Social media may not be a top priority for a B2B company, but there is merit to claiming your profiles. If you have the time and resources, you could even invest in lead generation and customer targeting. In this post we’ll go over social media uses for B2B companies and some social media marketing tools you can use to get results.
Social media uses for B2B brands
There are plenty of case studies out there about B2B social media successes, such as the American Express Love My Store campaign that engaged thousands of small business owners. These businesses used creativity and tapped into a need to make their voices heard on social media. You can use LinkedIn to find great talent, Twitter to reach industry influencers, Facebook to target ads and make partnerships, and Instagram to build up your brand.
A B2B company can use social media for marketing (traditional), support (innovative), and sales (strategic). Here’s a closer look at how a B2B might tap into social for these needs.
This is the traditional view of social media. Most businesses classify social media efforts under the marketing department, since it’s typically used to engage customers and distribute your brand’s content.
In order to successfully market on social media, make sure the content you publish is interesting and relevant to your target audience. That may mean sending out other brands’ articles, images, and videos. Don’t exclusively send out your own blog articles–if they wanted to see your blog roll they could just go to your blog.
Jay Baer is the expert on using social media for customer service. He says on his website, Convince & Convert, “The goal is not to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business because of social media.”
Jay is an advocate for providing top-level support on social media. It’s where your customers, both happy and unhappy ones, can find you and talk to you. It’s important to note that these discussions on social media are public for everyone else to see, which means it’s in your best interest to reply quickly and graciously.
You have to be highly strategic in order to execute sales via social media, because your audience is highly intelligent and sensitive to sales pitches. Just take a look at the popular web community Reddit and its infamous disdain for marketers.
However, social media is an excellent tool for your sales team. You can discover and score leads through social media, make a connection, build a relationship, and finally make a large-scale sale. For example, if you set up an alert for a certain hashtag, such as “ICT Philippines” on Twitter, you can find potential business opportunities for your company.
This article from Inc shares a few more tips on how to use social media as a sales tool, such as sending traffic from social profiles to custom landing pages, using pay-per-click advertising, and increasing visibility on Twitter. Duct Tape Marketing also shares some advice for lead mining and opening conversations.
5 social media marketing tools and what they do
Now that we’ve discussed all the impressive uses that a B2B company may have for social media, let’s go over a few tools that can help you execute.
Hootsuite – This is a social media scheduling tool that provides data and reports to see how your profiles are doing. If you don’t have time to curate content every day, scheduling them in batches ahead of time is a great way to keep your profiles consistent and interesting.
Google Alerts – This tool can monitor a term or phrase around the web for you. Type in a term relating to your business to keep an eye out for opportunities. For example, if you sell hardware to other companies, you can set up an alert for “wholesale hardware” and restrict the domains to Twitter and Facebook. That way, if someone has a question about hardware, you can step in and join the conversation.
Warble – A free email alert tool that integrates with Twitter. Warble will send you a daily email with all mentions of the terms you set. Set up a list of key phrases for your business, and keep an eye out for any potential leads.
Nimble – Out of your customer base, there is a small segment that’s made up of your avid fans. Nimble is a social CRM that will help you manage and organize your contact with them, and keep your response times quick. Get insights to who you’re talking to, and keep track of every team interaction with a customer.
Sprout Social – This is a social media management tool that helps you manage, monitor, and market on your social profiles. It has great analytics to show you what’s working and what isn’t, as well as an all-in-one social inbox that’ll make it easy to handle customer service across different channels.
This is just a small sampling of the numerous social media marketing tools out there that can help a B2B business succeed.
How has social media helped your B2B business?
Do you agree or disagree that it’s useful for a B2B company? Do you invest in social media management? Why or why not? Share your insights in the comments below.