B2B companies cater to customers that are information seekers; therefore in the B2B sector the focus has historically been on product or service features rather than on a personal relationship or emotion.
Many B2B marketers have recognised social media´s importance and a current hot topic in the B2B sector revolves around finding new ways to foster relationships through social media channels. Those with an interest in B2B businesses use social media to research companies in order to learn more about them, such as their level of services, goals and reputations.
Effective B2B marketing fosters customer relationships and explains the logic behind the product or services it’s offering – showing other businesses that what they offer will help deliver better company value and results.
The key to effective B2B business social media strategies is to ensure your marketing efforts are going to pay off by using the various platforms available in the right way.
A digital world full of opportunities
Marketing technologies are continually evolving and B2B marketers always look for better ways to target key messages and content to customers.
According to Content Marketing Institute, LinkedIn continues to dominate the Australian B2B space as the leading B2B social platform. However, about 75% of B2B marketers use Facebook and Twitter to distribute content. About 60 % use YouTube as a channel for B2B marketing, and 35 % use Google+.
Social media statistics from Australia in 2017 shows that Facebook has 16,000,000 monthly users, YouTube has about 14,800,000 monthly users, Twitter has approximately 2,800,000 monthly users and Google Plus has approximately 60.000 monthly users. With this in mind, there is really no question as to social media´s usefulness for B2B businesses.
Potential B2B buyers are more likely to consider brands that consumer know and feel connected to. Below are a few social media strategies and practices you should consider adding to your marketing efforts.
1: Use social media for content promotion
Social media creates new, low-cost avenues for content promotion. A content marketing study in Australia revealed that 42 % of Australian marketers said that social media content would be critical to their content marketing success in 2017. However, remember that customers are not on your social media page to hear your sales pitch. With social media, the main focus should be on crafting relevant and interesting content creating audience engagement. Whether it comes from photos, videos or copy, it helps showcase your products or services and tell your company´s story in a more fun, straight forward and meaningful way. This will in turn help towards personalising your brand and to build stronger customer relationships.
One of the most intriguing reasons to use social media marketing is to attract new leads that might eventually turn into paying customers. Direct leads are generated by sharing content on social media that links directly back to a form on a landing page on your website where visitors can share information in exchange for an offer.
2: Humanise your brand
B2B businesses connecting with their consumers on an emotional level earn twice the impact over B2B marketers who are still trying to sell business.
As a B2B business you have to appear professional and as an expert within your field. However, it is important to keep in mind that in the end of the day, people relate to you on a human level, which is a great reminder that personalising your content, cannot only be useful, but relatable. By being more personal you can also collect more attribute data about your potential buyers.
Humour is a great way to humanise your brand. Brands that use humour are more relatable, and therefore, more approachable in the eyes of the customer, which makes them seem more “human”.
Another way to personalise your business online is to post employee quotes and updates. This will demonstrate the value you place on employers, improving internal and external perception.
3: Online customer service
The big benefit of social media is being able to talk directly to customers and engage with them in a timely and appropriate way. You want to create an online presence by building and nurturing two-way communication relationships with your customers based on trust and respect.
It is important to follow up on complaints and give customer information that they ask for. This is especially important to consider as 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for service updates and customer service inquires.
Customers are increasingly using social media to ask service questions and to raise issues, making it equally important to have a strong online customer service strategy in place.
Key factors to consider
Using social media for content promotion, generating leads, performing outstanding online customer service and infusing personality into your brand is all part of effective B2B business social media strategies and practices.
There are plenty of strategies and practices to choose from. What is important is tailoring your strategies according to your business goals and being where your target audience are.
A successful social media strategy holds strong social media presence; strengthening brand awareness and building customer relationships, with the ultimate goal of generating leads and conversions.
In summary, social media platforms provide new and exciting ways to foster customer relationships. Create audience engagement by posting relevant and interesting content. Improve internal and external perception by personalising and humanising your brand. Perform excellent customer service by creating and nurturing two-way communication relationships with your customers.