Where Does Social Media Fit Into B2B Lead Generation?
Social media allows for targeted interactions and insight into consumer needs and wants, and each platform plays a different role in the overall sphere of lead generation.
Successful recovery in 2021 requires B2B service and product providers to restructure and reassess their approach to marketing to maximize the customer experience. While we refocus our approach, however, B2B businesses still have to prioritize basic business and sales tactics in order to grow the business, and Hubspot research shows that lead generation remains the top priority for businesses. With so many changes in how consumers are deciding on services and products that best meet their needs, the key in this year of shifting tactics is to understand where it’s most effective to reach and speak to decision-makers of businesses operating in our target industries.
With social proof tactics increasingly leveraged in marketing strategies, social media platforms are becoming more central to conversations concerning lead generation. Let’s look at social media’s role in lead generation at a top level, and then drill down into how each platform offers different opportunities for building and leveraging business relationships into bottom-line sales.
Social Media’s General Role in Lead Generation
While traditional inbound marketing funnels and tactics remain viable, marketing experts are finding that shifts in consumer behaviors relative to brand and product consumption are making social proof marketing tactics increasingly effective as a unique and creative method for driving lead generation. The rising importance of social proof shouldn’t come as a surprise to marketing experts familiar with the landscape.
Hubspot reports line up with other research showing that many of the marketing tools we use beyond the borders of our own websites engender little trust with consumers—as many as 58% of consumers do not trust online advertising. Meanwhile, 70% of consumers trust what they read about a brand posted online by other consumers. These sentiments mean that aside from review sites and brand-owned pages, the content across social media platforms is actually some of the most powerful marketing content available to a brand. With the right review generation tactics inviting clients to provide testimonials and feedback both to you and on their own social media feeds, you essentially get access to a potential flow of leads who are already primed for your messaging and willing to explore your brand.
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Social Media Lead Generation by Platform
While social media platforms operate largely with the same goal of connecting like-minded individuals and providing a platform for communicating, they have also evolved over the years into effective marketing platforms. The usage data and analytics made accessible to businesses running personal pages on social media platforms allow for targeted interactions and insight into consumer needs. Each platform plays a different role in the overall sphere of lead generation, and for the B2B crowd, each platform provides a different pathway to a healthier income stream.
For business-to-business lead generation, the LinkedIn social platform is considered the top B2B lead generation out of the popular social platforms, with 80% of social leads generated through the platform. Initially only considered a professional networking platform, the platform has never been considered a first choice for traditional social media marketing. However, it’s those types of personal and professional relationships made possible by LinkedIn that marketers have found to open doors and lead to more lucrative partnerships.
LinkedIn is highly effective as a B2B lead generation platform because it removes steps from an otherwise tedious advertising chain and allows your sales team to directly interface with top decision-makers and influencers in businesses operating within your target market segment. The platform’s most powerful tools include the ability to launch extremely precise and targeted ads both on the feed and the InMail system, allowing you to reach exactly the types of professionals you need to contact.
To better present yourself as a knowledgeable and reputable source of information, you’ll need to post meaningful and informational content to LinkedIn. In the background, because content will increase traffic to your profile, you’ll want to ensure you’ve updated your profile with special attention to including a link to your brand website. Taking an SEO approach to keeping your profile fresh and updated with content as well as your organization’s website and contact information shows potential clients that you are the best path to a fantastic business solution.
As newer social media platforms emerge and gain the attention of younger audiences, Facebook has gradually caught the attention of business marketers. With 90 million small businesses using the platform for B2B advertising, it makes sense that B2B marketing has started to make its way onto the platform as well. And while you’re sure to find business decision-makers on LinkedIn, studies show that those same decision-makers spend 74% more time on Facebook than other people.
Aside from advertising on Facebook, it’s also crucial for sourcing B2B leads to build and maintain your business page on the platform, and then use that page and your presence to network with appropriate groups and communities. It’s also important to leverage the platform’s Messenger platform for engagement and to remarket as you can leveraging Facebook Pixel for tracking potential opportunities to generate leads from past engagement.
While owned by Facebook, Instagram really operates as its own social media platform and has a number of unique use cases for B2B lead generation that organizations should be taking advantage of, whether the core business lends itself to visual marketing or not. Of the over 1 billion users on the platform, 70% use the platform for product or service discovery. As with its parent company Facebook, the number of B2B marketers on Instagram has grown over the past few years, and those marketers plan to continue expanding their lead generation tactics on the platform.
The main thing to do before engaging in B2B marketing on Instagram is to format your bio to include a custom landing page on your website specifically to drive link generation of these users. Then provide a short and targeted description of your brand and include several methods to contact or interact with your brand, as different potential clients are comfortable with different platforms or methods of contact.
With that done, use targeted content to interact with and educate readers about your services and products, helping them to see the value you bring to the relationship. From there, follow up, interact, and build an authentic connection with those following your brand and connect with prior clients who have an Instagram account of their own and an audience of their own to act as brand ambassadors who can help promote your business as well. And of course, utilize the platforms lead generation advertisements and Instagram stories to expand your reach.
The last of the major platforms used for B2B marketing, Twitter provides a number of unique opportunities and methods for engagement with potential leads. In studies of social media platforms leveraged by B2B marketers, Twitter places second, but it’s a challenging platform from which to truly extract how effective those efforts have been. But what the research does show is that user behavior trends are on B2B marketers’ side when it comes to Twitter, with 53% of users on Twitter being more likely to be the first to buy new products.
Twitter takes a little more effort in cutting through the noise to make connections with decision-makers and brand representatives. By creating a lively and active persona for your brand on Twitter, you’ll be generating more brand awareness, especially if you can write clever posts that your followers will want to share with their own networks. Twitter is also a great platform for providing potential clients with fast and immediate answers to their questions and engagement with your brand. Most importantly, you’re not advertising in a traditional sense on Twitter. Instead of paid ads, you’re relying on your team’s hustle like you would a traditional sales representative attending a giant, noisy cocktail party full of potential customers. The key is that your team moves quickly on all engagements and opportunities and that they are constantly building relationships and dialogue where there wasn’t an opportunity to previously.
Successful Social Media Lead Generation Tactics Require A Strategic Approach
The complications of the modern economic landscape require a strategic marketing policy that addresses every possible marketing and advertising channel in order to maximize lead generation and conversions. Aside from traditional paid advertising channels, your social media presence should play a significant role in your overall marketing strategy. Whether you handle this in-house with your own marketing team, or through a B2B service provider, it’s crucial that you engage clients where they are already interacting with businesses and services such as your own so as not to miss out on opportunities to grow your lead generation pipeline organically.