B2B Marketing

Can Social Media Work for B2B Marketing

B2B MarketingSocial media can turn you into a business-to-business (B2B) marketing superstar by cutting your costs, increasing your leads and helping you earn a measurable return on your marketing investment (ROI). Nearly three of four CEOs mistakenly believe that marketing executives cannot verify the correlation between their activities and their firms’ bottom lines – but with social media, you can.

This disruptive technology constitutes a “revolution in which creativity and analytical thinking collide.” To build a strong advantage, step up and join the revolt – but only if social media communication is appropriate for your firm. These channels don’t fit every commercial enterprise. For example, if you serve five customers or fewer, just communicate with them directly and focus on face-to-face contact. If your prospects’ purchasing agents operate behind firewalls – for example, as with the military – they won’t care about social media. Don’t worry about social media if you need to sell products quickly – that’s not a social media strength. Don’t attempt an initiative on social media if you and your organization can’t devote a lot of time and money to a strategic program.

In traditional marketing, you rent your prospects’ attention by buying ads. In social media marketing, you own prospects’ attention when they read your blog posts or watch your videos. Paid ads have a limited life span, so their costs are one-time expenses. Social media content has a virtually immortal life span online, where it functions as more of an annuity than an expense item.

Social Marketing Leads

To generate leads by using social media marketing, follow this five-step plan:

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1. “Get the basics right” – Create “offers, calls to action (CTAs)” and action-oriented landing pages featuring forms that online visitors can fill out to accept your offers. Know who views and clicks on your CTAs. Create compelling, “solution-based” content that aligns with your CTAs and your offers. The wider your reach, the more leads you’ll gain.

2. “Maximize content discovery” – The better your online content is, the more people will share it. Present easy-to-understand ideas. Use such tools as “Google Alerts…Twitter Search…and Board Reader” to monitor reader reaction.

3. “Create conversion ubiquity” – Social media marketers must include conversion mechanisms with their content, by, for example, placing CTAs next to their blog posts. Make easy-to-use conversion devices ubiquitous throughout all your posts.

4. “Test and fail fast” – Get your material online quickly. Reduce internal approval processes and shorten the time between posts.

5. “Optimize for maximum lead flow” – Work to increase your website’s “visit-to-lead conversion rate.” Use web analytics to establish where your website traffic originates and how to make the most of it.

Return on Investment in Social Media

Social media channels don’t just build buzz – they can generate revenue. If you collect the right data “for social media ROI calculations,” you can demonstrate social media’s fiscal contribution. In order to determine your social media ROI, apply the following formula: “TLV minus cost of customer acquisition (COCA) divided by COCA equals ROI.” TLV stands for “total lifetime value,” that is, “the average amount of revenue paid to a business by a customer over the lifetime of the relationship.” COCA represents “all marketing costs, including salaries and overhead of team members, outside agency costs, and contractor costs and all paid advertising for a set period of time, whether it is a month, quarter or year.”

To determine which leads come from social media, you can use two different methods. In the “first-action attribution” method, the lead comes from the first “referrer to the website.”

For example, when the “user clicks a link on Twitter.” With “last-action attribution,” you track “the last marketing event prior to the sale,” for example, when the user clicks on a pay-per-click advertisement. Both methods enable you to measure the sales revenue that derives from your social media activities. To follow both ROI and lead generation, monitor your social media data at least monthly – weekly may be better for big brands. Don’t worry about “meaningless metrics, like the number of “followers, fans…and impressions.” Focus on leads and the sales revenues they generate.

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 3

  • Great post Patrick! Couldn’t agree more that leads sales are much more important than likes. That’s why we developed Oktopost ;)

    There is a never ending stream of new social content being thrown at us all the time. Just wondering what you suggest as ways to keep social media content alive and relevant, and not just lost like a needle in a haystack. Thanks!

  • Nice post! You are right, B2B marketing does work. Personally for my own company, TribeBoost, Twitter is driving the majority of our traffic and leads to most of our new business.

    The combination of targeted content and sharing that content to a targeted social audience works wonders.

  • I disagree completely. This is an emperor’s new clothes proposition: the statement ‘In traditional marketing, you rent your prospects’ attention by buying ads. In social media marketing, you own prospects’ attention when they read your blog posts or watch your videos’ conflates social marketing with content marketing and ignores the enormous investment that goes into making the content and marketing it, socially or otherwise – SEO, SEM, online display, TV, email, list aquiistion and so forth.

    Content is meaningless without anyone looking at it and the suggestion that you get all this free just by doing social is a gross distortion. At best you are moving budget from media to headcount.

    I use social to market B2B blog and thought leadership content, I use it to market events and I use it to syndicate content like white papers and case studies. Has it replaced traditional marketing? No. Perhaps in the future some time, but not without cost, ever – twitter & co Inc aren’t in business to not make a profit.

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