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Social Secrets: The Softer Side of B2B Marketing
Posted on April 29th 2014
Social media marketing is no longer solely for B2C companies. B2B marketers are recognizing the benefit of engaging with audiences via social networks. By creating an online persona for your brand, you’re humanizing it, just as those in the consumer space do, creating a relationship that makes people feel like they know your brand personally.
91 percent of B2B companies are present on LinkedIn and more than 80 percent have Twitter and Facebook accounts. But just because they are “on” social, doesn’t mean these networks are being used efficiently or effectively. Developing a strong online presence takes cross platform planning and resource allocation. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, only 44 percent of B2B marketers have a documented social content strategy, meaning too many companies aren’t capitalizing on social media the way they could be.
To succeed in social, B2B companies need to adopt the mindset of engaging as an individual first and the business second. This personal tone will make your brand more approachable and relatable as those you’re engaging with are individuals first as well. Just as we’re seeing the consumerization of IT, we need to see the consumerization of B2B marketing.
At Digimind, we help leading B2B brands fine tune their social media efforts to ensure they are connecting with their audiences. Here we share a few “social secrets” for maximizing your marketing across LinkedIn, company blogs and Twitter.
The top site for virtual networking, LinkedIn is a no brainer from a B2B perspective - it should be your bread and butter platform. It’s great for promoting thought leadership, generating leads and building relationships. So how can you harness the considerable power this network has to offer? Go visual.
Not enough companies take advantage of the visual possibilities afforded by LinkedIn. Customize your banner image on your company profile, share videos, and upload presentations. While LinkedIn is the professional social network, at the core, you’re still trying to reach individual people. It’s proven that people respond to video and images most on the Internet. There should be no exception here, and this approach will help you stand out among a sea of content.
I’m always surprised to see how underused blogs are with B2B companies. It’s one of the best ways to inform and engage with a target audience. These days you truly rely on your
official website to attract new customers, and blogs can play a crucial role in driving new business. This type of content shows your company as an authority and source on trends driving your industry. In developing a blog strategy, there are a few important things to keep in mind - the first being to take the time to create a strategy for socializing your company’s thought leadership in a coordinated way.
First, develop your goals for the blog - whether it is generating leads, improving SEO, or acquiring an online following. Determine what tone, cadence and type of content you want your blog to have. It often helps to create an editorial calendar of posts to map it all out and have a clear path.
Also keep in mind the value of mobile-optimization. Research shows that 40 percent of social networking happens on cell phones. That’s a huge audience you’re ignoring if you make your blog hard to read on the go.
Similar to LinkedIn, most B2B companies should be on Twitter. A recent Mediabistro study noted that 82 percent of leads generated on social media are done through Twitter. The social site itself also revealed that more than 30 percent of Twitter users search for B2B brands online, compared to 12 percent of average Internet users. There is no denying the influence it has.
Here are a few tips we find to be essential to a successful B2B Twitter strategy:
Tweet often - The key to profiting from social media is using it regularly. You should update your Twitter 2-3 times a day to maximize your brand's presence. Many tools make it possible for you to do this without having to constantly be at your computer.
Be responsive - Monitor which Twitter content is the most effective by looking at which cause the most buzz or get the highest number of retweets, and then tailor future content. Additionally, if someone asks a question, don’t ignore them. That’s a potential customer. Using a social media monitoring tool is the best way to stay on top of this.
Share interesting content - We can’t emphasize this enough across all channels. Sharing interesting content that will engage your audience is the best way to drive leads. Rather than always tweeting about your company’s products and services, share relevant articles on trends and new studies that your audiences will find useful. This is how you will build a following.
There are a number of opportunities and advantages out there for B2B marketers who are willing to try different engagement methods. Remember that the label B2B simply refers to the sale; online relationships are between people and not businesses. Social media can serve as a channel to humanize your brand and create relationships with the people behind the business.