5 Ways to Use Social Media for B2B Demand Generation
I‘m excited to announce that Barbra Gago — formerly with Genius.com and Cloud9 Analytics — is joining Left Brain as a key member of our demand generation strategy team. Barbra brings great expertise around inbound marketing, content marketing, Website information architecture design, social media and how to leverage all of these elements for integrated, buyer-centric, buyer-driven demand generation. So welcome Barbra … and read on for her first blog post on leveraging social media in B2B demand generation. ~ABN
Social media – alone – cannot drive the type of scale B2B demand generation results that most enterprises need. But when social media is combined with other buyer-targeted content and programs – especially as part of an inbound engagement model – it can serve as a critical multiplier of your efforts. Moreover, it can enable you to engage with your buyer at phases of his/her decision-making process that other mediums cannot reach.
The important thing to remember about social media is that it is used and consumed in different ways depending on the buyer audience, as well as the problem that buyer is trying to solve and where (s)he is in his/her decision-making process.
Social media can help to establish initial rapport, build confidence, and ultimately trust. A 2010 study by Base One and B2B Marketing in the UK found that blogs, word of mouth and Twitter were the top-three, most-trusted mediums early on in the B2B buying process. Social media also can help with one-to-one buyer engagement, and it can open up substantive dialogue with buyers when they are framing the initial problem that they are seeking a product/service to help solve. In fact, a 2009 ITSMA study found that three-quarters of technology solution buyers leverage social media in their decision-making process – especially to connect with other buyers and influencers.
How can you use social media in your own demand generation efforts? Here are 5 ways to do so:
1.) Distribute Targeted Content: A recent study conducted by Co-Tweet and ExactTarget found that 25% of people who follow a company on Facebook, do it because they want access to exclusive content. One of the major advantages of social media is being able to find and serve content to niche markets and targeted groups, and in most cases they are interested in the content if it’s relevant and exclusive.
2.) Nurture “Not-Ready” Leads into “Sales-Ready” Leads: To support other programs you are running, and to help Prospects learn and become more engaged with the brand, it’s great to leverage social media, especially blogging as part of a drip nurturing track. Look at the communications campaigns you’ve established and see where blog posts or videos fit in for added value.
3.) Track or Monitor for New Opportunities: Monitoring social media is generally first thought of for damage control or for overall brand awareness, but more and more inside sales teams, demand creation teams and marketing operations groups are leveraging sales and marketing tools combined with social media (or social CRM) to research Prospects, to generate net-new leads and also to learn about new potential buyers through online forums, groups and comments on blogs or social networks.
4.) Promote Exclusive Offers: Another way to leverage social media is to promote exclusive offers. In the same study mentioned above, Co-Tweet and Exact Target found that 40% of people following brands are doing it especially for discounts or special offers. Social media can be very effective in creating an exclusive environment that people feel like they are getting something special for their participation or just membership within a group.
5.) Retain and Up-sell: Most of the time companies focus on driving revenue, but forget about the people they’ve already won over. Why aren’t there more retention and up-sell programs that leverage social media? You customers already understand the value of your product or service, why not leverage social media to get your customers even more engaged.