Many B2B firms think that social media is not something they need to worry about. This perception is inaccurate. You can use social media to enhance your conversion rate and get an excellent ROI. You have to know how to modify and tweak a B2C-style approach so that it more accurately represents the reality of a B2B marketing campaign.
Build Trust With Customers Through Interaction
Image via Flickr by ijclark
You are missing out on lead generation and sales growth by not leveraging an effective social media campaign in your B2B company. It doesn’t matter whether you think your company is suitable for social media. Whether you are selling corporate insurance policies or high-end medical equipment, you can still benefit by using an effective social media campaign.
First, social media allows you to interact with your customers and build trust. The conventional wisdom for B2B eCommerce is that it’s coldly logical and impersonal, a place where decisions are made by management or by a committee after doing research. While this point can be true to some degree, purchasing agents still are emotional individuals. A great deal rides on those purchases for their companies. At the end of the day, the well-being of the company’s bottom line, not to mention someone’s career, could be hinging on making a good purchase.
Thus, social media allows you to engage the purchaser’s emotional center. Instead of appealing to the other company, you can now appeal directly to the purchasing agent. Using tools such as video client testimonials or showing your employees at work in a humanizing way allows you to organically create an emotional place for clients to buy into.
To some degree, every business, including B2B companies, is all about creating trust with their clients. Social media can help. You can incorporate social media to engage with clients, answer questions, talk about the experience they had with your company, and encourage engagement with your curated content. Everyone knows you are going to speak highly of your own company. However, if others do so in an organic way, people will pay attention and it’s how you build trust in your brand.
B2C vs. B2B Social Media Marketing
Some key differences exist in the way a B2B social campaign is oriented versus that of a B2C business. With B2C social media, the focus is on building brand identity and loyalty through consumer engagement and emotional postings. Building a community of followers and engaging those followers with active customer service and chances for brand interaction are the main avenues for potential conversions. Everything that is posted in a B2C campaign needs to be centered on the brand and the community of potential customers.
For a B2B social media campaign, the focus is on sale leads, conversions, and directing traffic to the main website so that potential customers can see inventory and product descriptions. A heavy emphasis gets placed on content and possible video of product usage, and the need for extensive analytics becomes important given the length of sale. Content isn’t about building a community as much as it is generating interest in the company itself. The purpose is to draw potential clients in the door and keep them engaged during the lengthy sales cycle.
Content and Its Distribution
An ongoing concern for many B2B companies is the need to explain how they can solve problems for another business through their product or service line. Businesses can serve up very complex problems and it remains the obligation of the B2B companies to clearly show how they can address those issues.
One of the ways that this objective is accomplished is through the use of video. According to Cisco, 75% of mobile traffic will be oriented toward video by 2021. The wave of the future is video, which can lead to a high ROI for your advertising budget. Video allows you to explain how your service or technology can handle the problems for another firm. It also is more personable and relatable than simply writing a standard content piece, such as a blog.
Of course, it doesn’t matter if you are curating excellent content, whether it’s video or a standard blog, if no one gets to see it. Distribution is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting your marketing message across to as many businesses as possible. Here is another area where social media can be of assistance thanks to its innate ability to target audiences across markets. If your overall goal is to maximize the effect and total reach of your message, social media becomes an invaluable tool.
Social Media Fits the B2B Business Cycle
One of the inherent quandaries of the B2B sales cycle is that it takes much longer for a sales lead to make its way through the funnel. Purchasing decisions that are instantaneous for a B2C retailer can take months — or years — for a B2B company. How can a B2B company keep interest high and maintain relevance in the face of a lengthy sales cycle without resorting to overly intrusive methods?
The way to lose clients would be to inundate them with unwanted phone calls and emails in a vain effort to get them to keep you on the radar. Social media allows you to maintain an unobtrusive presence without being cloying. With a well-planned and targeted social media campaign, people will take notice without you having to work so hard for that result.
Perhaps you share multimedia images from an industry conference that your company sponsored or took part in. This action would show how you maintain an interest in key trends within your industry. It can also serve as an open door for customer engagement at future events. Alternatively, you may consider doing a multimedia presentation that highlights success stories from clients that have used your services. Social media allows you to narrate a story that creates interest, keeps you in eyesight of a potential client, and share curated information that leads to a higher conversion rate.
If you are thinking of using social media for your B2B marketing, IronPlane can help. As a leading online marketing firm, they specialize in solutions for B2B companies. Contact IronPlane today for a consultation and see how social media can assist you in personalizing your company, providing carefully crafted messages to your target audience, and improving your bottom line.