Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is necessary, but it can be awfully dry. B2B marketers tend to take a more traditional advertising approach, and though they understand that web marketing and social media marketing are important to their plans, they don’t always approach it the right way. They can deliver one-size-fits all messaging that fails to engage social users in the way a B2C marketer can. They might miss some of the nuances involved with social media marketers that B2C marketers seem to instinctively understand. In short, B2B marketers could learn a lot from B2C marketers, especially when it comes to social media. Here are 5 lessons we think they can learn.
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Plan a Segmented Social Plan
Marketing segmentation is something that B2B folks understand on a macro level, but when it comes to social media they might not take opportunities to customize the type of content they share with different segments. Using the same social media post to market to a millennial that you use for a baby boomer misses tons of opportunity and growth. Good B2C marketers know who they’re talking to before they talk. Take the time to examine your social audience and create content that speaks to them, and only them. A/B testing is a good idea, and for a small portion of your marketing budget, you can run multiple Facebook ads for different segments. Make sure your content calendar is a mix of posts that appeal to all your key demographic areas.
Get Ready to Engage
Social users are far more vocal than the people you’ll reach with a direct mail campaign or an email blast. They do research. They ask questions. And, most of all, they expect you to be present. Many B2B companies create social accounts and set posts and forget them. That’s bad social, and it doesn’t allow a brand to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity social affords them – contact with customers and potential customers. Remember, even if you’re a B2B marketer, the business you’re trying to win has a person in charge of researching products and services. They might ask questions. You need to be there to answer them. B2C companies know the value of interaction, and how it can move a customer through the sales funnel.
Marketing isn’t, regardless of what many B2B marketers think, all about whitepapers and industry studies. Those things are important – they show your brand’s thought leadership and give important insights into your industry. But social media gives you the opportunity to be creative and hit users on an emotional level. Visual posts are widely the most well-received, so don’t be afraid to create a contextual, visual post that delivers your message in a consumable way. B2B marketers are too afraid of seeming casual, but they shouldn’t be. If they take a lesson from B2C marketers who create fun, engaging, yet relevant social posts, they’ll be doing the brand a favor.
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Promote Your Blog
You are blogging, right? Most B2B marketers know the importance of good, educational content that helps readers learn more about their industry, the brand that’s marketing to them, and why they need that brand. You can take a lesson from B2C marketers in your content approach, sure, but you can also extend that lesson into your social marketing. Leverage each social channel to promote your blog post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Change your messaging for each based on the channel you’re using. Facebook users want a CTA lead-in that speaks to their needs. Sharing on Twitter means you probably need to tweet the same blog post several times. LinkedIn should get only the most thought-provoking and valuable content, positioned in a way that seems intentional and deliberate.
Run a Promotion
Think social media promotions are just for retail businesses and local services? Think again. While B2C marketers know that sales and promotions can increase foot traffic and drive engagement, B2B marketers should know that the right coupon code, offer or discount can make companies choose their service or product over another’s. With budget restrictions and bottom line mentality, B2B business targets are as thrift-minded as a consumer. Maybe more so. While consumers have the luxury of emotion-based purchases, which can lead them to spend more money, purchasers in the business world have to be a lot more careful. If you have a killer tool or product, and offer a promotion to boot? You’ll get the business.
When it all shakes out, social media marketing is all about engagement, and B2C marketers have it figured out. Employing some of their tricks in your B2B marketing plan can take your social efforts from zero to hero.