B2B marketers continue to experiment with social media for lead generation mixed results. Some love their results. Some hate their results. Some don’t know their B2B social media marketing results, and so don’t know whether to be happy or disappointed.
An eMarketer report from 2017 found social media was falling short of expectations for B2B marketers. The biggest reason why is a lack of strategy.
And by strategy, I don’t mean setting a goal of getting 1,000 followers or shares on a particular social platform. I mean understanding your targeted audience, understanding your business objectives, and understanding your resources you can employ to get there.
Here are some quick tips for B2B marketing success on social media.
Social media lead generation is quick, cost-effective, and relatively easy to implement. But with a bazillion options, where do you start?
Understand Your Audience
This is Marketing 101, but you’ve got to have some level of deep understanding of your target audience. What are their pain points? Why would they be searching for or talking about on social media? What platforms are they using?
By understanding your audience, you should be able to narrow the number of social platforms you need to engage. Sure, there will always be an awesome case study for using Instagram or Pinterest, and that may work for some companies (even some B2B companies). But chasing after the next thing will just be a time and money sink if your audience isn’t going to engage on the channel or with you on the channel.
That said, you’re likely safe by focusing on LinkedIn and Twitter at a minimum.
Coordinate with Other Stakeholders
Are you one of the fortunate marketers to have a team with someone in demand gen, content, customer marketing, and social? Do you have separate teams for sales, customer support and marketing?
If so, awesome! But make sure you’re communicating with each other so that your social efforts complement other marketing, sales and customer support activities (and vice versa).
Make sure your events (webinars, trade shows, etc.) are being shared on social. Ask about what the content and product marketing team are working on, and see about getting that out there into the social universe.
Enlist Your Internal Advocates
The old expression remains true, people buy from people. Enlist your entire organization to engage, share, publish or retweet your social posts. This amplifies your messaging and reaches audiences you may not reach otherwise.
Act-On’s Social Media Advocacy tool allows you to gamify your team’s social advocacy, allowing employees to compete with each other based on clicks and shares generated.
At the very least, your sales team should be sharing your social content. A report by LinkedIn found 90 percent of top performing sales representatives incorporate social media into their tactics.
Claim and Optimize Your Social Real Estate
So, you likely don’t need to be on the latest social platform, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it all together. Make sure to claim your branded real estate on all the social channels.
Once you do claim all that social channel real estate, put in a calendar reminder for six months or a year from now to go back and optimize your profiles to make sure everything is current. This includes any URL links to your website or a specific landing page, brand colors or logos, taglines and so forth.
Set Up Listening Campaigns
Social listening is a great way to gain valuable information about your brand, about your industry, about your prospective customers, and about your competitors.
Act-On’s sales reps have won deals by listening, responding and guiding prospects toward our solution. It often starts with someone asking a question, “What are the best adaptive marketing platforms?”
You can set up your listening campaign via the platform’s tools, Google alerts, or a social media management tool. You can track a particular keyword, competitor brand name, or even an event or issue hashtag.
When you’re tracking your competitors, pay attention to any complaints or criticisms their customers have. This is excellent fodder for your own content and/or campaigns.
Engage and Add Value
One of the strengths to social media is its opportunity for 1 to 1 engagement, whether that is customer to customer, peer to peer, or customer to brand.
So avoid only broadcasting news about your latest, sale, product or other company news. Engage with your followers, prospects, vendors, partners and others and seek to bring them value. Answer their questions. Share a link to an informative article or whitepaper. I’m a big believer in the referral back and forth between Gimbles and Macy’s in the old Miracle on 34th Street movie. Your current and future customers will appreciate it.
Social Media Metrics
Marketers should invest in social marketing only if they’re able to connect those efforts to growth metrics.
The important thing here is knowing the right metrics that will address your business objectives. Make sure your adaptive marketing platform or analytics tool is tracking visitor traffic from social channels. Consider using URL links on social channels that have UTM parameters that track custom campaigns.
I often promote our weekly podcast with videos that I upload to LinkedIn. In those, I add custom URLs for the podcast landing page that include the campaign source as LinkedIn.
Growing your follower count is meaningless. But growing your follower count because you know that for every 1,000 new followers you get 100 new customers … well, that is a meaningful metric.
Hyper-Targeted Paid Promotion
This should be clear; the social platforms exist to make money either now or in the future. Any organic (unpaid) boost you get from one platform or another will eventually go away or be diminished in lieu of paid advertising on the platform.
Learn how to advertise on those channels.
In exchange for your ad dollars, the platforms will give you the opportunity to hyper-target who sees those ads (even in a post Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data world).
And once you start advertising on those platforms, you better make sure those clicks are driving the business in sales or leads.