B2B Social Media Marketing
Four Ways that B2B Social Media Marketing Builds Brands and Generates Leads
You want to build strong, risk-averse brands to support inbound lead generation. This is where B2B social media marketing comes into play, since it provides an avenue for any company, not just large enterprise businesses, to build strong brands.
Here are four important ways that social media builds brands:
1. Social media increases awareness of your brand. Social media lets you easily and effectively publish your company's best practices and expertise for B2B social media marketing, without the requirement of getting past "gatekeepers", such as editors. Social media makes peers these gatekeepers, and the quality of your content and ideas determines what gets promoted. Great content can be distributed widely, and when prospects read it, they also learn about your company and solutions you have to offer.
2. B2B social media marketing can build your reputation as a thought leader. Thought leadership is a great way to build your brand. Prospects trust thought leaders who can demonstrate an understanding of their problems and how to solve them. While a reputation of thought leadership will never mitigate risk as well as referrals, it's a great way to build awareness and increase chances that the prospect will respond to future demand-generation efforts.
3. B2B social media marketing can encourage promoters. Word of mouth referrals is the best way to generate leads because prospects trust them from their peers more than any other source or channel. Fred Reichheld and Bain found that companies with higher Net Promoter Scores typically grow more than two-and-a-half times faster than competitors. B2B social media marketing can help create promoters in three ways:
- B2B Social media marketing can help people share the, "remarkable expectation-beating experiences" they have with your organization. This can be through reviews on third-party sites (such as the salesforce.com AppExchange), the responses people make to inqueries on LinkedIn groups or Twitter, the comments customers and potential buyers share on your own community site, or a plethora of other outlets customers can interact with other prospects.
- Social media can actually create experiences that people want to talk about. Great content, a funny yet informative video, a useful tool can all be things that people want to share with other prospective customers. Although this isn't always promoting your solution, there is a brand "spillover" effect that gives credence to your organization.
- Social media can make it easy to share on your site (e.g., one click share), and it can make the referrals more relevant because such links come from trusted friends or coworkers.
4. B2B social media marketing can build your SEO ranking. Buyers typically trust the companies with the top rankings on a search engine. Even if they don't fully comprehend the mechanics of ranking, prospects do get the wisdom of crowds is at work behind the scenes. Since inbound linking is the currency of ranking, B2B social media marketing can play a pivotal role in increasing your organic rank both as a source of links through the content on your blog, etc., as well as a way to promote your content and encourage other inbound links.
The action item for marketers here is obvious; take some of the budget that normally allocated to trade shows, lists and other lower-performing demand-generation vehicles, and reallocate to generating great content and the efforts to promote them. By getting your company's expertise out there, you create broad awareness and affinity for your brand.