There are three main points B2B clients look for in their partnerships. The first is a company with a strong brand, one that knows their story and how to tell it. A strong brand identity lends trust to potential clients – it gives them confidence in the company. The second is a personal connection. Companies are made up of people, so connect with the people behind the companies you wish to work with. A personal connection is extremely important for B2B’s because often, the stakes of doing business are much higher. The third point they make is to innovate. Think of it like this: Would you rather use a good software company or a trailblazer for the entire software industry?
A great place to start building a strong brand, gaining personal connections, and proving yourself as a thought leader is on social media. Social media isn’t just for entertainment – it is one of the best inbound marketing tools available.
Social Media Insights
Gone are the days of depending on surveys and focus groups; social media offers real-time insights at a larger scale and with greater depth than traditional research methods. Utilizing the abundance of data social media collects on its users can help your company better understand and target it’s audiences.
Reviews are a great entry point for your research; they are easy to access and easy to use. Looking at what people are saying about your company lets you fix problems, predict client needs, and keep an eye on the competition. Toolbox Marketing found that 71% of B2B buyers examine reviews during the researching stage, and half continue using reviews throughout the buying process.
The process of collecting reviews can be a little different for a B2B. Unlike a B2C, B2B companies often have to find and make their own profiles on referral sites relevant to their industry. Some sites such as Capterra even have a PPC system in which you pay every time someone is referred to your site from their site.
For a B2B, reviews can tell potential clients not only how your product or service functions, but what it’s like to work with your company. It doesn’t matter how great what you’re selling is if the reviews say the customer service is a nightmare. On the contrary, a glowing review from a client on sites such as Capterra or Product Hunt is one of the best inbound marketing tools you can find. Reviews show potential clients what they can expect from you – and they’ll be more inclined to trust a review because it came from a peer (aka another client).
LinkedIn is built for businesses, and it is arguably the best social media platform for a B2B. In fact, marketers have ranked LinkedIn as the number one platform for B2B lead generation. LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool when it comes to building connections with like-minded people in your industry, and it’s a great place to post the content you want them to see.
Linkedin allows you to target your audience by job title, company name, industry, and professional or personal interests. The platform also allows businesses to send content to users when they are active on the site. This means that your content is going to the right people at the right time.
Facebook is a great tool for a business to stay connected with existing and potential clients. With over 2.6 billion active monthly users, you can market to the masses AND target specific audiences. Facebook provides three audience types you can target:
- Core Audiences: criteria based on age, interests, geography, etc.
- Custom Audiences: people who have engaged with your business, online or off.
- Lookalike Audiences: new people whose interests are similar to those of your best customers.
Brandcave looked at how one of our larger clients performed on Facebook and this is what we discovered for their company:
- Video receives the most engagement of all content (contributed 5 of the top 10 most-clicked posts)
- Company announcements are the most liked posts (contributed 7 of the top 10 most-liked posts)
Facebook’s marketing potential is endless, so how do you decide where to start? Our three-year analysis of our client on Facebook revealed some interesting data on the types of content that drive prospects to their website:
- Videos account for 27% of total clicks
- Customer application photos account for 21% of total clicks
- Testimonials account for 19% of total clicks
- Announcements account for 12% of total clicks
- Events account for 12% of total clicks
- New item posts account for 4% of total clicks
- Blogs account for 3% of total clicks
- Infographics account for 2% of total clicks
You also may have noticed that we tend to base our clients’ performances not on likes, but on clicks; likes are nice, but clicks lead users back into your marketing funnel. From our own experience, we’ve seen the most engagement with visual content such as photos and videos – those types of posts encourage more interaction with the brand and drive more traffic to the site. Visual content is great for showing the value of a business, but if you want to dig even deeper, try sharing case studies and success stories. Just like 9th-grade math class, you can’t just claim to have the solution – you’ve got to show your work.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, but it’s not for everyone. It’s most useful for brands that have a young following, are visual in nature, and have a more casual brand voice. Of course, these are not hard and fast rules – many businesses that don’t fit this bill are wildly successful using Instagram as a marketing platform.
Instagram also offers free insights to their business accounts. Once you access Instagram insights, you can select one of the three tabs in order to gather information about your page:
- Activity: tracks weekly Interactions, reach and impressions
- Content: how your posts, stories, and promotions are performing
- Audience: demographic data on your followers including age range, location and gender
Twitter is the go-to place for people to discover new information, current events, and see what’s trending – making it an ideal platform for industry leaders and shakers.
One of the lesser-known inbound marketing tools Twitter offers is keyword targeting, which allows companies to target people who have used a specific word in their posts or hashtags. Twitter also lets you send content specifically to users who have recently engaged with your posts, meaning that the people receiving your content have already expressed some interest in your company.
Perhaps the best part of using Twitter – you only pay when it works. And speaking of not paying, Twitter provides users with some great free tools, such as Twitter analytics. For each post your company makes, Twitter analytics will show:
- Impressions: Times a user views a Tweet in their timeline or search results.
- Engagements: Total number of times a user interacted with a Tweet. Interactions are clicks anywhere on the Tweet, including Retweets, replies, follows, likes, links, cards, hashtags, embedded media, username, profile photo, or Tweet expansion.
- Detail expands: Clicks on the Tweet to view more details.
- Likes: Times a user liked the Tweet.
This may not seem like much, but it is powerful data when used well. Twitter analytics is a great way to measure how well a specific piece of content is doing and how viewers engage with your company.
Social media platforms are hidden inbound marketing tools that can provide your company with bounties of useful information and targeted audiences. If your company is active on social media, the insights available can help build a better understanding of who your audience is as individuals, not just as pieces of data. Social networks also drive traffic to your website; if you’re targeting the right audiences, your conversion rates will soar as a result.
Consumer insights from social media are crucial to marketing; they can tell you who you are selling to, what they want from you, and ways to improve. However, social media is just one piece of a very large marketing puzzle. If your company’s marketing strategy needs a little love, give us a call at Brandcave – we like puzzles.