Social media marketing is usually talked about in a B2C context, and for good reason. When you can gain significant website traffic and whip up a frenzy of sharing and commenting on social media platforms, why wouldn't you? The resulting spike in your brand awareness—from mentions, reposts, reviews and other earned "free" media—can kickstart your website's organic traffic and put you on Google's first page.
B2B Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing
The purpose of social media marketing, whether for B2C or B2B, is increasing your company's brand equity and brand awareness by reaching out to potential buyers on social media. Right there you can probably spot a few differences: B2B buyers are frequently purchasing in the thousands whereas B2C buyers might only be putting a few dollars on the table at any given time.
In other words, the liabilities for buyers are radically different in B2C and B2B contexts; accordingly, the buyer personas and sophistication of content marketing materials should be more nuanced to match the deeper depths that B2B buyers are willing to plumb. After all, when a B2B buyer makes a mistake it could end up costing that company its reputation—not to mention millions of dollars.Focus on Professionalism and Networking
B2B social media marketing requires more of an emphasis on professionalism and networking in a way that stresses lead nurturance over garnering impressions at any cost. The more that your brand is associated with quality from the pre-awareness stage of the buying cycle right through to a possible repurchase from your company, the more likely it is that your content will be sought out and well-regarded by potential buyers.
In a lot of ways, B2B social media marketing is made easier by the fact that you're dealing with a smaller group of potential buyers, and those buyers actions are typically more easy to keep track of. Because B2B social media marketing involves more networking and more complex, drawn-out sales cycles, you should be able to track what each of your prospects views and downloads (e.g., B2B whitepaper), then make sense of those downloads with a customer relationship management (CRM) system. (Business2Community)
Make sure to follow up with contacts and ask them if they have any questions moving forward. One of the most important aspects of B2B social media marketing is providing that human touch. Historically, buyers in the manufacturing sector have felt that a personable touch may have been missing from content marketing in general and social media marketing in particular.
Extend Yourself and Emphasize Benefits over Features
Even though over four-fifths of B2B firms have a dedicated agency overseeing their content marketing efforts, you definitely want to err on the side of friendly professionalism when drumming up more brand awareness in a B2B social media marketing context.
The average B2B firm is active on seven social media sites and prioritizes the idea of gaining more brand equity and brand awareness through social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. In fact, over 90% of B2B firms use LinkedIn to share their content marketing with other business professionals; 85% of B2B firms are already on Twitter and 81% have taken to Facebook to extend their brand reach.
What you may notice is that LinkedIn is still ahead of the pack when it comes to popularity among B2B marketers. Why is that? LinkedIn allows B2B marketers the chance to periodically check in with potential buyers and offer professional content marketing like one pagers, infographics, whitepapers and webinars at the right time in the B2B buyer's journey.
Determine the Buyer's Most Pressing Problem
Still, to be truly effective, content marketing should take into account nuanced buyer profiles and determine the most pressing problem facing the potential buyer at that particular time.
The process of understanding your audience at a deeper level actually creates a virtuous cycle in which you can build more professional, personalized content marketing moving forward thanks to the fact that you've done so successfully in the past, gotten helpful feedback, built a track record with buyers, and further streamlined the effectiveness of your content marketing.
Speaking of good content marketing, maybe the single most important thing for you to emphasize when you're B2B social media marketing is benefits. Emphasizing the benefits of your product, over its features, means that you're taking the buyer's problems into account and proactively working to fix them.
Time and again we see otherwise successful B2B social media marketers fall by the wayside because they stubbornly stressed the features of their new product, which was never linked back up to the buyer's issues. Even when networking and content marketing on LinkedIn, occasionally leaning on the first-person voice and emphasizing benefits can make your content marketing seem tailor-made for potential buyers.
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