Plenty of companies still don’t take their social-media efforts seriously. For better or worse, there’s a stigma around social-media content. After all, it’s easy to get distracted by the interminable dross that pops up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As such, marketers working for B2B companies will sometimes forgo prioritizing social-media channels in favor of other strategies. However, there’s evidence to say that isn’t a good idea. According to Forbes, 83 percent of executives chose a vendor for their company based at least in part on material seen on social media. If we accept that social media is a vital part of any B2B marketing strategy the question then becomes, how should a B2B company market itself on social media?
Set Reasonable Targets
Want to ensure your next social-media campaign generates positive results for your business? Then first you’ll need to establish parameters for your efforts and set goals you can actually measure. “Increasing engagement,” or “driving more sales” don’t count under these stipulations. Give yourself a hard target to aim for –– it’ll help sharpen your focus and motivate your team at the same time.
Develop Relationships –– Not Just Leads
Social media is still a social proposition after all. Remember, just because someone on social media is willing to listen to your product pitch, doesn’t mean they want to be harassed into buying it. There’s a subtle art to reaching out to potential clients in your field without overtly selling them on your company. Note, most B2B purchases work on a long-term purchase cycle –– so converting a lead into a sale could take months. That’s where solid content creation comes in. Yes, there are ways to gussy up your posts (and we’ll touch on them too), but at the end of the day great content trumps all. The more relevant, informative, and useful your blogs, videos, and content marketing offers are, the likelier an interested lead will keep you in mind when the time comes to reconsider their buying habits. What’s more, anything you can do to engage with a potential client online will only bolster your position. Even though B2B purchases tend to be more pragmatic and less “knee-jerk” than B2C ones, it doesn’t mean emotions aren’t a factor. As evidenced by this study, roughly 70% of buyers will purchase a product because it represents a level of “personal value” as opposed to merely a “business value.”
When a business decides to market itself on a social-media channel, it opens up a world of possibilities. Compare for a moment typical pay-per-click advertising on a platform like AdWords with the kind of ads Facebook offers. AdWords ads are stale and static. They’re usually stuffed with keywords and don’t actually impart any information as to why a product or service is valuable. What’s more, poorly-run PPC accounts can end up costing a company when unqualified leads click on ads –– but don’t purchase anything afterward. Conversely, Facebook ads enable more freedom and creativity. It’s a well-known fact that videos and images increase engagement in “organic” social-media posts. In the same way, social-media advertisements provide B2B businesses the stage they need to showcase themselves. This is particularly valuable for manufacturers and companies that produce equipment for specific niches. A short video explaining the function of cell culture tubes or a hydro-drive gear sprocket will accomplish a great deal more than a 400-word blog dedicated to the subject.
The Bottom Line
At this point, most marketers should understand the basic precepts of sound social-media promotion. Yes, writing apt descriptions is crucial; as is keeping a tight schedule and peppering your pages with creative images and videos (which are perfect for sharing). Still, if you want to create a social-media campaign that goes above and beyond –– you’ll have to go above and beyond yourself. The social-media landscape is highly competitive, and not just for businesses within a given industry. That’s why quality content and consistent application is essential for a B2B company’s success on social media.