HOW TO DRIVE B2B LEADS USING SOCIAL MEDIA
We have all heard of social media, right! You might even be scrolling through a social platform right now as you read this blog. Indeed, you possibly even discovered this blog through a social media platform. And that's the segue to our topic.
Just how can B2B marketing teams better use social media to drive leads for their businesses? Because it's a given that social media is now a part of our daily lives and although we can remember a past without emoticons, tweets, scrolling and ‘likes’, it is difficult to imagine the life without them. However, for many B2B brands, social media is not likely to be a significant channel for leads and sales.
Rethink the purpose of B2B Social Media Marketing
Perhaps its seems like a no brainer but, thinking about the purpose of social media in your marketing mix is a great place to begin. It's unlikely a B2B ingredients wholesaler is likely to drive new direct sales channel through social media marketing.
However, these same B2B wholesaling type businesses are often rich in valuable content that can de mystify technology and educate end user audiences and this where social media platforms can provide substantial value.
When used correctly as an element of your inbound marketing campaign, social media can amplify your reach and drive significant traffic to your website. We like to think of Social Media as the not-so-secret-weapon for improving marketing effectiveness.
4 ways to use B2B social media to increase leads and visitors to your website
1. Selecting the right social media channel(s) for your business
There's a plethora of social media platforms at your disposal, however which one of combinations are best for B2B businesses?
The Content Marketing Institute reports that 94% of B2B businesses claim that LinkedIn the best social media channel to generate qualified sales leads, which makes sense given LinkedIn is where most professionals, industry leaders, and your competitors gather.
Therefore, for the majority of businesses, engaging with LinkedIn will be your number 1 priority when it comes to social media in order to build relationships with your prospects via updates and posts.
Twitter is worth considering also. The sheer amount of people following on this network, means that you can potentially deliver specific information along with links in real-time to specific audiences. Taking a native approach and have a high frequency to comms will help boost engagement with communities and promote your brand.
Then there's Facebook which is enormous for B2C lead generation. Facebook can also be great for B2B businesses to showcase their culture through events, people profiling, innovation focus and celebration of seasonal events. And as it's another multi sensory platform, detailed information about products and services can be complemented with images and videos.
Of course there are other social media channels that B2B marketers can use for lead generation, such as Instagram and Pinterest. Depending on your businesses industry sector and value proposition, each platform should be evaluated on their merits. In the end no matter which social media platform you choose to focus on, your performance will rely on a we thought out content strategy where content performance is tracked and your leads measured from each channel.
2. Using Social Media to Connect and Form Relationships
Social media is a great place to make new connections and begin what hopefully will turn out to be long term relationships. Your personal and company pages are an important starting point in beginning relationships with buyers and influential stakeholders.
Particularly with LinkedIn, businesses can target certain industry sectors and decision makers from businesses with these industry groups. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of social media leads come from LinkedIn. Simple tactics like joining interest groups and searching the group can create a highly targeted prospect list pretty quickly.
Businesses can also establish their own groups that provide value to potential prospects. In doing this, your business should take a category approach and not a branded approach which would be seen as self serving.
3. Using Social Media to Promote Content
Social media provides so many opportunities to share your content, and attract the right people such as new or returning visitors. Whether it is a blog post, guide, eBook, report, infographic, webinar, offer… you name it; the social media channels are there for you to gain visibility and peak interest to the right kind of prospects.
Creating a great content strategy is ultimately made up of 2 parts:
Publishing high quality, useful and original content that provides the right message at the right time to the right people is formed through a content strategy.
Is all about promotion. Firstly, you can organically promote across your ‘owned’ social channels with a solid content calendar. Secondly, you should promote using ‘paid’ social channels via paid ads such as LinkedIn Ads and Sponsored InMail.
And finally, your ‘earned’ social media, has the same benefits of PR in that it helps you achieve borrowed equity and authority via relationships established with users who have shared your content to new audiences with an established trust base.
In producing valuable content on a regular basis it's a great way to boost your presence as a thought leader and innovative business. Aside from the usual company updates, crafting unique content is crucial to tell your story (with the inclusion of a clear yet subtle CTA linking back to your site). This unique content encourages sharing among connections — resulting in increased brand awareness and audience reach.
SEO optimisation is essential too, especially on LinkedIn, since Google will display the first 156 characters of your LinkedIn company page in its search results. Great content is shareable, and when others share your content and link back to your brand’s website you reap the authority benefits from Google. Encouraging more eyes to view your content can happen through #hashtags, @tagging influences or relevant brands.
Finally, another way Social media can boost your inbound marketing is by increasing visits to your website, via a focus on locality. Updating your business location while sharing information about local news and events can earn SEO authority as Google loves locality.
4. Using Social Media to Boost Branding
Social media as mentioned above, offers your business another owned or branded asset, therefore, it is important that you see your LinkedIn company page or your Facebook company page as an extension of your brand.
The effort in establishing and maintaining these branded social media assets provides your brand with the opportunity to connect in a social setting on a one to one basis - all great starting points in commencing a relationship with your prospects.
The ultimate benefit of having a strong and high performing brand is being preferred by your prospects and customers. And social media marketing is a key tool in the journey to achieving this goal.
As part of an integrated Inbound Marketing campaign, social media can help you drive leads by connecting with the right people and effectively promoting your helpful content, building reach and engagement with your audience.
If you’d like to use your Social Media Channels more effectively to generate leads, to build awareness, brand authority or greater traffic to your website, we’d love to talk. Contact us today.