Wednesday, May 2, 2012
As one of the leading social media marketing agencies in the UK, we are often told by Business to Business (B2B) marketers, “I can see how social media marketing works for Business to Consumer (B2C) brands, but I don’t see how social media can really work for us?”
Over the past few years, the benefits of social media marketing for B2C brands has become clear, but in this article we will show you that social media also lends itself very well to B2B marketing and we will share some of our top tips we have gained through our very own experience.
A study by BtoB Magazine proves just how popular social media marketing has become with B2B brands, with 93% of all B2B marketers being engaged in some form of social media marketing. The three most popular channels being LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Before we go into detail and share some of our own tips for each of the 3 most popular channels, here are a few general tips for those just starting out;
To be successful in social media, it must be weaved into your company’s overall communications plan.
Too often today, companies view social media marketing as a separate entity from the overall marketing strategy, however this is a mistake.
B2B marketing activity across multiple platforms can enhance and create exposure that reinforces your messages.
Here are 5 easy ways you can do this;
a) RE: your company e-newsletter
Include links to all your social media profiles to make it easy for people to connect with you. This is important because you will be able to connect far more often on social media channels than you normally would via newsletters (ie once a month).
Also, think about including social media share buttons on your newsletter, this way your subscribers can share your newsletter with their networks increasing exposure for you!
b) RE: your employee’s email signatures
Just think about how many emails you alone send in one day – multiply that by however many people you have in your organisation and we’re talking about a huge opportunity to encourage more Likes and follows. Make sure you encourage your staff to include a link to your company’s social media profiles in their email signature.
c) Research and find out where your target audience is
B2B marketing is incredibly diverse – as diverse as B2C . Therefore, do some careful research to find out what channels your customers are using. For example, there is no point spending time and effort on Flickr if the people you want to reach are not using this channel.
d) Shout about your recommendations
Reviews and Ratings have been shown to increase B2C sales by up to 18% – but what about good reviews about your business? Why not ask your customers to add reviews or recommendations of your services and products on your website?
Better still; why not encourage them to leave a review using their LinkedIn profile (or their favourite social media profile). This will post directly to their profile/wall/feed driving more people back to your website.
Here at Digital Visitor, we have created a series of website applications that enable for the quick and easy uploading of reviews, discussions, photos, videos and more.
Users are encouraged to authenticate and login using their favourite social media profiles which means that while they are joining discussions and sharing experiences, they are continuing to share with their friends and contacts on their social networks – exposing your brand and products to an even wider audience.
Another issue that many companies have whilst trying to communicate across different social media channels is one where the company’s message sounds a bit like “spam”.
Whilst your company’s brand personality must be consistent between all the social media channels, what you say and how you say it must respect how your customers are using each unique platform.
Below is an infographic published on Tnooz that very simply details the different channels and what tone should be used;
Here are a few things to bear in mind;
Don’t start and then give up after 1 month because no one has engaged. Keep on it! Remember – social media is a marathon not a sprint.
b) Don’t be boring
Would you buy off someone who was telling you the same stuff over and over again? No. So how can you create exciting, relevant content that is also engaging and shareable?
Our advice is to think about what content excites you? Is it photos / videos / infographics? Think about this, and make sure you create a variety of content using different mediums (please see point below).
c) Jack of all trades?
While it is preferred to utilise a variety of marketing platforms and channels, there is a tendency to try using as many as possible. Quite simply, don’t over-commit yourselves. Would you rather be a big fish in a smaller pond? We say yes! If you can take ownership over certain channels then this can provide excellent results.
Here at Digital Visitor, we are looking into Pinterest at the moment as we really like the way it lends to the quick and easy sharing of great content. Click here to read an article we recently wrote about the new social media channel.
Now let’s delve into 2 of the 3 most popular B2B marketing channels; Twitter and Facebook (we’ll tackle LinkedIn in a separate post next week).
As we have mentioned already, not all social media channels are the same. Here’s a quick list of tips when using Twitter to market your business:
1. Use your top keywords in your Twitter bio.
2. Find and follow industry leaders through directories, lists and other users.
3. Follow general news sources, trade publications and associations (relevant to your business) for the latest information to share.
4. Post links to company blog posts more than once, and be sure to test and track different tweets using trackable links (such as Bitly or Tinyurl)
5. Pay attention to the time of day your audience is most engaged by tracking clicks and re-tweets.
6. Share third-party content from people, blogs and news sources that provides value to your followers.
7. Tweet offers and links to your landing pages to generate leads.
8. Don’t overuse hash tags, especially ones that are abused with spam or never used.
9. Periodically encourage followers to subscribe to your company email newsletter.
10. Profile pages are changing! Late last year Twitter announced they would be moving towards more of a Facebook-style brand page. Apparently the new features will include e-commerce, contests, and sweepstakes.
For more information about the basics of Twitter and to get some insight on best practice, check out our beginners guide to Twitter.
Facebook is a completely different beast when it comes to B2B marketing.
Not many companies have had success here HOWEVER you will find that it can be the greatest referral of social media traffic to your site if done correctly.
Facebook is less formal and requires more media investment to make it engaging and shareable.
Your primary objective in your B2B Facebook marketing strategy should be to create meaningful content that people will want to share, whilst also encouraging them to keep coming back.
What kind of content? Photos, videos, infographics etc…
Here are some tips to help you effectively market your business on Facebook;
1. Become an industry knowledge source
Whatever business you’re in, you most probably have valuable content resources at your disposal. Blogging about the latest industry news and engaging with your customers will produce valuable content.
Share your own content and any other interesting news that addresses your customer’s problems.
You want to make your Facebook page THE place for people to go for insights and information on your industry.
Agreed, sentiment is good, but make sure you have a media focus on Facebook. Upload photos, videos and infographics to really make the most of this channel.
2. Engage with your community
One of the most attractive aspects of Facebook is the high levels of interaction it affords, not only just between you and your customers, but also between your customers themselves.
Facebook can be used to engage directly with your audience and make them part of your marketing efforts. For example, you can ask your customers to share their positive experiences on your wall and also gain valuable feedback on your company’s new products and services.
Another benefit of your customers sharing their positive experiences is that you can ask your customers directly to be references, so they can be used for case studies.
3) Make your page awesome!
Facebook pages for brands can be amazing – tabs, competitions, polls, all sorts.
Make sure you think of this same level of diversity for your own B2B marketing. Have a look at a few B2C brands you like – then see what they are doing and how you can translate this.
4) Get creative with your brand timeline
The new timeline format has implications on the way your brand is represented on Facebook and the way you will run any future Facebook campaigns.
Think about how you can use it creatively to show how long you have been with certain clients, when you created certain products, attended events, won awards etc….
Click here to read our recent article looking at the new timeline.
5) The more human side of your company
Relax and inject some character! Although you are using Facebook as a channel for business, most people who use Facebook are there to relax, have fun and engage with friends. So don’t forget to present your company that way and infuse some character and humour into your company’s Facebook page. This will help your audience to make a strong, more personal connection with your company.
In a separate post next week, we will look at LinkedIn as a channel to market your business and share some of our best tips.
Our social media marketing team have experience creating strategies for both B2C and B2B brands. Here’s how we do it…
Contact our team today to find out more about how we can help your business achieve results from social media marketing +44(0)1179 055 195 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Categories: Social Media Articles