Social media marketing for business to business is here. Front and center, Facebook stands strong with a huge platform to share, collaborate and connect within. Close to 600 million users world-wide and growing. Facebook is a formidable competitor to Google when it comes to views/traffic, but still, they – as a social media channel – are fundamentally using a different approach to prospecting. You’ll have to learn how to update your ways.
Search is intent-driven (they are looking for you), social media is about building relationships and communication (networking). B2B has not traditionally embraced social media as a serious option for lead generation and ROI.
Here are tips to make you (re)think about using SMM for B2B.
Lead generation as one ‘marketing-to-close’ activity for Business-To-Business, uses online and offline tactics. Online, we see big chunks of dollars allocated to PPC, SEO, Media Buys.
We learned about SEO 2011 and PPC 2011 uses in the recent posts, and that businesses use a combination of outsourced and ‘insourced’ work forces. (working these programs in-house).
Social media is found to be sponsored and executed even more so in-house. A recent 2011 B2B Benchmark report for Marketing Sherpa shows interesting facts and trends. This includes key changes in marketing budgets for 2011.
SOCIAL MEDIA – B2B TACTICS
Communication and networking is at the heart of social media. For B2B the research showed that companies appreciate the fact that their audiences like to hear directly from the source, not an intermediate party. That, along with the recency (lack of history also in the marketplace) of employing this new marketing tactic, make it a stronger contender for inside work. Many may not understand or know exactly how social media can work for them, so they tread carefully, and want more control in the process, but also their brand.
Even though SMM has short use-history, many companies report SMM tactics as an effective tool. 16% thought it as very effective, and a whopping 59% felt it was somewhat effective. Softer returns, like lifting brand awareness, though not directly equated with lead or customer acquisition, is still considered valuable and as their knowledge and process increase, these numbers will change again for next year.
1) What are the B2B Social Media tactics organizations use today?
Participating on company branded, or managed social networks had the highest response at 87%. Microblogging and blogging, along with sharing content on sites like YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare followed. Over half of the respondents use social media as a means to effect their SEO work. Advertising on blogs, social network sites had the lowest response as effective tactic at 21%.
2) Level of effort for Social Media tactics?
Blogging and content creation was cited as the highest effort. I have seen from personal experience that this is indeed a challenge.
3) Level of effectiveness for Social Media tactics?
Blogging is the highest degree of effort, but also the highest return in social media for business to business. Blogs can be a highly effective option for creating brand awareness, connections, and building communities of trust and engagement.
Steps to consider for B2B success with social media:
- Setup a blog (on company domain)
- Setup a twitter account
- Set up a facebook account (fan page)
- Set up a YouTube channel
- Set up a Linkedin account
- Leverage Press Releases and content to push to SMM channels
- Include sites on printed materials, on websites, on email signatures (outgoing email)
- Monthly & Quarterly training meetings, get people involved and understand it’s a team effort
Social media is MUCH MORE than setting up an account. You must develop a plan, and include the research before even starting.
And, it has to be branded properly (personal face is best), and continuously updated and monitored. The content development, and using a blog – will serve as the central ‘hub’. All content must be updated with fresh intervals. Some businesses will need daily, hourly updates. One a month is not an option for serious SMM programs.
What are you doing this year for your B2B social media marketing programs?
Related articles to B2b Social Media Tactics
- Email, Social Media To See More Marketing Dollars In 2011 (webguild.org)
- B2B Social Media Marketing – Is it relevant? (customerthink.com)
- Where Will the B2B Social Media Dust Settle? (wordsellinc.com)
- Social Media Marketing Budgets Set to Rise in 2011 (futurelab.net)