The Value of Social Media in B2B Marketing
When it comes to using social media in B2B marketing – managers, directors, and board members want to see results.
Many B2B companies are comfortable with traditional strategies and are hesitant to adopt tools that don’t seem to show visible results.
Unfortunately, this mindset does not work and indicates a company may be falling into what author Jim Collins refers to as “Hubris Born of Success.”
In this stage of the “5 Stages of Decline,” companies tend to assume that they no longer need to innovate or embrace new strategies since they are already successful.
It’s imperative that B2B companies not fall into this trap.
Social media is no longer just an option for B2B marketers; it is an absolute must. Unfortunately, many B2B companies are not aware of social media’s importance and have little faith in its value.
B2B marketers have to prove that social media is a real benefit to a company.
A marketer, like most employees, needs to deliver tangible results to the company. That’s how they will continue receiving support and resources or even keep their job!
Lead generation, customer acquisition, community growth, engagement, and web traffic are the metrics most used by B2B marketers to measure and prove the value of social media.
Leads are the lifeblood of every B2B company. Without them, a sales team has no database to work with going forward.
Lead generation, more than anything else, has long been thought impossible to associate with social posting.
While this was true in the early days of social media, new platforms have emerged that allow marketers to track social media leads.
Oktopost, for example, enables users to see exactly which post, channel, campaign, and profile was responsible for a specific lead.
There are several ways to generate leads through social media. Distributing blog content across social channels is a popular and effective way to generate leads.
For example, social posts can link a prospect back to a blog, which will help position their company as a thought leader.
Later, when that prospect comes across a landing page, they are far more likely to give their contact details. Thus, a lead is born through social media.
There are third-party platforms that can help marketers pinpoint the exact source of a lead, making it easier to prove that social media works.
Analysing metrics around viewers, clicks, and conversions can also reveal ways to improve social media marketing campaigns.
For example, specific hashtags may drive more viewers to a platform. Or, a particular form of content may get more likes and shares than another.
It’s hard to see this initially, but social media posting and customer acquisition are deeply connected.
The most successful businesses look at marketing as a journey and social media as the beginning of a customer’s buying experience.
A marketer’s goal is to connect with viewers through inspiring content and lead them to the final point of sale. It’s easier said than done, as there are many steps to account for along the way.
Without a system of tracking a prospect’s journey, the best a marketer can do is to make “educated” guesses about the source of their leads.
“Guessing” is never a good strategy in marketing or business in general. Tools like Oktopost help track leads and manage the entire process.
Usually, a B2B marketer focuses primarily on lead generation, but that does not mean they should neglect other aspects of social media.
Given the social aspect of these platforms, having a loyal and engaged community is also very beneficial.
Luckily for marketers, social channels understand the importance of community growth. They help marketers measure details like community growth and key information about their community members.
Facebook, for example, has Facebook Insights, which allows page managers to see metrics about their community growth, reach of posts and total clicks.
Word-of-mouth is the cornerstone of sales, and social media communities can help B2B companies thrive in the long-term.
To build on the previous point – social media requires a marketer to be social. It is a two-way conversation.
An increase in community size is excellent, but having a community of unengaged members can be quite ineffective and counterproductive.
For the last few years, Facebook has been limiting the organic exposure of social posts. While there has been an uproar against this, Facebook has a solid motive for doing this when looked at objectively.
Every company needs to watch out for its bottom line – and advertising is Facebook’s primary source of revenues.
One way of increasing the effectiveness of social posts is to pay to have their reach extended. On paper, this seems like a great idea and can be pretty gratifying.
Who doesn’t like their posts getting viewed by tens of thousands of people?
However, if these people are unengaged, then it is a waste of money. It is a better idea to have a smaller, more engaged community.
That way, even if a limited amount of people sees your posts, you are more likely to gain a positive response.
Web traffic is one of the most vital metrics for businesses marketing online. Many companies feel that the marketing journey begins on the company website.
As a result, B2B marketers are often judged mainly on the increase (or decrease) of web traffic. While it is true that web traffic is significant, it should not be a make-or-break metric in B2B marketing.
Marketers must illustrate which portion of web traffic came from social media to prove these platforms to their company.
A tool like Google Analytics makes it easy to see the source of web traffic, including social media. However, diving deeper into the data presents more accurate perspectives of social media’s contribution.
Oktopost, for example, integrates with Google Analytics to give marketers more in-depth information about web page visitors who came from social media.
With the integration, it is possible to see the breakdown of web traffic from each social channel and campaign.
If 2020 has taught B2B companies anything – each one would be investing in social media right now.
The world is changing rapidly, and staying at the forefront of social media is a sustainable way to adapt, survive and thrive.
Marketers should focus on improving systems to prove the value of social media to your company. Decision-makers must give social media a chance and provide the necessary resources to help make it work.
Strategy is the key to marketing success, and if you would like to learn how to create one for business, check out our earlier post!