Most people consider social media to be an online space to share memories, connect with friends and family, and stay up to date with their favorite public figures. In recent years, social media has been expanding to become a tool for businesses. In fact, 27% of B2B businesses are turning to social media as an essential channel in their marketing efforts. Buyers are using social media as well to make purchasing decisions. It is reported that 75% of B2B buyers are using social media to make purchasing decisions. How can your B2B business reach these buyers? Through social marketing!
Social marketing is all about using social media to find your ideal clients and connect, understand, and nurture your relationship with them – without the hard sell. Developing a genuine relationship with your potential clients leaves an impression on them. Whenever they have a need, your business will be the first one they think of.
Why does social marketing matter for my B2B business?
Social media is a powerful resource to reach prospects and sell your products and services to them. If done right, selling through social media – which is often referred to as social selling – can be a great source to increase your business revenue.
Social media already plays a large role in influencing purchasing decisions. Now that platforms are implementing a “buy” button, prospects are able to buy your products or services without leaving the app. Moreover, since you are building authentic and trustworthy relationships with your audience, they will feel less pressure to purchase your solution. When it comes time for them to make a purchasing decision, they will be more comfortable purchasing from you over another business that isn’t as personable with their audience.
What platforms should my business be using?
The first step to social marketing is creating a social media profile. While the most popular and beneficial social platforms for B2B businesses are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, it’s crucial to determine which one is best for your specific business and focus most of your efforts there. How do you determine which one is best? By understanding where most of your ideal clients hang out in the social space.
LinkedIn is best for B2B companies that are looking to reach decision-makers, promote product launches, strengthen relationships with professionals, and network with others in your industry. Twitter is the top B2B social platform for implementing content marketing strategies. Twitter is a great platform to use for humanizing your brand, having conversations with your prospects and industry experts, and increasing engagement within your brand. The most cost-effective social media platform for B2B businesses is Facebook. Facebook allows you to run ads and promote posts with a budget that you decide on, provide customer support, bring in more traffic to your website, and interact with potential and existing clients. Lastly, Instagram is preferred to share behind-the-scenes pictures and videos of your company, leverage user-generated content, and increase brand interaction using relevant hashtags.
To find out which platforms your ideal clients are most active on, you’ll have to perform some marketing research. Here are a few steps you can take:
- Interview your clients: Ask your clients about their favorite social media platforms, where they share content online, and where they interact and network with friends, family, and colleagues.
- Surveys: Set up a brief survey for your audience to take. Ask a primary question, such as, “Which social media platforms are you most active on?”, as well as any questions about their social media behavior.
- Look at insights: Check the insights and analytics of your social media platforms to make sure the right audience is viewing your content. You can do this by viewing your demographics and see if they align with your business’ target demographics.
What content would be most useful?
A few reasons your audience is following your B2B company’s social presence could be because they have tried your solutions before and are fans, they are interested in your company, or they see you as a credible industry leader that provides value. You should be posting content that hits these marks to keep your current audience, but also attract new followers.
Picture your followers as potential clients. Those potential clients either have a problem that they need a solution for or they may not even recognize that there is a problem yet. Your company needs to post content that would address these problems. Content ideas include social proof, industry news, and common issues within your industry along with what type of solutions you can provide to solve those issues. Even if the prospect does not see recognize a problem within their organization quite yet, they will remember the value and expertise that your content established when it comes time to find a solution.
How do I develop an effective social marketing plan and execute it effectively?
Are you seeing how important social marketing is for B2B organizations? We hope so! However, it must be noted that you cannot just dive into social marketing without having a plan. Planning your social marketing efforts will ensure that you are publishing quality content with a clear purpose. Start by gathering your marketing team and brainstorming content that helps you to reach your objective with your audience in mind. Once the content is produced, it’s time to create a publishing plan. Decide what channels you will use to post the content, at what times, and who among your team will take on the role of monitoring engagement, analytics, and other metrics.
To execute your plan effectively, The Growth Engine recommends using content publishing tools. There are plenty of content auto-publishing tools available that enable businesses to schedule their content beforehand to save time and acquire valuable insights about your audience, including best times to post based on when they are most active on the platform.
How can I measure ROI for my social marketing plan?
Nowadays, most social media platforms offer their own built-in analytics tools. How you calculate your ROI for social content will depend on your company’s objectives. Is it brand awareness, revenue, engagement, or client satisfaction?
Metrics such as likes, comments, saves, and shares typically have a bad reputation – many see them as “vanity” metrics, but they can have value. You can use these metrics to scale the strength of your social presence, measure your position compared to your competitors, and what type of content is performing best within your audience.
When deciding which metrics would be best to use, ask yourself questions like:
- “What does my target audience do after being exposed to my social marketing campaigns?”
- “Does this metric align with my marketing goals?”
- “Can I measure this effectively?”
After deciding which metrics would work best for your organization’s goals, the next step is to calculate how much you are spending on social media and how much you are seeing in return. Consider the cost of tools and platforms, the budget you spend on ads, the cost of creating content, time spent by your marketing team, and the cost of any agencies or consultants you are using. Of course, your biggest goal should be for your revenue to be higher than your investment in your social marketing.
Social media is an influential resource that you should be using to reach your prospects and sell your solutions to them. If planned and executed properly, social marketing will help to build a relationship and connect with your audience and help to boost revenue. Do you need help strategizing your social marketing plan? Contact our team of marketing specialists!