When thinking about using social media in a marketing strategy, people often think business to consumer marketing. But the potential for social media marketing doesn’t have to stop there. When done right, social media can be very effective in the world of B2B marketing as well. B2B marketing largely relies on attracting new business partners through reputation and word of mouth, and if there’s one thing that social media can do, it can build or break a reputation.
Here’s how you can use social media marketing strategies for B2B sales by creating buzz, capitalizing on conversations, creating quality content and optimizing your engagement.
The Difference Between B2B and B2C on Social Media
With social media reach continuing to grow at an exceptionally fast rate, and with more platforms than anyone can count on their fingers and toes, the term social media marketing is becoming more and more diluted. While somewhat, social media marketing has never been more important than it is today. With an estimated 2.34 billion users worldwide, social media has an overwhelming ability to connect you to people you both want and need to reach.
While social media strategies used by B2B and B2C marketers are similar, they differ in terms of channels and tactics. B2B marketers generally focus on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and SlideShare to emphasize thought leadership, client education and build relationships with other companies.
On the other hand, Business to Consumer marketers tend to focus on using social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Pinterest to engage with customers, improve brand awareness and to garner feedback about a brand.
How to Create Buzz
Just because B2B marketing might use different channels and tactics to interact with audiences in distinct ways, this doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t use social media to create general buzz and achieve their specific marketing goals.
While creating hype won’t always be apart of every B2B social media marketing strategy, here’s some potential ways to do it effectively:
1. Match the marketing goal to the channel – A campaign that works well on Facebook won’t necessarily work well on Twitter, and a campaign that works well on Twitter won’t always work on Snapchat. Establish your marketing goals and your intended target audience first – and then consider where that target audience lives online. This process will allow you to choose the channel that makes the most sense for achieving your goals.
2. Attract the right audience – Your messaging and potential ambassadors should align with your target audience. Consider this when signing a celebrity to your campaign. Ask yourself: What demographic does this person relate to and attract attention from, and will they be able to effectively communicate our message to achieve or goals?
3. Monitor the campaign and plan for the risks – Almost any campaign can have risks associated with it, but you have to decide if the advantages will outweigh those risks. If the answer is yes, then be forward thinking. Plan for potential risks and be prepared to deal with them quickly to prevent them from negatively impacting your campaign.
4. Use employees as brand ambassadors – When employees believe in a campaign, their support can go a long way as ambassadors. Don’t overlook the potential your employees can bring in promoting and representing your brand. They probably know your brand best and will be able to promote it with genuine passion and enthusiasm.
5. Cross-promote – Create buzz by promoting your campaign through a number of social media channels. Just remember when doing so, you should tailor your messages according to the platform. Be consistent with what you are saying, but customize the presentation accordingly. Messages on Facebook are formatted much differently than messages on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Capitalize on Conversations
The majority of B2B social media marketing campaigns will not focus strictly on creating viral buzz as a means to achieve overall goals. Despite this, having a social media presence is still crucial to successfully market your company to other businesses. A study conducted by Google and CEB found that business owners completed over half of their research online before contacting a potential business partner. Both customers and potential clients alike are making their buying decisions based on the online presence and reputation of a particular company.
Clearly, social media can play a significant role. Engaging with customers online and making your social media accounts easy to find and easy to interact with can align your target audience with your brand to drive sales and make important business connections.
Create Quality Content
In the fast-paced world of social media, it sometimes feels like a race to get content out. But don’t sacrifice quality for speed. Ensure that the content your company is publishing on social media is relevant, professional, clear and read-worthy. Always remember this: if you wouldn’t want to read the post yourself, why would your clients or potential customers want to read it?
Measure, Measure, Measure
Because social media gives us the ability to measure metrics like clicks, shares, comments and views, it is important to take advantage of these measurements to benchmark your success, both online and offline. While it’s useful to use your social media data to understand your online audience, measuring social media influence can also be tracked offline by tracking the number of calls related to a given online campaign for example. Through call analytics, marketers can attribute calls to specific social media advertisements and platforms to help measure their return on investment in the social media landscape.
If you follow the steps listed here, your company can successfully integrate social media marketing into its B2B strategies. If you need help managing your social media marketing strategies, contact ZOO Media Group today. Our experienced team of social media experts can help you with content development, social media management, brand engagement and much more.