This is What No One Tells You About B2B Marketing
Business to Business (B2B) is a transaction directly between businesses where one sells production or operational material to another. The more common Business to Consumer (B2C) transaction is targeted to the consumer directly. Marketing within a B2B transaction is still very traditional and limited. Conventionally B2B marketers are skeptical of the idea of social media marketing. The main reason being that B2B marketers are not targeting consumers hence there is no need for extensive marketing or advertising. On the other hand, social media marketing is considered almost crucial for B2C marketers as an emotional appeal is very important for consumers.
Social media can be crucial for communicating the value of products and services to the customers and the brand story. Even in the age of digital marketing, B2B marketers still value the traditional forms of marketing which are more personal and direct and deem it more appropriate for their transactions. One of the main reasons why B2B marketers do not use social media is that their primary audience is decision makers in another business. The decision makers will solely focus on the profitability of the product. In such mindset, why would a B2B marketer focus on social media such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram?
The goal of B2B marketers is to generate leads, therefore, the importance of brand management cannot be overlooked. Building the brand image is crucial to generating leads. Why would another business conduct any transaction with a brand that has no value in their perception? Among the various social media channels, LinkedIn is the most obvious choice for B2B marketers. All the other forms are considered somewhat inefficient. The need to appeal to the emotions is not considered important. In a B2B transaction, social media can be used to build valuable relationships, increase ROI, create more value for its clients, and reshape the perception of the brand. Customer experience can be more interactive. It is also important to have social media links in industry trade publications. Communication is extremely important for business customers. So how can marketers specifically use social media to appeal to the more rational audiences of a B2B environment?
Here is how B2B marketers can use social media more efficiently
Most B2B companies inherently think that they are boring or uninteresting therefore social media presence is unnecessary. They feel that their presence should only be in a trade show and not necessarily on Instagram. B2B marketers should change that mindset and use social media to make their company more interesting.
Social media for B2B companies should not have a lot of technical information. Instead short brief sentences about the main offerings of the company should be written. Too much information can be boring and confusing.
Try to find the interesting aspects of the business, for instance how would the business eventually satisfy the core business need and the benefit that an average person or the consumer would eventually receive from it.
Businesses should hire social media experts. People who have genuine passion for social media marketing would translate that passion into generating leads for a B2B transaction.
B2B marketers can use reviews on social media to highlight testimonials and use criticism for ways to improve customer satisfaction.
Marketers should not put all their eggs in one basket. Although LinkedIn is the leading choice for B2B marketers, other social media websites can be used in more creative ways. Such as videos on Facebook and other current topics on Twitter, although controversial topics should be avoided.
Pictures might not be a strength in B2B marketing, but designs can be used in very creative ways. Designs that are impactful and engaging can really benefit the brand awareness.
Keep the content professional to preserve the targeted audience. The fine line between interesting and unprofessional is easy to cross. B2B transactions are much serious in nature. Although serious does not have to be uninteresting.
The aspects of a B2B transaction that can be highlighted on social media are such as the culture, values, the benefit or end results to people, employee satisfaction, diversity, and humanitarian causes.
Use social media to build credibility which is extremely important for the brand. Employee and customer satisfaction is essential to build trust within B2B marketing. Social media is the perfect platform for this to highlight happy employees and customers.
Include social media in the marketing campaign not just as a side function. A proper social media strategy should be implemented that aligns with the long term strategic goals of the company.
Do not be afraid to hire a marketing consultant especially someone who specializes in social media. Sometimes a person from outside the company can provide much more objective insights.
Analyze and reevaluate the results continuously to modify social media strategies according to the responses from each social media channel.
Videos can be a powerful tool, for instance a video that shows the benefit of using the product could be very impactful. For social media, videos can be created with less technical information and more relatable information.
Blogs can be used to create interest for visitors of the social media sites. Blogs can cover topics related to the industry, the market, or even the company. Interactions are a very important part of social media.
B2B marketers should stay active to not lose customer interest. They should publish content that is relevant to the actual business and update it regularly. The last thing a visitor to the social media site wants is a status update from two years ago.
For B2B marketers, reputation is essential in building a brand and reaching the target audience. Keeping that in mind, social media marketing should all be about the quality over quantity. B2B marketers should not be afraid to cut down on some channels of social media during the evaluation process. It is important to have a consistent theme and tone that goes along with the company.
Social media is an excellent platform to create brand awareness and increase customer interaction in a B2B transaction. Most importantly, a solid social media strategy will help make a B2B environment much more interesting and interactive. Generating leads does not have to be a boring process. Implementing a social media marketing strategy with a vision in mind that aligns with the business objective can be a game changer for B2B marketers.