing tool. Allowing you to create a brand page and profile, share images and multi-media, make events, instant message and gather likes and friends, Facebook does it all, and 74% of B2B buyers say they use their Facebook for professional purposes!
- LinkedIn– a social media platform specifically for business connections, B2B marketing departments not using LinkedIn are missing an essential trick. It’s the only social media platform that gains equal membership from those aged 30-45 as those aged 18-29, and more business leads are generated through LinkedIn above any other SM platform. This is thanks to its business orientated mind set, and ability to target the precise buyer you’re looking for. !
- Twitter– with its strict character limit, Twitter challenges you to get your message across in a concise manor, but allows for easy sharing of images and links, and the “retweet” function can help broaden your reach to more people than ever before! It’s also where the hashtag started and comes into its own. 36% of B2B marketers have gained more customers from twitter, and content consumption has increased by 25% over the last two years, so it’s seen lead generation success, but it’s most active users stem from a younger audience (sometimes too young for business!).
- Instagram– starting out as a photo-sharing platform, Instagram seems an odd choice for business social media. However the ability to focus on a striking image, a caption with no word limit and strong hashtag following brought Instagram to the forefront of business marketers minds, as it enables brands to appear more “human”. With over 500 million monthly users, and 95 million photos and videos shared every day, Instagram has become a community of its own!
- Pinterest– as its name would suggest, Pinterest acts almost like a giant cork-board, where you can pin up things that pique your intrigue. It can be anything from images and multimedia to wordy posts and poetry. You can add new pins or “re-pin” something, connecting with people who share similar interests to you, and for the B2C market, this has led to many people making those impulse purchases. It’s proved to be a useful tool for B2B marketing departments too; the ability to connect with those who hold an interest or need in what you offer has seen call-to-action pins get 80% more engagement than an average social media post and a click through increase as high as 94%, making Pinterest a great driver for your website traffic.
- Snapchat– another niche platform, allowing photos to be shared for a limited amount of time before they’re deleted. You can add images with text and filters attached to your “story” for 24 hours, and send specific images to friends for a maximum of 10 seconds. Recent developments make it possible to have personalized and location sensitive filters, and adverts involving interactive swiping to arrive on a landing page. With 8796 photos shared every second (!), this is a great way to target a younger market and those starting up new business. If you have a prominent business events strategy, then Snapchat can help boost this when you’re moving locations regularly.
- YouTube– though not seen specifically as a social media platform, YouTube allows business to share video content and gain subscribers. Added to this, YouTube offers great advertising options for B2B organizations, and now owned by Google, its reach is simply enormous! Video content can improve website conversions by 87%, so it’s a powerful medium to include in your strategy.
2) Create a network
To achieve those ultimate goals of raising brand awareness and generating high quality, sales-ready leads, you’ll need to create a network on every social media platform you use. This means generating likes, followers, subscribers, connections- essentially people engaging with your organization, and choosing to see you and your posts regularly. You can do with in several ways.
You can start with groups; many platforms have already established groups of professionals gathering together, sharing business interests or problems and discussing solutions and current events- join these groups and share your brand with the masses.
Hashtags are another option, by adding #humanresources to the end of a post, anyone who has also posted about human resources, or searches for information around that topic will have quick access to that post- so use these to target an audience that is far wider than your current base, but still specific to your business.
3) Optimize your profile
On platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, you’ll have a profile or business page. This can be in the form of a business wide page (named after the organization), or it can be a personal profile for “Joe Bloggs”, who works at “Example Business” and shares their brand and message. Whatever sort of profile you choose to use, you need to treat it like a website in its own right, filling it with professional and engaging images, CTAs, regular content updates and contact details for your business. This way, your social media marketing shares the same fundamental information as any insightful website or landing page, leaving visitors ready to give you a call and ask about your product.
4) Share content
Now you’ve built up a brilliant network or professionals- how can you convert them into business leads? This is where content becomes king once more, and you use killer copy, stand-out images and multimedia like videos and podcasts to make a lasting impression and form a strong CTA, encouraging them to inquire. When using a blog or uploading regularly downloadable resources- take this to social media as well as your website, sharing content at appropriate times for your industry and target audience. Regular posting is important, but posting that is obviously “automated” can decrease likes and comments by 70%- so do your best to be present, active and responsive with your content and your reactions.
5) Improve your brand
Social media has enormous power in its “social” nature- people can interact by directly making comments and engaging with polls or surveys. Use social media to gain a feel of how your brand is received on a wider scale, and ask for comments and feedback!
You can gain heaps of knowledge to improve your brand as well as raise awareness and with the freedom to continue interaction, you’ll find a new way to nurture leads to conversion and keep your brand up to date. This engagement through comments and discussion also allows you to work your magic in converting a lead- now you’re chatting to them- let them know what you can do!
6) Don’t forget SEO
Social media is known to help SEO, as it allows for an increase in optimized web pages, ready to take high ranking spots (assuming you cram your profile and content with keywords!). However don’t forget to maximize on long tail key words, which consist of 4 words or more. These not only target a smaller and more specific B2B audience, but they often bring you searchers further down the funnel, well into their market research and directly looking for a solution like yours!
7) Use paid adverts
Paid ads on social media can be hit or miss, due to the varying mind-sets of the users for specific platforms- what works on Facebook will not work on Twitter. One thing that remains successful for a vast majority of social media ads is the referencing of localized, current events. If you’ve seen a big freeze in your region, then try a paid advert using this to market your product and after a few days, take it down. The more “on topic” your ad is, the better, as social media sees its users daily, and many enjoy using platforms to explore reactions to current events- maximize on this “temporary” and “instant” feel with your SM paid ads. Remember to plan them carefully and delve deep into your buyer persona to make sure you get it right.
Social media lead generation? Simple. When looking to drum up interest in modern B2B buyers you’ll definitely need to a social media strategy to help you, and by following these 7 tactics, you’ll soon see the results.
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