Increasingly, B2B marketers are finding that, just like in B2C marketing, the sale is largely emotional. That's one of the reasons social marketing is so powerful. Social helps the marketer connect with leads and customers, engaging with their daily lives. Your marketing messages are no longer something buyers focus on just when they are ready to shop; they interact with the companies they do business with on a regular, ongoing basis via social. Then, when it's time to buy, your brand isn't some arbitrary bit of information crammed in the backs of their brains. Your brand and your messages are part of their daily lives.
Social is effective for lead generation, lead nurturing, and customer loyalty. The difficulty lies in providing the right information at the right time to the right customers, so that leads are receiving content relative to their stage of the buying cycle at each step along the way.
It All Starts With the Metrics
Nine out of 10 B2B marketers say they have social media marketing campaigns in place, and a healthy portion have already scored customers from their social media accounts. The problem is, most of them lack the metrics necessary to prove that their social efforts are generating an ROI. Most B2B marketers are so busy with their daily operations that they overlook important elements, like collecting and analyzing the metrics necessary to prove that social lead generation and customer nurturing are doing what they're supposed to do.
Get the Right Automation Tools for Social Media
The solution is to take advantage of the growing collection of tools available to social marketers. Just as you use social automation tools to deliver your posts in a timely manner, there are more automation tools to help you discover leads, determine where those leads are in the buying cycle, and determine which leads are the best fit for your brand.
Learn the Art of Social Listening
B2B marketers must also reach outside their own social networks to find and nurture those leads. Follow the keywords and key phrases relevant to your industry, and develop content to distribute via social media to establish your brand as a thought leader in that area. Don't just post. Listen. What are your leads and customers really looking for?
In addition to leveraging the metrics of social media, you also need to integrate your social lead generation data with the leads you generate through email, landing pages, and other channels. Without this data integration, your teams will waste too much time chasing down the same lead multiple times -- once when they engage with you on social, again when they respond to your emails, and another time when they fill out the web form on your landing page. This makes you look like you don't know what you're doing. Use smart data integration tools so that you can merge the efforts of your social, email, and web lead generation for a single, coherent set of prospects from which to work with.