Social media is to sharing, what Google is to searching and GPS is to driving. It is important that B2B marketers not fall into the 80-20 trap of social media, where 80% of traffic is generated by 20% of users, who tend to talk more than they listen. So B2Bs need to get SMART (Social Media Acquisition & Retention Tools) while implementing inbound marketing techniques and marketing automation platforms. The Marketing Id would like to offer some tips that a B2B marketer might find useful in this regard. Per our guidelines listed below, B2B marketers must:
- Realize they will cause more pain than gain by jumping onto the social media bandwagon without a coherent marketing strategy and adequate resources.
A B2B should therefore not launch a blog, create a Facebook page, or acquire a Twitter handle, etc., if these activities are not “owned” by a dedicated marketer, who is committed to developing and maintaining pertinent content on a regular basis.
- Ensure that their social media marketing plan conforms to basic marketing communications principles including message, medium, messenger, timing, target, frequency and metrics.
Per the old adage if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail–when a B2B marketer implements social media by creating a casual Facebook page or sending out arbitrary tweets–such random actions invariably lead to “social” chaos.
- Grow an inbound footprint, relative to other demand generation activities, as an increasing fraction of the B2B’s total addressable market.
Success of a B2B’s social media marketing plan can be measured by the increase in the ratio of inbound marketing leads to total leads generated by the B2B over appropriately comparable periods.
- Recognize a critical persona distinction between B2B and B2C social media segments–in that; consumers generally socialize, whereas business folk typically network.
A consumer’s likes and comments do not necessarily indicate a propensity to buy, but business prospects are more likely to purchase if their level of social media interaction is pertinent, inquisitive, repetitive and rising.
- Remember that the quality of B2B social media followers is as important, if not more, than the quantity.
The corollary to point 4 above is that B2B followers, unlike their B2C counterparts, must be chosen and cultivated in a more circumspect manner–this might result in smaller but more meaningful followers, i.e., ones that are more likely to convert to customers.
- Recognize the real value in a long sales cycle is not only exposing latent demand but actually creating & nurturing it using inbound marketing techniques.
B2B marketers need to be persistent with their followers and today’s marketing automation platforms make this possible–casual inbound visitors can be nurtured over an extended period of time until they are ready to convert into willing customers.
- Develop an ABC (Access Better Content) mindset in order to ensure the success of their inbound marketing efforts.
Successful B2B sales folks are known to maintain an ABC (Always Be Closing) mindset. In the social media marketing world, the B2B marketer has to develop an ABC attitude as well–albeit, a slightly different ABC–Access Better Content mindset! It is incumbent on B2B marketers to own and manage their inbound marketing content–build it and they will come!
- Ensure that their social media efforts add value to an inbound visitor’s decision-making process.
When inbound visitors are drawn into a B2B’s digital “Field of Dreams,” the B2B marketer’s ABC efforts have to assist them in moving forward in their respective decision-making processes.
- Make each inbound marketing experience a minor variation of Caesar’s “Veni, Vidi, Vici” proclamation for an inbound visitor–“I came, I saw, I was conquered!”
After a B2B marketer has built a digital “Field of Dreams,” inbound visitors should be so enamored by what the B2B has to offer–they will eventually surrender to the totality of the inbound marketing experience and become a customer!
- Adopt a “moneyball” approach to inbound marketing by increasing OBP (on-blog percentage) to boost SLG (sales leads generated).
This is a baseball analogy taken from the recent popular Brad Pitt movie, “Moneyball” to drive home a point to the B2B marketer–get visitors to your blog by adopting that ABC attitude mentioned in point 7 above. The higher a B2B marketer’s OBP, the more likely that they will increase their SLG! After all, generating qualified sales leads is the moneyball of social media and inbound marketing!