Last week we talked about the stats around B2B social media marketing and looked at numbers behind social media usage. And it was fun because numbers always are. We also dove into who is using social platforms when it comes to B2B research and purchasing. You can read part one here.
This week we’re talking about the benefits of using social media as part of your B2B marketing strategy. Even if you are a small to mid-sized company with limited resources, there are goals that can be attained for your organization through social media. They won’t happen overnight. It requires consistency, a plan, and a variety of relevant, valuable content for your audience. When you have these things in place, there are several benefits you can expect to see.
So why do B2B companies use social media in their marketing mix? In order to do so, let’s review the most common reasons why B2B companies use social media and the results they have seen.
Benefits of B2B Social Media Marketing
1. Get in front of your clients and prospects
Don’t make clients come to you, go to where they are. And most of your clients are on social media – whether they admit it or not. We covered this last week with all of the numbers, but here is the gist:
- Businesses are made up of people
- People use social media
- Even the executives of a company uses social, they just might use it a little differently than your average person
- Increasingly, in many companies (depending on their size), the executives aren’t doing the research for products/services, millenials are.
- Millenials use social media
- Your company should too
2. Increases Brand awareness
Get in front and stay in front of your prospects. While they might not need you today, they’ll know who you are and what you do when they find themselves in need of your services or product. This increases the likelihood that they’ll turn to you. It also helps to strengthen your brand with existing clients when they see you active on social media platforms and in your industry. You’re staying relevant to your prospects, clients, and to the market at large. Go you.
3. Generates New Leads
Social media can help drive new leads. According to a survey conducted by DemandWave, 55% of B2B respondents said they receive leads from social media. Of those that receive leads from social media, the majority said those leads came from LinkedIn. This also helps you start considering the B2B social media marketing channels you might want to use for your organization.
4a. Educates Prospects and Clients
Many B2B companies sell complex products or services that require education about the benefits, the need, and the problems the product/service will solve. Social media marketing provides an ongoing way to help educate the prospective client. It isn’t just about the service you’re selling, but the problem you’re solving. Therefore some of the education should be relevant, valuable content to help them do their job better and improve things in their organization. Many organizations use this method.
A great example is SalesForce. SalesForce has blogs, podcasts and social media content geared towards Sales and Marketing people. They help educate their audience on information relevant to their roles. In addition, SalesForce uses social media to highlight useful information that educates and inspires the target audience. They also promote their products and services, but that is mixed in with the value and resources they provide.
4b. Position Your Company as Thought Leaders
Educational content provides value to the target audience. This helps educate while increasing brand awareness. While most small-to-mid-sized companies don’t have marketing budgets and resources like a company the size of SalesForce, think about how your company can educate your prospective and current clients. What information do you and your team have that could help solve the bigger problems relevant to your target audience and aligns with your company’s mission? This can be extremely valuable to your organization in the long-run. It helps establish your company as a thought leader in the space and can be a differentiator over your competition.
5. Improves SEO
According to the same DemandWave survey, 70% responded that organic search served to drive leads for their business. To do this, they created white papers, blog posts, and other types of valuable content and then promoted it on their social media profiles. They integrated their content and promotion of it, using social media marketing to do so. This content and the promotion of it helped increase their SEO.
In addition, consider this, when you Google a company, their social media profiles can be found in search results – especially Google+ profiles. Be sure to use your SEO keywords in your profile description consistently across social media platforms. Don’t forget that YouTube is the second largest search engine. Increasingly more searches are being done from within the social platforms. If you’re not there, or if your content hasn’t been updated in six months, it may hurt your display results.
Given the ever-changing complexity of SEO, there is a lot more detail that goes into integrating it closely with social media to boost your results. For now, know that social can help your SEO.
6. Engages your prospects (and clients)
Social media can help engage your prospects as they go through the funnel and beyond. Providing a variety of content on social media channels can help engage and educate your prospects. It keeps you in front of them and gives you an opportunity to respond to their posts, answer questions, and essentially allows you to engage in a different way than direct sales throughout the sales process.
Focus on the “engage” and “social” aspect, and less on the broadcasting of information to them. If they see the personality your company displays through social, it can help separate you from the competition. Especially if your posts are relevant, interesting and educational. In addition, you can listen to them and gain a better understanding of their company and the community of people who work there. This also helps to develop brand advocates who can create PR mentions, expand brand awareness and brand advocacy.
7. Proactively Provides Client Service
When clients are upset you don’t want them to have to wait. Nor do you want them to go online and rant to the Internet at large. The more you can help contain any frustration, or provide proactive information, the better. If they are upset and complaining on your page, or tag your profile, you can then respond and do something about it. Others will see you actively trying to resolve the issue and you end up looking all the better for it.
If you use social media to quickly get information out to your clients if there is an emergency, then it’s even better. A great example of this is when service goes down for whatever reason. Being able to provide information and updates goes a long way in providing the reassurance that you know there’s an issue and something is being done to resolve it as quickly as possible.
Wrapping it Up
There are more benefits to using social media, but most roll up into one of these larger areas. While some benefits are easy to measure the ROI (e.g. generating new leads from social media led to $X revenue), other aspects of social are more challenging to measure. This is what makes it easy to write off B2B social media marketing as something that doesn’t need to be done today. It can be resource intensive and is hard to track. Those are two things most companies want to stay away from. In the following weeks, we’ll be looking at examples of B2B companies that use it to their advantage, and how you can use it for your company as well.
See you next week!
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