In the B2B space, there persists a belief that social media only works for B2C. This is because to date most have no proof it works for B2B. According to MarketingProfs and The Content Marketing Institute B2B Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, measurement is a key area where B2B marketers are struggling:
Only 21% say they are successful at tracking ROI.
New social media management solutions make tracking leads and identifying which social shares generate leads and conversion possible. Businesses that implement social media measurement tools have the advantage of focusing their time and resources where they get results.
Many still think social media only works for B2C not B2B. Interested in how many other B2Bs are using social media? All of the statistics below are specific to B2B and come from the above-linked 2015 research.
- 92% of B2B companies use social media content (beyond blog posts) as a content marketing tactic.
- 48% of B2B companies use social media ads to either distribute or promote content
- 42% of B2B companies use promoted posts – such as promoted posts on Facebook or promoted tweets – to promote or distribute content
- 41% of B2B companies say promoted social posts are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
- 38% of B2B companies say social media ads are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
Percentage of B2B Companies Using Each Social Network
- 94% LinkedIn
- 88% Twitter
- 84% Facebook
- 72% YouTube
- 64% Google+
- 41% SlideShare
- 33% Pinterest
- 24% Instagram
- 20% Vimeo
Most Effective Social Networks for B2B Content Marketing
- 63% of B2B companies say LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform
- 55% say Twitter
- 48% say YouTube
- 42% say SlideShare
- 40% say Vimeo
- 32% say Facebook
- 25% say Pinterest
- 24% say Instagram
- 20% say Google+
User data from social media management tool Oktopost agrees. Their user data indicates LinkedIn generated 80.33% of conversions, compared to 13.73% for Twitter, 6.73% for Facebook, and 0.21% for Google Plus. Further, their user data shows that B2Bs should be focusing on interacting in discussion groups because 86.30% of conversions were generated in groups versus 10.07% on company pages and 3.63% on personal profiles. Source of stats:
B2B Social Media Measurement
It is possible to measure not only which social network generates the most leads or conversions, but exactly what lead a specific piece of content generated. Once a lead is recognized, all touches with your creatives and social shares are recorded.
Drill down into exactly which post in which LinkedIn group generated a lead. Find out which groups never convert so you can focus your time on the ones that do. It is clear that LinkedIn produces the most leads and conversions. Sales teams have the additional benefit of knowing much more about each lead before contact.
Leads obtained from LinkedIn provide access to profiles which reveal major insights into their backgrounds, authority, and job descriptions. Their titles may indicate whether they are decision-makers. And you can use LinkedIn’s InMail to contact them.
It is unclear why brands are so focused on Facebook. Leads from that source often provide little information for your sales team to go on. You have to request connection which many reserve only for friends and family. Without being connected first, any message you send is likely to end up in a mailbox the user never sees.
B2B Social Media Case Studies
Still not convinced social media converts for B2B? Lee Odden of TopRankBlog compiled 12 B2B Social Media Case Studies with details on how these twelve B2Bs benefited from specific social media strategies. Here are examples of what some of these B2Bs accomplished:
- SunGard generated over 3000 leads in just 3 days
- Toshiba: 19,000 opens, 1,100+ clicks and generated 309 leads
- LivePerson: 800 downloads, 11% open rate with a 17% click-through-rate (CTR), generated 270 marketing qualified leads and cited as “the most successful e-book of 2013”
- LinkedIn: 10,000 downloads in less than 30 days, more than one-third by marketing qualified leads
Impressive conversion rates like these are attainable by using social media management tools that include the ability to measure results. Case studies provide ideas for what to test and what kind of results other B2Bs have been able to achieve.
Are you depending on Google to keep sending you traffic? What if you stop ranking so well? Or your site gets a penalty? Maybe you are paying for traffic over and over. Why would you want to do that? You could be capturing each visitor to your list and keeping them there. That is what auto-responders do.
By offering a series of useful email messages to your visitors you can get them to give you their email address and keep them coming back. The best way to grow your list is to offer something of value. At one time most people used eBooks. The problem with that is the high percentage of subscribers who download what you offer and then immediately unsubscribe. If you send the same information as an autoresponder series, your subscribers have to stay on your list.
This works – but many are not doing this as well as they could. Think about the emails you receive. Personally, I read the short ones as soon as I open them. But the long ones I often save for “later” – but that “later” never comes. I bet many other people do that, too.
Goal: Get Your Emails Opened
The goal is to get your emails opened. By sending really short emails your subscribers will be more likely to open them. They may not do this consciously, but subconsciously they’ll associate your emails with “short and painless”. That is what you want. Their goal is to get information in easily digested bites.
Your goal is to keep them opening or at least wanting to receive your emails so when they are ready to buy what you offer they remember you. Search traffic converts because people use it when they’re ready to buy. If they remember you they won’t need to search – they can just click on your link in your emails.
Remember to ALWAYS include a link back to your site!
Simplify the Process
What is easy gets done more often. The best way to create your autoresponder series is to use a template you can edit each time. That way your header, logo, slogan, social sharing buttons, and links to your social networking accounts are already in place. You just edit the text.
Email solutions providers are making templates easier to use. There is a video about autoresponders that explains the many features that are now built into templates. If you make your messages flow in a sequence, your subscribers will be more likely to be happy to receive them. Here’s also a quick and sweet intro to autoresponders by ProBlogger.
One way to do that is to write a how-to and then break it up into small sections. Or you can make a list of priorities in order and write each one separately. Do whatever works best for you. Remember to always focus on what your potential buyers want – NOT what you want.
Give your subscribers what they want to receive and you can keep them on your list reminding them to choose your company. Over time you build trust that increases conversions. Do this consistently and your profits will grow.
Studies continue to show increases in the percentage of email being opened on smartphones. Make sure you have updated all your email templates and landing pages to work on mobile devices.
Do not assume they work. You need to actually test them on as many devices as possible. Verify that the header, images, and videos resize correctly. If they don’t you will need to update your site with new code, a new theme, or plugins.
Click on the social media accounts and verify they take your readers to each specific social account. Test every social sharing button – or at least the major platforms – and ensure that it works as expected. Configure shared tweets to include your Twitter username and make sure images share properly on Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Repeat Visitors Are More Likely to Buy
Building your list, setting up autoresponders, and creating actual relationships with your visitors can turn missed opportunities into leads and sales. You must keep them coming back to buy.
Further reading: 57 Email Marketing Tips That Will Get You More Opens, Clicks & Sales