The real core value of social media marketing is relationship development with your potential customers. Focusing on the right conversations, with the right content, in the right areas, with the right people.
According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing report, social media drove 14% of marketers’ total lead pipeline in 2013.1
One of the biggest misnomers about social media is that it doesn’t apply to B2B companies. When in fact, 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form.2 As a B2B, you’re able to use social media to create brand awareness, encourage social sharing, and most importantly, gain trust.
Marketers today are choosing to invest their resources into inbound marketing methods more and more, with social media and SEO leading the way. Traditional marketing methods, such as telemarketing and pay-per-click are dropping off, reinforcing the idea of progressing towards more of a focus on customer relationship development practices.
Social Media Leads Marketing Time and Budget Allocation2
Social media is not a one-way street. If no one is discussing, interacting or sharing your content, a vital piece of your social media marketing strategy is missing.
The key concept among any social media platforms is to stay engaged in the conversation.
Create a voice in your target market to position your company as a thought leader within your industry. Depending on the size and type of your company and industry, you’ll mainly want to focus on these social media platforms:
If you're looking for a more technical audience, you'll want to seek out specific forums like Toolbox.com, Stack Overflow, Slashdot, and Digg.
LinkedIn provides a network of business professionals, like IT solution providers, and is more appropriate for a larger market base. Acting as a business-building tool, LinkedIn allows you to collaborate with other experts in your industry, giving you the opportunity for your targeted messages to reach the proper audience and be more effective. Communication on LinkedIn occurs in their following areas:
- Company Pages
- Company Showcase Pages
Twitter can also be a good tool for B2B marketing, as it’s a very quick and easy way to:
- Pick up vendor communications
- Join a broader conversation
- Follow your favorite companies
- Connect with decision makers and influencers in those companies
You don’t have to worry as much about always creating content on Twitter. If you’re struggling with the idea of starting a blog, Twitter provides that simple, effective touch into your customers with little effort.
Facebook works the best when trying to promote your business within a small market, targeting personal values such as family, friends, and neighbors. That said, Facebook leads social media customer sources, with 52% of all marketers sourcing a lead from Facebook in 2013 and 74% saying Facebook is important to their lead generation strategies.1
LinkedIn has proven to play a major role in the social media world by increasing brand awareness, creating conversations, and building positive reputations. The following are a couple best practice examples of LinkedIn tactics:
- Prudential Retirement, a financial solutions provider, engaged their audience enough to spark 11,000 poll responses and 230 comments from LinkedIn members on their LinkedIn polls.3
- ADP, the payroll solutions provider, created a LinkedIn Company page that grew to 85,000 followers in one year and 1.3 million impressions per month.4
B-Co Communications’ story shows us a great real world example of how Twitter is able to generate several promising business leads. B-Co Communications is a very small PR firm in Canada that was able to attract media coverage from just one Tweet leading to several quality leads. Part of the beauty of Twitter (and social media in general) is that regardless of the size of your company, it levels the playing field because it’s personal enough for anyone to be able to engage their target customer.
At the end of the day, you want social media to generate direct leads, and produce new customers for your business. Social media's reach will have a multiplier effect on your website traffic. Regular social media engagement and interaction will at least increase your website traffic, lead to higher conversion rates, and keep your digital marketing efforts moving in the right direction.
To learn more about social media marketing for IT Service Providers, we encourage you to download the Pereion Marketing Playbook for IT Service Providers:
If you’d like to discuss your social media objectives with us, or inbound marketing in general, please use the comment section below or contact Steve Perry directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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