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Increasing B2B Leads with Social Media – Are We Getting Close to Cracking the Code?

Increasing B2B Leads with Social Media – Are We Getting Close to Cracking the Code? image solving b2b social mediaAre you like Dan, the executive I talked about in my post on The Top Social Media Skills Marketing Executives Need in 2013? If yes, then you, like Dan are struggling to find a good social media program that delivers results on budget. Dan knows and feels the pressure to use social media—well, everyone is talking about it, so how can he not? I read this recent Forrester study that says 85% of executives consider social media important—that’s not surprising to anyone at all. The question is, how many of this 85% actually know what to do or how to use social media for B2B marketing and lead generation?

My friend, Dan wonders if he is the only executive who doesn’t seem to be “getting” this social media phenomenon? Is everyone else having the same challenges with their social media programs in delivering B2B leads? I nod and tell him he is not alone for sure. To his credit, Dan probably has the social media lingo down pat (in case you need an update, please bookmark this post for a list of the social media terms you really ought to know).

There is no doubt that social media is still “so freaking hard”, but I have to say it has gotten easier. Is it also easier now to increase B2B leads using social media? I think so, but we have a long way to go.

7 Easy Wins for Successful B2B Social Media

  1. Know your target audience: Social media works best—both in the B2C and in the B2B world when you know exactly who your target audience is (and I don’t mean everyone who has a wallet or every C Suite level executive in Canada and the USA). You need to create a specific persona of your target audience.
  2. Identify the right channels: Write down the top five social media platforms your ideal target audience person spends time on. What channels or which thought leaders most influence that person? Find out what type of content this person consumes—are these industry forums, e-books, videos, webinars, group discussions on LinkedIn? These are the channels you need to spend your time on. And not just spend your time but also contribute valuable information and commentary on.
  3. Have clear calls to action: I know, I have always been a big advocate of social being just that, social. And I still hold this point of view, so I am not singing a different tune now. Don’t try to use social media to sell, sell, sell. But when you give away something that is worthwhile, your audience likes it and will not feel like they are being pushed to do something they are not ready for yet. So it’s fine to include a clear call to action—it could be to invite sign-ups for a free webinar, download an e-book, subscribe to a newsletter, request a whitepaper, and so on. For example, right here on my blog, I offer my audience the opportunity to download a free copy of our Demand Generation Playbook and not only have I had great reviews but I have even had folks ask me for more of this type of valuable content.
  4. Plan your content ahead of time: Don’t keep everything for the last minute; random actions work sometimes; but when you have a planned strategy, the results will be bigger, better, more encouraging. Two important fallouts of a planned content marketing strategy are:
      1. You can ensure that you are using the appropriate language, dialogues, etc. on the social platform you have chosen. You can now refrain/stop posting from your Twitter feed that “#free webinar on improving your #landing page starts now” on LinkedIn!
      2. You can ensure your messaging is consistent and strategic to lead people towards your landing page. While on this subject, I’d like to remind everyone that sending your target audience to a specific, relevant landing page is critical; not every prospect needs to see your home page!
  5. Use social media to build relationships: It’s not about the fast sell in B2B social media; it’s about carefully nurturing the relationship so that you can start to cultivate good leads.
  6. Always deliver value: Stanford graduate and best-selling author of the book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit Sethi says 98% of his best stuff he gives away for free. But look at how successful he has been selling the remaining 2%!
  7. Constantly monitor and focus on improving engagement: Even the late adopters like the pharma players are looking at ways to do this—there can be no conversion without engagement. Take a look at this interesting survey by Accenture and the related Infographic: The Customer Engagement Revolution.

So there you have it—you’ve got the basics down; now what? As this article says, we have made improvements with social media in the B2B world but we still have difficult challenges to face and more will come our way in this dynamic, fast-paced arena. In a chat with Channel Marketer Report last year, I talked about how we should be moving towards a social media conversion engine and that a shift in this direction was already underway. I am glad to see that other experts in the field agree with me as we watched this happen through 2012 and continuing in 2013.

So Is It Easy? Is B2B Social Media A Piece Of Cake?

Well, to be honest, when compared to where we started it is EASIER, but piece of cake? Far from it! Really good a.k.a. effective social media activity, just like any high quality demand generation plays requires top of the line strategy, 100% skilful implementation and yes, I’m not afraid to say it—a lot of hard work!

If you are looking for that easy button, that silver bullet, that secret weapon to get you quality leads—let me tell you right off the bat that there is none. But if you have the right strategy with social media incorporated INTO your overall marketing strategy then sure, you will get the right leads. Just this past week, I have personally closed a few more clients from online leads. Did it happen overnight? No, but a lot of our hard work culminated into these wins.

Don’t mess up by missing out the basics. THEN you can focus on what matters—measurement and conversion. We have come so far—if Dan feels he is behind, is his foundation strong? Does he have a good lead generation strategy in place?

How do you incorporate social media into your B2B lead generation strategy? Please comment below. Plus, if you are interested in accelerating your demand generation, be sure to download a free copy of The ALEA Demand Generation Playbook by following this link.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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  1. The code has been cracked. Its just now being perfected in a way that can be replicated to the masses.

  2. I’ve found that the hardest thing for execs is clearly targeting a persona and then understanding what they need to contribute. I see a lot of resoureces wasted on blasting a generic message across all the social networks when often its just Twitter or LinkedIn that are going to matter.

    Good article.

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