B-2-B Social Media Marketing to Build Brands and Generate Leads
Takeaway notes from an AMA webinar. By Aliza Bornstein, copywriter, Melissa Data
The Evolution of B-2-B Marketing
Before search engines, marketing companies would
receive information about products or services
through their in-house sales team. To build
awareness and generate leads, marketing teams would
use mass advertising by doing trade shows, print
media, and direct mail, while the sales people would
do cold calling. And, when leads were captured,
there would be no score or system to qualify them as
the right type of prospects for sales follow up.
When Google arrived, B-2-B companies started using
SEO, PPC, advertising, and email to drive traffic to
their Web site. And this is where a lot of content
marketing first came into play. (e.g. white papers
and webinars used to convert traffic into leads
though registration forms.)
Now marketers are becoming more savvy—applying lead
nurture programs, scoring, and more exposure on
social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter,
YouTube—because there’s a lot of good B-2-B content
and your buyers are there.
Why Inbound Leads Matter
The majority of B-2-B leads come from inbound
marketing through social media. What’s great about
these leads is not only the quantity and how well
they turn into opportunity, but the fact that they
sought you out after third party validation. An
educated buyer leads to a more satisfied buyer down
Is Your Company Ready for Social Media?
1. Clear objectives and goals
You must have a plan! Increase lead conversion
rates; Increase the number of qualified leads; Build
awareness of yourself through online methods;
Decrease the time needed to resolve customer service
issues. These are all objectives you’re going to use
to help measure success.
2. Available resources and content
Make sure you have the human resources to commit to
social media. You want to make sure you have a
dedicated number of hours for one person or more to
commit to, because it does take time.
3. Target audiences use social media
Find out what’s important to your prospects—the
forums they frequent and how they like to
communicate. Then make sure you frequent the same
places so you can communicate with them.
4. Prepare to handle social media
Even if you’re in social media, it’s easily
forgotten about if you don’t update it often and
with relevant content. You want to focus on
durability—is your Web site ready for this
commitment? Do you have a nice Web site that’s going
to be attractive to people, and can you capture
leads from it? Are there white papers and webinars
people can sign up for that are clearly laid out on
5. Ready to incorporate social media throughout the
Social media isn’t just about building brands—it’s
about creating new leads and interacting with the
leads you already have.
Developing a B-2-B Social Media Plan
Who are you targeting? Is it the c-level
decision-maker—are they using the social media site?
Or is it the end user? Make sure that your content
is relevant to your audience.
Which social media tactics will you employ and how
will you measure success?
Add in other topics that are going to be relevant to
your company or industry.
What goals or objectives do you want to accomplish
and what are the action items?
Developing a B-2-B Media Policy
Social media policy should not only define what
social media means to your company and set some
ground rules, but it should also stress the
importance of confidentiality and make people want
to participate. You want your policy to be friendly
and help people share content. Use it as a way to
encourage people and remind them of how great it is
that they can contribute.
Fundamental Concepts of Social Media Marketing
1. Company identity and brand
Anything you do in social media—especially if it’s
coming from your company name—should really
represent your brand well. It should use your
company colors so people recognize it as you. You
want to be proud of what you’re doing so make a
strong effort. You should encourage other people at
your company to do this with their email accounts,
too. Use proper logos and colors, and customize this
as well. Aim for consistency!
2. Social media monitoring (“listening”)
This is one of the first things you want to do when
you start doing social media. It’s not only going to
tell you what people are saying about you, it’s
going to let you know where people are saying it.
You can use Twitter Search as a third party tracking
tool for this. Make use of alerts, such as Google
Alerts. Set up a “best practices” for how you plan
3. Social sharing: A closer look
The ability to make your own content easy to share
with others is one of the main aspects of social
media. A lot of companies have put a button or link
that makes it easy to share content at the bottom of
their landing pages or on their Web site. You can go
a step further toward improving this by providing
what to say—such as “Play this NOW” or “Download
4. Social validation (social proofing)
This is commonly used to help mitigate risks. When
people are exploring buying a product for the first
time, there’s some risk involved with that. So,
they’ll search for third party validation. However,
this takes time. What you can do is help bring that
conversation to them through Facebook and Twitter.
Post messages on new products or special sales. Let
others post their before, during, and after
experience of buying your product.
Pitfalls to Avoid in Social Media
• Don’t dive in until you’re ready.
Social Media Across the Revenue Cycle
• Don’t be a big brag (e.g. Don’t show off about
your company. Be there to help people).
• Don’t be afraid to try it because the metrics are
new and different.
• Don’t treat social media like advertising.
• Don’t assume every social media tool is right for
• Seed nurturing: Develop relationships with
early-stage prospects before they enter your
Make valuable content freely available and create a
reputation that builds credibility and trust.
Establish a baseline and measure progress before and
after the start of your social media strategy.
• Lead nurturing: Build and maintain relationships
with known prospects as they educate themselves.
• Customer nurturing: Deepen and expand
relationships with existing customers.
---Source: American Marketing
Association webinar on Feb. 17, 2010. Maria
Pergolino is the senior manager of inbound marketing
for Marketo. Reach her at email@example.com