They say content is king, but can content rule if it’s on the wrong platform and shared with the wrong audience? Here, Jamie Kightley, Head of iBAengage at IBA International, discusses the three most important social media platforms for B2B lead generation and how the right platform can help maximise your marketing efforts.
Jack of all trades, master of none
There are countless social media websites now that claim to be hugely beneficial for businesses. Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest can work wonders for B2Cs looking to promote their brand, but for B2Bs it’s all about finding and cultivating those all-important leads. Choosing the right social media platform to deliver this message is the perfect start in order to achieve this.
Social media is one of the most popular B2B content marketing strategy used by businesses, albeit to varying degrees of effectiveness – only 13% of companies describe their lead generation as very successful. The average B2B company is on six social platforms in the hope that a wider net can catch more fish, or prospects in this case. But focusing on too many platforms can have a detrimental effect on B2B social media strategies, stretching the resources of your team.
Below I’ve listed the three social media platforms you should focus on in order to improve your marketing efforts, engage with relevant prospects and improve lead generation.
Known as the ‘Facebook of business’, the company’s takeover by Microsoft for £18bn last year proves there is real value in the platform. There’s one very good reason why LinkedIn is the number 1 site for B2B marketers – leads.
LinkedIn has over 400 million total users in over 200 countries. Users come from a range of different countries, industries, markets and job levels, including CEOs, upper level management & C-suite professionals – in other words, the people who have the decision-making power to select your services.
No other site has a database full of prospects and leads ready to engage with your company -prospects can be searched for by industry or job titles to make sure your message is targeted towards the right person.
The platform focuses on building relationships with prospects by sharing content and creating conversation in over one million groups – allowing you to establish your company as an expert in your field. IBA has had huge success in promoting thought leadership material on LinkedIn. One of our clients is currently finalising a contract to realise half of its yearly sales targets through social media. How? A LinkedIn article posted in a targeted industry group.
Twitter is well-known for its big celebrity following and as a platform that has allowed a lot of the big-named B2C brands to thrive online. But the site can also be a useful tool for B2Bs to share content, raise brand awareness and generate leads.
Unlike Facebook, which filters its content, Tweets can be seen by anyone and can be targeted to specific trends or topics using hashtags. Using Twitter can be a great way of listening to the important conversations happening in your industry from thought leaders, influencers, analysts and even your competitors – as well as finding the prospects your company can turn into sales.
Just like LinkedIn, Twitter allows users to build lists of targets to engage with, publicly or privately, and filter out all the tweets from your main news feed to focus on a particular industry or topic. For example, you can build a list of prospects to see what they’re talking about, who they’re talking with, and use this information to start the conversation with them and build a relationship.
Twitter encourages and rewards user interactions, so don’t be afraid to start the conversation with someone who looks like a relevant prospect.
You might be surprised to find Facebook on this list as the site is hugely popular with B2C companies, but don’t let that put you off, as the world’s most popular social media platform can be effective in helping B2B organisations reach new customers.
If used correctly, Facebook can help drive traffic to your company’s website where you can turn a prospect into a lead. The platform boasts the largest audience of all the social media sites, so not having a presence here will ultimately lead to missed opportunities. 39% of B2B companies have generated leads through Facebook – only LinkedIn generates more.
Since there is so much content being shared on Facebook now, it’s essential that you use its large audience reach to your advantage by creating and sharing content tailored towards the type of market or prospect you’re looking for. From personal experience, videos and images can work wonders for engagement, as does sharing relevant articles, thought leadership and hot topics from relevant industry publications.
Less really is more
Don’t rush to every social media site out there just because you think it’s a good idea – concentrate on the most important ones first and build a platform for further success. It’s better to have a strong presence on the key social platforms that are proven lead generators than to have a weak presence on a lot that aren’t. Sharing content and focusing your efforts on these three social platforms will help find and cultivate leads that would have never happened anywhere else.