They [B2B Companies] see Facebook as a place for consumers, not for businesses. However, this could not be further from the truth.
I have spent almost my entire marketing career in B2B marketing so I know a thing or two about the inner workings of the marketing/sales relationship, marketing pipelines, Cost per lead, and of course, the question of how each activity is going to impact top-line revenue.
How many leads did we get? How much opportunity was generated? Were the leads good quality for sales (hint: they never were)? These were all the questions we were asked on a regular basis from our Board, C-suite, and of course, nosy salespeople.
Sometimes it feels like the marketing department is just seen as a cost center, and I totally understand why. Marketing budgets can tower those of other departments, and no matter how much you produce, everyone questions what the company is really getting out of it.
That is why social media isn’t the priority of B2B marketing departments. While they know that they should be doing it and that it can have a positive business impact, they also know that it is almost impossible to tie it to a revenue number.
But I am here to give you the confidence to go all-in on a social media strategy for your B2B company. These are facts that you can use to convince your boss, your board, or even yourself that a social media strategy isn’t a “nice-to-have”, it should be a requirement.
Social media influences B2B sales
I really should just give this one statistic and walk away from my keyboard. This is all you need to know about social media and B2B marketing. It’s all about influence and brand. A B2B social media strategy done correctly doesn’t try to generate a lead, it tries to influence and inform someone about your brand or about a solution to a problem they might be facing.
And clearly it works. Think about how many buying decisions are made every single day across this country… Almost every single one of them is influenced by social media in some way. That’s billions and trillions of dollars in transactions that have been swung in one direction or another simply because of a company’s social media presence.
Let me give you an example. I have followed Sprout Social on social media for my entire marketing career. They post a lot of great content and articles about marketing and I really enjoy it. But Sprout isn’t just a blog, it’s a social media management platform that businesses and agencies use to manage their social media accounts. When we started SocialSurge and we needed a social media platform, I knew exactly who to go to first.
Now, can Sprout tie my decision to buy from them to social media directly? Probably not. They have no way of knowing that is how I know them, but it certainly influenced our decision on what company to buy from.
Social media doesn’t have to be complicated
One thing we talk about a lot is how people tend to overcomplicate social media marketing. They see this big giant beast and think that there is no way that they can tackle it, especially with the limited resources most marketing departments face. But what if we told you that you don’t need to invest all THAT much time into social media to make an impact?
6 hours a week. That all you need to see an impact! In 6 hours per week, you can develop a very simple social media strategy and execute on it. Now, in order to see a HUGE impact, you’re going to need to put a little more time than that, but just that little nudge can still make a big difference.
But how do you know if it is really making a difference? You track it!
Google analytics has a nifty tool that allows you to see how much of your website traffic comes from social media platforms. You’ll be able to watch as your traffic grows and be able to report out on the progress that you are making.
What Social Media Platforms should B2B companies be using?
Ah the biggest question of them all! There seems to be a lot of interesting information out there about which social media platforms that B2B companies should be using. While the big four are your biggest place to start (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn) I thought I would throw out some stats that communicate how we feel about it.
So the obvious place that most B2B marketers want to go is LinkedIn. While this channel is extremely important and can be a very effective place for B2B companies, I want you to be cautioned slightly. The facts are that people who are on LinkedIn, don’t actually use it. 17 minutes per month is the average. In the grand scheme of social media usage, that is the blink of an eye.
So when using LinkedIn, you should really focus on consistency. Your goal is to be there when that average user does log on. The best chance you have is if you are posting on a regular basis and hoping that you get eyes on your content.
However, if your product targets people in either sales or human resources, You will probably have better luck as HR recruiters and salespeople use the platforms the most as a part of their jobs. Also, younger professionals use the platform more often, meaning that your marketing has a better chance to reach them.
Now isn’t this quite interesting. While the average LinkedIn user uses the platform 17 minutes a month, the average member of the C-Suite is on Facebook 760 minutes PER WEEK. That’s over an hour per day!
Now, are we saying that Facebook is the best platform for converting into actual leads? Probably not. But it is a much more effective platform in the B2B space than people want to give it credit for. At the end of the day, over 70% of people in the world are on Facebook, which means your B2B target market likely is too. And with the advanced targeting made available to you with Facebook ads, you can make sure that your message gets out to the right people.
Twitter has been on the rise amongst C-suite individuals, especially as the C-suite gets younger and is more willing to connect to others. Twitter is a great place to distribute content and information that people might find useful and informative.
But probably the biggest benefit to Twitter is the ability to have 1:1 conversations. How would your salespeople like to have a direct conversation with the CEO of a company they are targeting? I’m willing to bet a lot.
Being on twitter allows you to have these conversations and create brand awareness. By joining the conversation, you are putting your brand out there and establishing it as an expert in your field.
So what do you think? Did I convince you that social media marketing belongs in B2B?
Are the end of the day, I know that you have goals to hit and limited resources to do it. Again, I lived that life for a long time and know first-hand how difficult it can be, but if you are looking to try something new and step things up a level, social media can be the thing to do it, you just have to try!