Social Media has a B2B image problem. Business owners, Freelancers and owners / leaders of B2B companies are for the most part able to recognize the effectiveness of Social Media marketing in the B2C realm, but many still don’t see Social Media platforms as resonating with B2B buyers, despite its pervasive use across most customer demographic groups in the U.S.
Yet numerous studies have demonstrated that the various Social Media platforms can quickly and effectively increase brand awareness and generate leads for B2B and B2C companies. Moreover, once a Social Media strategy is developed, it’s relatively easy to implement and monitor. Consider the following statistics, courtesy of the 2019 Global Digital Report prepared by We Are Social, a top-tier digital marketing firm:
- 76% of Americans who are on the Internet use Social Media
- Social Media (inbound marketing) has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than traditional marketing (outbound marketing)
- 45% of business owners/ marketers have acquired customers through LinkedIn
- 43% of B2B companies on Facebook report generating leads as a result
- Brands that are on Twitter generate 2x as many leads than those who are not
- 66% of business owners/ marketers see lead generation benefits with Social Media by putting in as little as six hours/ week
Where to start
Perhaps the simplest way to generate B2B leads with Social Media is to optimize your business page profile on the platform you decide to use. Your business must be visible. Include a link to the company website, along with links to your blog and/or newsletter. Make your value proposition obvious and devise a compelling call-to-action that indicates to prospective customers how they can learn more about your product or service. “Enter your email here and receive a free ebook that teaches B2B leaders how to use five Social Media platforms.”
- Call-to-Action Button: Facebook gives business pages the option to include a call-to-action button. The seven options include Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up and Watch Video. You can send the link to a page on your business website. Here’s how you can entice browsers to get familiar with your products or services with a free offer, such as a 30 minute consultation, or a free trial of an online service.
- About Page: Facebook provides businesses a place to list their address, phone number, hours of operation and a brief summary of their business. Be sure to complete all this information. Not only is it helpful to visitors, but also boosts the pages SEO value.
B2B leaders/ owners must first understand that marketing on Instagram is less about selling the benefits of your products and services and more about establishing deeper connections with people, including industry thought-leaders and prospective clients.
Instagram is a channel where building and maintaining awareness of your brand needs to come before lead generation. Unlike Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, where you can drive traffic to your site, think of Instagram as a way to grab the attention of industry influencers and prospective clients at a time when they’re not really in ‘work mode’. When they’re not in ‘work mode’ they’re not going to be clicking links, they’re not going to be interested in being ‘sold to’. This is your chance to seamlessly inject your brand values into their Instagram feed so it doesn’t look out of place amongst the B2Cs, friends and co-workers they also follow on Instagram.
The key to leveraging Instagram as a marketing tool for B2B buyers is to not think of it as a marketing tool at all. Instead, think about Instagram as a way to tell your story as part of a larger online marketing strategy.
Instagram will help you to demonstrate your company’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility when you include three or four photos of you and your team participating in spring clean-up, or fall planting of tulip bulbs, in a public park. You can show the celebration of a team member’s baby shower. You can even show the team sharing beer and wine and celebrating that a big project deadline was successfully met.
- Images: As with both Facebook and Twitter, your profile and banner images can have a big impact on the success of your page. Make your profile image some recognizable variation of your company logo and be sure to mirror your header image with current marketing initiatives.
- SEO: LinkedIn company profiles are often indexed by search engines. Be sure that the first few lines of your company description are compelling and contain your target keywords, as this text will often be used as Google’s preview text. LinkedIn users can browse the platform using keywords, meaning that this optimization will help get more eyes on your profile within the platform.
- Showcase Pages: LinkedIn offers the ability to create separate pages to showcase products or examples of your work, such as writing. These pages live at the top of your profile in prime page real estate. Use these to help out with your lead generation efforts.
- Bio: Twitter marketing expert, Madalyn Sklar recommends that “Your bio should be compelling and inviting. Don’t be cutesy or funny. Your profile should paint your story in 160 characters and encourage me to want to learn more about you.”
- Profile/Header Images: For most B2B organizations, your Twitter profile image should be some variation of your logo — consider color, size, and how it will look on different devices. Your image, more than your handle, is what your followers will come to recognize you for, so it’s important to keep it consistent. Your header image, on the other hand, should be changed fairly regularly to match your marketing initiatives. Running an important event? Holding a webinar? Promoting a new product? This should be reflected in your banner image.
- Pinned Tweet: Twitter allows you to pin important tweets to the top of your feed so they don’t get lost among your other tweets. If your goal is lead generation, this tweet should contain a call-to-action and a link to your website. Consider pinning a tweet about exclusive content, a free trial, or a special product discount.
- Open Your DMs: Make sure your Direct Messages are open to the public. That way, if customers or prospects have questions, they can come to you directly. Prepare responses to common questions ahead of time.
- Hashtags: Studies show that tweets with hashtags generate twice the engagement as tweets without. But be careful, because too many hashtags can resemble spam. Your marketing team should develop a strategy around which hashtags to use and how often. Soon your followers, customers and prospects will catch on and use these hashtags, too.
That’s all for today. Go to work on this and we’ll pick up the thread next week.
Thanks for reading,
Photograph: Hussey’s Horse Auction (1926) at the Bonhay Cattle Market. Exeter, UK