B2B lead generation is hard, especially if you still use ice cold, old-fashioned outbound methods like mass email, awkward phone calls or attending meetups on meetup.com. There are companies that say social media works only in B2C industries, but I have good news: they’re wrong.
In this article, I’m going to show you 5 reasons why B2B businesses should invest more in social media to generate a firehose of lead flows for your sales team.
5 Reasons Why B2B Businesses Should Invest More in Social Media
1. Brand building opportunity
Many B2B companies don’t spend money on the brand building, because they can’t see tangible results. That’s true, but perhaps short-sighted. Although these brand awareness campaigns don’t usually end in direct conversions, the ad recall lift has a big impact on the further steps in the lead generation process. Consider it as an investment – you have to reap today what you sow tomorrow.
In addition to generating meaningful leads with a well-run social media campaign, you can build trust and credibility with an effective social media presence. Being authentic has never mattered more for marketers. Nowadays, your potential clients are savvier and more educated than ever before, and they have instant access to experts and your competitors. This is why building brand awareness to establish trust with your prospects is such an essential part of your lead generation. Without that, you can’t acquire leads.
To leave nothing to chance, write exceptional-quality content to differentiate yourself from an endless stream of average competitor posts. Don’t have a killer idea on hand? Here are some tips:
- Create cornerstone content or, in other words, content written to be the best, most useful and most comprehensive writing on a given topic (which offers SEO advantages as well). Sounds good, right?
- Make behind-the-scenes videos about your team’s operations. Authenticity in marketing matters now more than ever.
- Take part in live events, like conferences or tradeshows.
- Give value for free. Examples might include case studies, white papers, or e-books. It can establish thought leadership in your segment.
2. Lead generation made simple
Ever had a problem gathering contact info from potential clients? To be honest, who hasn’t? There are several reasons why a landing page or a website might not be converting properly. These are some of the most common reasons to diagnose poor performance:
- Long loading times (users wait 3-5 seconds for loading on average)
- A poorly-designed user experience (structure and navigation might be confusing)
- Outdated or ineffective design
- Lack of responsivity on different devices
- Ineffective calls to action
On the other hand, if you have a landing page/website contact form, you have to spend money on traffic generation. This means a greater cost because you first have to find the targets who are interested in your product or service and then guide them to your page afterward. After that, your potential leads need to look for the contact form. It’s a 3-step process which requires many tasks from your users.
So, what about skipping all these struggles and unburdening the entire lead generation process?
Gaining information about your potential clients could be easier than ever. You don’t even have to bother with traffic generation because channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have the ability to convert leads directly to the platform using Lead Card ads. This is the simplest and quickest way to build a database from potential leads. The form inside the ad prepopulates their contact info, and you can ask additional questions, too, so you get everything your sales team needs to start off on the right foot.
3. Micro-engagement matters
You’ve probably heard the term ‘micro-engagement,’ referring to brief interactions between users and your digital assets, like your ads, landing pages or videos. There are a plethora of ways to gain micro-engagements through social media: post likes, video views, page likes, follows, tweets, and so on. These engagements can be built into a funnel to guide your potential leads via continuous micro-steps towards the main goal. This ‘feedback’ helps you persuade your target audience to make a bigger and bigger commitment. For example, your first goal might be post engagements. Then, you target people who interact with your post to guide them to your blog. There, they can peruse your thought leadership content and case studies – which will convince them step-by-step. This process builds toward engagement with a lead ad or contact form.
In my experience, this is a very effective way of reducing drop-outs between the different stages of the funnel. If you think all this whole psychology approach will only get you a .5% increase in conversions, you’re dead wrong: I have seen four or five micro conversions leading to as much as a 100% increase in conversions for a given website!
4. Never leave remarketing behind
Let’s be honest. Social media lead generation is not effective without remarketing campaigns. Remarketing is a necessary way to re-engage your audience at each of the different steps in your marketing funnel. Typically, B2B lead generation takes at least 4-7 steps (we call them touchpoints) and these steps have to be distinct. After a user’s seen a landing page, for example, you can’t bring them back to the exact same page – you need to show them more about you.
The funnel and its remarketing campaigns have to be planned beforehand. We use 3 main stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. These 3 main phases can have different steps, but at each level, ensure that your communication is tailored to users’ engagement level. These are very important because it’s easy to get them wrong. Never use the same copy and creative for multiple stages – it will be ineffective. Moreover, it will be also boring and annoying for your targets. Plus, don’t forget to exclude the users that have already converted. Showing lead ads to users that have already converted is synonymous with simply wasting money. Of course, you can avoid this by making sure that your targeting is properly calibrated.
If you want to do more, you can also try email marketing with the contacts you gained earlier through social media campaigns. In my experience, there are many B2B segments where email sequences that are crafted well can work with high open and conversion rates. If you feel, you need help to start an effective campaign, you will find plenty of useful tips and advice here.
5. The secret sauce: custom audiences
I’ve saved the best for last because I firmly believe that custom audiences make the difference in social media marketing. Take Facebook, which has the most sophisticated remarketing list options by far. On Facebook, you can create remarketing lists based on interactions with ads, posts, events and much more. Plus, you can use lists based on activity on your website (e.g., time on site, webpage visit, conversion types). On top of that, you can create ‘lookalike‘ audiences (an audience with similar attributes to your actual users) in other countries or regions.
You have literally dozens of options to customize your target audience based on their behavior, interactions and engagement level. As I mentioned, I recommend Facebook audiences for your lead generation process. But which ones? The following categories typically perform the best because they are based on a higher level of engagement.
- custom audience based on time on a website
- lookalike audience from the time on website custom audience
- lookalike audience from the converted users
- custom audience based on Facebook engagements
- custom audience based on blog readers
- custom audience created from your email lists
- lookalike audience from the email lists
Never forget that the lookalikes are cold audiences in the sense that they don’t know your brand yet. Hopefully, they are more likely to perform well compared with other cold audiences thanks to the Facebook algorithm. But despite this, you have to start the communication with them from the beginning.
Specify what your main goal is and then use these techniques to reverse engineer each stage of your funnel. Social media ads work if you design this process well and engage users appropriately at every step. The most important takeaway is that you need to preheat the oven. In other words, don’t try selling to a cold heat until they’ve warmed up to you.
I have experienced the best CTRs, highest conversion rates, and lowest CPMs on Facebook, but tell me if you find a more effective social media platform for B2B campaigns. Of course, you don’t have to use social media exclusively. It could be just one part of your strategy and could complete the other digital assets of your funnel. Never forget that you should spend on testing as well and you should always build previous user engagement into the next level of your lead generation process.
I hope that my know-how will help you to craft a profitable funnel that converts well. Feel free to share your experiences and questions in the comments below. Moreover, I would be really thankful for every share.