Many B2B manufacturing companies lack a robust social media presence, and it’s no surprise why: there’s an abundance of content out there that discourages B2B manufacturers from utilizing social media. The truth is, however, that social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and even Instagram are extremely useful, not to mention inexpensive, methods to reach a considerably larger audience than you ever thought possible.
That’s why we’re here: to bust a few of those common myths about social media for B2Bs. Any effective marketing strategy in this century should be making use of social media platforms, because regardless of your product or your business type, it’s one of the most pervasive ways to get the word out about your company. Here are five of the most common myths we’d like to demystify for B2B manufacturers:
Myth #1 B2B customers aren’t on social media
As a B2B company, it’s easy to forget that you’re still marketing to people. Sure, your end goal is to sell your product to a business, but a person is in charge of making that purchasing decision. And more than 1 billion people are active on social media today, regardless of their position or profession. It’s important to remember that Generation Y and Millennial employees are beginning to flood the workforce, both generations that grew up with and continue to use social media platforms on a daily basis. When such a massive percentage of the population is on social media, it’s hard to say that none of your potential clients are on social media.
What’s more, B2B purchasing decisions require a considerably greater amount of research than B2C decisions. Your standard B2B decision maker is reading everything they can about your product, about your competitor’s product, what your warranties are like, what your company is like, etc. before they even consider talking to you. The best way to make sure that these decision makers have access to that information they’re looking for is for you to make it easily accessible to them on the platforms they use the most. Any purchasing researcher loves to read reviews and testimonials from previous clients, recommendations from other industry professionals, and especially case studies with hard facts. The best way to make sure they have this information and give your company a second look is to put it out yourself on social media.
Myth #2 Social media tactics that work for standard B2Cs won’t work for B2Bs
Sure, you’re not offering a buy one get one free deal on your parts, and you’re not selling something easily consumable like coffee or t-shirts, but that doesn’t mean that social media is out for your B2B company. The fact is that no matter whether you’re a B2B or a B2C, you’re marketing to people, and communicating with people is largely the same across the board.
Every consumer, whether they’re a person or a company, has pain points and different needs, that social media and content marketing work to solve. Certainly, you’ll have to approach your social media promotion a bit differently, but primarily in the sense that the content you’ll be delivering is different than the content a B2C company might offer. Where promotions and brand-building stories might work better for them, your company will draw in all kinds of qualified leads when you put out whitepapers and case studies that help inform those decision makers about your product, and show them why they should choose to buy from you.
Myth #3 Our product isn’t sexy enough for social media
It’s true that automobile parts or cement mixers aren’t quite as interesting as say, Starbucks coffee. But the job of the B2B manufacturing marketer is a bit easier in that regardless of the sexiness of your product, someone genuinely needs it. Your company is creating these parts to fill a demand for that product, which means someone is looking for it.
So it doesn’t matter if your product is sexy or not––there’s a purchaser out there who needs to read about it, research it, and then purchase it for their company. Your job is to make sure that the content they need is out there, and easily accessible. The best way to get your content out there for all of the decision makers looking for your product is to put it on social media.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can just put out any old boring spec sheet and expect people to immediately pick up the phone. It is still important to make sure you’re putting out content that is easily digestible for your target client, and that solves their pain points. You don’t want to put them to sleep with your content, but don’t worry if your product isn’t the most exciting thing out there. So long as you’re selling something people need, and your social media content is working to solve client pain points and pull them through the sales cycle, you’ll start to see a boost in that lead generation you were looking for.
Myth #4 Social Media works as another platform to broadcast our company news
This is one of the biggest myths out there about social media for B2Bs, and it’s not all that surprising that it exists. Many B2Bs are reluctant to get into social media in the first place, and then when they do, they’re not sure what to post, so they fall into the same push marketing tactics they’ve relied on for years.
The fact is that your social media accounts are not just another platform to blast your company news. People who follow your brand are likely to care about what’s happening at your company, but they’ll easily get bored if you’re only sharing things that matter to you. It’s important to remember that social media is a platform to increase social engagement, reach new clients, and nurture existing client relationships. To do this, you can’t just tell all your followers how great you are, even though we’re sure it’s true!
You need to make sure that your platforms function as a comprehensive resource for your followers, offering them access to information that they’re actively searching for, and that will help them in their purchasing decisions. This is the most effective way to make sure you’re regularly gaining new followers, and generating qualified leads via social media.
Myth #5 Social media doesn’t provide ROI, and it can’t generate sales leads
It’s true that social media analytics tend to measure the results most helpful to B2C companies, like number of likes and clicks. Though these metrics aren’t the most helpful for B2Bs, it’s important to remember that the end goal of social media marketing is to generate qualified leads and increase revenue for any company. You can easily tweak your social media analytics to monitor the metrics that matter most to your B2B, like conversions and click throughs.
To do this, it’s a good idea to link your social media accounts to your existing CRM or marketing automation platform. You can also make use of the multitude of social media analytics tools that exist specifically to increase B2B company’s social media tracking capabilities. Either method will give you a clear indication of your social media accounts’ ROI, and they’ll also help you figure out what to do to improve your company’s online presence.
Okay, but how do I get started?
It should be clear that social media marketing is an integral part of any marketing strategy in the 21st century. Your clients are on social media, it’s proven to produce results, and more than anything it’s ridiculously affordable. The hardest part is getting started. If your B2B manufacturing company is looking to boost your social media presence, but isn’t sure where to start, just pick one platform, and go from there.
We recommend Linkedin for most B2B companies. It’s very easy to use, and it’s the social media platform most likely to capture the attention of your ideal client. To get started, check out our blog on Linkedin for B2Bs, create your company page, and work on posting and engaging with other industry professionals regularly. Once you have the hang of that, you can start expanding to other social media platforms as you have the time and the resources to do so.
If any of this seems overwhelming, or you still feel like you don’t quite have a grasp on social media for B2Bs, feel free to get in touch with HA Digital Marketing. We’ve worked with a number of B2Bs, and would be happy to answer any questions you’ve got regarding social media or inbound marketing for B2Bs. Shoot us a message or email, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!