Silverpop - Why Are B2B Marketers Still Underestimating Social?
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Why Are B2B Marketers Still Underestimating Social?

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by: Ellen Valentine (@EllenValentine)
21 August 2013

Social is here to stay, and as B2B marketers, we need to not only accept that, but also use it to our advantage. In Silverpop’s recent study with Forrester Research, Inc., we found that B2C marketers are decidedly more social than their B2B counterparts. In particular, 83 percent of B2C marketers surveyed indicated that they employ social media management technology, compared to only 57 percent for B2B. 

B2B vs. B2C Social Media Engagement

Despite these stats, the research also shows that 86 percent of business buyers engage in social activity for work purposes. You want to deliver relevant, timely content to your audience when and where they want it, so why wouldn’t we be using this untapped channel? As we all begin to use social channels more, it’s important to shift our perspective. Instead of viewing social as its own channel, think about weaving it into every aspect of your marketing. Need help getting there? Here are three tips to help you get more social:

1) Content Promotion

You’ve already got a lot of content – it’s on your website, in paid ads and in your promotional emails. How are you leveraging social to promote the content you’ve worked so hard to perfect? The simplest and most logical thing to do is use your brand’s social networks to push out the content. Most networks, like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, have basic metrics built within the platform that indicate clicks and impressions – this will help give you a good idea of what types of content are performing best. Sometimes, however, active social users want to hear from a person, not a brand’s logo. When you have a new piece of content, consider supplying your sales team and thought leaders with suggested social posts that they can easily copy and paste to promote on their own networks. This gets your content out to a wider audience, and is a great way for salespeople to engage in a dialogue with prospective customers.

You most likely already have social sharing buttons on your blog and parts of your website. Take that thought to another level and embed sharing buttons within content itself. In the PDF of a white paper, for example, embed tweets that link to the white paper and include interesting statistics or facts from the section where it’s embedded. Don’t forget that you can also embed lead source parameters into your shared links, allowing you to easily track which social platform and content are the sources of a lead. 

2) Database Growth

As B2B marketers, we are constantly seeking out new, qualified leads, and social media is a great place to collect them! It’s a good idea to offer some content for “free” – blog posts and tip sheets are great for this. For larger pieces, like eBooks or white papers, put those behind a short and/or progressive form. Because most users are accessing social networks from a mobile device, if they are taking the time to fill out a form, you should make it easy for them to do so. You know that if they are taking the time to fill out a few fields, they are most likely very interested in your content and, more importantly, what your company has to offer.

Social advertising is also growing rapidly – it’s almost impossible to log in to any social network without seeing some type of ad. Just be sure to make your content compelling and relevant to your audience so they won’t be put off. Determine on which networks your content performs best, and place the bulk of your advertising spend there. Recently, LinkedIn announced sponsored updates, which are similar to Twitter sponsored tweets. Twitter also released Lead Generation Cards, which provide both an incredibly easy end-user experience and verified emails for the marketer – a win-win for everyone! Remember to market to these leads in a special way – you know they are socially engaged customers, so deliver relevant content and messages based on that information.

3) Universal Behaviors

Your buyers are more connected than ever and interacting “in the moment” is critical if you not only want to capture their attention, but keep it. You also want to capitalize on the interest in your brand those buyers are demonstrating on social. By connecting behaviors from multiple channels, you are able to deliver the most relevant content to keep these customers engaged. Silverpop’s new Universal Behaviors functionality allows you to capture real-time customer behaviors from multiple channels, including social. You can then take those social behaviors and incorporate them into other marketing campaigns on other channels. For example, if a customer retweets your post about a new white paper, that behavior is captured in the database and you are able to send them targeted, automated messages based specifically on that action.

So, don’t delay! Start integrating these social marketing strategies into all your B2B efforts today. Your customers and prospects will appreciate it and your sales department will love it. 

Related Resources:

1)      White paper: Use Behavioral Marketing to Up the Ante in the Age of the Customer

2)      Blog post: Use Social Media to Build Trust (Video)

3)      Blog post: 5 Cross-Channel Use Cases of Universal Behaviors


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