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According to Econsultancy, 50% of 230 enterprise level marketers spend more than $250,000 per month on marketing activities. However, New York based digital agency Ironpaper indicates that marketers are spending more on social media. This is because enterprises have smaller customer bases, larger price points, and longer sales lead time. Using social media channels such as blogs, social networks and forums can nurture, support and generate trust to encourage a single sale. In fact, a 2013 Forrester Research chart titled ‘How B2B Decision-Makers are Using Social Media’ indicates that 18% of decision makers rely on communities or forums for business purposes primarily while 63% use them for business and personal purposes. Similarly, 26% used LinkedIn for business and 48% for both business and personal purposes.
By tapping into social media’s power, enterprise level marketers can build brand awareness, distribute content and offers, establish the enterprise’s reputation as a thought leader, improve CEO, create PR opportunities, and educate buyers before driving them into the funnel. If you need a little convincing, here’s a great statistic from MyCustomer.com: 87% of B2B enterprises believe social media (sans blogs) to be an integral element in their marketing mix while 77% say the same about blogs. So now that you’re aware of how social media can help enterprises, here are seven tips which can ensure your success while marketing through this multi-channel tool.
1. Don’t Start Marketing until You Understand the Business
Enterprise level marketers should know the business in and out, top to bottom. Only then can they truly start marketing the brand and its offerings. You should also be ready to investigate pain points to find out what’s going on between the four walls and why. Only then can you stay true to the brand and actually have a real impact where it matters rather than stretch yourself thin trying to be all things to all people. However, always think strategically and act with purpose by asking what your actions do for your business. You can document your ideas and use them for developing a strategy in the future.
2. Understand Why People Share Content
One of the biggest benefits of social media lies in its ability to circulate content across multiple channels. However, you need to understand why people share content, i.e. what makes them tick. According to Ernest Dichter’s 1966 study on Word of Mouth, 64% of sharing is mainly about the sharer themselves. The New York Times’ Psychology of Sharing whitepaper revealed that of 2,500 medium to heavy social sharers:
- 94% consider how the materials they share can bring value and entertain other people
- 68% of respondents share to define themselves to other and show what they care about
- 78% share to connect with people they wouldn’t usually connect with
- 69% share content on social media to feel more involved in the world around them
- 84% share to support causes or issues which they care about
Therefore, start providing content that allows sharers to carry out these goals. And don’t forget to track their sharing in order to find out which type of content is most popular. That way, you can produce the content they like rather than pay for content which they don’t.
3. Listen and Talk to Everyone Interacting with You
Social media builds communities, so you need to become part of one rather than the center of it. Platforms such as forums and social networks will allow you to bridge the gap between you and your clients without becoming the star of the show. Well, not directly of course. If you need an incentive to become social, chew on this: according to Nielsen, 33% of consumers prefer connecting with brands via social media rather than phone.
As usual, communication is a two-way street, don’t just talk to your clients and potential clients–you need to start listening to them as well. J.D. Power and Associates pointed out that 67% of consumers use social media for servicing rather than social marketing. Therefore, you need to listen to what people say and respond accordingly. If you don’t, your clients will feel neglected and take their business elsewhere. Accenture proves this by stating that 66% of global consumers break off a business relationship and switch to another provider due to bad customer service.
4. Opt for Organic Social Media before Opting for Paid
After Facebook announced that it would be limiting promotional page posts starting from January 2015, marketers quickly hailed paid advertising as the best method to extend their reach on Facebook. eMarketer has even addressed the shift, showing that the paid media model offered a 2.8% conversion rate whereas organic offered only 2.3%. However, before spending big bucks on paid advertising, marketers should invest their time and effort into developing the enterprise’s strong, organic voice in each social channel.
Relying on advertisements alone defeats the purpose of inbound marketing techniques, of which social media is one. Today’s customers need information, be it in the form of an article, review or even infographic, before making their minds to make a purchase. Therefore, by using ads to direct them to a page that offers them no knowledge, you’ll be tricking your potential clients and cheating your existing ones. You can, however, use both techniques to truly succeed. Create informative, quality content which your consumers will enjoy and then use paid models to advertise it. This will increase your posts’ reach while establishing your brand as a thought leader.
5. Offer Value to Your Clients
Enterprises can’t afford to be vain, i.e. simply stating what they like, what they are, and what they expect from their clients. While your opinion may be interesting, it’s irrelevant. Besides, focusing every bit of content on promoting your company and your products goes against inbound marketing and turns off potential clients. Therefore, you need to think of the people who will determine your success in the world of social media. As long as your content engages them and makes them feel like it was written for them (which it should be anyway), rest assured that they’ll be ready to seal the deal with you.
To help you a little with this aspect, keep these three tips in mind:
1. Keep in mind the 3 E’s: Educate, Enlighten, or Entertain. Your content should do at least one all of the time.
2. Your clients don’t want an ad from you. Instead,know your customers and what type of content they expect from you.
3. Every bit of content you use on social media should be directed at your end user and not the competition, stakeholders or your boss.
6. Don’t Hesitate to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Enterprise level marketers need to be passionate about trying new things. After all, social is a combination of science and art. However, be strategic while choosing what you plan to use, especially since this field has the power to make bright, shiny objects seem so tempting. One of the best ways to formulate your strategy is by using analytics. You can test different strategies on your clients and see how successfully they fare. At the same time, you should be open to going with your gut and trying something even if there aren’t numbers to support it. To quote Jimmy Carter, “Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”
7. Test, Iterate and Evolve ALL THE TIME
Aside from taking risks, you need to be ready to test, test, and test again to ensure that your strategies are as effective as you want them to be. Also give yourself room to fail as this act will actually equip you to succeed. However, make sure to plan to fail small or else you’ll be wasting the enterprise’s resources. Therefore, consider building stages to reach desired results steadily.
Testing and iterating aside, you need to learn and evolve. As you know already, the business sector is evolving at a rapid pace, forcing small businesses and even enterprises to struggle in the face of the volatile market. Therefore, you should match this pace by building your knowledge and skill set. Sticking with conventional wisdom alone is a surefire recipe for lackluster results, which is the last thing you want considering the pace of your competitors. So be open to learning and define what you should always remember and what you can forget as you evolve.
Wrapping everything up, always remember that social media is all about the people. Even if you’re a B2B enterprise, it’s the people your efforts should target in order to win sales and generate revenue. Therefore, make sure that everything you post or do through social media addresses your clients, their passions, loyalty and insights. Putting these social media tips for the enterprise market into practice will start you off on the right foot.