This Is Why Social Media Is Essential in the B2B Sales Process
Social media has been the cornerstone of B2C marketing for a long time. However, when it comes to B2B marketing and sales, it is only fairly recently that social media channels have started to dominate.
And while most B2B marketers now realize the enormous potential of this type of marketing, only true experts have figured out that simple presence on social media is far from enough. To raise awareness of your business, you need to be social on social media, which is, after all, very logical.
In other words, you need to initiate relationships, interact with people in a personal way and absorb your customer’s feedback. But apart from this, you also have to showcase your expertise in a humble way, listen to the voices and trends in your industry and keep an eye on competitors.
Marketing your business on social media can help you generate leads, improve website traffic, increase sales and create a brand identity with your target audience.
That being said, the sooner you realize that investing time and money in social media is necessary, the better results you will get. However, this type of marketing, just like any other, takes time and skills.
Let this article be the first step on your journey to improving your B2B social media marketing. In it, you will find out the reasons why social media is essential for B2B sales and the tips on how to improve your sales through social media channels.
Why is social media so important?
Have you heard of social validation? Social validation is a basic human necessity and its presence has but skyrocketed thanks to social media.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s report from 2017, as much as 83% of B2B marketers use social media as their preferred marketing channel. And even though increased brand awareness is one of the main goals of social media campaigns, it is far from being the only impact of this type of marketing.
As the matter of fact, social media is right at the top when it comes to the factors making the biggest impact on purchasing decisions, closely following industry analysts and web search. Therefore, it is obvious that social media is essential for B2B sales.
If you want to increase your B2B sales, you need to use the following social media platforms:
Without a shadow of a doubt, Facebook is the number one platform. It is important for creating a community, marketing, and advertising, as well as influencing decision makers.
As a platform originally intended for business purposes, LinkedIn is as influential as Facebook in some segments.
Twitter is the final element of the social media triad, but slightly less important than Facebook and LinkedIn.
You may be wondering why Instagram and Snapchat are not on this list. And indeed, these two platforms, especially Instagram, are great for marketing. However, they are more effective for B2C marketers.
Benefits of social media marketing for B2B sales
To give you a clear picture of how social media can increase B2B sales, we will list some of the main benefits of social media marketing.
– Firstly, it builds brand awareness and visibility.
– It serves as an effective distribution channel for your business’ ideas, content and offers.
– You can create PR opportunities, brand loyalty, SEO, as well as positive web mentions by building brand advocates.
– Social media marketing drives new leads into the funnel when combined with whitepapers, fact sheets, eBooks and other content offers.
– Have you tried to use social media to increase the number of email subscribers? If you want to add more people to your mailing list, this will do wonders for your business.
– Moreover, this type of marketing is great for B2B customer feedback program and understanding the needs of your leads, customers, prospects, and advocates.
– Social media marketing can greatly improve your SEO results through third-party links, mentions, and interest in your content.
– You can build trust with your buyers by educating them and helping them understand the major factors that influence their purchasing decisions.
– Social media is perfect for B2B customer care and loyalty programs.
Challenges of B2B social media marketing
There are always two sides of a coin. In spite of the numerous benefits of B2B social marketing, there are also certain challenges that B2B marketers face on a daily basis when it comes to social media.
When in Rome…
If consumers use social media for connection and entertainment, your message needs to address these requirements.
In other words, you shouldn’t slip into business jargon on Facebook or post silly memes on LinkedIn. Apart from that, you should try to establish a deeper connection with your customers by finding out what they read, what they comment on and who they follow.
This will help you better understand your prospects and existing customers, and tell them what they want to hear and how they want to hear it.
Being present 24/7
When your audience needs guidance or asks a question, you should be there for them. It is all about responding when they reach out for help.
The challenge here is to anticipate such moments and be ready to shine. Create a list of tips, reviews, product demonstrations, and video tutorials, and promote them through paid search and social advertising.
For this and similar reasons, you should constantly use social media for real-time marketing, an increasingly popular method which allows you to engage with your customers instantly.
Cherishing your influencers
Finding your perfect influencer and starting a conversation with them is one of the keys to a successful social media campaign.
To choose the right influencer for your brand, you need to study their audience, understand why they engage, what is their reach, style, and many additional aspects.
Getting serious about selling on social media
Once you have put in a lot of effort toward entertainment and connection, you need to sell. After all, that is the main goal of each business.
To grow your website traffic and nurture leads, you need to match your marketing efforts and sales goals. When you engage with the knowledgeable, empowered and well-connected customers, you practically close the gap between the social world and the business world.
The elusive ROI
Oh, the infamous ROI… This is definitely among the top challenges for all marketers, not only in the B2B field.
To get a satisfactory return on investment, you always need to give your customers new and fresh content on social media, as well as attend to their needs and join conversations with influencers. Then, when everybody starts listening to what you have to say, seize the moment and make the final move.
It is all about timing. With the right timing, you can sell everything, even ice to Eskimos.
The future of B2B sales
Everybody is wondering what the future of B2B sales will look like. So far, we can identify three main trends.
The buying process will become easier
In essence, a more open approach to purchasing is obviously emerging, as well as a multi-channel unified experience closely resembling the B2C experience.
Moreover, along with those two, the need for highly personalized interactions will result in increasing buyer trust and lead to more data becoming available.
The focus will shift to long-term customer value
Businesses will have to focus on customer needs and customize their selling approaches, Also, adding value to products and services will be an indispensable part of every sales process.
In addition, selling will become more intelligent. In other words, sales teams will need to educate customers about their needs and engage with stakeholders and decision makers to discover and highlight those needs.
Data and analytics will play a major role in creating customer value
The days of guessing in sales have long gone. To create value for customers and interact with them effectively, social media marketers will have to use data and analytics through:
– science and sales
– AI and the virtual experience
– sales and the social business
In many of these strategies, social media will play an important role. From the multi-channel approach and market intelligence to education and connection, B2B sales will be impossible without social media platforms.
Finally, from a technical point of view, it is evident that outsourcing social media is becoming increasingly popular. This is a strategy that can be very effective, especially for small businesses. However, if you decide to do this, we advise you to be careful and avoid the most common social media outsourcing mistakes.
How to Sell More on Social Media
Now that you have learned why social media is so important for the B2B sales process, you probably want to know how to use social media to increase sales.
Here are the five useful tips on how to sell more and better on social media.
Choose the right social network(s)
Not all the platforms will work for all businesses. When choosing the best social media channels for your business, you need to consider several factors:
– your niche
– your audience
– your goals
For example, according to a study by Google and Millward Brown Digital published in 2015, the number of decision makers aged between 18 and 34 years increased by 19% in only two years (from 27% in 2012 to 46% in 2014).
This is why you need to find out the favorite platform of your customers and tailor your message to them, the network and your brand.
Remember – no business jargon on Facebook or crazy memes on LinkedIn.
Be active on LinkedIn
Whatever other networks you choose, keep in mind that LinkedIn is a must. When it comes to B2B marketing, this platform is essential and you can’t risk not using it.
To shine on LinkedIn, you will have to be very active. This means that you should:
– use LinkedIn’s Saved Search feature in order to create a search based on your ideal customer profile and be notified each time such a person signs up
– join and participate in LinkedIn groups to build your network and referrals
– connect with potential customers to start conversations
Contribute to existing conversations
This goes for all the social media networks you are active on. When you contribute to conversations about your brand and interesting topics in your industry, customers see this as adding value.
The best way to do this is Twitter and its search function, but you can use other networks too.
Share relevant content
More and more B2B buyers search for information on services and products on social media. Your answer to this should be simple ‒ sharing relevant content.
This is another way to add value, and you can do it by providing white papers, product sheets, case studies, webinars, comparison worksheets and so on.
In addition, you can share useful blog posts, infographics, tutorials and other types of content. In a nutshell, you can share anything that you think could help your customers.
Use the right tools
Finally, using social media for marketing purposes without different kinds of tools is practically impossible. There are so many aspects software tools can improve and so many ways they can help you rock your campaigns that not using them is a real waste of time.
Using effective social media marketing tools will help you find more relevant content, schedule your posts, measure and analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns, as well as use that data to improve your future campaigns.
Wrapping up :
Social media networks are becoming an essential part of every B2B sales process. However, in order to sell more on social media, you need to understand all the benefits and challenges of this process.
This is definitely not a one-time activity. Rather, think of it as of a long journey that includes a lot of small steps. It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock your B2B social media campaigns.
But if you take all the steps that we listed, you will find that the results will follow. This is one of those journeys that you have to enjoy if you want to reach your destination.
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