This is the second installment of the B2B Social Media Series.
Long sales cycles, complex purchasing decisions and a laser-focus on ROI makes B2B marketing seem far more serious—and far less lighthearted —than its B2C marketing cousin. As traditional B2B marketing went digital, social media initially lagged.
Today however, many industry-defining B2B brands (including the likes of EMC, Cisco, Accenture, and SalesForce) have not only embraced social, but have completely changed the game with their innovative social strategies.
With the numerous social B2B network choices available, you need to choose which networks to focus on. Be present where your customers—and potential customers—are active. Don’t waste time on networks your customers don’t value. Above all, regardless of where you decide to focus your efforts, make sure your messaging remains consistent across all networks. Get this right and the rest follows: Increased traffic, brand awareness, and sales.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the most popular social networks—each with specific intentions (however, many of the same engagement principles can be applied to all). There are many more, but these are the majors.
- LinkedIn: For objective, professional communication.
- Twitter: For quick interaction with customers, partners, employees, etc. Great for inciting immediate action.
- Facebook: For more long-term interaction. Perfect for housing meaningful content.
- Instagram: Provides a “behind the scenes” look at your company. A strong Instagram presence is often indicative of a trustworthy brand.
Keeping in mind that the goal of B2B social is to provide value in customers’ decision making process — get them to know your products, educate them about the benefit and build brand trust through storytelling, following are 5 tips and tactics to build fans and followers, and grow your social networks without begging for permission.
Jumpstart your social presence by implementing an employee advocacy portal and, in short, employees become your firm’s brand ambassadors in the digital marketplace. Communicate to employees that the company succeeds when they actively promote it.
Digital communications can be impersonal, and people are naturally more inclined to trust a face than a logo. Peer recommendations never go old-fashioned and became ever important on social. So being able to see an individual’s name and picture on a social media message makes the interaction more human and appealing. An added bonus: employees participating in advocacy programs say that their engagement on social media has had a positive effect on their career. Expanding professional networks and keeping up with industry trends are the two common benefits of employee involvement in social media.
Partnerships exist to help cultivate business for each, and partners can help you grow your b2b social presence. Each partner has a unique following, bringing fresh eyes to view your content. Social media can help amplify news of a partnership or a one-time collaboration, highlighting partner merits.
Ideas to consider:
- Share Facebook posts & re-tweet their content—they’ll likely return the favor
- Ask for help promoting—In an equally representative relationship, partners tend to be more agreeable to help out
- Co-brand content/events—Partners equally invested in the outcome of a project make for great business opportunities and results.
Make it Mobile
Over the last few years, we’ve seen Internet usage on mobile devices exceed that of PCs. In fact, last year Google announced that mobile searches now exceed desktop searches on their search engine. A positive mobile experience is now imperative to successfully interact with prospects in order to drive engagement, leads and sales.
Simple “get started” tips include:
- Assess and improve your Mobile Page Speed
- Understand and implement Mobile Design Best Practices
- Include a “Like” button on your mobile app so that even when they are using your app they can like the page.
- Make your content easy to read, share and interact with on mobile
Interactive campaigns attract visitors to your Facebook page and encourage conversation. Go beyond the company and products and straight to what engages customers and audiences; turn what could be dull content into interactive and engaging images and videos. Pose lots of questions to get audiences conversing and sharing ideas.
By running engaging contests, visitors will need to include their name and email to enter. The fact they are on your page will also lead to more likes.
Supplement Social with Email
As you build your social following, support engagement and activity with email. This can be done by:
- Sending a monthly newsletter with a roundup of your best blog content. By looking at the engagement each post got on social media, you’ll know what to share afterwards via email.
- Sending emails informing your customer database of promotions available only on social. Incentivize customers to join your social channels. They need to know what they get from following you on social, and communicating that information via email makes sense.
An important part of your social media marketing plan is structuring your strategy. Download our B2B Social Media Plan template today and start mapping your social campaigns with more ease, accuracy, and speed.