2014 was somewhat of a breakthrough year for B2B social media marketing. Despite toiling away at what we were certain could be a great business asset since long before, efforts to generate tangible business returns from social media platforms and likes, paid or otherwise, had been largely unsuccessful.
So what changed?
Hubspot came to the forefront in 2014 and gave marketers a whole new level of real-time insight into all of their online activity, including social media. Detailed feedback on the effectiveness of individual tweets and paid social ads allowed marketers to take a more informed and strategic approach to the communications they were putting out through social channels.
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Although dedicated landing pages have been around for donkey’s years, 2014 seemed to be the year that the penny finally dropped for B2B companies. User-friendly platforms like Unbounce, Hubspot and Optimizely have given marketers the ability to create and test landing pages for their paid ads, emails and social activity without the need for a web developer, thereby increasing adoption.
The acceptance of paid social, combined with the above factors, has played a significant part in the success of B2B social media marketing over the past 12 months. The targeting options available through advertising platforms such as Facebook and Linkedin allow business to hone in on their audiences with accuracy, and although these options have been around since before 2014, this was the year that paid social came into its own.
So now that we know social can deliver tangible returns for B2B companies, here are some key tips to maximise lead generation from social media marketing.
Gate valuable content
By now everyone has heard of content marketing (probably more times than you want) and most businesses understand its importance to SEO, social media and establishing authority. However, just because content serves as SEO fodder, doesn’t mean we should give it ALL away.
Useful, industry-specific content such as white papers, surveys, informative videos and presentations can be effective lead generation tools. By gating these assets (only allowing members of your audience to access the content if they provide contact details via a web form), you can capture valuable data from potential customers who have already hinted at an interest in your area of business.
Promoting these gated assets via social channels, email marketing and paid advertising will maximize your data capture opportunities.
2. Use Webinars
Webinars can be a lead generation gold mine. Not only do they allow you to capture data from those signalling an interest in your products or services by signing up to attend, they also give you an environment free from competitor noise, to talk exclusively about your offering to a captive audience.
Dedicated platforms like GoToWebinar provide data around how many people sat through the webinar and the stage at which others dropped out. It also gives attendees the opportunity to raise their hand to ask the host a question, and chat with fellow hosts throughout.
One of the most valuable tools allows the webinar host to include an interactive poll which can provide valuable data about the attendee’s reason for considering your product, thereby further qualifying the lead.
You could gain more social media exposure by promoting a hashtag at the start of the webinar and encouraging attendees to use it to submit their questions via Twitter.
Pro tip: Sync your activity with your CMS.
Syncing your social activity with your CRM tool allows you to track which social platforms your leads have come from, which tweets, posts or adverts your leads have responded to and ultimately, how much revenue each social platform is contributing.
Both Hubspot and Salesforce, the two most popular CRM tools, sync seamlessly with the major social platforms and provide free guidance on how to nurture your social leads.
Quantifying the financial contribution of social media marketing has long been a problem for marketers and many have abandoned activity altogether after seeing limited returns. However, this approach should ensure that your social activity’s contribution is accurately recognised and easy to report.
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3. Use dedicated landing pages
Directing your social traffic to dedicated landing pages, created specifically to capture their details, rather than including a link to your key benefits page or similar, is far more likely to generate leads.
What’s even more likely to generate leads is continually testing and refining your landing pages to optimize their effectiveness.
As alluded to at the start of this post, there are a number of dedicated, user-friendly tools that allow you to create and edit slick looking landing pages with minimal effort. Even better, sync your landing pages with your CMS so your newly acquired leads are fed directly into your sales funnel to be nurtured by your Business Development team. Again, Hubspot contains all of this functionality out of the box. Salesforce doesn’t but it does integrate perfectly with Unbounce, one of the most user-friendly landing pages platforms.
What works for one business won’t necessarily work for all but having seen these tips work well for a number of clients, I’m confident that you will experience similar levels of success by implementing them.