How your B2B technology business should be using social media
Does your B2B technology businesses struggle to see the ROI from social media? It’s a familiar story: your marketing team has tried posting updates to your various social media channels regularly, but you just can’t see the sales coming in so you’ve now lost faith and focused your attention on other things.
If this is happened to you, then chances are you’ve not had clearly defined social media objectives to support your business goals (or you’ve not been using the right tactics to achieve those objectives). To get your social activity back on track, we’ve written a helpful list which explains how your B2B Technology business should be using social media. It will stand up to scrutiny in any boardroom, and you’ll definitely start to see the value that it adds to your marketing, sales and PR activities!
Find new leads in a very targeted way
Wish you could send the CEO of Microsoft a message? You can. Seriously. He’s on LinkedIn and Twitter. All we had to do to find him was type “Microsoft CEO” into the search bars and his name was the first that popped up. Admittedly, he’s probably a busy man who gets hundreds if not thousands of messages a day but this is a striking example of how easy it is to find almost anybody that you’re looking for – just by quickly searching for them by their job title!
Before you go messaging every CEO on the Fortune 500 list, the best place to start is probably by searching for the same job titles of past leads who have successfully turned into clients. Don’t reinvent the wheel with what you’re doing. Take what’s worked before with your sales process and leverage the advantages of using social media over cold calling.
Build relationships with potential clients
If you cold call someone out of the blue, you probably don’t know much about them. What are their exact responsibilities? How long have they been working where they’re working? Where have they worked in the past? What are their interests? Do you have any mutual connections? If you had all of this information before you speak to someone on the phone, then you’d be much more likely to strike up a rapport with who you’re speaking to!
On social media, you can find out a lot about a person before you approach them. A quick glance of their profile and connections can also give you an insight into the challenges that their business faces (hint, the size of someone’s team can tell you a lot about their company’s resources). As a result, your interaction can be personalised, informed, and very relevant to their business needs.
Here’s an obvious tip: people hate spam as much as they hate cold calls. On social media you’re trying to build a relationship, not push a sale. So be human! Write a friendly, tailored message that explains why you want to connect. Take a genuine interest in who they are and what they do before you even think about mentioning the benefits of your product/service. If you have it, share with them useful (free) material that you think might help them (white papers, blogs, infographics, tutorial videos, etc – we’ll get to this next). Once you’ve built affinity and trust, turning them into a warm lead, suggest a call or a meeting to begin the pitching process.
This technique is called ‘social selling’ and it can’t be understated how powerful it is as a sales tool. According to Forrester Research, B2B social sellers outperform peers who don’t use social by a whopping 72%.
Create a pipeline of leads with content marketing
Slick social selling isn’t always about pushing for new business. If you get it right, they’ll come to you! It’s worth spending time curating a portfolio of content that can act as useful tools for your sales manager to use to help demonstrate your businesses’ expertise, and ultimately build trust with potential clients.
Content can take many forms but the definition includes:
- white papers
- case studies
- blog articles
- tutorial videos
- how-to guides
- online presentations
As a technology company, you may have an advantage over other industries if your product is a unique innovation on the market. If so, you’re going to need to create a lot of content to explain exactly how your product/service works, why you created it, and how it can benefit your potential clients! It’s worth the investment as, according to the CMI’s Technology Content Marketing Report, 81 percent of technology marketers rate content marketing either ‘moderately successful’, ’very successful’, or ‘extremely successful’.
The key is to make your content as enlightening, intriguing or useful as possible to successfully show off your company’s expertise and value proposition. As well as being sent out through your corporate accounts, this material should be shared by your sales team’s personal social networking accounts. By doing so, you’ll extend the reach of your content and your employees will also start to build their personal social reputation and be thought of as ‘go-to’ experts in their own right. If your staff are confident at sharing awesome social media content, which subtly pitches and advertises your company, prospects will start coming to you!
Help with your Technology PR
We’ve heard it several times from B2B businesses: “our content is never going to go viral, so what’s the point of social media?”. Well, what’s the point of public relations at all? Do you not bother with PR just because you’re not going to make the front page of the Times? You don’t have to chase the retweets and likes to be successful on social media. It’s much more nuanced that that, and there’s a lot that you can do to raise awareness of your brand.
Social media should be a BIG part of your technology PR strategy. It gives you the opportunity to update your followers with new information about what’s happening inside your business. Hiring announcements, case studies, opinion pieces or news of your latest product/service can all be picked up by media outlets – increasing awareness of your brand! Social media has an advantage over other mediums because it allows you to easily interact and connect with influencers and journalists. There are a lot of technology reporters and bloggers out there, especially on Twitter, who are looking for innovative companies to write about. Start talking to them about your amazing business!
As you gain more followers, and engagement builds, your content on social media will reach a large enough audience without the constant need for a media outlet’s publicity. It’ll take time to grow a big enough follower base, years even, but it’s a worthwhile goal to build towards.
Gain market insight
If you’re looking to improve your understanding of your target audience, or make updates to your product or service so that it’s the best that it can be, then you’re going to need to do some research. Social media is brilliant for this!
Using specialist tools like Hootsuite, Social Sprout or Gorkana, you can ‘listen’ to conversations on social media and improve your understanding of the market. For example, by listening to your competitors you’ll be able to understand more about what they’re offering to their clients, and you’ll also gain an understanding of your own share of voice. You can also listen out for mentions of your brand, so that you can discover positive and negative feedback. Sometimes it’s the negative feedback that’s the most important as it’ll give you a clearer idea of what you need to improve upon.
You can also listen to key market terms to improve your understanding of what’s happening in your industry. How large is your audience? What platforms are they using? What are the hot topics? What are the big concerns? Who are the leading voices and influencers? What hashtags and buzzwords are being used?
Conducting research in this way allows you to discover a new audience, make improvements to how you market your product/service and potentially spot gaps in the market that you can take advantage of.