cpos-business-to-business

Why Have B2B Brands Fallen Behind on Social Media?

Take a look at 2016’s most influential brands on Facebook, according to Mavrck: Starbucks, Coca-Cola, MTV and Samsung Mobile top the charts, followed by brands like KFC, Nike and Target. What do these companies have in common? They’re all business-to-consumer.

These days, it’s rare to find a business not trying to make a social media splash. But why is it that B2C companies consistently outpace their business-to-business peers? According to Webbiquity, 88 percent of the B2B crowd uses Facebook—just 8 percent less than their B2C counterparts—so it’s not for lack of trying.

The problem is one of strategy. Because B2C companies like Verizon Communications and Sony Pictures were the early adopters, B2B companies patterned their approaches after their B2C peers.

But while B2C marketers don’t need such a targeted approach to draw new business—anyone can enjoy a Coke or crave KFC—B2B marketers can’t take the same top-of-the-funnel strategy. For niche business services, taking a generalized checklist approach to social media simply doesn’t work.
Why resist the checklist?

With a checklist mindset, social media management becomes a series of tasks: posting daily, responding to customers, adding friends and following clients. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with these practices, unless you’re using social as a channel to find target prospects, you’re missing out on revenue.

B2B businesses that don’t use social to target specific leads or gather buying behavior insights are wasting their time. Intel, for instance, is proof that B2B brands can make social work for them: It has more than 25 million Facebook likes, and it regularly engages other brands with user-generated content to build relationships.

But most B2B companies aren’t like Intel. Rarely do B2B marketers even bother to measure the return on investment from their social investments.

According to Simply Measured’s 2016 State of Social Marketing Report, 61 percent of marketers indicate that measuring ROI is a challenge. Additionally, more than 33 percent say that tying social to business goals is a hurdle they must overcome. Only 9 percent of marketers can quantify the revenue driven by social media.
A better B2B social strategy

The first step to a better social strategy is abandoning the checklist mindset. It’s about choosing platforms strategically, being outward-looking and contacting top-scoring leads before they slip away.

Social media is a lot more than the sum of its separate platforms. Brands using a checklist approach often assume they need a presence on every site, but the truth is that your audience probably uses a couple of platforms and ignores others. If you’re a wheelchair manufacturer, for instance, your clients are hospitals and assisted living facilities, which likely aren’t on Snapchat or Instagram.

Don’t spread yourself thin by trying to be everywhere at once. Use customer segmentation data to predict which platforms they use or, better yet, survey your clients. Learn their pain points, company histories and partners. Spend your social budget efficiently by using these details to speak to their needs on their favored platforms.

By discovering your audience’s social habits, your strategy will naturally become more generous and outward-looking. Social success is all about listening and interacting. Blasting your own message on repeat is like talking about yourself at a cocktail party. The best friends (and clients) are found through give-and-take relationships. Mix up your content with links to clients’ blogs, helpful hints and questions to engage followers. With this approach, you’ll build your brand while answering questions and solving problems.

This is akin to when cocktail partygoers have settled down, taken off their dance shoes and started interacting in small groups. To forge connections with choice clients, use social media signals like hashtags, keywords, brand mentions and influencer mentions to identify target prospects.

Your goal is to offer personalized, resonant content that builds trust. Use Twitter’s direct-message feature to turn public tweeting into friendship. Let’s say, for example, your company provides marketing technology that helps with lead generation. If a marketer shares an article about #leadgen, you might send him your latest e-book about generating leads.

Once you’ve contacted target prospects through social, it’s time to capture their contact information in your marketing automation system for easy follow-ups. Connect your social media activities to your marketing automation or customer-relationship-management system to track socially engaged leads. To see ROI from your efforts, you need to see how many leads have been generated through social media, how many have closed and the revenue influenced by social media.

Social media activity is a great signal of buyer intent and should be a factor in your lead scoring model. Let’s say a lead just tweeted at your CEO. That person has shown interest in your brand, so you can increase his lead score. You could also draft an automated email and send the lead an article written by your own CEO on a similar topic. At Socedo, we’ve found that socially engaged leads have much higher email open and click-through rates than leads from other sources.

Social activity can also indicate when leads are further down the funnel. If a lead just posted about wanting a replacement for a competitor’s product, that’s a hot lead. Alert the appropriate sales representative to follow up and close the sale.

Social media is about human interaction, not a robotic, tick-the-boxes checklist. So ditch the list and craft a strategy around the clients you want to sign, and then get personal with them by starting conversations, sending content and nurturing those leads. You’ll see the difference in ROI almost immediately—and you’ll feel pretty popular, too.

Source: Social Times, article by Aseem Badshahhttp://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/why-have-b2b-brands-fallen-behind-on-social-media/644509)

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Social Media Lessons from 6 Must-Follow Brands on Facebook

Sometimes the best way to learn how to do something is from example. If you are seeking advice for your business’ Facebook presence, you can adopt this same mentality. There’s no better way to boost your Facebook strategy than looking at how successful brands are using the site for their own businesses. To see what the pros are doing, we explore six must-follow brands on Facebook who are doing great things on the network.

6 brands to follow on Facebook
1. Target

Top Takeaway: Provide quick and effective social customer service

Target, one of America’s largest retailers, has an equally large Facebook presence totalling over 23 million Likes. With this big of a following there are sure to be countless customer service inquiries. If you look at the comments of any of the Facebook content shared on their page, you’ll find that the majority are not reactions to the post, but unrelated customer service questions and complaints.

Although the volume of messages Target receives on their Facebook page seems overwhelming, they handle them with grace thanks to a few tactics.

They address each customer by name in their responses to ensure they are delivering personalized service.
The customer service representative signs their own name at the end of each response to show that they are actually people and not robots providing automatically generated responses.
They provide a direct phone number to the customer in case they want to speak to a person offline.
They provide a response in a timely manner (less than 24 hours, with some responses as fast as under 10 minutes).

Take a page out of Target’s book and boost your own Facebook customer service efforts by applying these effective techniques.

2. Teva

Top Takeaway: Show lifestyle-centric rather than product-centric content

Your fans aren’t following you on Facebook to be constantly sold to, which is something that hip footwear brand Teva clearly knows. Instead of simply sharing image after static image of shoes and Teva products, the brand uses their Facebook page to showcase the lifestyle surrounding their products. They show the people who are using their products, and the (aspirational) lifestyles that they lead. Teva recognizes the type of customer they attract, and align their Facebook content accordingly.

While of course they don’t ignore their products, Teva balances creative product-centric content with lifestyle-focused posts to provide an engaging mix for their Facebook audience.

Follow in Teva’s steps by making sure you:

  • Don’t put your product front and center in every post
  • Share lifestyle and aspirational content
  • Show your product in the real world, rather than solely in a studio photoshoot
  • Showcase the customers who are using your product or service
  • Keep your customer and their desires top of mind

At the end of the day, think about why you follow certain brands on Facebook. You aren’t looking to make their product the center of your life, but rather build a lifestyle that happens to include their brand. Brands don’t exist in a vacuum, so give your product the context it needs with your Facebook content.

3. Dollar Shave Club

Top Takeaway: Share user-generated content

Nobody is more important to your business’ success than your customers. They’re the ones on the ground actually using your product and know it best. Razor and personal grooming products company Dollar Shave Club uses Facebook to build meaningful relationships with their customers by regularly showcasing content created by them. As our post Content Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses explains, “people trust content created by their peers 50 percent more than other media.”

User-generated content (UGC) is a great option for branded Facebook pages as it not only puts the spotlight on your all-important customers, but provides you with unique and cost-effective social media content.

Dollar Shave Club’s #UnboxDSC campaign is a great example of user-generated content at work. The #UnboxDSC campaign asks customers to share photos unboxing their Dollar Shave Club products on their social media channels. If the company reposts a customer’s photo, they receive a free t-shirt from Dollar Shave Club.

This campaign has been successful for Dollar Shave Club because they:

  • Pay attention to the content their Facebook audience is already sharing and align their campaigns accordingly
  • Made the process of sharing user-generated content easy for their customers
  • Highlight those who share creative and unique images so that the quality remains high
  • Feature use-cases and the product in action

User-generated content invites your customers into the conversation around your brand, and allows them to feel as if they are part of a greater community. Incorporate UGC into your next Facebook campaign with the above tips as a guide.

4. A Mighty Girl

Top Takeaway: Inform and inspire your audience.

As the “world’s largest collection of books, movies, and music for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls,” A Mighty Girl is a unique brand in the Facebook marketing space. Rather than blatantly pushing the products they sell, the organization shares ideas, debates, news articles, and content aiming to inspire and educate their audience. They recognize who their audience is and the information they are seeking, and create content that satisfies these needs.

Some approaches from A Mighty Girl’s page that you can apply to your own Facebook presence include:

  • Consider your audience and their interests, and build content that pertains to these
  • Only push your product or service when it organically fits into the conversations happening
  • Rather than using it as an advertising platform, turn your page into a community hub for those whose interests and values align with your organization’s.
  • Facilitate unbranded discussions and share content that is relevant to the values of your audience and business
  • Think about the problems your audience is facing, and provide information that can solve these problems
  • Have industry experts and thought-leaders share information, inspiration, and their expertise with your audience

By creating a positive space for your customers to engage with your brand and one another, you invite the opportunity for a community to build—something that will become irreplaceable to your audience.

5. Netflix

Top Takeaway: Optimize Facebook video

If it isn’t a part of your social media strategy yet, now is the time to focus on social video. As our post A Guide to Social Video, and Where it Fits in Your Marketing Plan explains:

  • 72 percent of businesses who use video say it has increased website conversion rates
  • 74 percent of all internet traffic in 2017 is projected to come from video
  • Facebook has 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users
  • Facebook sees 100 million hours of daily video watch time

For Netflix, using Facebook video as a part of their social media strategy was a natural fit. The majority of the content they share on Facebook is video, including new show trailers, highlights from current programming, and throwback or topical clips (i.e. scenes from Elf around the holidays, etc). To optimize your video content for Facebook just like Netflix:

  • Ensure that your videos are created with silent playback in mind. Digiday found that 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound, so check out our guide Why Your Facebook Videos Need to be Optimized for Silence to find out exactly how you can do this.
  • Share sneak peeks and teasers for upcoming product launches. Netflix shares clips and trailers of soon-to-be-released shows and movies, but you can easily apply this method to sharing short videos giving your Facebook audience access to your future product launches.
  • Build your brand voice through the videos you share. Video naturally conveys more emotion than text or images alone, so ensure you use video to not only align to, but enhance, your established brand voice.

Like Netflix, you can use Facebook video to support your social media strategy— and contribute to your overall marketing objectives.

6. The Honest Company

Top Takeaway: Provide special incentives and content for your Facebook audience

While you could just share the same content to all of your social channels, you will provide your audience with a much more dynamic experience if you can offer customized content for each platform. I’m not saying that you need to create hugely different campaigns for each social network, but provide slightly tweaked content that makes sense for each platform. The Honest Company works with this principle by offering the following through their Facebook page:

  • Discounts and Facebook fan-only coupon codes
  • Exclusive contests for Facebook fans
  • Behind the scenes content
  • Expert advice
  • Product sneak peeks

You need to give your Facebook audience a good reason to follow you, and the above incentives are a great start. By knowing your customers and what drives them, you’ll be able to offer incentives that will be of interest and value to them.

One of the best ways to learn is to take note of what leaders in your field are doing right. Follow these six brands to continue seeing prime examples of how organizations can use Facebook to increase customer engagement and find business success.

Source: Hootsuite, article by Dara Fontein (https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-lessons-6-top-brands-facebook/)

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