A few years ago, my marketing director and I had the opportunity to pitch the idea of social media to my then boss, who was the head of sales. I’ll never forget his response: Twitter? That’s that thing where people say they just had a tuna sandwich for lunch? No thanks.
This used to be a common misconception among the C-suite regarding social media. That it was nonsense. Definitely not applicable for business-to-business marketing. Certainly couldn’t help sell anything.
Luckily, my boss continued to listen to what we had to say, and hopped on Twitter that night to check out this ‘tweeting nonsense’ on his own. And you know what? He did a complete 180! He couldn’t believe the valuable business-related information and business connections taking place on this 140-character relationship tool.
Social is about building relationships and trust.
Yes, social media is a relationship tool. It’s all about being genuine, sharing your thoughts, insights and yes, occasionally, talking about the solutions you provide. But it starts with building trust. Demonstrating your value, your willingness to help, your thought leadership.
B2B brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level earn twice the impact over marketers who are still trying to sell business or functional value. Buyers feel a much closer personal connection to their B2B brands than to consumer brands.1
Thankfully, like my then boss, most business owners, salespeople and marketers have now embraced this once misunderstood sales and marketing tool. Social media has helped companies increase exposure by 90%, not to mention generate leads and increase sales – when done right.
So…what’s the sure-fire way to leave sales on the table? Snub your nose at social media marketing. Pretend it’s just a fad. Assume it will fade…just like the internet. Oh, wait…
But…where do I even begin with social media?
Which social channels do I use? What do I post? How do I get people interested in what I have to say?
You show your personality. You begin a conversation. You share helpful information without selling. And you choose the key social channels where your audience hangs out.
By developing a robust content marketing strategy, which includes high-value content that speaks to topics of interest to your target market.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It’s an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy.
Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. Instead of pitching your products or services, you’re delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
Potential B2B buyers who feel a “high brand connection” are 60% more likely to consider, purchase and even pay a premium than “low brand connection” competitors.1
So…what about you?
Have you embraced social? Do you have a social media and content marketing strategy in place to build relationships, increase your thought leadership and, yes, even generate leads resulting in sales?