Is Social Media Necessary for B2B Lead Generation?

When you think of B2B lead generation, your mind probably doesn’t go straight to social media. Yes, it’s a great tool to increase website traffic and communicate with potential customers, but because of its neutrality, it can also be a great tool for generating leads. Social media can be a neutral environment for one company to learn about another without feeling like they’re being handled. Being discovered in a neutral place also gives your brand legitimacy and credibility. It gives you the opportunity to insert yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Then there’s the low cost of implementing a social media strategy. Using the platform itself is free and every platform has its own advertising service that you can use to target your ideal personas. In fact, revenue increased for 24% of businesses who used social media for lead generation.

Have I sold you on the idea yet? Good. That leaves one important question: which channel is right for your company?

B2B Lead Generation on Twitter

Twitter as a platform is optimized for succinct communication. With only 144 characters, you don’t have room to be long winded about your business or product. That’s probably for the best. Twitter allows you to stay up to date with the conversations happening in your industry and provides an outlet to inject your own two cents.

Because of this emphasis on communication, Twitter actually has the lowest success rate for B2B lead generation at 30%. It does, however, let you connect with influential business leaders in your targeted demographic. If the content you share is good enough, you may even become one of those leaders.

There are mixed reviews on the success of lead generation via Twitter. A case study from Twitter for Business claimed a 996% acceleration in lead acquisition using Promoted Tweets with Lead Generation Cards. Others, such as Jeremy Smith from The Daily Egg swear to its ineffectiveness. At the very least, Twitter presents an opportunity to be a voice in a community and perhaps generate some organic leads. 70% B2B employees will also use your Twitter presence to determine your business’s credibility. Therefore, while it might not be the best platform for generating leads directly, Twitter can still be a meaningful part of your social media strategy.

B2B Lead Generation on Facebook

Facebook is not just for B2C marketing. Users get on Twitter for communication and information and users get on LinkedIn for their careers and businesses, but users get on Facebook because it’s a distraction. Liking and sharing things makes them feel good in an otherwise stressful day. Capitalize on their moment of bliss.

If your strategy includes Facebook for B2B lead generation, it will probably mean you will be using their paid Facebook Ads service. Fortunately, Facebook Ads are inexpensive. They have the lowest cost per click over Google Adwords and even LinkedIn Ads. They also reward you for testing more ads and different targets. Remember that even B2B marketers use Facebook for leisure so it pays more to value entertainment over serious sales content.

At its core, Facebook is still a place where people go to stalk the lives of their friends and family. At least, that’s how I use it. And, it’s not the most ideal place for businesses to interact with other businesses. Nonetheless, B2B marketers have found success generating leads on this very forward-facing platform. Marketo had success using Sponsored Stories and promoted posts, and other marketers have reported success using a social media strategy that included Facebook. However, there aren’t a lot of studies out there that include solid statistics. Take that to mean whatever you want.

B2B Lead Generation on LinkedIn

As far as social media platforms go, LinkedIn is the most business-friendly. Most users who visit the site do so for business-related reasons. Because of it’s high population of c-level executives, it’s an excellent platform for B2B lead generation.

According to Hubspot, LinkedIn has the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate of any social media channel at 2.74% for both B2B and B2C. That’s higher than both Twitter and Facebook.

To begin, you need a presence on LinkedIn so you can begin generating leads. It pays to make your company page look jazzy: optimize it for industry keywords, add tabs for your products/services and include informative media. Be sure to post often to establish a presence on the site and gain followers. The content you post will depend on the audience. Test your posts to decide what works and what doesn’t and don’t pass up an opportunity for a call to action.

Once you have a following, you can begin using Sponsored Updates. This feature allows you to put paid promotions behind status updates. The coolest thing about this is that you can target users based on criteria such as location, job title, LinkedIn Group associations or company name.

LinkedIn Ads are another option. They are similar to Sponsored Updates but LinkedIn Ads give you the ability to customize your ad. You can choose to add an image or video and not just include text. According to LinkedIn, adding an image can increase clicks by 20%. And 20% goes a long way.

Similar to Facebook Ad impressions, LinkedIn doesn’t necessarily charge you the full amount of your campaign budget per day, either. You are only charged for the actual amount of activity your campaign receives.

Not All Platforms Are Right For You

No matter which social media platforms you elect to use in your marketing strategy, make sure not to stretch yourself too thin.

You don’t need to be on every platform. Pick what’s right for your budget and your buyer personas. Twitter is good for sharing information and joining the conversation. Facebook is good for fun, entertaining and easily sharable content. LinkedIn is a good environment for showcasing your company and making business connections. Consider what you will be doing on each platform and what content you have at your disposal.

A good social media strategy requires juggling a number of things: SEO, content marketing, testing and analysis. Luckily, Brandcave knows about all of them. Give us a call. We’re excellent jugglers.