If you're a business owner or sales manager, you know that there's nothing better for business-to-business marketing than picking up the trusty phone, right? Well, maybe not so much anymore.
Over 75% of U.S. adults use at least one social media network and more than half are on multiple networks.
Okay okay, there will likely always be a place for telemarketing and networking, but the future of B2B marketing (especially inbound marketing) lies increasingly in the realm of social media.
For those who tend to stay up on technological innovations and are already comfortable working with social media, this might be a welcomed bit of news. However, for those who are used to the more traditional forms of marketing, this can be a bit foreign (and even overwhelming).
Let's take a look at the basics of B2B social media marketing to give you a head start in this increasingly effective method of lead generation.
First, Why Bother with Social Media?
If you're going to make a step in any direction when it comes to your business, you want to know why you're doing it. So why should you add social media marketing to your toolbox?
In short, without a social media presence…you don't exist.
And now, social media isn't used strictly for business-to-consumer marketing anymore. No longer is social media strictly for those in ecommerce or brick-and-mortar retailers. Now, businesses whose products or services are aimed at other businesses are using social media as well because that’s where their prospects are.
Here are the main reasons you want to "go social:"
- Your prospects are using social media.
- Through the networks of your initial prospects you can reach other potential clients you didn't know existed.
- Social media does more to increase user engagement.
- Having a social media presence dramatically improves brand awareness.
- The ripple effect or viral potential (i.e. sharing of your page by others)
Essentially, if you could pick up the phone and share a message with your prospect while simultaneously reaching the phones of your prospect's network, the networks of each person in that network, and so on…that's what social media does for you.
B2B Social Media is Not Rocket Science
First, stop thinking about social media as an alien species you have to learn to understand. At its core, social media is about as easy to use as email; it's just a matter of getting familiar with the basic best practices.
If you can master the basics of each social media outlet you'd like to use for marketing purposes, you can make a substantial difference in the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Take some time to learn the basics of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn if nothing else. If you can learn about posting, responding to comments, and native advertising, you've already got a great foundation set for further marketing efforts via social media.
If you only choose to market on a minimal amount of social media outlets, the 3 above are the best places to start. Everyone is on Facebook and Twitter, and LinkedIn establishes you as a professional in your field.
We’ve reached a time where not having company profiles on social media is comparable to not having a website at all…so get crackin’ on that.
Apply Cold Calling Skills to Social Media (Seriously)
Once you've mastered the basics of social media, or at least the outlets you've chosen to use, marketing to businesses is much like cold calling in many ways. Your overall goals for marketing in this manner remain the same:
- Reach businesses that might need your product or service.
- Reach them in real time.
- Contact them “on their turf.”
- Enter them into your marketing/sales funnel.
When you cold call, those are the primary reasons you do so. The only difference is that while prospects are frequently by their phones, they are on social media more. By marketing on their preferred social networks, you are reaching not just them but an exponentially wider audience as well.
It’s Time for B2B Companies to Get Social
Any integrated, B2B marketing program should always include social media - getting started is inexpensive and easy. Start small with something like Facebook and focus primarily on engaging content and building relationships (instead of continual self-promotion) to attract prospects.
By getting a handle on the basics now, you can set yourself and your business up for a very profitable future.