Here at AMBITIOUS, we work with many B2B clients and our approach is very much around the belief that ‘businesses are people too’. So, we were glad to hear Luan Wise say the same at her Social Media Week Bristol session entitled ‘Why social media matters to the B2B buyer journey’.
“It’s important to remember that you’re still dealing with people – people buy from people,” says Luan, who specialises in social media for business. The challenge is that you are often dealing with many people. And often many people are involved in the average buying decision.
So how do we reach those people? First, you’ll need to make sure you’re having a number of different conversations with them. The old ‘Rule of 7’ marketing adage of targeting people through seven different means of communication certainly still rings true here.
Second, personal relationships are extremely important in B2B relationships, so you need to get the ‘know, like and trust’ factor right. You need to understand their pain – work out the problems they are facing and how you can help to resolve them using empathy maps to spot the gaps that you can fill.
Mapping the B2B buyer journey
Go back to basics and appreciate the journey that people go through when they make a buying decision for a business:
- Awareness – at this stage they will be starting to realise that they have a problem or need and may be searching online or browsing social media. Getting your SEO right is crucial at this stage, so that you can be found. It’s also vital to make sure your social accounts look professional and that there’s brand consistency across all your channels.
- Consideration – they will question what’s different about your product or service and whether it’s best for them. Make sure they can find positive online reviews about your product or service, and that case studies are available.
- Purchase – now come the questions about cost, delivery and timings, so it’s important that contact details are up to date across all your channels, and that you’re responding to social messages quickly and professionally.
- Post-purchase – often, customers will continue to question if they made the right decision to purchase from you/hire you. Consider setting up a support forum on social, or provide how to videos to help at this stage.
Social media content to appeal to a B2B audience
Your content needs to:
- Entertain – this is the ‘lighter’ content, such as quizzes and polls that people can easily engage with
- Inspire – aim to leave your audience wanting to know more
- Educate – make people aware that you have solutions to their problems
- Convince – getting them to cross the line and purchase
There are various ways to get a sense of the questions your potential customers are asking – do some research and then focus on social content that can address their pain points. For example:
- Identify all the FAQs you get asked – look through your business email inbox, as well as questions asked through your social channels
- Talk to colleagues and find out what they’re being asked
- Look at the content your competitors are producing
- Use com – a fun search tool that gives you a list of questions that people are searching for online based on keywords
Engaging with your extended online community
“Great B2B content is about narrating your business life,” says Luan. “This includes the events you go to, the conversations you have and the people you meet.” In other words, be human!
Create an online community through your content by tagging the people you refer to – and the people who it is relevant to – to start a conversation. Use targeted hashtags, especially if you’re at an event, to help you reach out to a wider group.
And don’t forget to contact people off social media too. If you’ve featured them in a blog post, for example, drop them an email to let them know. The personal touch often means that they will be more likely to share it back to their own community.
We can often get too bogged down by worrying about the algorithm. It’s more important to talk to your audience than to concern yourself with the algorithm too much.