Is your marketing agency or in house team forever promising increased likes, new followers, clicks, comments, better content and SEO? Are these your real goals as a B2B company?
Sure, these micro goals are great, but they are really only helpful if they work towards your company’s main goal – attracting more customers or building revenue.
Research by the Content Marketing Institute (2014) found that 87% of U.S. B2B brands are using social media, 78% of which said they are creating more content than they did the previous year. Evidently, having an effective social media presence is vital to engaging with potential customers in a crowded digital world.
Social presence is a goodly part of what is required to push potential customers to your website. But how does driving customers to your website translate into the point of conversion from potential to actual customer?
Hurling out a bunch of promotional tweets and statuses across your various social media channels will only get your so far. With no clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve or why, you’re likely to a) get lost in the crowd, or b) have people back away from your brand because you’ve annoyed them. Try thinking from your potential customer’s perspective – consider what’s in it for them and give them a reason to follow through from a like to a purchase, or at the very least, another reason to come back.
A holistic approach to B2B marketing
The first thing you’ll need to consider is taking a holistic approach to your marketing strategy. This involves understanding why B2B companies buy, who is involved in the process, what they are seeking in a product and the buyer’s journey through the decision-making process
Let’s go back to basics for a moment. Marketing 101: the Hierarchy of Effects Model – prospective customers move through a series of stages, from awareness and knowledge to liking, preference and conviction, before making a purchasing decision.
The goal of your social media strategy is first and foremost to move people up the steps from awareness through to fan. In seeking knowledge, potential customers then turn to your website for more information. Liking and preference are built on your customer’s experience with, and trust in, your brand – if they have already made contact on social media and on your website, then so far so good.
Now, it’s time to utilise your social presence to connect, engage and develop positive relationships, building value for your customer. Of course, if you become the most valuable and appropriate brand in satisfying your customer’s needs, you become the number one choice in the purchasing decision, ultimately leading to sales and (hopefully) repeat purchases (although this is often based on post-purchase experience – more on that another day).
Creating a clear path to conversion is essential. All too often, businesses create beautiful social media profiles that don’t offer an opportunity for followers to become customers. Every social profile needs a call to action and an easy way for leads to complete that action. For example, Twitter users are often on smartphones, so the inclusion of your phone number in your profile makes it easier for your leads to call and chat on the go.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to B2B marketing and not all tactics work for every business. Therefore, it’s important to try different tactics and monitor their success.
The level of analytical tools providing information to marketers makes social media the perfect place to find and develop leads. For example, you can use Google analytics to track visitors to your website from social media. This is all done without any extra work, as Google will automatically measure traffic referrals from social networks once you have installed the basic Google Analytics code on your website. How easy is that?
Using these analytics, you can compare the number of referrals from each of your social networking sites to understand which is the most effective, as well as find the percentage of new visitors vs. returning visitors. Good analytics are also essential in providing feedback about what content audiences respond well to, so you can monitor and refine your strategy to maximise your impact as you go.
When developing your strategy for customer acquisition, you need to remember that while getting more likes, favourites, followers, etc. is part of success; your end goal remains converting an internet full of leads into actual customers.
If you’d like help with your brand’s social media or B2B marketing strategy, we’d love to chat! You can give us a call on 0415 547 529 or drop us a note.