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Published On: Thu, Oct 12th, 2017

Why Social Media Should Be Your Top Priority B2B Sales Channel

With so many online B2B selling channels out there, it can be hard to know where to spend your time and attention to get the best results. Business managers need to stay focused, so it helps to identify which ones are top priority.

Social media deserves to be up there for you, as it is for top salespeople. According to a study published by LinkedIn last year, some 62% of employees at large companies agree that social selling makes it possible to build stronger and more authentic relationships with their prospects and customers.

Many business leaders think of social media as a helpful tool in their marketing strategy rather than a central part of it, but the study shows that social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are used by 70% of sales professionals overall, and 90% of the top-performing salespeople use social selling tools.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

Here’s why you should too.

It’s Where People Go to Discover Products

Over three-quarters of B2B buyers turn to social media whenever they want to learn more about the products and services they are interested in potentially buying. For salespeople, this kind of connectivity is both a good and bad thing.

You can use social listening tools to find, reach out to, and nurture leads, and you can use analytics data to learn what features of your products and services are the most important to them. This then allows you to customize your approach when you interact with them.

While these signals can be helpful, they can also be misleading. If you read in a buyer’s Twitter feed that they’re getting ready to head into their company’s quarterly budget meeting, you make think it’s the best time to send them your pitch. And while there’s always a chance you’re right, there’s also a chance you’re wrong. And if you’re wrong, you could be making a big mistake – as pitching your prospects too early can turn them off and send them straight to the competition.

photo/ Public domain pictures via Pixabay

Everyone Is on There, Often

Of the world’s total population of 7.476 billion people, there are 3.773 billion internet users. There are 2.789 billion active social media users, and 2.549 billion active mobile social media users, representing 37% and 34% of the global population respectively.

People spend a lot of time on social media, and with the rise of mobile, the hours are only increasing. The average person spends about two hours a day on social media, translating to more than five years in a lifetime. Teenagers spend up to nine hours per day online across all social media platforms, with 30% of that time dedicated to social media interaction and 60% of that time on a mobile device. As more platforms develop, the amount of time is expected to increase.

Powerful Lead Capture Ad Formats

You can use paid social media platforms to advertise specifically to the people in your target market. This makes it easier for you to find connections who are already interested in the products and services you have to offer. While you will be paying for these leads, it is a good way to ensure your pipeline is always full of people to move through the funnel.

LinkedIn lead capture ads allow you to use professional demographic data to target people using a variety of metrics, including job title, company, industry and seniority. You can reach your contacts, retarget your website visitors and even build your account based marketing campaigns using the Matched Audiences feature – which is a custom set of targeting audience options.

Facebook lead capture ads operate much the same way as LinkedIn lead capture ads, though you can target based on a variety of other metrics, such as interests, political affiliation and household income. You can advertise specifically to people who’ve visited various pages on your website, build a custom audience from people who’ve joined your email list or retarget people who watch your videos.

Great for Establishing Trust

Twitter in particular is great for establishing trust, since you can interject into other people’s conversations without upsetting them. In general, this kind of thing is looked down upon when done on other social media platforms.

Twitter also allows you to search for specific topics to see what’s going on in your niche or industry, looking at all the posts including whatever keywords are most relevant for your offering, regardless of who tweeted. Then, you can jump in and share your non-sales-y advice, without being an intruder. You can create content to address specific pain points or areas of potential friction, and then share it across social media platforms, in forums, and anywhere else you may find your audience interacting online.

This kind of activity is important when establishing yourself as a credible and trustworthy source of information, since your tweets will be seen by anyone else who follows the topic, whether they follow you personally or not. This improves your discoverability as a niche thought leader, and helps you build relationships with prospects and leads.

Wealth of Prospecting Opportunities

Social media is home to a huge array of prospecting opportunities to help you generate the leads you need to connect to and build relationships with to build customers. While it’s true that not every single prospect you connect with will become a customer, there are so many out there, you’re sure to be able to close some good deals.

Start with your buyer personas in hand. On LinkedIn, do an advanced keyword search to find people that fit your target market based on their company, school, location, job title, and so on. You can also search for people on Twitter and Facebook in similar ways.

Once you find people who fit the target market, reach out and connect with them. Then start communicating and building those relationships.

Never Discount the Power of Social Media

When used correctly, social media is a powerful B2B sales tool. It can not only help you sell more, it can keep a steady flow of prospects coming into the business. And when you’re a clear trustworthy source in the niche, even people who aren’t in your market may start sending leads to you, because they know people who are in the market looking for what you offer.

That’s the power of networking and relationships. You never know when you’ll be able to help someone out and when they’ll be able to help you.

Author: Jeff Broth

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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