Businesses today find themselves competing with more people than ever to get in front of prospects and stay up to date with customers. Successful engineering businesses are now adding social media as part of their contact and communication system.
For business it’s more than Facebook and Instagram and used correctly it can help you engage better with your prospects to build better relationships…
Today people don’t want to be sold to but will engage in a conversation that gives them information to make the right decision. Business to Business (B2B) marketing is evolving and presents you with many opportunities for innovation that your competitors are already exploiting.
The latest techniques can help you engage with business customers to generate new leads, build relationships and nurture prospects through to conversion.
The Benefits of Relationship Building
Obviously, it’s vital to build relationships with your prospects before they ever get to the buying stage. So, the best B2B companies do not consider how they can sell on social media. Instead, they think about how they can build relationships. They understand that social media is more than just a sales platform.
If you think of the timescale for traditional marketing and sales to get a prospect from contact to sale, then know that Social Media can shorten that cycle by adding another platform to enhance your communication and engagement.
Building relationships have always been essential in the sales process. The difference today is that every individual is bombarded with media, marketing and direct sales pitches. B2B buyers need to believe that the person they’re buying from cares about how their company is doing.
As it now takes more than 10 brand ‘touches’ to actually secure a sale, you can see this is not a quick strategy – most companies simply don’t invest the time necessary to build these relationships. So, while your competitors quickly give up after a few failed telephone calls it leaves the field open for you.
By continuing to contact your prospects and educate and inform them when they are in “information gathering mode” who do you think they will contact when they’re in “buying mode”? The company that has built a relationship with them or someone that ignores them and has left the arena?
”You Don’t Have To Be Everywhere – All The Time!”
The secret to social media success is in choosing the right channels – those where your prospects and customers are and ignoring the channels that have no value to your business.
By starting a dialogue with say a small audience of decision-makers in a Linked In Group, providing value and getting closer to your customers’ issues, you can make the right connections.
Spend the Time To Get It Right
Social media platforms were never designed for a “set and forget” marketing mindset. It’s important to give it time to make it work. Forget spending minutes every week and expect to see a return. The same time commitment you give today on traditional contact and relationships building is required.
Time needs to be dedicated to build relationships with your potential leads. This will lead to better results, time needs to be planned in – but the rewards are great so you may want to set up a dedicated team if you think you have the experience in-house.
How to get discovered
Warning – you need an intelligent, integrated approach to create a unified brand over several channels or sadly you will never get found. If your prospects can’t find your website, then they cannot buy from you, it’s a fact.
So what’s involved?
Getting sales leads means properly engaging with your target audience. This means posting diverse valuable content. Given that your competitors are probably fairly unimaginative this leaves it clear for you to stand out as the average B2B firm is only hitting a small portion of their target market.
Unsurprisingly different people prefer different types of content.
So we recommend written, visual, and audio content and right now video marketing is king!
We’re not talking about cat videos with your kit but it should be easy to collate:
- interesting “action shots” of plants being built with large pieces of equipment being craned in
- Photos of a busy exhibition stand
- Your spokesperson delivering a talk at a conference
- Or your equipment being manufactured
- Or time-lapse videos of kit being installed
- Or diagrams and flow charts to explain how to solve industry issues
- Customer success stories
- Company news – new staff, new premises, expansion, financial figures, new contracts etc
The material needs to resonate with your connections and link back to your website or blog where you have a fuller explanation of the images to inform.
The best social media posts incorporate Calls to Action guiding them to your website. But importantly you also need to connect and monitor your followers. So have you linked and connected to all the prospects on your database? If not you may want to spend a quiet hour or two doing this, but never just by pushing the “join” button but by writing a personal invitation reminding your contact where you met them and telling them why you want to connect. LinkedIn has monthly paid plans that will guarantee that your internal email and communication will reach the individual through their messaging system.
Consider putting some of your magazine advertising spend into Paid Options
There are affordable paid options to make your life easier. While it’s easy to take advantage of free social media marketing options, they’re usually not the most effective. Today paid options advertising presented by networks like LinkedIn and Twitter help you get to the right prospects much faster.
All the time social media networks come up with more ways for B2B firms to hit their target audiences and identifying and communicating only with this audience is the secret to getting more B2B sales. Clever use of advanced targeting options on Linked In and Twitter makes sure all advertising is specific and targeted to reach your professional audience. Without proper targeting, it’s impossible to make social media work.
Conclusion – Social Media can support PR and email marketing
Selling to another business is tough, but you can make social media help your marketing efforts if you commit. It requires a lot of testing and you’re going to have to work at it but get it right and you have access to the biggest audience in the world. Practically everyone from all demographics has at least one social media account. No other advertising option provides something like this. So how will you market your B2B products today?
If you want more advice on how to use social media to engage with contacts on your database call us on 01635 569992.
Previous posts on this series of “7 proven ways to grow your business with PR and digital marketing”