November 30, 2016
“Perhaps one of the more understated benefits of social media in B2B is the ability to establish and foster expertise within a given industry or niche. The same tools and services that new influencers leverage to construct prominence and demonstrate awareness are also readily available to anyone with wisdom and vision to share.”
― Brian Solis, Altimeter Group principal analyst
Social media platforms are the bane of many B2B corporation’s existence because they often struggle to gain any sort of meaningful traction.
A recent CMO survey revealed that product-based B2B companies would increase the amount spent on social media marketing from eight percent to 18 percent over the next five years. Those on the services side of B2B will see an escalation from 12 percent to 25 percent. Despite this, 40 percent of the companies surveyed are not pleased with their performance on social.
It is massively important for B2B organizations to wrap their heads around effective social media marketing considering that, by 2021, social marketing will make up nearly 21 percent of the average business’ marketing expenditures.
To help resolve the average B2B company’s social plight, here are six social media tactics that can be leveraged on almost every major platform.
1. Don’t Sell. Connect
If your company really wants to move the sales needle, you have to learn to connect on an emotional level. While it is all well and good to detail the features of a product or service, B2B brands must recognize that addressing consumers on an emotional front is what will drive purchases.
A study conducted by CEB and Google revealed this notion holds true in the B2B arena, not just B2C. The research, which surveyed more than 3,000 B2B buyers, found that brands that connect on a human, emotional plane were two times more likely to convert than brands that merely highlighted functionality.
These findings are the exact reason why Apple and Nike can continue to release virtually the same products year after year and still have hoards lining up at their doors to buy; because they appeal to the sentiment of making people “cool.”
The key to making this work is identifying your target consumer’s biggest pain points and playing to those frustrations in a human way.
2. Leverage Advocates
Speaking of human-to-human connection, employee and brand advocates are some of the most powerful voices to leverage.
The fact is, more than 90 percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from individuals, even if they don’t know them. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form of promotion that a brand can obtain.
Using employees and customers who are deeply passionate about your brand not only serves the aforementioned purpose, but it helps to humanize a company and highlights the value placed on the average user.
Leverage this by sharing social updates with pictures of staff members and clients along with quotes about their experience with your product or service.
Using advocates can make a major impact on any business’s bottom line, and can help to fill the gaps between new content offerings.
3. Share Relevant News
Industry-relevant breaking news should always be shared. More importantly, however, is to share insights from leadership that will expound on the story and draw attention to your brand by highlighting expertise in the field.
To effectively manage this method, it is first necessary to create Google and social media alerts in any tools you may use surrounding relevant keywords and phrases.
Then, start sharing those articles along with content created around them that includes opinions and quotations from executives, presenting unique perspectives and observations.
Additionally, you can reach out to suitable media outlets with the quotes used in an attempt to get further coverage and help position your brand as a thought-leader in the community.
The key to this is developing fresh and exceptional viewpoints, and sharing those with the world.
4. Use Paid Advertising
As the number of active users on a social network continues to increase, organic reach begins to drop. It is for this reason that paid social advertising is a necessity.
Dependent upon which platform you are using, businesses can target ads based on a variety of consumer attributes. This method of permeating adverts to only the most relevant of individuals is a goldmine for B2B brands on social.
With Facebook in particular, consumers can be targeted based on their job title or life events for new jobs. This means that B2B organizations can target managers and executives of companies that are suited to their offerings.
Using such ad filters will help to keep ad expenditures at a minimum, while reaching consumers that are most likely to convert.
5. Carefully Word CTAs
No matter if your calls-to-action are attached to paid ads or other posts on social media, optimizing the verbiage of the CTA is critical for peak sales.
When it comes to Facebook, TrackMaven, a marketing analytics software firm, found that of the 1.5 million Facebook posts from nearly 6,000 different brands, the word “please” nearly doubled interactions with the update.
Moreover, social media analyst, Dan Zarrella, studied 200,000 tweets and uncovered that those that began with verbs and adverbs gained more clicks than those with adjectives or nouns.
Understand that the words you use in your posts have a deep psychological impact on the buyer’s journey.
6. Look to B2C for Inspiration
I know it can be tempting to look to your B2B cohorts for ideas on how to best leverage social, but remember, nearly half of them are not happy with their effectiveness.
A 2015 Content Marketing Institute study revealed that 94 percent of B2B business are active on LinkedIn, 87 percent on Twitter, 84 percent on Facebook, 74 percent on YouTube, and so on. The point is that B2B businesses are constantly surrounded by ideas by simply inhabiting these platforms. Study the tactics that some popular B2C brands are leveraging and apply those techniques to your business.
Social media isn’t rocket science. For the most part, it would seem that many B2B corporations are over thinking what it is to be present on social media and the effective strategies to drive sales, engagement, and other critical metrics. Take what you have learned here and apply it to your social strategy; you are likely to gain a lot more attention and overall social satisfaction.
What challenges does your business face on social media? Which of these tactics do you plan to implement first?
Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.