B2B Social Media

B2B social media marketing and social prospecting is a whole new way of attracting people towards you. Think of it as B2B social media marketing - client relationship management – Social CRM.

Participation in social media marketing by B2B businesses has grown to over 90%. Generally B2B marketers have much more technical and complex information to convey and social media provides the perfect channel to have ongoing conversations with their networks.

Building relationships online allows for the know & like to develop until you meet to cement the trust & do a deal. It is perfectly possible today to build the trust as well without even meeting face to face by doing this online via Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook chat & other conferencing facilities.

It is a way of informing stakeholders and managing communications with stakeholders.

Source: Corporate Zest

Quick Stats

  • 55% of buyers search for information on social media.
  • 75% of buyers are likely to use social media in the purchase process.
  • 41% of B2B companies on Facebook report generating leads (2x the amount of leads/month for companies that use twitter).
  • 67% more leads/month for companies who have an active blog.
  • Over 56% of B2B marketers acquired new business partnerships through social media (compared to 45% of B2C marketers).
  • Nearly 60% of B2B marketers saw improved search rankings from their social efforts (compared to 50% of B2C marketers).
  • B2B marketers are more able to gather marketplace insights from their social efforts (nearly 69% vs. 60% of B2C marketers).
  • The one area where B2B marketers significantly lag behind their B2C counterparts is in developing a loyal fan base. 63% of B2C marketers found social media helped them develop loyal fans, compared to only 53% of B2B marketers.

Source: Social Media ExaminerSocial Media B2B

5 Companies That Are Using Social Media in Unexpected Ways and Engaging Customers

Dell

  • Dell’s Social Media Listening Command Centre monitors more than 22,000 dell related topic posts.
  • It identifies customer service issues as well as brand evangelists.
  • Dell offers customer support, help tools, and forums directly in Facebook.
  • On Twitter, Dell’s @DellCares profile is dedicated to addressing customer service issues.

Morton’s The Steakhouse

  • While travelling, social media consultant Peter Shankman jokingly tweeted: “@Mortons – can you meet me at Newark Airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks.”
  • When he arrived at his destination, a Morton’s employee was waiting for him with a steak meal.
  • The PR ploy was covered on Huffington Post, CBSNews, Forbes, and dozens of other websites.
  • Morton’s also offers videos about its locations and food on Facebook, as well as menus and reservations.

Unisys

  • Unisys built “My site”, a social knowledge-sharing platform for employees to build their credentials and network with colleagues.
  • Its “Ask Me About” feature allows employees to offer expertise by using #hashtags for skills and topics they can collaborate with others on.
  • Within 18 months 15,000 of the 23,000 global employees had used the tool.
  • The company also uses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to recruit new employees.

KLM

  • To promote its new efforts to provide 24/7 customer service on Twitter and Facebook, KLM created a living alphabet to respond to social media enquires.
  • 450 KLM employees held up letters to spell answers to the questions on Twitter, Facebook, and Hyves (a Dutch site).
  • The living alphabet was videoed and sent out as responses on social media.
  • KLM also invites customers to submit ideas for improvement via Facebook on its Bright Ideas page.

ABC

  • In an effort to promote its new program, “PanAm”, ABC is using social media to engage viewers.
  • Fans can create their own crew ID on Facebook.
  • Tweeters can tweet using the hashtag #PanAm to win a limited edition “PanAm” travel bag.
  • Pandora has a dedicated “PanAm” radio station playing music from the era.
  • ABC’s page for “PanAm” includes behind-the-scenes tidbits and exclusive interviews, all shareable through social media.

Source: Sales Drive

5 Tips to Turn Fans and Followers Into a Revenue Channel

Tip #1: Understand Your Sales Funnel

It’s pretty difficult to place leads into the sales funnel if you don’t have a clear understanding of the sales process that supports it.

The first step in monetizing the social media channel is to have a clear understanding of which marketing channels are currently contributing leads to the funnel, what the sales follow-up process is and how long it takes to close the sale.

You’ll need to figure out where social media fits into the equation.

  • Will social media leads respond to existing sales processes?
  • Where are social media leads in the buying process?
  • Will they convert at the same rates?
  • To truly understand how social media leads behave, you’ll need to do some testing. It is unlikely that social media leads will perform the same way that other types of marketing leads do.

This is because with social media, more commonly you are reaching potential buyers earlier in the sales process, before your competition. Getting potential buyers’ attention early has tremendous value that can be overlooked if expectations haven’t been set for how the social media lead will perform.

Tip #2: Optimize Your Path to Conversion

It’s important to make sure it is super-easy for potential buyers to buy. We tend to be fairly lazy consumers and if we have to search out how to buy from you, we are less likely to convert.

Therefore, take a look at your Facebook page. Does a potential buyer have to click on the Info tab to find your website, then go to your website and figure out how to buy your products or services? If so, you are likely missing out on the opportunity to convert Facebook fans into purchasers.

Create a tab that allows fans to convert within Facebook and you’ll likely see a spike in new revenue. Success in social media relies on having strong content to share on social networks, which many times resides on the corporate blog.

Look at your blog and make sure there are conversion points that will in essence turn every post into a landing page. Make sure you test multiple calls to action to figure out what works best at converting social media traffic.

Tip #3: Provide Opportunities for Soft Conversion

The social media lead likely enters the sales funnel earlier in the buying process. He or she may not be ready to make a purchase; however, you have an opportunity to convert interested social media fans and followers into email subscribers.

Soft leads are people willing to provide their email address in exchange for highly valuable and relevant content. These are valuable leads who have said they are interested in your content; but they haven’t necessarily said they are interested in your product yet.

If you combine email marketing campaigns that provide a mix of content that helps to push them through the sales funnel while providing valuable information, you will have a better opportunity to convert social media’s soft leads into potential buyers.

Tip #4: Nurture the Social Media Lead Differently

It’s important to understand the difference between the social media lead and the traditional lead because traditional sales-related email campaigns will kill the sale with the social media buyer.

Because social media leads may enter the sales funnel at an earlier stage in the buying process, you will need to adjust your email campaigns to provide value and content that will help drive the decision-making process.

This will require a strategy that includes decision-making content. Decision-making content is designed to answer questions that commonly arise when purchasing your product, overcome objections that are frequently heard in the sales process and provide opportunities to convert into a hard lead.

A hard lead is someone who has taken an action that directly indicates he or she is now interested in your product. This means the lead is now in the research and consideration phase of the buying cycle and you have an opportunity to convert the lead into a buyer.

Through your other social media efforts, you have been able to develop trust with prospects; therefore, if you continue to show thought leadership in helping them to make a decision, they will be more likely to purchase from you rather than the competitor they don’t have a relationship with.

Having a combination of decision-making and topically relevant content that is sent to soft leads will help you identify when the lead makes the jump to product interest.

At that point, you can follow up with traditional product-based information and put the lead in the traditional sales process. Many times you can recognize this transition if you identify pages and calls to action that indicate product interest, such as signing up for a product demonstration, attending a product-based webinar or downloading decision-making content.

Tip #5: Measure Your Results

Finally, the only way to identify where leads are in the sales process is to measure your efforts.

The quickest and most cost-effective way to monitor social media conversions is to apply Google analytics campaign tracking to the links you shorten and post on social networks.

The combination of Google Analytics and HootSuite Pro makes this easy. Once you have the data, it is important to put it into a format that tells the management team what they want to know.

Use these metrics to demonstrate success through the sales funnel:

  • Cost per impression
  • Cost per engagement
  • Cost per soft lead
  • Cost per hard lead
  • Cost per sale

Source: Social Media Examiner

Some favourite Social media tools

  • Smush.it to make images smaller for faster mobile browsing
  • Knowem.com to search 550 social media networks to see if a new name is available
  • Twitonomy.com to analyse a competitor’s twitter profile (to copy it or to avoid it)
  • Clicktotweet.com to make pre-populated tweets. Doesn’t work dynamically, but is great for special offers where you want a simple button that makes a pre-populated tweet
  • tweakyourbiz.com to generate winning blog titles
  • Buffer for sharing great content across channels
  • Feedly for finding it in the first place

Source: Social Media Examiner (they offer 45, these are just the 'best' ones).