Social Media in B2B challenge or misunderstanding
Regardless of the industry, size or business model, every company can benefit from social media. If you don't generate enough sales value or not able to reach your target audience, chances are you simply need to fine-tune your strategy and, perhaps, conduct an independent audit of your social media channels.
Companies that are most likely to be reluctant to invest in social media usually have complex sales funnels or products that are not easy to describe to an industry outsider.
Regardless of the industry, size or business model, every company can benefit from social media.
Governmental and financial institutions, telecommunication companies and software as a service - these are the most commonly known industries, where B2B model is prevailing. And while there are plenty of great examples of B2B companies doing social media just right, the process of harvesting social media benefits is often not so straightforward.
If you are a B2B company and you are looking to start off your social media activity on the right foot, here are four pillars that might help you:
1. Company Values
Getting people to know you on social media never starts with a sales pitch. So is true for the B2B environment. It is a story you tell and values you provide with your content that make you successful on social media. Listing the core values of your company can give you a lot of information about where you can start. Running a company-wide survey among your employees can be a great way to find those out in case you are not sure.
Let's take transparency as an example of a core value of your company. How do you transmit it into the social format? Since it all starts from a top, arrange a regular livestream session with your management to share the latest updates about the company and highlight industry trends. Keep it consistent and make sure you share valuable insights that are reinforcing the core value of your company, which is transparency.
2. Understanding of the sales funnel
In order to make social media one of your most successful performance marketing channels, you need to know the sales funnel of each service/product as good as your sales force does.
It will be hard to come up with really valuable content ideas or paid ads without a profound understanding of how your company generates money. And if it means chasing sales people down and even shadowing sales calls with the potential prospects, so be it. As long as you are not hindering the sales process, use every opportunity to familiarize yourself with it.
You need to understand in which stage of the sales funnel, social media has the most power to influence potential clients and guide them toward a decision to buy from you. You might want to create exclusive social media content for your sales department to enhance the leads generation power on social media. With the rise of Linkedin Sales Navigator, competent social media communication of your sales force becomes as important as never before.
Let's say a simplified version of your sales funnel looks like this: Awareness-Consideration-Conversion-Advocacy.
Thanks to your connection with the sales department, you learned that existing client cases or demos are heavily used when pitching to the new prospects. It is likely that your existing clients can be open for a social media collaboration or mutual content production. This opens a huge landscape for creativity and a lot of content for your social channels that will feed directly into the Consideration stage of your sales funnel. While there is still a chance showcases might not be as effective on social as they are in the sales process, this is a great place to start and to address the third pillar: knowing how to test.
Many businesses are often challenged to understand what brings results on social media, it is not exclusively reserved just for B2B. However, with the more complex sales funnel and large product portfolio that B2B model often implies, testing social media in an isolated manner can bring false results.
If you are a large tech B2B company, you need to invest time and resources to choose the right attribution model and decide how to track it. Social is just one of the touch points in your customer journey and it needs to be placed correctly. Once you figure out that part, you can then move forward to testing your social media content and ads. It is not hard or complex, it just needs time and dedication. Here is a great guide from Hootsuite that was published in 2017 but remains relevant today.
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