Social media ads for B2B marketing

Paid social media campaigns are a great tool for businesses. However, to use it properly, you need to set your goals first. Are you doing it to create brand awareness or are you interested in generating leads? Let’s take a closer look at using social media ads for B2B marketing!

About 72% of B2B content marketers are using social media advertising or promoted posts according to the 2020 CMI / Marketing Profs B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report.

The best tool for B2B is clearly a paid campaign on LinkedIn. Obviously, some marketers don’t believe the use of promoted posts is worth it. On LinkedIn, it does not matter as much in terms of personal profiles.

However, posts created by companies have low priority on the platform, which makes the scope of organic reach for brands and B2B marketers limited. Therefore you may find it challenging to find an audience for your content without any kind of promotion, especially if you have a brand new business account.

You may also choose to combine your organic and promoted content. 86% of marketers are applying this tactic as part of their social media strategies.

In the competitive B2B field, lots of buyers are doing research about the company on multiple social platforms before they continue with their decision.

If you have a LinkedIn business profile with just several followers and few posts with nearly zero engagement, being cheap on your social media may not pay off. Around 60% of marketers believe paid social is more effective than organic social.

If some of your organic posts have performed well, go on and promote that post. This way it will most likely get even more engagement and may even become viral which is clearly a goal for content on social media of any kind.

Launching a paid campaign may not lead directly to the customer acquisition, it may just help you build credibility step by step. The content you are providing your with therefore does not have to be a “sales” kind of content. Your content may as well be educational and informative.

Just take a look at some trending topics in your field, make a post about it on LinkedIn and get it a paid promotion. Or make a simple video that explains your company’s goal and journey without any underlying sales message.

If your business is more advanced, include a testimonial or combine more personal testimonials by your satisfied clients into a single video and promote it. When creating content, be sure to produce a high quality product since the level of your content should match the level of your actual product.

Although paid campaigns may prove costly, especially if launched on LinkedIn, if your content is good enough, these costs will be less considerable when you realize how crucial is your brand presence on social media for creating brand awareness and trust.

As you may see in the picture above, consider a good mix of educational content that brings up your company as well. Well-defined social media campaign goals with a content calendar a dedicated budget on ads is the key for your brand to stand out from the competition.


PPC campaigns in B2B marketing

Did you know that about 70 % of B2B buyers use search engines when researching their next purchase? PPC campaigns can be a crucial part of your growth. However, before launching the campaign you need to get some knowledge of does this tool work beforehand. Let’s jump into it!

With PPC campaigns B2B companies are able to capture leads fast and efficiently. Be sure to develop a strong marketing strategy for your product first with a budget that is allocated solely for your PPC campaigns.

Then you will need to choose on which platform you believe your product would be most successful as a PPC.

The primary platform for PPC is Google where most potential clients begin their search for possible solutions. A great advantage of a Google PPC campaign is that more than 45 percent of users can’t point out a paid advertisement on a search engine results page. This way your customer acquisition feels way more seamless.

Be sure to consider what kind of keywords are going to use. Some keywords will bring a lot of new leads, but will not bring many actual sales. As always, the dilemma with PPC is if you want to choose quality over quantity.

Google is trying to connect searchers with the content they might be looking for. The search engine fields more than 2 trillion searches per year If you are in B2B, add some ad copy that states you are in this field to friendly avoid potential clickers, that got your ad recommended while not being your potential customers. Simple “Helping businesses since” should work.

You may also consider getting your SEO done by delegating the work to professionals instead. About $500 is what the average U.S. business spends on SEO services each month. 60% of SME’s that use SEO also use PPC.

However, PPC’s have instant results and can generate visitors as soon as you turn on the taps. Unlike SEO, that needs to build authority for your site over time. With PPC’s you can manage your budget and measure your ROI much more easily.

Facebook and LinkedIn are also great platforms for you to consider launching a PPC campaign on. 65% of B2B companies have acquired customers through LinkedIn ads. However, LinkedIn campaigns can prove to become more expensive than any other.

To launch a successful LinkedIn or Facebook PPC campaign you need to perfect your copy and make sure it speaks directly to your buyer’s needs and in a compelling way. If the buyer believes that you have the solution they need, get ready to walk them through all phases of the purchase funnel.


LinkedIn as a B2B marketing tool

LinkedIn is by far the best tool to use social media as a B2B marketing tool.

Even though LinkedIn is not like Facebook in terms of the user base, the community mostly consists of professionals. This makes the platform perfect for B2B marketers. About a 61million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions.

79% of marketers say that they see LinkedIn as a great source of leads, with 43% of marketers saying they managed to source out at least one customer from LinkedIn.

But how do you turn your personal or company page into a lead generation tool? First, put some work into your header image as this is the most apparent part of your profile.

Don’t use low-quality pictures, put some effort into obtaining the best visual your company can get to present itself. Search for successful profiles on LinkedIn and get inspired.

When comes to the company description, make it an exciting pitch. Try to experiment, be different. Don’t just use generic words that describe your company’s successes and goals. Use a story from your office or a short testimonial from a previous client.

After managing to get your profile on the best possible level you need to simply use your profile as a common social media platform. This means you need to be active and consistent. Post various status updates on topics that relate to your product. This is the best way to create and retain the connection between you and your networks.

You may also consider publishing an article to your profile, this makes you stand out and prooves your relevance in the industry. Be sure to put a lot of effort into the article so it stands out. Some articles may even become viral.

Also be sure to make your content clickable and conversion-focused. Posting updates that don’t create response does not serve you, when you are considering the topic, ask first if it has a potential to incite discussion under your status update or get a lot of engagement by people liking the information.

If you are still not sure on how to choose your topics, simply enter your niche hashtag into the LinkedIn search tool and find some posts that were successful.

As mentioned, the consistency of posting content is the key on all social media platforms, LinkedIn included. Set up your content calendar and don’t go off your schedule. If you are not successful with your post at first, when you are truly consistent, your content is going to become good enough eventually.

It is said that 3-4 status updates per week and 1 – 2 long-form posts of content per month keeps an ideal balance for your network connections.

When you have managed everything above, add a showcase page. This affiliated page is an extension of your main company page. With a special showcase page, you are able to maintain your voice and style that you present yourself with on LinkedIn within your business page.

Go take a look at some of the best LinkedIn pages there are. For example, PwC is an international brand. You may see their focus on consistency of posting, how they keep the audience engaged, and the variety of topics they cover. The company now has over 3 million users on LinkedIn.


Social media marketing – The Future

In the last blog post, we introduced how can social media marketing be used within a B2B model, which tools work the best, and how to build a brand and social media presence.

As the world of social media is very dynamic let’s now take a look on what is the future of social media marketing and which tools and models you should be considering to embrace in the upcoming days.

Ten years ago, nobody knew what is social media. However, today, a single consumer is subscribed to 9 different social media platforms on average and spends about two hours a day using their social platforms.

Let’s now take a look at 3 of the most important trends that will affect social media marketing in the near future:

The first one would be the dominance of video:

You may consider producing informative videos, where a person simply explains things, you may include some feature releases of your product, or make exclusive behind-the-scenes content from your company. Video is also great for product testimonials, which are crucial.

The second one is limited accessibility content. This means content like story posts on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. However, LinkedIn has recently also integrated story-style features into their interface. This way you may use LinkedIn stories to promote your company and focus on B2B content.

The so-called “ephemeral content” manages to create a sense of urgency in consumers. This leads to a higher involvement of the customer. You may consider posting polls, consumer drawing functionality, and more. It is also desirable to get inspiration from companies that have already mastered this kind of content like Deloitte Digital.

And the third one is – more influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a 10 billion dollar industry. About 63 % of consumers trust branded messages of their favorite influencers and in a study presented by Convince and Convert, 58 % of participants said that they purchased a product in the past six months as a result of an influencer recommendation.

But to become successful using these tools, you need to implement some tools that help you along the way with your social media campaign. One of them would be a content calendar.

If you want to optimize and increase the organic reach of your business, you need to be active consistently. Content calendars can help you to ensure that you stay on track with your objectives.

Take a look at project management technologies like Trello, Toggl, or Asana to build a content calendar.

As mentioned, if your business is more B2B oriented, LinkedIn is your go-to platform. B2B basically lives on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a concentrated community of professionals, so for B2B marketers, it is way easier to make use of their campaigns. About 61 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions.

Twitter and Facebook algorithms focus primarily on a recent post in the newsfeed. However, LinkedIn focuses on engagement. Your posts need to continue to generate engagement, this way they will organically continue to appear in people’s feeds and thrive.

With a LinkedIn business account, you are able to define your target audience and with that, you are provided with content suggestions. LinkedIn also has a better community mentality than Twitter or Instagram.

If you post a question, it is likely you are going to get a kind answer. There are not many negative comments on LinkedIn since the platform keeps people being far from anonymous.

LinkedIn is a great place for B2B in general, let’s take a closer look at LinkedIn social media marketing in the next blog post.


Social media marketing

If you want to promote your brand in the digital era, the best way to do so is clearly social media marketing. You may consider both paid and organic social media avenues, depending on your initial budget.

Let’s take a look at the differences between social media marketing strategies, which social media platforms work the best for B2B, and what tools you have available to make your campaign successful. Note that 74 % of people rely on social networks to help with their purchase decisions.

Social media channels consist of billions of users. Some platforms obviously attract different kinds of users. First, you need to determine several platforms which are key for your business. If you are in B2B, LinkedIn is definitely one of those, for example. As much as 80 % of B2B leads originate from LinkedIn alone.

The first tool that’s very useful for brands on social media is monitoring. Through mentions and hashtags, businesses are able to track conversations about their brands or even the industry they are in and even track their competition. This way your business will be able to collect feedback or even engage in the discussion without any additional cost.

If you are considering boosting your business your brand needs to have some reach. You may either depend on hashtags and reshares in organic marketing, or you may choose to inject some cash for paid promotion, to get more than just your organic reach and possibly even target the audience you are seeking.

After you get some reach you may take advantage of another very useful tool which is built-in page analytics and ads dashboards. This way you are able to get real-time feedback on different kinds of content you are producing, you may identify top-performing content while also monitoring your overall performance.

But your customer may also seek another option on your social media page and that is support. Your business page will therefore eventually become a tool to provide support for customers that have already purchased your service and now are seeking some help or advice.

Once you start your business channel, you have to understand you need to stay active and be open to trying new things if your strategy does not seem to work perfectly. This is the best way to build your brand. Building a brand means you will be able to eventually achieve an emotional connection with your customer since your business becomes interactive by social media presence.

As the most prefered outcome of all B2B marketing and advertising is lead generation, your focus should be concentrated on your LinkedIn profile and business account. What kind of content is preferable, what is the future of social media marketing and what are some other handy tools you may use? Be sure to check the part 2 on out blog.


History of Lead Generation

Technology changed pretty much everything over the past few decades. However, the basics of marketing may have not changed as much as many would think. Many may associate the birth of the Lead Generation with the time of the Industrial Revolution, but it’s been around for much longer.

Let’s take a look at a brief history of Lead Generation and see what led to the current state.

During the Roman Empire era, leads were generated through word-of-mouth marketing. If you had a business back in that day, you mostly relied on referrals, door to door or you needed to travel to locations where you would find your customers like an open-air market.

Although there was some international trade present – if you were a little craftsman, you were mostly depending on the local demand of your current region.

This system was relevant until the era of the Renaissance. Marco Polo was a European merchant who explored the trails of the Silk Road and inspired many. This in general gave the rise to far traveling merchants in Europe. The merchant’s job was to match buyers with sellers and supply with demand in different regions around the world while making a profit. 

Another milestone was the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440. This way sellers were able to advertise their goods in publications with circulations and to place posters or billboards in high traffic areas.

Then came the era of railroads and the postal system. This definitely enhanced the way business and lead generation was done. For example, Aaron Montgomery Ward began mailing “catalogs” to homes across the country starting the world of direct mail.

Businesses were able to send letters directly to people’s homes and with reliable ways to deliver packages, the sellers could provide their services to a way wider market than ever before. Also, city centers became way more commercial and people moved their houses to suburbs.

But the biggest trigger for the Lead Generation era came of course with the Industrial Revolution. With the rise of big business, all kinds of advertising exploded in the 1900s. Radio was able to broadcast any company’s advertisement to millions of potential consumers with the first ad running in 1922 for AT&T.

Television meant that businesses were able to visually show their product to millions at once, with the first commercial being aired in 1941 during a Dodger’s game.

Door-to-door and traveling salesmen were also very common during the first half of the 20th century. Around the 1960s the first call centers were established. With phones in every home, cold calling and phone books made it easy to generate leads and target specific individuals. Then came more data-backed lead generation.

One of the first data-backed lead generation businesses was a mom-and-pop credit-reporting company based out of a small town in present New Jersey, the USA called Dun & Bradstreet.

“Despite having pre-empted the Information Age, they failed to notice the biggest piece of the puzzle. The contextual relevance of the information they gathered and collated,” claims Ashwini Murthy

Later in 1983, the Internet was created and in the 1990’s it has taken the form that we know today. With the era of the internet, lead generation has become even a bigger thing.

However, as consumers became flooded with ads, offers, and email spam they also began to grow more skeptical. Pay-per-Click (PPC) began in 1999. With this technology businesses started to pay for traffic from searches for specific solutions and were able to target the audience better and websites were able to generate traffic and leads with SEO.

With software solutions like HubSpot and Constant Contact which serve as lead generation systems, the lead generation was enabled to become automated.

With the rise of social media and the improvement of mobile technology business lead generation has changed once again. The consumer-business relationship has become way more personalized as brands became able to build personalities, target individuals in more specific ways and gain social proof.

LinkedIn has rised with Web 2.0 and the current era of user-generated content as a great B2B marketing tool.

The digital internet days we are experiencing managed to end the dominance of mass media domination. in exchange for more personalized and targeted lead generation. All kinds of webinars, customized landing pages and intricate methods to combine all these online and offline options serve businesses as a primary lead generation tool.


The customer journey – Advocacy

As mentioned in the Reputation and Conversion stage, getting reviews and testimonials is crucial for your product success. Don’t hesitate at all to reach out to your previous customers. If your product has helped them, they are most likely going to be willing to leave a review that you are able to make use of as this creates a loop of your cycle.

The customers that review your company and leave a testimonial are your advocates. You need to consider what makes your customer feel like they are being a part of a community. This way they will most likely leave a review even without asking.

You may consider setting up a corporate blog, surveys, discussion groups, focus groups, or just simply gain a decent amount of followers on a social media platform and let your customers interact by posting non-sales content, that makes the community active on those platforms.

Your company should offer personalized feedback to your customers even after the purchase phase. This helps your customers to become loyal to your brand and turns your customers into your brand ambassadors.

95% of consumers say customer service is a crucial factor in their purchasing decisions and their feelings of satisfaction with a purchase, while 50% of customers make additional purchases from a firm following good quality customer service experiences

If you manage to create a customer community, some of your advocates may turn into promoters. While you may proactively use your advocate testimonials, promoters create referrals and actively promote your product based on their own unique experience.

The key goal of creating a working customer community is to increase the engagement of a buyer and improve your social proof, while also enhancing your SEO ranking.

It has been estimated that just about 1/3 of customer interactions come from advertisements. Today’s marketing environment is largely consumer-driven. This means that every business model that wants to become successful in its field should develop ways to help authentically meet consumers on their customer journey.

Build community, educate and up-sell

Having your customers in the newsletter is nice, but imagine how many newsletters do you read. You want to create community which engages with you on basically weekly bases. Use:

  • Linkedin posts and articles
  • Linkedin groups
  • Slack channel
  • website forum
  • or even facebook groups

You can use these even before closing the deal to convert the leads.

In these channels, you want to educate the customers about how to use your solution, what are the updates, how to troubleshoot it, what are the possibilities, and finally about your other complementary products which the clients can buy as well.


The customer journey –Purchase

With regards to the Purchase step of the customer journey, you need to make it as easy as possible for consumers to guide themselves through the buying process. 

At this point, your customer is aware of your brand, has engaged with your campaign and you have their trust and you managed to convert them.

The purchase step has to be just a logical next step. If you have mastered the previous steps, the customer will not hesitate to take the next one. However, you still need to make sure you know your customer so you are actually able to make it this easy.

When the decision is made, and the purchase goes ahead, your customer was likely well targeted and is exactly a kind of a customer you will be having in the future again. If you are able to collect any additional information about the customer whether you use a customer survey or anything similar, you will be able to identify a target your customer better.

While 93% of B2B marketers have adopted content-driven marketing, only 23% are focusing on buyer personas. Your ideal customer persona is based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

Be sure to gather your audience’s demographic data and online browsing behavior. Eventually, the content you create should target at least one of your buyer personas, that you have based on your data.

Your experience also needs to be enjoyable, don’t overdo it with surveys and additional requests, so your customer does not feel pushed.

Kerry Munro, VP of E-commerce at Home Depot Canada, focuses on experience:

The process of observing your purchase phase and gathering data may actually show where the strengths and weaknesses of your sales funnel are. At this point, you see if your previous steps are good enough and if you have put enough effort in.

What to bear in mind

The key parts of the sales process that can make the process of buying your solution easy: Is your developers portal nice and organized? is your technical documentation easy to read and does it fully explains the technolgocial process? do you have a casestudies which describes the process of integration? How about your contracts do they have 12 pages or 2 pages and just 2 annexes? Does your invoice comes with QR code?

You need to really look for the details, because even small detail may get customers frustrated and prolong or even stop the purchase.


The customer journey –Reputation and Conversion

If you manage you make your customer aware and engaged, the next step is to convert the customer. To convert the customer lead you need to provide them proof that your product or solution actually works. You may have a great advertisement or social media marketing strategy. However, with no further proof, the customer lead gets cold since you have made them aware, engaged but have not gained their trust.

The lead-to-customer conversion usually becomes a top priority of every organization. HubSpot’s State of Inbound report claims, that about 74% of marketing and sales teams focus most of their marketing efforts on converting leads into customers.

Your value proposition has to be in the front and center. Whether you have a landing page or blog, the first thing your lead sees should be exactly what matches their needs. The need includes the above-mentioned proof of the product or solution’s previous success.

Be sure to ask any of your previous customers for a review or a testimonial that supports their experience with your product and present it directly on your landing page. Nothing will demonstrate the value of your product/service that the people who are already using it.

With that being said, you need to make sure to make leaving a review or testimonial as easy and seamless as possible. Depending on the kind of your product, you may also present some data and metrics that give readers a sense of scarcity and/or popularity, like social media engagement. It could be in the format of a quote however, the most powerful version of a testimonial is a video recording of your clients talking about their experience working with you and the result.

To achieve the most, you may also test your landing pages, make several versions and see which works the best.

Generally, this concept of testimonials is called Social Proof. Social proof puts you in place of authority and builds trust.

Besides client testimonials, it’s good to show some awards, certifications, mentions in newspapers etc.

A crucial part in building relationships and trust, especially in long sales cycles, plays content production. Not only writing about how your product is great, but for example commenting on current industry situation, news, creating industry reports, sharing your company insights based on your internal data, and finally events like panel discussions with well-known brands is a game-changer. If a major well-trusted brand goes and have a panel discussion or interview with you that means something.

By organizing online events and seminars you are also making the lead to take actions. You may also call this concept of making your lead to take a miro-commitment.

Therefore after you have managed to gain your customer’s trust, you should consider converting them by some sort of micro-commitment like some service for a symbolic price as you are providing them with prooves of your product success by stating reviews and testimonials.