From the beginning, the idea of social media and B2B marketing working together in blissful harmony has been a distant dream of marketers everywhere. It was originally thought that mixing B2B and social media would only leave companies with a lot of hard work and empty results… and that has been the decided fate of B2B social media marketing for many misguided B2B marketers.
The idea that social media and B2B marketing are unable to work together originated from the idea that social media marketing was strictly about conversions amongst consumers. However, no one truly converts from social media – not even in B2C markets. Social media is a tool that allows marketers to create conversations with the public, and those conversations lead to conversions. Using social media as a tool for better communication can work in any market, and B2B markets are no exception.
With the understanding that the sales cycle in a B2B market is becoming more significant in size, B2B markets shouldn’t be planning to convert through social media. However, evidence shows that social media might have the capability of speeding up sales.
Tips for using better B2B social media marketing
- Determine the right social platforms for the target industry – Social networks span the globe and business industries alike with their diverse fan-bases. Research popular social networks to determine which networks would be best for specific industries. For example, Pinterest probably won’t draw the same crowd as Linkedin would for the IT industry. Learn about what marketing methods work best for each social network (photos, personal stories, trending topics, group discussions) and develop a marketing plan from there.
- Talk with your industry – Now that the best social networks have been selected, content must be created to get people talking. Use social media to understand what followers are looking for and create content based on their needs. Quora is a great tool to quickly find what people are asking about in any industry. Once the content is created, promote the content on social media platforms to generate traffic. If you primarily use Linkedin, post your content to a group and promote the post via Twitter, Facebook, Quora or any other appropriate network. Remember to educate your readers with valuable content to ease them into the lengthy sales process.
- Measure social media by conversations, not conversions – B2B marketers should look at using social media like they would a trade show or a meeting. Social media is a place to learn about prospects and have a conversation with them with a goal to convert later on. Social media should not be measured by conversions alone.
Why influencers should be targeted
Having a conversation with people in a specific industry is just one part of a B2B social media strategy. Influencers in the target industry are just as important because of their large following. The only way they have developed a large following is by producing cutting-edge content and educating readers through their own knowledge base.
B2B businesses should make it a priority to track influencers and understand where they are based around the Internet. A powerful content delivery team should provide content based on targeting influencers for significant results in their target industry.
B2B businesses should be involved on social media platforms regardless of any excuse. B2B marketers might argue that social media is simply for a consumer-based market, but they fail to realize the people running B2B companies are consumers themselves. Appearing to businesses on an even-ground such as social networks will make a world of difference in a B2B marketing strategy.