Social was a new channel in the B2B marketing mix around 10 years ago, since then its changed rapidly. It’s now a focused more defined tool, but still less utilised function in B2B. As a social media marketer, it's still surprising to me that a lot of B2B companies aren’t yet utilising social platforms, or seeing its potential t help Today I tuned in to listen to the most recent of the BMC’s podcasts, that discussed the place of social media in B2B today. Freelance Social Specialist Beth Lloyd began, by explaining its rapid growth in terms of importance. Previously used as an add on to traditional marketing methods. We now see its true potential and ability to rapidly generate awareness at scale. The roll of social media in your marketing mix, needs to be as equal as any other method. Your content has the ability to be turned into bite size captions to be shared across social for quick engagement and response and social media gives you the chance to generate leads and build long lasting relationships. Dave Stevens continued the conversation by asking if there are certain types of businesses that suit social media better. Beth replied stating its suitability is for everyone. It can however be full of contradictions. The leaders want hard fast results and quantifiable metrics, but it’s incredibly hard to prove the organic value of that. So, unless you have a leader at the top, that understands that it’s a process that has to evolved over time. It may be incredibly fast to execute, but you still get similar time frames to when somebody actually becomes a customer. Social requires you to build an audience and companies should consider using a decent amount of their budget to initially invest in paid social to generate a targeted audience, which will allow you to then nurture over time with the use of organic (not paid) posting. Something I have strongly advised for many of my clients. A lot of businesses even though its a decade old, still see social as being new and don't see it a serious player in their marketing mix. There are still so many businesses that don’t fully appreciate its worth. Part of the issue I have found, is a clients expectation to see immediate, amazing results on limited budgets. Companies need to move away from the need for immediate social success and ROI, they need to think of social media as a steppingstone to build and establish valuable connections.. Using social will help you to create and listen to conversations within your industry. Social success is about becoming much smarter in the way you integrate it into your mix and also how you prove your value through your attribution model. Beth explained that you can generate at least 25% of your new contacts using LinkedIn as an advertising source. If you focus on your target audience, you have clear goals and measure the success by the quality of leads you generate. As I have previously, use rich content as a downloadable source, so it’s a valuable exchange. They give you their data, you give them valuable content. It would be valuable to start extracting your social data to inform your future campaigns. Gather your insights to understand your audience. Beth recommends the social research lab for an example. The founder focuses on how you can utilise social data from open API platforms and turn that into useful and tangible insights of buyer behaviours. This type of data isn’t just useful for your marketing teams, but also for sales. The way that people buy in B2B, has changed massively. It isn’t an overnight decision. Using social gives, you the ability to stay on their radar and nature with continued exposure to your content. Social Media is interactive and immediate. It’s a form of communication. Now is a great time to have employees involved in your social activity, with our new ways of working, we have seen an increase in social activity from those who may have been less likely to previously engage.
Sara Fernandez (Marketing and Communications Manager at Hitachi Vantara), and huge social media advocate explained how the demographics have seen a shift and now millennials are fast becoming the decision makers in businesses. The way that they consume content is very different to how their predecessors consume information. Their sources are digital, they’re social. Starting a dialog with them on social and listening to what they have to say and responding with the right content and approach, is brilliant strategy to implement. Instead of shouting about how fantastic your product is, shout about how your service or product can help them to overcome their pain points. Social Media is a tool to understand your customers, to listen to them and establish a connection. It should be supported by the whole company, but it’s important to hire a specialist manager to lead the way. You can listen to the full podcast here. https://bit.ly/2wACC6u