How do we market effectively on Quora
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is currently changing. Traditional marketing channels such as print, TV or posters no longer generate the return on investment that they used to bring. The reason: Customers pay less and less attention to these channels. They devote less than 25% of their time to these media. Instead, everyone is drawn to the world of social media. Over 90% of B2B customers already use social media tools, mainly for research and to make purchases. Companies interact directly with customers on these platforms without an intermediary agency.
What are the advantages of social media for B2B companies?
1. Social media provides the numerous touch points that a B2B buying process demands
B2B relationships and transactions are usually characterized by a large number of contacts. You face the customer face to face and build relationships. Social media can also be used to communicate with interested parties in real time and in a personal environment. In contrast to traditional B2C marketing channels (advertising, campaigns, etc.), thanks to social media, many employees in their own company can build relationships with customers and prospects, which increases the number of contacts even further.
2. With social media you can find hard-to-reach contacts within the company
The B2B market is much smaller than the B2C market. For this reason alone, a large reach is important in order to find new leads faster than the competition. By monitoring online conversations, you can identify new trends and needs, create new offers and find new sources of income. The greater reach makes it easier to find companies with which to build successful business relationships.
3. B2B experts are highly active networkers
People in the B2B business are now very much involved online: they expand their network by sharing knowledge with other users from the same industry, building professional communities, solving problems there together and in this way improving their reputation and attracting new interested parties.
4. Social media enables other users to influence purchasing decisions
B2B customers rely heavily on feedback from other customers when making purchasing decisions. They also enjoy being part of product development and trust the opinions of colleagues who already use the products far more than the company that wants to sell the products. With social media, you can obtain excellent, objective experiences and opinions from third parties and also incorporate them into advertising, which minimizes the risk of a bad buy on the buyer side and ensures good promotion on the seller side.
5. Social media offers a platform to present yourself as an opinion leader
In B2B marketing it is extremely important to have thought leadership qualities. Anyone who is perceived as a Thouht Leader strengthens their market position, improves their perceived value with customers and can more easily build trust and loyalty. Thought leaders help shape other people's opinions on important points, reveal interesting, often provocative perspectives and thus become a company that people come to when they have questions in a specific area. For example, popular question-and-answer platforms are ideal for companies to shine with their expert knowledge.
6. Social media is extremely inexpensive
Social media is a very cost effective channel. Of course, you have to invest money and, above all, time in personnel, but social media is by far cheaper than other media. In economically difficult times, in which the available resources must be used more and more efficiently, social media offers an effective way out. Selling costs are much lower, so ROI and profit margin can increase.
7. Social media allows immediate responses
B2B offers are often very complex and purchasing decisions are not impulsive. The sales cycles are lengthy and buyers spend a lot of time researching. So why not be part of the process? Social media offers many opportunities to share information and knowledge with interested parties in order to accelerate the buying cycle. Questions about products can be answered more quickly. With this two-way communication, which takes place almost in real time, you not only inform the potential customer, but also build trust, which leads to faster deals.
Companies that use social media are more economically successful, as a study by Wetpaint and Altimeter Group shows. Successful use not only means being present, but also interacting with others, starting discussions and providing timely answers. A challenge for companies that were used to being in control of their channels.
What strategy do I start with?
- Plan your strategy. First of all, it is important to define a goal that you are pursuing with social media. Social media is the extension of the overall marketing strategy. Do you want to generate leads, increase customer loyalty, present yourself as an expert, increase brand awareness, increase sales, or all of the above? The goal must be set and communicated throughout the company.
- Do market research. Define your target audience. Which channels do my potential customers prefer to use? What are you talking about? You can follow the conversations with tools like Monitter, Social Mention, Google Alerts, Alltop.
- Set your guidelines. Here you can get inspiration from the “big ones”: IBM, BBC, Kodak or SAP provide good templates that can be looked up on the net.
- Take off. Once goals, audience and guidelines have been defined, you can get ready to act. It is not enough just to be present on the platforms. You have to offer users added value through good content, regular and reliable publications and answers, and establish yourself as an expert. Transparency and honesty towards customers is a must.
The B2B business becomes more transparent, honest and faster through social media. There is currently no standardized ROI measurement model - every company has its own goals, customers, budgets, tools and channels - so you have to decide for yourself which key figures are most meaningful for your own goals. We have summarized some tips for measuring ROI here.
This graphic shows very nicely how a social media strategy can be carried out step by step.
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