Is It Necessary?
Most business owners are very aware of social media marketing and the impact it has had on business to consumer marketing, so I often get asked by commercial and industrial clients whether or not B2B social media marketing is appropriate and worth their time. My response is almost always a resounding “Absolutely – Possibly!”
Many would argue that it is almost always the right thing to increase marketing spend, especially on “social,” but those are often salespeople and marketers, and not business owners trying to juggle an overburdened staff, high demands and limited time. To justify whether or not this is an appropriate recommendation, I try to answer a few simple questions with the client first.
1. Are you confident that if you send someone to your site with social media, they will have a positive experience, find useful information and be funneled into completing one of your pre-determined goals?
Are your current content marketing goals for your website being met? Quality, relevant, and optimized content is one of the most important factors for good rankings and a quality user experience. Is your site, for the most part engaging and has a clear call to action? If these conditions aren’t being met, then any time considerations for social media are better spent on creating a better web experience.
2. Are you willing to spend 30 minutes to an hour each day on your social media marketing?
To be successful with B2B social media marketing in the commercial industry, it takes time to build positive relationships and write quality posts – blogs – etc. This is not about posting family pictures or talking about the great weather (or bad weather if you live in Rochester). If you are not willing to make a conscious effort to set goals and spend the necessary time to achieve them, then it will more than likely not pay off. Additionally, as you build your audience it will become more than courtesy engagement, but actual potential customer expectation.
If the answer to these questions is an easy yes, then it’s time to look at what social channels would be best for that particular industry.
What Can Social Media Do for Me?
B2B Social media marketing techniques allow you to amplify and reach new or existing target audiences. Check out the stats yourself and see what you’re missing out on:
- Facebook: Over 1 Billion active users*
- Twitter: 560 Million active users*
- Pinterest: 70 Million active users*
- Instagram: 150 Million active users*
- Google+: 400 Million active users*
- LinkedIn: 240 Million active users*
- 72% of Online Users use social networking sites (Moz.com)
Of course there are many other platforms for social marketing, and I do advocate a basic presence in a few of the others, but for true B2B sales marketing and lead generation I choose LinkedIn, and then, if there is commitment and extra resources – YouTube. With approximately 1.3 billion visitors a day, this Google owned channel can be extremely useful in building and engaging an audience, as well as helping to create a better user experience on your website with instructional and promotional videos. With that said, if your goal is to build your brand and not necessarily generate leads, then many of the other social media channels are fair game.
In a recent study, as indicated on this chart from Sprout Social, B2B social media marketers are seeing increased effectiveness in numerous social channels:
As seen here, social media is not just for friends and family and business to consumer marketing; it is also becoming increasingly useful in business to business relationships.
The Social Media Myth
More times than not business owners and marketers think that as long as they create a company page on a social media network, therefor creating a link on their website, that they now are on their way to easy social media success! Well let’s just pull those reins back a bit.
The social network is a great way to reach new audiences and target new customers. But, don’t expect a jump in customers and sales right away. You need to make sure you’re optimizing your B2B social media marketing accounts as best you can. Use them to start creating a buzz about who you are and what you do. How do you sell your products or business to a customer who walk through your doors or calls you up? Talk about your success, how you’ve helped your customers and solved their problems.
Each platform has a bit of a different feel or atmosphere. Facebook, is more of a laid back, happy go lucky environment. Twitter, pretty similar feel to Facebook, relaxing, personable feeling. LinkedIn, is a bit more professional, other professionals looking to connect and promote who they are and what they do, job opportunities and networking.
Start doing some research, what are your competitors doing, what are the big brand name companies up to on their social media pages? You can learn a lot from your competitors, even what not to do. Lastly, promote your social media pages. Create links on your website in visible areas.
Start to develop some content specific to your social media audience. Most social media networks also have options to advertise within the platform, usually for a reasonable price. These advertising options gives you another great way to reach a new audience and customer!
So, if you can answer a few basic priority and needs questions, and decide that you have the time and resources, then there are numerous platforms available to build your B2B social media marketing presence. Who knows, you could even have a little fun along the way and build long lasting relationships!
In my next blog I will be detailing the benefits of LinkedIn Sales Navigator and why it is my favorite recommendation for B2B social media marketing.