In this article we explore how to use social media to improve B2B lead generation.
Table of contents:
B2B Marketing: A Brief Overview
B2B is short for Business to Business marketing. In very basic terms, it’s a marketing practice which allows businesses to sell their products or services to other companies that resell them or use them in the way they work.
For example, a car manufacturing company need parts from other businesses in order to make cars. In the same way a coffee shop needs beans from another business to sell its coffee.
Essentially, a B2B transaction is between a manufacturer and a wholesaler. Or a wholesaler and a retailer. It’s different to B2C, which is Business to Consumer, when the transaction is between a company and an individual consumer.
Say you are the business providing coffee beans to a number of cafes and restaurants in your area. There will be others in your industry. So why should another business choose you to provide them with coffee beans over someone else?
This is where your marketing strategy, which includes lead generation, is important.
What is B2B Lead Generation?
Your marketing strategy is a blueprint for how you can raise brand awareness about your products among potential buyers. What are the techniques you will use to attract other businesses?
What channels, digital or traditional are you going to make the most of? And what resources do you need? Is this something you can do yourself, or will you need an expert team to help you?
B2B Lead generation starts with identifying your ideal customer and then attracting them to buy from you. So let’s begin with your ideal customer, otherwise known as your buyer persona.
A B2B buyer persona is not just any lead or contact you make. It’s your ideal client decision maker. In other words, this is the person who will actually agree to hand over the money and buy your product. Therefore, you need to think about what impacts them to make this decision.
For example, does it depend on their behaviour, motivation or aims for their business? Does their location matter to you or the brand and style of their business?
Returning to the coffee bean example. Is your ideal client a local cafe with an emphasis on good quality coffee, to be enjoyed at leisure in a peaceful environment. Or is it a chain of coffee shops with the aim of catching people on their way to work in the early morning with a takeaway drink.
Hopefully you can see how marketing your business may affect which client you attract. Even though they both want to purchase the same product.
3 Top Strategies To Improve B2B Lead Generation
If you want your business to grow, you need a lead generation strategy. You may already have one in place, but there’s always room for improvement.
Here are 3 top tips for improving B2B lead generation.
1. Content Marketing
By sharing content about your business and industry you can really help to build your brand and reputation. From articles, to blogs, tweets, comments, white papers and news feeds, there are lots of ways to create content.
With this in mind, your content should be useful, informative or entertaining and essentially, add value to your potential audience. Simply put, it’s worth spending time on creating valuable content, rather than randomly throwing a blog together which could attract attention for the wrong reasons!
Everything you write or publish reflects on your business. Creating exciting or interesting content gives people a reason to find out more about you and raises awareness of your brand within your industry.
PPC or per per click marketing is another strategy to use for B2B lead generation. This will get you quick results, rather than the long form strategy of content marketing. PPC works on the basis of keywords on Google.
You pay for each time your advert is clicked on relating to the keywords you choose. The more common keywords cost more, but usually will end up with more hits.
By deliberately putting yourself in front of your customers, you can attract them with your products and services, and begin capturing their useful data.
3. Social Media
Clearly social media is one of the best marketing platforms due to its fantastic reach. Plus it’s free! You do need to invest time and effort in it though. If you don’t have that time, you may need to outsource to someone who can make it work well on your behalf.
Of course, you can have a presence on social media platforms and people might find you accidentally. But if you want your business to really grow, and you are looking for lead generation, then it’s essential that you get your social media marketing right.
There are many strategies for improving your B2B lead generation and a large number of top tips, however, for the purpose of this article, the focus is on learning how to use social media in particular.
How To Use Social Media To Improve B2B Lead Generation
Firstly, it’s useful in lead generation to use as many social platforms as possible. That way you can spread your business net wide and capture several leads. However, it’s also important that you use social media well in order to secure qualified leads.
Moreover, social media can help to build your reputation and brand awareness, but if used badly, it can also damage it.
So, how well do you know your social media platforms? Do you know the difference between your LinkedIn or Instagram. Whether to use Facebook or Twitter?
Here’s a brief rundown of how to use social media to improve your B2B lead generation.
Know Your Platforms
For business to business marketing, LinkedIn is key. This platform allows you to build your business network for free and to share content with other experts in your industry. You can access informative content and make your own connections who could become beneficial in the future.
On LinkedIn you will have your own personal profile, which you can use as a business profile too. Just remember, that as with all social media, what you publish on LinkedIn will reflect on your business. So be careful about being too casual and about the comments you make to other people in your industry.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform. You can have a personal profile and a separate business profile. However, these are linked together. You need a personal profile to create a business profile. So once again, be aware of how that might look to potential clients.
A top tip with Facebook is to join a relevant Facebook group within your industry. This is a page created for a business to promote activities. Users can join the group and post comments or interact through discussion threads.
You can also share content easily from your own business page and attract new leads organically. Facebook is also a useful tool for driving traffic to your website.
Twitter is a social media platform that creates an instant discussion. Therefore, you need to invest time in Twitter. You can’t just post a comment and leave. You can, it just won’t help much with lead generation.
Hence Twitter is a useful tool for building customer service and satisfaction. For example, say there was a problem with the delivery of your product. Or a client has mentioned you in a negative way.
If you have already built up a respectable and approachable account on Twitter which represents your brand in a positive light, here is your ideal opportunity to respond.
You can quickly shut down any negative comments with a correct response which can draw new leads to you because of the way you handled the issue online.
Ultimately, Instagram is an image sharing platform. Although you can make comments and use hashtags here as well. Instagram is useful as a speedy shop window version of your website. It also helps to tell the story behind your business.
So you can share images or videos of ‘behind the scenes’ at your company, which helps to build your brand.
Optimise Your Profile
On Facebook and LinkedIn, you’ll have a profile or business page. It’s a good idea to think about how your profile comes across to others. For example, you need to present a professional image of yourself or your business to start with. Don’t take a selfie and don’t use filters.
Particularly with LinkedIn, you should think about it more like a web page instead of a CV. Go with your intuition on this, if something on your profile page looks too distracting or not in keeping with your brand, then get rid of it.
Perhaps you don’t need to list the hobbies you like doing or the medals you won at school. Unless any of it is relevant to your business.
In order to grow a network of like minded industry experts, you want to present a professional image of yourself to the world. Make sure you fill your profile with professional and engaging images, along with regular content updates and call to actions.
Your LinkedIn profile can easily drive traffic to your website, creating new leads who are already interested in your product thanks to your LinkedIn content.
Use Incentives or Lead Magnet Offers
Everyone likes an incentive for doing something. To create high quality leads, you can offer an incentive in exchange for customer details. The right incentive can compel people to freely share their information with you. Hence it’s a lead magnet offer.
However, once again, you need to have a plan or strategy in place for creating lead magnet offers that people actually want. An obvious one is a discount code or a free gift. But other examples include case studies, white papers and webinars.
Particularly with B2B marketing, as an expert in your industry, you may have news or data to share in a white paper that it relevant to others. Hence you can use this information as a lead magnet across your social media platforms. In exchange for data, people can access your white paper.
Similarly, you could use a webinar to attract new leads to your business. A webinar allows a speaker to share presentations, videos and web pages online with audiences who could be anywhere. So you could put your exclusive content in front of anyone wherever they are in the world.
Do you have lots of happy customers? Perhaps you do but have you shared their stories? By sharing positive reviews or testimonials across your social media platforms, you can help to build up your brand.
Research shows that 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews. Moreover, 84% trust them as much as a personal recommendation. Therefore, if you want to grow your business and get new leads, sharing online reviews across social media is a great way to do this.
Furthermore, people are more likely to buy something after watching a testimonial video that demonstrates how a business, product or service helps someone like them.
So think about creative ways you can share your reviews online. Instead of just an image and a caption, could you create a helpful video?
Does your business have a blog? Are you someone who thinks you don’t need one?
Well the great thing about a blog is that once you have spent time creating it, you can share it anywhere online. So it can appear on a page on your business website, as a link on Twitter, as an update on Facebook or a post on LinkedIn.
Even as a link in an email marketing newsletter. Therefore one piece of content can generate leads across many different platforms.
Posting regular and consistent blogs is important here. You also need to be present, active and responsive with your reactions. For example, you can build up and schedule your blog posts, which is handy.
However, if you schedule a post too far in advance about a piece of industry news that is now out of date, then that will reflect on your business and expertise.
Hence, you need to be aware of what content is going out and when. As you may be able to create even more new leads by responding to people’s comments about your blog.
SEO is short for search engine optimisation. In simple terms, the words that you use in your content will help to put you higher in the search engine rankings such as Google or Bing.
For example, say you are searching for a B2B company that sells car parts in Norfolk. Your key search terms are car parts and Norfolk or East Anglia. Or maybe you use a search phrase. For example, ‘where can I find a business selling car parts in East Anglia?’
If you have the search key words in your content, then your business is likely to appear on the search engine page. Therefore you need to ensure these words appear across all your content as naturally as possible. It’s a good plan here to research the list of key words that people might use when looking for your business.
You can go back to your buyer’s persona. What words would your ideal client put into the search engine to find you? Then adapt these into your content and social media platforms.
Paid adverts can work on social media, but remember, each platform has a different way of interacting with customers. An advert that works on Facebook, may not be ideal for Twitter.
A top tip here is that social media is current and customers use it daily. Therefore, the more ‘on topic’ your advert is, the more likely it will evoke a reaction or bring in new leads.
For example, if your business is an independent beer brewer and you are marketing a new beer in time for the Euro’s football competition, then you can see how the timing of your paid advert can work really well. Perhaps it’s a local beer and there is a big local event to watch the final.
Referencing local events will also help to bring new leads in, as the advert appears relevant to people in your area. Your temporary advert could hit the target just at the right time and encourage a positive response.
Moreover, you can tailor the adverts to capture specific interest. Maybe use a lead magnet offer to draw people in. Perhaps you can offer a discount on the beer if purchased before the Euros final. Special one off discounts and time limited offers work well with paid ads on social media.
Remember to plan it carefully though. Advertising also needs to be part of your main overall marketing strategy.
A referral is like a positive review or word of mouth. You can use social media to launch a referral campaign. Hence you could offer a discount or other incentive if someone refers your business to a friend. When that friend also signs up, you gain a new lead and the customer gets a discount.
Improve Your Brand
Basically, it’s all in the name. The benefit of social media is that it’s ‘social’. People can interact with your business by making comments directly and listening to your response. You can build up a professional rapport with potential customers easily and for free.
Furthermore, you can even start to ask for feedback and use surveys to improve your product or service. So you can raise awareness of your brand at the same time as gaining knowledge on how to make it better.
This engagement with the public really enables you to sell your business and can open the doors to converting leads into customers.
Furthermore, you can take time to listen to the social chatter. By monitoring social media about a certain topic relevant to your industry, you can quickly learn what people like and don’t like about it.
This will help you to identify the aspects that you are doing right with your business and what you can improve on. You can also find out what people think about your competitors!
Measure your data
You may have the most amazing B2B marketing strategy with lots of ideas on how to use social media for lead generation. But how do you know it even works?
Are you getting the results you are looking for?
Here’s when you need to measure and analyse your data. There are software tools available to do this, such as Hootsuite or Google analytics. Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn have their own analytical programs.
By putting all the data together, you can clearly see what worked for you and what didn’t. Did that paid advert bring in any new leads? Is Facebook bringing in the most traffic to your website? Are the people you talk to on Twitter converting to customers or not?
By analysing your data, you can make improvements which create more leads for your business.
Why Use Social Media To Improve Your B2B Lead Generation?
To sum up, it’s not quick and easy to use social media to improve your B2B lead generation, but if you want to grow your business, it’s essential.
Firstly, using social media will help you to increase your brand awareness. Particular among other businesses in your industry who may want to use or buy your product. It will also help to grow your customer audience and base.
By engaging with the online community, you can build up trust in your business and respond quickly to any questions or comments.
This is particularly helpful if you are a new business aiming to build up your reputation.
However, social media is also essential for large businesses who need to maintain their reputation and brand and to create new leads to grow further.
Moreover, using different social media platforms will help to drive traffic to your website. So potential customers might find your website through Facebook, or Instagram or LinkedIn.
Hence it’s better to have a professional profile across several platforms because this will bring in more leads. As long as it’s done well.
This may look like a lot of effort to you. But there are many social media tools and software, as well as plenty of articles and blogs to help you along the journey.
However, if you want an expert marketing team behind your lead generation, then consider a digital agency such as Lead Genera.
As the name suggests, the team at Lead Genera are experts in generating new leads. This isn’t an additional part of their job, it’s what they do. You will be able to see a measurable impact in terms of your lead generation within days.
Contact leadgenera.com to see how they can help you today.