Social media is a prevalent part of consumers’ lives, and the phenomenon has strongly influenced marketing strategies. The push for social media marketing to reach consumers expanded to business-to-business interactions, providing companies with a new channel to reach their B2B clients.
This trend may be largely due to the increasing population of millennials in the workforce. This generation will soon account for the majority of workers in the U.S. as more baby boomers reach retirement age and exit the workforce.
With millennials acting as decision-makers in more companies, social media marketing becomes even more important for B2B sales. Millennials access social media from desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Often, social media is the only means of connecting with these individuals, so businesses must embrace this channel as part of their marketing strategies.
Not only will social media help companies reach an increasingly millennial-dominated business world, but it also provides several tangible benefits:
Businesses may seek to address a market need, but that does not mean clients will immediately latch on to those companies. Often, this lack of engagement occurs because potential clients are not aware of a company.
Social media provides a way to increase brand awareness. This channel is all about sharing – whether through links, videos, images or text – and a company should leverage the viral potential of content. If one lead discovers the business via social media, that lead is likely to share that brand with others he or she interacts with on social media.
Thought leadership, especially in niche industries, is crucial. Businesses take an authoritative stance among their industry peers and potential B2B clients by posting content that shows their expertise. An appraisal company, for example, promotes its thought leadership through links to home sales reports, interest rate data and case studies.
Moreover, as businesses interact with other thought leaders in their industries, leads and current clients see those conversations. If the appraisal company engages in a Twitter exchange with the chief economist of a real estate information website, the former then reaches individuals who subscribe to the latter.
Direct engagement with clients
Social media marketing is built to foster relationships. Whether its networking with colleagues or connecting with new friends, this channel is designed for direct interaction.
Television, radio and newspaper advertisements are impersonal. With social media, current and prospective business converse with the company. If someone has questions or comments about products, services or content posted to the page, he or she posts inquiries to a business’s social media profile and receives real-time support from customer service.
More closed deals
The aforementioned points lend to higher conversion and sales rates. With increased traffic, engagement, brand awareness and brand authority, the odds of moving leads through the sales funnel improve.
Social media platforms also provide many tools to enhance conversions. Targeted advertising allows businesses to direct their marketing efforts to specific verticals. For instance, a marketing automation software company may direct its advertisements toward decision-makers at financial institutions. Facebook, Twitter and other platforms provide tools to streamline ads to these leads.
Real-time sales support
Improving sales is the goal of social media marketing, but that does not mean the channel solely reaches out to leads and clients. Social media grants sales rep immediate access to support while they are in the field. Whether reps need more materials for product demonstrations, access to content to nurture leads or other resources, they are able to pull that information from their companies’ social media efforts.
When B2B leads search for a product or service, a company wants to be the first and most authoritative source they see. If businesses leverage social media effectively, they take a crucial step toward becoming industry leaders.