Nearly every digitally savvy company in business today takes advantage of social media marketing in one way or another. Whether it be sending out a few tweets per week, sharing content and photos relevant to the industry or directly engaging with customers, SMB marketers are really beginning to grasp the true importance of social media to their lead generation and branding efforts.
That being said, there still exists the misconception that social media marketing is only useful for B2C companies or larger B2B brands. Particularly B2B companies in niche manufacturing, technology or construction fields sometimes fall into the laggard category in terms of their social presence, less than convinced that B2B social media marketing can make a difference. But this is hardly the case! Here’s a quick look at why B2B marketers should be taking social media seriously, no matter their industry.
1. Social media is a great way to learn about your audience.
Social media platforms allow business marketers to instantly collect market data concerning their target buyers' interests. You can typically see who your hottest leads are following on a variety of channels, what type of content they are sharing and engaging with, and what type of messaging resonates with them. Plus, you have an easy opportunity to reach out to your prospects directly, even if it’s simply with a “Thank you for following us!” or "Hi there, feel free to check out this article -- I think you might find it helpful."
2. Social contributes greatly to search engine optimization.
It's pretty straightforward that social media increases traffic to your website. BUT when users interact with your social posts (click through, 'like' or 'favorite', leave a comment, etc.), this sends what are known as social signals to the various search engines. As the primary function of search engines is to serve up the most relevant content for any given set of search terms, they interpret these social signals as indicators that the content in the social post is relevant. That's why it's still important to use keywords in your social media posts! If your company is active on social media, and people are engaging and talking about you, you are more likely to be "noticed" by Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. and your rankings for those search terms are likely to increase. However, Google certainly appreciates websites and content that is continually being updated, so it's essential to keep your social media pages fresh with current information your followers find valuable.
3. Social media marketing delights customers AND attracts new leads.
B2B companies can use social media to engage and connect with both existing and potential clients. To be frank, in this digital day and age, you're pretty much expected by your clients to have some kind of social media presence, even if you aren't active every single day. Use social as an avenue to deliver bits of news or your latest offerings to your clients, while tempting new visitors to your website with free, informative content, interesting visuals and bite-sized messages that align with their business needs. Have landing pages on your website that are used to capture a new visitor's contact information? Promote these pages via social!
4. Social provides opportunities to educate your followers.
B2B social media marketing really boils down to educating your followers. You’re super passionate about your industry and all it has to offer, so why shouldn’t they be? The questions you need to ask yourself are:
- What do people already understand about this business?
- What questions do they still need answers to?
Social media offers your company the chance to be a part of industry conversations and to demonstrate the value of your expertise. Share content to answer questions not only about your products or services but also about common problems members of your audience encounter. Moreover, it's important to educate your prospects about significant industry trends to establish trust and confidence in your company, reassuring your following that your business is a credible, professional and knowledgeable leader.
Social Media Planning Tools
So, if you've been on the fence about jumping on the social media bandwagon, you hopefully now see how important of an opportunity it is for your business. The next conundrum is figuring out how it's possible to create content, publish it, and engage with your audience on a regular basis. Seems a little bit time consuming, doesn’t it? Lucky for you there are some shortcuts that come with the right technologies!
- Hubspot: Yes, PMG is a HubSpot partner agency. So we do love to talk them up! But having used HubSpot for years, we recognize the many uses of it's Social Media Suite. For starters, there's a great tool called the Social Media Content Calendar that allows you to create content and schedule it to be posted on your choice of social media on a customized date and time. The primary platforms with which it integrates include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. This trusty tool provides suggestions for the best times to post based on previous posts and their engagement. And the data analytics and insights you receive from HubSpot are fantastic, too.
HubSpot also goes a layer deeper than any other social tool by allowing you to create monitoring streams based on specific lists of contacts in your HubSpot portal (that meet certain criteria), lists you've created in Twitter, or keywords you're tracking. HubSpot will trigger email alerts when a contact mentions your company or a specified keyword so you know immediately! If you would like to know more about HubSpot's social functionality, check out this post about the Social Media Monitoring Tool.
- Hootsuite: Similarly to HubSpot, Hootsuite allows you to create content and schedule it to be posted on a specific date and time of your choosing. Moreover, it works with all of the same social media platforms as HubSpot. One thing that's unique about Hootsuite is that it has a feature called geo-targeting, which is an effective way to send your message out to a specific audience or demographic based on their location. Hootsuite allows you to select a target audience by ‘Location’, ‘Language’, ‘Age’, ‘Gender’, ‘Relationship status’, ‘Interested in’, and ‘Education’ on Facebook, and ‘Country’ on Twitter. For example, if you opened up a coffee shop and wanted to send out a post to people who are looking for a place to get a cup of coffee, geo-targeting is an easy and effective way to engage with that particular audience. Not all features are available with the free version, but if your social media marketing program isn't so extensive, the free plan might work just fine! Check it out here.
Now that you're a little more acquainted with the advantages and benefits of using social media as a B2B company, it's time to get yourself active on these platforms and begin writing your social media success story. Let us know if you have any questions -- we're always happy to help!