Online marketing and social media tips for business from Shannon Belew, best-selling author of "Starting an Online Business For Dummies, All-in-One"
If you sell products or services to businesses (B2B), you may be hesitant to use social media to market to your prospective customers. But you can bet your competitors are most likely using it to their advantage! What’s the best way for you to put social media to work for your business?
In this infographic from the Clearpoint Agency, recent research provides a quick snapshot of how and why B2B marketers are using sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to reach prospects and customers. The infographic points out that there are a lot of people socializing out there – in fact, more than half of Internet users in the U.S. are using a variety of social media sites. What the infographic doesn’t mention is that 85% of consumers use the Internet to find information about their local businesses, according to research from Nielsen. Many of those same consumers will go on to make a purchase from you or your competitor once they have done their research. In fact, by the time you first make contact with that prospect, she is most likely to already be 70% (or more) through the decision-making process thanks to the information found online.
Your prospect is getting product or service information from viewing online customer reviews, reading comments and engaging with peers in online communities, visiting your website (and competitor sites), downloading brochures and case studies, and checking in with social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. Only after they’ve formed an initial opinion are they going to contact you for final pricing or other late-stage information (such as specific features or product functionality).
Is there any way for you to get engaged with prospects earlier? Is there a better way to get your content to prospects while they are still learning about their buying options? That’s where social media comes in, particularly for B2B companies. You have the opportunity to use social media to help you become a trusted adviser who provides valuable information to your prospects. Interestingly, this infographic shows that of the B2B marketers surveyed, 74% use social media for customer acquisition, 71% use it for lead generation, and 64% use social networking sites for customer retention or loyalty. And 79% said they use social media for the broader purpose of building brand awareness.
Honestly, I think the percentages of marketers using social networks for actual sales activity (as indicated in this infographic) are probably higher than the average B2B marketer. But there’s little doubt that social selling is on the rise and that B2B companies who don’t embrace this new sales tool will eventually get left in the dust of competitors.
That leads me to ask the question: How are YOU using social media? Check out this interesting infographic and then leave a comment about your social media use. (And be sure to check out more great info from the Clearpoint Agency – who we have to thank for this terrific infographic!)