Who can afford to spend hours on Social Media every week? For B2B companies today, it seems very few can’t not afford to.
Social media is the number one content marketing tactic used by B2B marketers as measured by B2B Content Marketing Trends-North America. With an overwhelming amount of platforms, the tendency is to stretch one’s brand over too many networks, overextending resources while limiting effective marketing while giving companies a consumer outcome that is an inch deep and a mile wide. First lesson in social media marketing for B2B companies? Strive for solid presence on few platforms rather than limited presence on many.
How do we maximize the opportunities of the sites we choose? We become students of the platforms.
When most marketers think of Twitter, they think of the obvious advantages for direct-to-consumer companies to sell products, such as effectively demonstrated by the Oreos Campaign during the Super Bowl of 2013. However, huge opportunity lies in this social networking site for business-to-business marketers seeking to optimize their portfolios. By utilizing proven strategies and the best technology available, your business can benefit from a platform that is overlooked by many of your competitors. Over 500 million use this microblogging service which enables users to send and read “tweets,” - text messages limited to 140 characters. It’s a great way for companies to spread brand awareness while providing links to their website. All tweets can be seen by everyone. It’s like an enormous party where you talk with whomever while simultaneously paying attention to other conversations. These can include leaders in your industry, prospects and even competitors.
The top 3 strategies for success with your B2B business on Twitter are as follows:
1.) Be Professional
This should go without saying, but having an empty profile picture box or an amateur cover page gives a horrible first impression of your business which no description can alleviate. And since you never want your audience to have to google your website, ensure that the website link is vividly accessible on your page.
2.) Be Analytical
Twitter offers some great analytics on its dashboard that can help you go beyond simply who followed you and which messages have been retweeted. Track your growth over a period of time along with mentions and even your unfollows. Another tool is HootSuite which helps to control and time your campaigns. HootSuite is an official partner in the Twitter Certified Analytics Program. In addition is TweetStats, which can aid you in finding out the times of day your industry is most active and what your rivals are doing in their Twitter strategies. Assign only one person to manage your business’s Twitter account to ensure you have no content discrepancies or misunderstandings about scheduled tweets.
3.) Be Active
The primary mistake B2B marketers make on Twitter is creating accounts and then never using them. Don’t be like these people. It makes you look more unprofessional to have an unused account than to have zero presence on the site. You’ll give the impression that you’re losing followers which will lead your audience to questioning your reliability. If you can’t keep up a simple Twitter feed, how can you deliver on your promises and be the brand you are presenting to the world?
In a sense Snapchat’s bigger brother since 2010 with over 300 million current users, Instagram has maintained its steady growth and popularity with simple formatting and easy usability, all reasons why it should be at the very top of every B2B’s social media networks.
Many B2B businesses dismiss Instagram on the basis that it doesn’t directly drive traffic to websites or allow links to products or your latest blog post, but the enormous advantage of building brand identity far outweighs the perceived cons. Since today’s market is motivated on a consumer-level by resonating values versus product, your brand should display its deeper values and purposes as colorfully and media-rich as possible, and Instagram is a phenomenal way to do this.
Becoming a successful B2B marketer on Instagram is about more than snapping a cute photo and posting it with a myriad of hashtags. It’s about story. It’s about connecting with your audience via humor, heart and authenticity versus sales-centered advertising, which frankly, doesn’t work for B2B companies anymore. It’s less about convincing your audience of the benefits of your products and company and more about pursuing deeper ties with related industry experts, employers and potential clients.
A key to reaching Instagram users as a B2B company is to think of your audience in ‘play mode’; not ‘work mode’. Chances are that your audience will be in ‘play mode’ while scrolling through their feed, which means they will not be interested in being consciously ‘sold-to’. Your greatest chance to market to them will be to smoothly interject your values and brand identity into their awareness without them ever being aware of it. Try one of these three ideas for building an amazing Instagram account:
1.) Behind the Scenes
Give a behind-the-scenes look into your brand and win people over with the humanity of your company, like Microsoft did so well on their Instagram with their #DoMore campaign. Your audience wants to see real people behind the products or services they are purchasing, and ultimately, wants to believe in the goodness of your company. So don’t be shy in showing it off.
2.) Partner with Professionals
Highlight the talents of a skilled professional who can elevate your image and bring beauty into an otherwise grayscale industry, such as financial service UBS has done with artist Damilola. Even though they come from two entirely different industries, Damilola brought an aesthetically-pleasing element to the otherwise colorless world of finance.
3.) Highlight Stories
Focus your Instagram on intriguing, story-rich, well-photographed customer success stories similar to the agency of WeWork, an incredibly successful B2B company which knocked out two birds with one stone: creating great Instagram content and winning their audience with subtle third-party confirmation. Mark Twain said, “The desire to be told a story never dies in the human heart.” If you feed the desire of your audience to hear great stories, chances are they’re going to love your business more, too.
“Isn’t that the old-school Facebook for wannabe professionals?” I asked myself when I first signed up for this 9-year-old, 450-million user platform. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. If you only use one social media network, make it this one. LinkedIn currently has users in 200 countries and in 20 languages. But just like all social media platforms, the key is in the implementation. Just following the conventional LinkedIn advice of 1.) signing up, 2.) being active and 3.) getting leads, isn’t enough. So what’s a business to do?
While the other social media platforms I’ve covered in this blog might work for generating professional leads, LinkedIn does work. Other social media platforms cannot effectively do what LinkedIn can in connecting to bona fide leads. The tip to making these great leads is being incredibly intentional. With LinkedIn, you cannot simply set up a company page and wait for leads to fall into your lap. With that having been said, having an attractive, information-stocked page is an essential first glimpse into your company and a channel to your official website. Once the essentials are set up on your LinkedIn page, you can next put in place a conversion action, which includes:
1.) Using an Image to Attract
Grab readers! While words are necessary, they only go so far when initially attracting a potential lead. Use strong image that a.) visually represents your brand b.) demands a response. Once you have the reader’s initial attention, the systematic conclusion is that they will keep reading.
2.) Pitch Your Brand Compellingly
The key here is the word compellingly. Even if you’ve captured your reader, the one thing that will turn them away is dry explanation of what your company has done. Speak to your audience with well-woven language, which, because of LinkedIn’s interface, will be most crucial in the first two, visible lines of your description. Use your best tag lines and invite them to convert. In order to read more, the reader has to ‘click more’, so make those initial first lines as kick*ss as possible.
In each of the connections made between your business and your market in the social media world, make your voice emotion-saturated and meaningful. Your best social media marketing happens when your message catches fire in the heart of your prime market and they cannot help but spread it. After all, your prime audience may not even be the market you are directly targeting, but the endless mainstream your target market can bring you. Contact us today to strategize about your business.