For B2B salespeople, cold calling and print advertisements are becoming less and less effective. Today, 83 percent of B2B marketers use social media, making it the most common B2B marketing tactic. But only half report generating leads from social media.
If 84% of VP-level and C-level buyers report that they are influenced by social media when making purchasing decisions, then what are these companies missing?
The answer: you can’t run a B2B social media strategy exactly the same as you’d run a B2C one.
So how do you develop a strategy that’s right for your company — and actually brings in your business leads? Here are seven reasons many B2B companies’ social media strategies aren’t working:
Think about who you’d consider to be your company’s competitors. They can be local, national, or even a bigger business in your industry that’s killing the game on social media. Do a rundown.
Next, scroll through a few months worth of social posts (yes, for each competitor, on every platform). Take note of the type content they’re posting, and how often they’re posting. Knowing what the competition isn’t talking about gives your company the opportunity to become a thought leader.
It’s a lot more straightforward to develop a social media strategy for B2C companies. Create posts for Facebook and Instagram, track clicks to the website, and see how many people buy your product. Boom.
But with B2B, there are often more barriers to get around. A B2B salesperson not only needs to reach the target company, but they need to reach the decision maker at that company. That decision-maker might not be ready to make a business decision when they’re scrolling through their Facebook announcements on a Saturday afternoon.
Many professionals use LinkedIn during their workday, when they’re in a decision-making mindset. For that reason, LinkedIn is usually a great place to focus B2B marketing efforts. It generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74% — more than three times higher than Twitter and Facebook. (We go in-depth about a strategy specifically for LinkedIn here).
That’s not to say you should only pour resources into LinkedIn. You just need to research which demographics of your target audience are on which channels. Generally, Facebook and Instagram are still good channels to have for recruiting new talent and humanizing your brand.
The majority of what you post on social media should link back to your company’s website. So we can’t talk about social media strategy without also talking about optimizing your web content for search engines. When you include targeted keywords in the content you write, then you post that content on social media, you can kill two birds with one stone. Customers will find your website via Google or your social media channels.
You’ll then want to make sure you’re including the target keyword in your content 3-5 times, especially in titles, subheads and meta information. I suggest creating an internal “master doc” of keyword ideas, so when you’re brainstorming new content topics, you can turn to your suggestions.
When a B2B salesperson is given the hefty task of taking on a social media strategy, many marketers make the mistake of thinking that their content will have to be overly “fun.” But if your focus is generating leads, pouring money into creating a kitschy mascot or busting out the memes isn’t necessarily the right solution.
You first have to understand the benefits of the product, the features, and then which features appeal to the benefits. B2B might mean you’re selling to a “business,” but at the end of the day, you are still selling to a person. Think about their role. Who are they? Then, ask yourself: what features of your product/service are the most important to that person? Once you’ve answered those two questions, your content will shine.
Whether it’s on Google Sheets, Trello or Monday, I recommend using a platform that allows for an easy-to-read calendar view. There’s a good chance you’ll be modifying and tweaking your calendar up until the last minute, so you’ll want options for collaboration (sending an Excel spreadsheet in an email attachment would be a major pain in the neck). Trello’s Calendar feature is my number one choice because it’s free, has color coding options, the ability to assign others to the post via email, a place for the description, and the ability to attach screenshots.
Once you’ve picked your platform, it’s time to develop your strategy. Ask yourself questions:
Across all social media platforms, a company’s employees averages 10 times more reach than their company pages. And on LinkedIn company pages specifically, 30 percent of their engagement comes from their employees. To maximize your reach, make sure you’re involving your staff. Think of what they would want to share from your company: their work anniversaries, specific projects they’ve been involved in, kudos or shoutouts to their accomplishments, and articles that they write are all great places to start.
Your staff can also:
While you can certainly optimize your social media pages to reach organic traffic, a little bit of ad spending can go a long way. Make sure you’re regularly posting good, thoughtful content across channels. Then, after a few weeks or months, choose which posts to pay to promote. On LinkedIn, you can hyper-target to ensure that they show up not only to specific demographic groups like age and gender, but also company name, job title, and fields of study. The more you pay to promote good quality posts, the more you’ll see engagement, a growth in followers, and more website traffic.
Sound like a lot to handle? Need some help to lighten the load? At Ample, we have content marketing packages and are prepared to help with everything from ghostwriting to creating detailed LinkedIn strategies. Check out our other capabilities and contact us today.
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