“Joining allows you to get linked (or connected) in(to) your professional network, hopefully providing you with more access to more opportunities through your connections.” That’s what Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder, had to say when asked why he chose that name. For B2B marketers, LinkedIn is the premier platform. According to Sleeknote, a company that helps ecommerce brands better interact with their website visitors, 90% of B2B searches are conducted on social media channels. The company also said 20% of companies surveyed appear to have no social media strategy.
Storytelling is a very powerful tool. People gravitate towards them because they’re original and personal, unlike many ads. The strongest ones are those that people can relate to. For example, consider Adobe Creative Cloud, manufacturer and distributor of two dozen different apps for artists, web designers, etc. in the global creative world. After the company began announcing monthly themes and invited artists to submit samples of their work that matched the themes, Adobe racked up nearly 900,000 Instagram followers just from that user-generated content.
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” That quote is attributed to best-selling author and former dot com executive Seth Godin. One company that’s been successful in breaking through the competition is Hubspot. Their Instagram feed of quips and quotes is highly popular with its audience of marketers and entrepreneurs.
Companies that engage their audiences will gather leads. By generating posts about a client’s business and tagging related businesses, mobile payment company Square connects clients with companies having similar interests, and has garnered 53,000 followers in the process.
When active listening first became popular, it was successfully employed in conflict resolution and counseling. In today’s world of social media, it’s used with customers and has been renamed as social listening. Brands that leverage social listening market more naturally and benefit from consumers speaking favorably about their brand on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Companies wishing to listen in might consider Google Alerts, which sends out notifications whenever the brand is mentioned. Twitter’s search feature permits tracking of hashtags and key words.
A study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs reported that nine out of ten B2B companies use LinkedIn as their preferred platform for professionals. LinkedIn’s addition of Sales Navigator in 2014 and subsequent improvements like InMails served to heighten its value, especially for sales teams.
Software company SAS SE attributed its rapid increase in sales to LinkedIn and Sales Navigator. The company credited Sales Navigator for several individual sales of $300,000 or greater and $4 million in Asian sales in their first phase alone. Overall, SAS SE said its sales rose more than 40%.
For starters, businesses must put together a solid and measurable social media B2B strategy with goals and timelines. They should solicit input and get buy-in from all involved. With staff, they must review, discuss, refine and possibly make changes to the plan as it evolves.