As the world continues to sink further and further into the sea of social media, it can be difficult as a company or brand to know when to be active on social media vs. using more traditional means. Today we are going to take a look specifically at B2B companies and why they should be active on social media.
Strengthen the Corporate Brand
For many B2B businesses, the problem they face when it comes to marketing and advertising endeavors is the lack of brand awareness they have with their customers. It can be difficult to market to entire businesses or industries instead of individual consumers. However, don’t fret, this is not an impossible challenge to overcome.
As we have seen with companies like IBM and Oracle, even huge players have benefited from incorporating a social media strategy into their marketing plans simply by making the average person aware of their brand and their company’s image. Believe it or not, these businesses you are trying to attract are made up of normal people who need to know who you are if you hope to build brand recognition and strengthen your image.
Keep this in mind as you use social media to work on your corporate brand.
Show Off Your Culture
Social media is not only for earning new customers, but also for attracting new employees as well. In 2017, professionals looking for jobs will almost certainly look at the company’s social media as a gauge for whether or not they would be a good culture fit or not. Highlighting exceptional staff, posting about company parties, and interior shots of the office can all project the message you hope to send to those looking to work for your business.
Don’t forget that whether or not this person is eventually hired by your business or not, they will have a clear, positive image in their head when they think of you. This could ultimately lead to a new customer down the line.
Build Lasting Business Relationships
Ever since Facebook began in 2004, social media has been all about building relationships, making connections, and “linking” up with others. As a business, it is your job on social media to facilitate these relationships and cement your name in customers’ minds as someone they can trust.
This can be done in a few different ways, all have varying levels of success depending on the business and industry. For some, responding to every mention or “@” online shows their market that they care enough to do so. For others, it is more about creating a few weekly pieces of content that they share on social media as a reminder of the good work they do. This second option can work better for B2B businesses, which should be less familiar and more professional.
No matter what method you decide on to spread your brand and build relationships on social media, always remember that your goal is not always to convert sales, but to position yourself as someone consumers and businesses can trust. Ultimately, this will create more profits for you in the long run. One of the quickest ways to alienate an audience is by peppering them with constant CTAs and pitches. Use social media the way it was designed and focus on building those relationships.
Crowd Source Constructive Criticism
Another attribute of social media, whether you like it or not, is the constant criticism and analysis that will be done or thrown at everything you do. And yes, while there is a large amount of it that will not be helpful and there are people out there you will never satisfy, this can be the perfect place to crowd-source ideas and gracefully accept constructive criticism.
Unless the critic has no intent of actually helping the business with their critique (often referred to as “trolls”), there are nuggets of truth to be found in every negative, neutral, or even positive review. Take each of these assessments with a grain of salt, but if there seems to be a common theme throughout, it might be worth investigating.
In the end, it may very well be that negative review that opens your eyes to a gaping flaw in your message. Don’t disregard your comments and use them to grow.
Cast a Wider Net (SEO)
When someone is considering a purchase decision, whether it be for themselves as an individual consumer or for their business, almost everyone will do some sort of research on who they are buying from. In this day and age, that place is going to be a search engine like Google or Bing, so it is imperative that you are showing up when people are searching. Not only that, but you want to make sure what shows up about you is positive.
What does this have to do with social media? It has been shown that by being active on social media, you can not only raise your own websites’ rankings, but everything below your website on the front page will be your social media. Having a clear brand message across the entire SERP page is a powerful tool for capturing customers’ interests and proving to them that you know what you are talking about.
If nothing else, update your social media at least once or twice a week to give the search engine crawlers something to show for your business when your customers are searching. Who knows? It could be the difference between a “let’s do business” and “maybe next time.”
A Little Thing Called “Social Selling”
Social selling is the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process. Today this often takes place via social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. For anyone who has ever done sales on an enterprise or business scale, you know that the most important thing is to always have a pipeline of potential customers being developed.
Social selling is the very beginning of this process for most of your customers. Same as building brand awareness, making sure potential customers of yours know who you are is often the first step in developing a business relationship. If you make a stellar first impression on social media, that will only increase the rapidity of the sales process and ensure that there will be fewer slumps in your sales cycle.
Understand Your Customers
For any inbound marketing plan, understanding your customers and their buyer personas is the first step towards being successful. What companies often forget about social media is that it is a two-way street. Use the relationships you are developing to better understand your customers and adapt your message to meet their needs.
This can be done in a variety of different ways, but for best results we definitely recommend purchasing some kind of social media monitoring tool. For instance, you can use this as a way to see which of your posts are generating the most likes, shares, and comments, thus showing how they are thinking and what they might be hoping to find on your page.
Having analytics and data on your social media trends will lead to the most effective and efficient social campaign while continuously shaping your buyer’s journey, persona, and hopefully, their decision to work with you.
Remind People You Exist
The final reason for your B2B company to make sure that they are remaining active on social media is simply to remind people of your existence. Often with quarterly or even yearly sales cycles, if your business is providing the services you have promised, then hopefully your clients will almost forget you exist, giving them one less thing to think about.
However, when it comes time to renew their contract with you and they either have a bad image of your business or they can’t even remember who you are, you need to use social media to keep your company in the back of your client’s minds. This is definitely more focused on customer retention, but as we all know, keeping an existing customer is much more cost efficient than finding a new one.
Use social media to remind your clients of your existence without annoying them with constant posting and you should have a much easier conversation come time for them to renew their contract with you.
Use it or Lose it
We hope that this article has prompted you to either join social media for the first time or have a conversation with your team about revamping your social media strategy. A closing thought to remember as you explore your options is that social media isn’t going anywhere and your competitors will certainly be thinking about how to use it to their advantage. Use it or lose it (but we don’t recommend that).
Learn more about how social media can help grow your business by downloading our eBook.