March 21, 2015

3 Ways That Your B2B Social Media Marketing Needs to Be Helpful

R-chie double structure arc diagram by Daniel Lai, Jeff Proctor, Jing Yun and Irmtraud Meyer by Duncan Hull

Illustration by Duncan Hull

 

Post by Daniel Kushner
Founder, Oktopost

The rise of social media over the past decade has forever changed the way businesses go about capturing, pursuing and closing leads. Nowadays, B2B purchasing only takes place once prospects have begun to truly trust a vendor that they’re looking into, as relationships are now formed far earlier in the purchase cycle, with buyers investing heavily in self-service research – often across several digital channels.

For vendors, this changing dynamic calls for enabling the research process. Today’s digitally connected B2B vendors know that educating and being generous with helpful advice on social media is the most effective way to position their companies as valuable partners.

Businesses and consumers alike are interested in investing far more on product research today than we did before the social age. According to Jay Baer’s Youtility, in 2010, when social media’s pervasiveness had begun to take hold, shoppers needed an average of 5.3 sources of information to make a decision. By 2011, that number had almost doubled to 10.4.

In order to achieve high levels of performance with your social media marketing, you need to remember how the B2B procurement process works from the perspective of the buyer. The research process can be heavy on resources, and the people whose job it is to perform the research are often not the same people who make the final sourcing decisions.

Here are three pivotal ways that your B2B social media marketing needs to be helpful.

1. Prove Your ROI

How can the purchasing business profit from your product or service? There are two main ways of proving that your offer is beneficial. The first is if it solves a major pain point for the business. If your solution can save your prospects time, money or other resources, then you’ll have a much better chance of making a sale.

The second way to demonstrate the potential for return on investment is, of course, proving that your product or service will increase revenues for your B2B prospect. Either way, by emphasizing the business case for your solution, you’ll be giving researchers on the prospecting end powerful ammunition for convincing their superiors about you.

Perhaps the most effective tactic for talking up you solution’s usefulness as a profit booster is to share case studies on your social media channels. Publish content about businesses you have helped in the past, and share concrete numbers, before and after. The profits are in the proof.

2. Cut to the Chase

Unlike the world of B2C marketing, where social media marketing emphasizes building “image,” brand equity and positive sentiment over time, B2B social media means getting down to the nitty-gritty.

Keep in mind that business people are usually overworked and have mile-long to-do lists, so the faster you can connect them with the information they need, the more likely they are to want to work with you. Some B2B consumers will happily click around dozens of websites, social feeds and resource libraries before they figure out what it is that they want.

But many businesses just don’t have that kind of time. Time is money for them, so success means presenting, as clearly and simply as possible, your solution’s value proposition, focusing on how you can benefit your prospect’s business.

EMPHASIZE CONSENSUS

Remember – the person you’re interacting with may not actually have the authority to sign checks. One distinct challenge in B2B marketing is that you’re selling to a business and not to an end consumer. That means that your social engagement is likely to be with a lower-down employee in a prospective customer company, someone who may not have the final signing authority. It may simply be his or her job to do research and perhaps to build a report that highlights his or her top choices. The decision then may go to the researcher’s boss, or the researcher’s boss’s boss, or even a committee or board.

So B2B marketers often indirectly sell their products to someone that has no specific knowledge of your field of expertise. That’s why it’s so important to stay away from highly technical language and instead stick to the tried-and-true basics, as listed above. But perhaps most importantly, try to foresee what specific pieces of information the employee you are dealing with will need to sell your product or service to his or her superiors.

When selling to businesses on social media, your posts and interactions should enable the B2B procurement pipeline by supplying prospects with the paperwork, documentation and supplementary information necessary to expedite B2B processes. And when you put your solution in the context of universal truths, you’re effectively giving everyone involved, regardless of their placement on the totem pole, what they need to know to seal the deal. Do your prospects’ jobs for them, and they will be grateful to you for your service, and there is a higher likelihood of closing a sale.

Help that Meets Demand

The key to B2B social media mastery is, therefore, incorporating the dynamics of today’s procurement processes into every interaction.

Provide true value to the people you’re engaging with by always proving your product’s ROI, positioning your solution as the answer for all relevant pain points, and in a way that builds trust and enables expediting the contemporary B2B sourcing pipeline.

December 3, 2014

5 tools to build your social media empire

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Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamWhile I aspire to build my company Gerr.is into a great empire, I’m currently interwoven into a patchwork of agencies, partners, clients, vendors, projects, goals, and even some very cool — but very geographically disparate — teams. It makes my head swim. It makes your head swim. Robots will enslave us all; however, until then, they make it possible to get quite a lot done on one’s own. An army of one, if you will.

So, while I am building my empire, here are some of the tools I am looking at and using. Continue reading

July 21, 2014

Amp up your Facebook page and generate more leads with a contact form

contact-form
Contact forms are among the most powerful – and most underutilized – apps for Facebook. From the opening page of PageYourself.com.

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaIn the never-ending hunt to make my Facebook page stronger than the day before, I’ve found that one of the most powerful add-ons is also one of the most underutilized: contact forms. Facebook is still far and away the most widely used social media marketing site, and a contact form is a robust addition that makes social marketing on Facebook even friendlier to my friends list.

Contact forms for conversions and sales

As discussed in “Make Your Facebook Page Work Harder with a Contact Form,” leads can be converted into actual, real-world sales and repeat business with a well-placed, well-utilized contact form. Getting a contact form on my page was easy, but making it work for my business took a little work. Continue reading

June 16, 2014

6 things to keep in mind when hiring a social media expert

Social media managers implement the strategy themselves. Consultants build, teach and move on.

Social media managers implement the strategy themselves. Consultants build, teach and move on.

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, entrepreneurs, educators.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaIf you’re spending too much time on social media – or too little – you may want to consider hiring a social marketing expert. Your business’s most direct link to customers, social media gives your business personality, voice and – most importantly – reach. If you can’t do it yourself, be honest about your own talents and limitations and bring a pro into the picture. But first, consider the following.

Unless you need a manager, get a consultant

1There are different kinds of experts. Managers construct, implement and maintain a social media strategy. Their services are ongoing. Consultants, on the other hand, immerse themselves in a business, analyze what they have and what they need, and then they teach dedicated staff members how to implement and run the strategy. Once they’re confident that the client business has it down, they – and their fee – move on. Continue reading

February 27, 2014

Add these 6 tools to improve your social workflow

twentyfeet
TwentyFeet is like Google Analytics for social media.

TwentyFeet, Gmail Inbox Checker, WhoTweetedMe & 3 more!

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaFor corporation founders like Bob Parsons of GoDaddy, managing social media workflow is paramount to staying in touch with customers and maintaining an existing client base. GoDaddy manages a social media account on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, and Pinterest (and, likely, some that I’ve missed). However, if you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, social workflow is just as important as it is to the big leaguers.

I’m not part of a social media marketing agency or huge corporation, but just handling social marketing for my own individual blog requires me to use tools to improve workflow. Keeping up with the daunting aspects of social marketing makes it almost impossible to do anything else. The right apps, extensions, and software, however, have helped me do the work of many by helping me become organized and efficient. Continue reading

January 22, 2014

An automated solution for blogger outreach research

grouphigh
Want to make outreach marketing more successful? One option is GroupHigh, which offers blogger intelligence software to help you identify influential blogs, automate research, and measure engagement.

Chris AbrahamI am hereby making the jump from humans to robots for all my blogger research. In the last decade I have seen social media marketing and digital PR mature as a practice, I have seen social media metrics and analytics evolve by leaps-and-bounds. Continue reading