B2B – Beyond the Basics
This week we have been exploring the use of social media marketing as it pertains to B2B. As a social media consulting agency, one of the most frequently overlooked areas in which we can assist small business owners is the B2B arena; small business owners are increasingly searching for ways to expand their reach while reducing time and cost and social media is a terrific tool if not slightly misunderstood. Today we are going beyond the basics to find out how other business owners are using social media marketing to optimize demand generation among vendors, engage new clients, interact with partners and much more.
As a small business owner you already understand the value of social media marketing to reach consumers but what about other business entities? Suppliers, buyers, partners and vendors are just a few common forms of B2B communications which benefit from a well designed social media platform. Research conducted at the end of 2011 found the top five most effective demand generation methods included:
- Website design, management, optimization etc: 30 percent listed as “very effective”.
- SEO/Search Engine Optimization: 29 percent listed as “very effective”
- Multichannel messaging strategy including social media: 46% listed as “very effective”
- Tradeshows: 20% listed as “very effective” and among those, a significant number were using QR codes and/or other methods to connect!
Notice a trend? Multichannel messaging that used social media marketing, mobile and other approaches was significantly more effective for use with B2B campaigns. Strategies that use an isolated marketing strategy were found to have “significantly lower” ROI for one simple reason; the strategies failed to target the right people via the methods they most desire to seek information. Small business owners need to recognize one key fact…people want to connect on their terms – not yours. Fail to take that into account and you have already diminished the anticipated value in the mind of the other party.
Huge Upside Still Waiting!
Okay, so a multichannel message strategy that combines social media marketing, mobile and other forms of communication demonstrates a clear advantage but that is only half the story. As a social media marketing firm, we routinely see DIY types that attempt to go it alone before seeking professional help. As you might imagine…results tend to vary! Some are outright dismal and suffer along in near silence before cutting their losses and moving forward. Why does this matter? Because those statistics are included in the calculations. Just like any “average” or mean statistical calculation, the poor performance of some skews the results of top performers. Here is where things get really interesting!
When asked about the use of automation software, three out of four small business owners answered in the negative meaning they did not yet use any type of automation. We already know from yesterdays’ article that only one out of every ten small business owners outsource their social media despite the fact that over 60 percent of those that understand the value and either use or want social media report staffing shortage as a primary obstacle to full implementation.
This is so important that we will recap; only 10 percent of small business owners outsource their social media marketing and over 75% fail to use any type of automation software solutions yet, 46% still report multichannel marketing strategies to be “highly effective” as compared to all other forms available!
The Nitty Gritty
Far from social media marketing become saturated, we’ve already demonstrated a tremendous upside potential for B2B strategies but let’s take an even closer look. Social media marketing is able to assist small business owners in numerous different strategies but among those most valued include:
60% lead generation
57% conversion rates
45% reputation, brand and awareness
Not bad! But it gets even better when you compare the average cost of B2B leads. Remember, this is once again using averages with some industries such as pharmaceuticals which have extraordinarily high costs versus those with minimal associated cost per lead.
- 26% less than $50 per B2B lead!
- 20% – $50 to $100
- 25% – $100 to $200
Nearly three-quarters of all B2B leads cost less than $200 total…far below that of average B2B acquisition expenses! Thought leadership activities have generated the highest overall yield to cost ratio making this an especially attractive option for those fields which cater to medicine, pharmaceutical, engineering or other activities dependent upon expertise and experience.
Timing is one other facet to be considered when implementing a B2B social media strategy. While less than 10% currently use daily lead generation methods, 22% weekly and 34% only make contact on a monthly basis…the evidence is clear. Improved lead generation frequency pays off and has the most impact on ROI over the long run. Daily frequency has demonstrated the strongest response patterns among B2B. For those business owners that don’t have the manpower…we have one word for you…outsource! Allow the experts to expand your B2B reach via automation and a properly designed multichannel social media marketing method that makes sense.