Social selling just might be the best way to engage with future buyers. Especially when it comes to B2B companies. Consumers use social media in a way that greatly affects their buying decision. Now that social media has evolved from a marketing channel into a powerful lead generation it has becomes the perfect sales pipeline tool. And it makes sense because social selling strategies can create better engagement and build relationships with potential customers.
Social media is no longer just for engaging with and influencing B2C customers. In today's digital landscape, B2B marketers can use social media platforms as a way to nurture relationships and drive sales. In fact, a new Forrester research suggests that sellers and marketers view social as the dominant sales channel of the future.
How B2B Brands Use Social Media To Market & Sell
B2B brands can actually reach a unique level of success when it comes to social media. Unfortunately, a lot of B2B brands have missed the social media boat. Here are five tips that will help any B2B use social media as a way to get more traffic.
1. Figure Out An Interesting Angle
This should become your B2B social media motto: don't be boring! It's time to get creative. Every B2B needs to develop an angle this is both appealing and understandable to a broad audience. This gives you a chance to create an initiative that is destined to gain some traction on social media. Sure you might think your company is pretty boring, but if you present in a new light, you might get some attention.
Finding an interesting and creative angle will make your social media efforts more streamlined and effective.
2. Showcase A Real Person
A common shortcoming of B2B brands is that they lack genuine humans behind their efforts. The lack of real people can make the company seem distant and unattached. That's why every B2B needs to make a conscious effort to humanize their brand every chance they get. Social media and content marketing is great for that. Here's what it looks like:
- Initiate engagement and outreach from a real person.
- Use real people with their names in customer service.
- Use first-person whenever you write updates, articles, etc.
- Try out a brand front person to tweet, post updates, write articles, etc.
- Social Media Platforms Perfect for That B2B Approach
3. Hire A Good Marketer
If you are inexperienced with social media, it's a good idea to go ahead and hire the right person for the job. But don't make the mistake of hiring someone just because they are experienced in your niche. This might seem like a good idea, but if they aren't a social media expert you're bound to lose. A lot of negative things can happen which can lead your brand down a negative social media rabbit hole.
Don't get me wrong. It's incredibly important for whoever is in control of your social media efforts to be familiar with your industry or niche. But you also need to find someone who really knows social media too. Why? Mainly because B2B social media can be a little difficult to master. Simply because it doesn't automatically generate a buzz on its own. It takes an experienced social media expert to know how to unleash the awesomeness of your B2B.
Another issue is when a B2B brand hires someone to do social media functions instead of creating a social media movement. Social media isn't just about posting photos to Instagram twice a week. Or updating Twitter three times a day. When it comes to B2B brands, this approach is shortsighted and lacks an effective end goal. Social media is SO much more than that.
A lot of B2Bs aren't aware of the complexities that make up social media. Instead, they look for someone to simply update their status or create an Instagram account. But that's just not going to cut it. Instead go ahead and hire someone who can create a movement on social media. Someone who can shape the brand's voice and expand their reach. It's not just about tweets and pretty photos. It's an entire identity.
4. Engage Your Following and Dominate Your Niche
Okay, maybe dominate is a strong word, but seriously try it. Most B2Bs don't know how to engage a following and this is a major downside. This is typically where a lot of B2Bs go astray. They make the mistake of thinking that they need to find every single follower who is interested in their niche. Unfortunately, if your brand isn't all that glamorous you might only have two people on Twitter who even care.
This is why you need to develop something broader and more exciting. The social following doesn't need to be directly related to your niche. Heck, they don't even need to be 100% interested in it! Which leads us to our next tactic... building brand awareness.
The main goal of social media marketing comes down to leads. But leads don't always come first. What comes first is engagement and presence. Leads are just a byproduct. If a B2B can develop an unboring angle, they will be better at using social media the way it was intended. Gaining leads isn't everything. Companies should aim for presence. The leads will naturally follow.
Here are a few tips to help a B2B hire the right person for social media:
- Hire an expert in social media. It's a good idea to find someone with social media success in a similar niche, but not necessarily in your own niche.
- Hire a social media consulting company or agency, not just an individual. Companies typically have more resources at their disposal. For a lower price, they can help you engage on a more meaningful level. Like with graphics, writing content, etc.
The Perfect Social Media Platform for B2Bs
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the different social media platforms out there. It's never a good idea to overextend you brand on too many networks. You don't have to be everywhere. If you are, you might miss out on creating a meaningful social media presence. When it comes down to it, B2B brands should strive for a solid social media presence on a few platforms. Instead of a weak presence on too many. Below are a few platforms perfect for B2Bs.
The B2B Standard: Be Where Your Audience Is
The most important aspect of building your social media presence is to find the platform that your target audience is most active on. If you end up on a platform that isn't of any use to your promotion efforts, you won't reach your ideal audience.
It's also a good idea to check out the demographics of a variety of social media platforms and compare them to your target audience demographic. Sometimes it's LinkedIn, other times it's Facebook. According to Pew Research Center, 69% of all U.S. adults on the internet use Facebook. So it might be wise to include it in your social selling strategy. It also doesn't hurt to check out the following platforms.
If you are looking for a platform with a tremendous reach and influence Instagram is it. There are over 300 million monthly users on IG. 70% of which are already looking up brands and 63% who follow a brand. It's safe to say the Instagram is one of the best places to sell products or services socially. If you need a little proof just check out MailChimp's feed. This B2B brand that offers marketing automation has 78.1k followers.
Brands with feeds that are unique can achieve a lot more than feeds that are less than inspired. B2B brands need to make sure that they can offer content that is unique and authentically appealing. This makes it easier for the followers to feel close to the brand. While at the same time strengthening the bond between business and user.
This platform evolved from a niche photo-messaging service into a well establishing social media platform. One that has over 161 million daily users. Brands like General Electric and Cisco use Snapchat as a way to connect with customers. And the most beneficial aspect is that it's cost-effective, engaging, and personalized.
They even offer functions that enable analytics. You can track advertising API, Bitstrips, and image recognition. They key for B2B brands using Snapchat is to develop a strategy that aligns well with Snapchat's core purpose and appeal. If you're wondering what that is, it's all about storytelling. In order to see results, B2B brands need to let employees act as a brand ambassador. This way they can also promote their account via other social media platforms.
The greatest aspect of LinkedIn is the ability to make contacts and build relationships. However, the key to success on this platform is to provide valuable information to your connections and groups. LinkedIn lets executives and companies build their brands and establish strong leadership. LinkedIn groups are where most of this happens. There are over one million LinkedIn groups. Some of which are very industry focused. This allows for the best networking possible. In terms of comments and status engagement.
From a marketing standpoint, LinkedIn lets you run advertising that is extremely targeted. They can be grouped by location, industry, title, company, and other demographics. On a company level, LinkedIn also gives you the ability to show your firm via company pages feature. This is a great place to introduce your company, boost traffic back to your site, and share your content.
All of that's awesome. But one of the most appealing features of LinkedIn, especially for B2B's, is the opportunity to find out almost everything on a professional level in regards to a target prospect. You can even decide if there's a chance for a personal introduction through one of your connections. At that point, you might even want to take the conversation from LinkedIn to an offline interaction.
If you're looking for an effective way to get your brand's word out AND provide links back to your site, Twitter is the place to be. All tweets can be seen by everyone at any given time. Nothing is filtered out like on Facebook. Twitter can offer insights into thought leaders in your niche, your prospects, even your competitors.
You can create Twitter lists (either private or public) of people you want to follow. It doesn't even require that they follow you back. Lists give you the chance to filter out all the tweets from your main news feed and focus on a particular subject. For example, you can build a list of prospects in your niche. If they ask a question, you can respond and help them. This is a great way to build a relationship.
Whatever you choose, don't forget to measure your ROI.
The big question comes down to whether or not social selling will actually have an impact on your sales funnel. Since the rise of social media, marketers have had a hard time showing the true ROI of their efforts. When you tether your sales, CRM, marketing automation and social media you're able to track conversions a lot more accurately. This way you're able to show the true reach of your marketing efforts.
Most social media platforms let you track each conversion back to the message and engagements that caused them to move through the sales pipeline. Go ahead and measure your KPI performance and don't forget to include conversions for each post you share to your social networks. It's an awesome way to get a deeper look into your social media efforts.
Whenever you track the success of your individual posts you'll get a better understanding of what type of posts work for your brand and what doesn't. This can be invaluable to the progression of your marketing efforts and the success of your posts. Go ahead and integrate this information with your analytics and CRM platforms to discover the complete ROI of your sales and marketing efforts.
Social selling takes time and dedication. It isn't something to take lightly. Especially if you are a B2B brand. Your sales and marketing teams need to invest their time to build the resources needed to support a proper social selling strategy. Luckily, social media platforms combined with marketing tools make it easy. We hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions just let us know in the comments below.