If you’re struggling to maintain a presence on every social media site out there for your B2B business, you’re wasting your time. Likely, your audience is concentrated on one or two sites, and the others are just extra work for you. By focusing your efforts on the following social channels, you’ll pack a bigger punch and engage potential customers.
I talked to B2B marketers to get the scoop on which sites were giving the biggest bang for their buck, and even stole their secrets for how to maximize efforts on each social channel.
By far, the most popular social media tool for B2B marketing was LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn attracts more professionals than teens sharing cat videos, it’s the natural choice for online networking. Here are the tips I got.
There’s a Group on LinkedIn for every possible industry, niche, or job function, from content marketing to fire pump professionals.
Julie Graff, Social Content Liaison for Pole Position Marketing, says the best way to succeed using Groups is to find the ones where members of your target audience are active and consider your shares carefully.
Be careful not to be overly self-promotional in these Groups. You should be looking to engage in conversations, providing expert advice and answering questions.
She says if the Group allows, you should post links to your own content, but do so with caution:
Make sure the content you are linking to is highly valuable. Try to start a discussion with it. For instance, I recently posted an article about the ideal length for a blog post, so I asked the Group what they felt the ideal length was. Again, make sure you are doing more than just posting links. Engage in the other conversations in the Group.
Back in the day, you’d have to do a lot of dialing and cold calling to reach a decision-maker. But now a connection is just a click away. Jodie Cook, Managing Director of JC Social Media Limited, also the author for the book #Winning at Social Media: It’s all about the interaction, says that LinkedIn lead generation is a powerful tactic for B2B business.
If you know the typical title of the decision maker in a company, maybe it’s senior buyer, marketing manager or CFO, for example, LinkedIn searches can help you draw up a list of prospects to contact. We’ve had great success working for a client that supplies stone for landscaping — our job is to find landscape architects around the world and start a conversation.
She says it’s important not to send blank connection requests because they’ll be ignored. Instead:
Create a template message you can replicate for the hundreds of people you’ll be contacting but make sure it stresses what’s in it for them — a free brochure of your award-winning products, for example. Make sure you try two or three times per contact, [and] your persistence will pay off.
Who knew that having a page for your business on LinkedIn actually could help you be found on search engines? Randy Mitchelson, APR, who is Vice President of Sales & Marketing at iPartnerMedia, says that business pages on LinkedIn are crawled by search engines, making it a valuable tool in the hunt for better search engine optimization.
In fact, one of our clients came to us because they were frustrated that their website wasn’t ranking. Ironically, their LinkedIn business page ranked on page one of Google but their website was nowhere to be found.
He also suggests that all employees of a business who have personal LinkedIn profiles should link their personal profile to the company page.
LinkedIn does so much more than just provide great networking opportunities. It also acts a content publishing platform through Pulse. Graff of Pole Position Marketing says that syndicating the blog posts published on her company’s website on Pulse has brought great success:
Our process is to post part of the article in LinkedIn with a “Continue reading” link that takes them to our blog. This has resulted in a dramatic increase of traffic to our site from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has an interesting feature that tells users that people have been viewing their profile. Paid members, says Austen Allred, Senior Growth Manager at LendUp.com, can see a list of everyone who checks them out.
We’re naturally curious to do so. It turns out that you can build a script to do nothing but click from profile to profile, getting your name and face in front of tens of thousands of people. I did that once, someone saw my profile, and recommended the job that I now have.
When you meet people at trade shows or business events, it can be difficult to remember to follow up once you get back to the office. But incorporating LinkedIn into your followup process is a powerful way to stay connected.
Mitchelson of iPartnerMedia uses this strategy after every event he attends:
For example, after collecting business cards at an event, within 24 hours I connect with those people on LinkedIn and use that connection request to let them know I appreciated meeting them. Just today I connected with 5 new people shortly after having quality conversations with them.
By connecting online, you’re that much more likely to strengthen that relationship faster than via email or phone.
LinkedIn isn’t the only tool B2B marketers are leveraging. Twitter is great for in real time engagement, specifically for diving into one-on-one conversations. Here are a few tips from the experts.
If you use a social media dashboard like Hootsuite or TweetDeck, you can easily set up streams to follow tweets using specific keywords or search terms. Mary Cochran, Director of Marketing for Sleep Easily uses this strategy to connect with people in her target audience’s field:
I’ve had luck in business development using Hootsuite to set up a search term in the industry and ping the prospect on Twitter.
On a side note: I use this strategy too. Because many of my clients are software companies, I track the terms “software” and “small business.” I’ve even gotten a client by monitoring these keywords and responding appropriately!
Because Twitter (along with Instagram) is a “dual-directional” platform where you can interact with one or many people at a time, Matthew Mercuri, Digital Marketing Manager at Dupray says there’s even more marketing gold to be discovered.
Twitter / Instagram also allows you to interact with clients in ways that Facebook does not. Facebook is one-dimensional. You cannot go out and search for people to speak individually to people like you can on dual-directional platforms. Moreover, the other benefit is that Twitter / Instagram provides instantaneous, quick and witty responses, which, in certain milieus, are very valuable to a marketer.
He also says interacting with people you have already done business with will make your clients more likely to follow you back, which makes it easy to engage them.
Think Facebook is just for watching cat videos instead of working? Think again. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of business opportunity.
Facebook is renown for its easy, targeted ad platform. Tracy Willis, Content Strategist for N2Q Consulting loves its advertising features:
My favorite way to use Facebook as a B2B platform is through paid advertising. The Facebook Ad tool allows you to select your target customer from an extremely granular list of options.
Being able to target, for example, executives in the software industry, who earn $200,000 or more helps you target exactly who you want to reach with your ad.
One specific form of advertising on Facebook is the Boost a Post feature. Rather than appearing as an ad, you can take a regular post or update and amplify it to a wider audience. Adaf Darash, CEO of Regpack, has seen an increase in leads as a result of boosting blog posts:
The best response for us has been boosting a post on our company page, specifically when we post about our latest blog update. We spend a lot of time working on content marketing and boosting on Facebook has been the best way we’ve found to not only get our content in front of a lot of people, but we see a spike in leads shortly after our blog posts on Facebook are boosted!
Just like with LinkedIn, Facebook’s Groups provide a fantastic opportunity to connect with your target market. Willis of N2Q Consulting says Facebook can provide even more opportunity for engagement than LinkedIn through its Groups:
Joining these groups in your industry, even just to listen, can provide beneficial insight as to what your customers find important.These are similar to LinkedIn groups, but may be used more frequently as Facebook has a much higher engaged user-base.
These runners up might not have the power of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, but they may still help you reach your audience.
Slideshare doesn’t get nearly the play of other social tools (after all, you have to take the time to actually create a presentation), but Kent Lewis, President & Founder of Anvil, says it’s worth note.
Not many brands invest the time in SlideShare, but since it was acquired by LinkedIn, its importance (and rankings in Google) have only increased. It’s an excellent research and marketing platform for B2B companies and there is much less competition than other platforms like Twitter.
Lewis says it surprises him that only global B2B brands have properly leveraged the power of the world’s second largest search engine, YouTube.
For the same reason you may recommend Google+, Facebook, or Instagram to target B2B prospects, YouTube is logical for a variety of reasons. Video has 5x greater recall than the written word, so why tell the story in text when you can tell it with videos?
No matter which social sites you use to find leads and customers for your B2B company, you need the right strategy to get good results. That means being consistent in your updates, sharing relevant content, and targeting your audience. Here are additional tips to help you from Sandip Banerjee, Growth Hacking Specialist at Web3 Solution.
1. Timing is Everything
When you post is nearly as important as what you post. It may take some experimenting to find out when your audience is most responsive to your shares. Scheduling software lets you write your updates in advance and set them to go live at the ideal moment.
2. Knowing Your Audience is Imperative
Whether you’re investing in Facebook or LinkedIn ads or finding new relevant people to follow on Twitter, you’ll waste your time sending your message to the wrong people unless you filter your audience. Who uses the keywords that are relevant to your demographic? Who’s talking about the competition? These are likely good candidates to connect with.
3. Connect the Dots in Relevancy
If you write a social update talking about one thing and include a link, that link shouldn’t be about something else entirely. People want consistency, and by ensuring that what you share is relevant to the link you post, you’ll prove your value and trustworthiness to your followers.
4. Find the Right Cadence
Each social channel operates on a different cadence. Twitter moves at the speed of light; what you post right now won’t be seen by everyone simply because there are more users vying for your followers’ attention. So you may need to post more frequently. On LinkedIn Groups, however, there may be little activity, so be wary of bombarding the Group with a daily update if you’re the only one sharing.
5. Be Consistent
Social media management takes dedication and consistency. People don’t want to see that your last update was six months ago. If you don’t have the time or energy to dedicate weekly attention (if not daily) to your accounts, hire a social media consultant to help you. You’ll get better results if people know they can rely on you for regular, useful content.
By concentrating your B2B social media marketing efforts into these channels, you’ll better engage the right audience, build trust with them, and stay in their minds when they’re ready to buy.
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