Social media is no longer just a fun, helpful supplement to a marketing mix. For many companies, it has become the primary vehicle for customer engagement. In fact, a report by LinkedIn found that 90% top performing sales representatives incorporate social media into their tactics.
Using the right tools and data, you can find compelling ways to distribute content to the most interested people at the most opportune time. In the realm of business-to-business (B2B) marketing, companies are faced with quite an interesting task. They must not only work to appeal to a single person, but to an entire organization.
From the moment you open up shop, your ability to generate leads will determine the life or death of your business. And these days, “opening up shop” is synonymous with creating and managing a social media presence online. Let’s talk about how you can use social media as one of your most powerful weapons in bringing in sales leads.
UNDERSTAND YOUR BUYER PERSONAS
The biggest difference between B2C and B2B marketing is how messaging is positioned. In B2C, you are typically speaking to an individual. On the other hand, in B2B, there are multitude of people involved in the purchasing process. This includes everyone from the owner of the company, to the actual users of your product or service, all the way to the administrative staff, of whom act as gatekeepers.
Generally speaking, LinkedIn is the go-to social network for B2B marketing. A study by Oktopost found that 80% of B2B sales leads and conversions come from LinkedIn.
So make sure you determine the bulk of your persona attributes from this platform. That said, don’t make the mistake of ignoring other popular social hubs like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Finding the perfect buyer persona is no simple task. The trick is finding common interests across different areas and crafting your messaging accordingly. The question to ask is: What information would this persona find helpful in this area at this particular point of time?
Luckily, there are many tools to help you with this complicated task. Hootsuite is one of the best tools on the market that allows you to monitor what people are talking about in relation to your brand, competitor, or industry in general.
These insights will do wonders to give you a sense of where the major pain points are and how you can create content that appeals to all relevant parties.
For example, let’s say you are promoting web design software. When a potential buyer is considering purchasing it, the employees who’re supposed to use it on a daily basis might place a high value on simplicity and user-friendliness, whereas their manager (or decision maker) may be more concerned about case studies and how the program has been used in the past.
Here is an awesome example – see this Facebook post from Weebly:
Not only does it promote a feature that makes life easier for the general users, it promotes new additions to their portfolio (POWR & Sonetel) for the decision maker to examine.
Appealing to an individual is difficult. Finding ways to appeal to multiple personas is a completely different ballgame. This is perhaps the trickiest aspect of B2B marketing. Doing so requires critical research and a keen eye for common threads.
BECOME A THOUGHT LEADER
Another one of the big differences between B2B and B2C marketing is B2B buyers typically conduct more in-depth research on a brand and product before even interacting. A 2016 survey report by Demand Gen found that over half of B2B buyers conduct thorough research on social media before considering a purchase.
For this reason, it’s beyond imperative that you project yourself as a profound expert in your field, with the single-minded goal of earning your audience’s trust. This is what B2B selling is really about.
In addition to posting meaningful content, winning over high-value clients requires you to be aware of demands that apply to individual organizations and promote messaging that aims to solve their problems.
Take a look at this LinkedIn post from Workzone:
Without even diving into the linked article, it’s clear they have a few useful things to say about more than just the concept of successful project management, but business operations as a whole.
Be warned: becoming a thought leader requires much more than simply keeping up with the news of your industry. In addition to pinpointing the commonalities in buyer mindsets, you need to look through a broad scope and find interesting ways to advance trending conversations going on in your field.
Remember, most people don’t go on social media with the intention of being sold to. They go on in search of thought-provoking content. The most important thing to keep in mind for becoming a thought leader is you aren’t directly promoting your product or service. Instead, you are selling your knowledge. If you can do this successfully and nudge them through your sales cycle with micro-conversions, people will be much more inclined to buy from you…