It’s no surprise to find many B2B Brand owners still under the misconception that social media marketing only works for B2C companies. Indeed, social media marketing may seem to be more popular among the B2C Brands due to the simplicity of the products, lower price and more aesthetically appealing reasons, leading to successful campaigns and high audience engagements.
Before we explore further into the topic, let’s debunk some top social media myths that hinder B2B Brands from embracing social media marketing.
Myth #1: My customers don’t use social media
Many B2B Brand owners often have this misconception about their prospects and customers. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Singapore has 4.4 million active social media users, translating to 77% of the total population being active social media users. Singapore ranks top three globally in terms of social media penetration. According to an AIA survey, 2 in 3 Singaporeans admit that they have a social networking and Internet addiction.
Myth #2: Social media is not suitable for B2B
As a matter of fact, no matter how large a business is, decision-making power lies in the hands of individuals. Don’t underestimate the power of the lower and middle management with the ability to influence decisions, present their thoughts after a thorough research (yes, through social media and other online sources) or compile a vendor-comparison list during the selection process.
Myth #3: Social media is useless and silly
Since B2B Brands are targeting at an audience in the business environment, many Brand owners feel that social media is useless, silly and a waste of time, neither is it not a formal or proper platform to present valuable content to clients. Don’t be quick to judge. Instead of brochures and long PowerPoint presentations, you might be surprised to learn that your audience prefers engaging, interesting and helpful social media posts.
Myth #4: Social media brings no results
Social media adds “human-ness” to your Brand by creating conversations and engaging with your audience in a meaningful way. Many times, social media generate potential leads for your business when you share relevant content to the audience. The buying behaviour of B2B customers have changed significantly over the years, B2B buyers preferred not to interact with sales representatives. This means that buyers do research, read reviews and looked at websites and social media platforms as they rely on the Internet as their leading source of information.
Social media marketing may not produce immediate results, it could take up to 6 months. Bear in mind that buyers may not generate any response to your social posts (even though they are interested), but it could lead them to your website or contacting you directly. Vice versa, when your sales representatives approach potential buyers, most often they will check out your social media platforms to conduct some initial research about your Brand.
While the acronym B2B literally means business-to-business, it’s important to remember that there are actual people behind these businesses who are seeking your products and services, which means you are actually marketing to people, not businesses. The more you understand your potential customers, the better!
Have you ever wondered how B2B makes buying decisions?
First, let’s take a look at the members involved:
Initiators request that a product or service be purchased. Frequently the initiator is the end user of the product. But purchase requests can originate from almost anywhere within a company.
Users actually use the product or service in their jobs. In many cases, the users initiate the purchase request and help define the requirements.
Influencers typically help define specifications, requirements and supply information for evaluating alternative solutions.
Decision-makers determine the product requirements and the vendor based on input from users and influencers.
Approvers authorise the proposed actions of buyers or decision-makers.
Buyers possess the authority to select the vendor and negotiate the terms of the purchase. They may participate in developing product specifications but their primary role is in selecting vendors and negotiating the purchase.
Gatekeepers control access to the members of the purchasing committee either directly or through the dissemination of marketing collateral.
Second, stages of the B2B buying process:
B2B Buying Process
This is often identified as the first and most important step in the buying process. A purchase cannot take place without the recognition of a problem or need. The need may have been triggered by internal stimuli (such as problem or pain) or external stimuli (such as advertisement or word-of-mouth).
As you might expect, individuals will research and evaluate different products or Brands at this stage from online (social media platforms, search engines, websites, blogs, videos) and/or offline sources (yellow pages, newspapers, magazines, TV).
Were you even surprised to learn that one of the online sources is social media? Reports show that more than half of B2B buyers turn to social media to research vendors and solutions. Social media should be a critical component of your lead generation and digital marketing strategy. We recommend B2B Brand owners to use social media marketing to educate and convince buyers on how you can solve problems., show them that you understand their concerns by giving them examples of solutions on how you mitigate the problem.
At this point, your prospect is narrowing down all the finalists on his shortlist, which means that the pressure is on your company more than ever to persuade prospect to go beyond doubt and choose your Brand. Instead of passively waiting for your prospect to confirm final vendor choice, stand out from your competitors by bringing past success stories to your prospect and show how your Brand has helped implement solutions for past clients. More often than not, the characteristics of B2B sales are complex and unique thus taking a longer sales cycle and decision-making process. Be pro-active in engaging B2B buyers at any point.
Deciding factors such as value, trust, satisfaction, brand reputation, social reputation, customer experience, customer service, rapport, relationship and commitment will overall affect the final buying decision.
15 BENEFITS OF A SOLID SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
• Set Your Brand Apart From Competition
• Strengthen Your Brand Reputation
• Improve Brand Loyalty
• Increase Traffic
• Generate Lead
• Generate Exposure
• Improve Sales
• Improve Search Rankings
• Lower Marketing Costs
• Attract Talent
• Gain Valuable Feedback
• Remain Top-of-Mind
• Provide Customer Service
• Generate Content
• Engage Audience
A strong presence on social media is key to garner interest of prospects and learn more about your Brand through online research. Any B2B company can grow awareness about its products and services by building a strong brand strategically on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. Many B2B companies that leverage on social media marketing have achieved higher leads and conversion rates, it’s not too late for you to take action if you haven’t already.
To your success!