A study recently published by Content Marketing Institute stated that selling on social media using content is the most popularly used tactic among B2B marketers, with 88% claiming this strategy to be effective. If B2B marketers want to drive sales, their best bet is to use content and leverage social media for its distribution.
#1: Create Engaging & Valuable Video Content
In the CMI study cited earlier, 30% of B2B marketers said that videos are among the most critical tactics for content marketing success. Videos (along with presentations) are also the third most engaging types of visual content according to the Venngage study.
This isn’t surprising since videos tend to be self-explanatory. They can help an audience learn more about your product and be leveraged as a way to share demo videos to visualize how they can make the most of a product or service.
General Electronics used Twitter to share several short video clips during Drone Week to demonstrate how their products are being used around the world. For instance, one of the videos how their sensors are being used to optimize the use of street lights in San Diego.
You can also use live streaming videos to further engage a social media audience.
This can be highly effective since 80% of brand audiences prefer to watch live videos from a brand over reading their blog posts (according to Livestream) and 67% of people who view live videos have more intent after watching a live video. You can stream live videos of a company milestone like a product launch, a popular event in which you have a strong presence or even Q&A sessions with company executives or industry experts.
IBM made the most of Facebook Live to live stream a session with Tanmay Bakshi, a 13-year-old developer.
In the video, Tanmay demonstrates how the Visual Recognition service of the IMB Watson can be used for diagnosing hearing disorders by audiologists. One of the videos has since been viewed more than 85,000 times and has been shared more than 800 times.
#2: Create Original Infographics & Visuals
Visual content is crucial for any type of marketing effort—whether in the B2B or B2C landscape. A Social Media Examiner study surveyed 5000 online marketers, out of which 85% use visuals in their social media marketing. 41% of respondents in the study also considered visual images to be the most important types of content.
Another study on visual marketing conducted by Venngage says that original graphics such as infographics perform the best even among different types of visual content—41.5% of respondents considered original graphics to be the most engaging and 25.7% of respondents felt that charts and data visualizations were the most engaging.
That said, creating more original graphics and infographics can drastically help drive sales on social media.
Instead of sharing an entire infographic through your social media, you can give previews and share a small section of it along with a link to the complete infographic. Below, Salesforce uses this tactic to promote a study.
Cisco also shows this tactic in action by sharing the following image on their Facebook along with a blog post announcing their partnership with Google Cloud.
Another company executing a strategy of using graphics on social media is CSX. In the following post, they’ve highlighted some interesting facts about the good work they’ve done.
Platforms such as Canva, Easel.ly and Piktochart can help create high-quality original graphics for social media. There’s a wide range of pre-designed templates available on the platforms, along with the ability to create a new graphic from scratch using the hundreds of design elements and fonts available on the platforms.
#3: Leverage Your Employees
People trust other people more than they trust brands. That’s why in order to win the trust of a B2B audience, putting a human face to the brand is so effective. This would involve implementing employee advocacy programs or sharing employee stories through social media.
According to research conducted by Hinge Marketing, employee advocacy programs have resulted in an increase in social media following, website traffic and social media leads.
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Social media employee advocacy programs involve having your employees share valuable content related to your brand or industry, intended to connect your brand with a relevant and engaged audience through real people to increase trust.
Leading B2B companies, such as Oracle, have been implementing employee advocacy programs more and more, evident in the screenshot below where a Senior Exec, Reggie Bradford, shares content related to the company through his Twitter.
Some even choose to combine this tactic with visual marketing by pairing images of text overlays with real photos of employees. Here’s an example of this tactic being implemented by Salesforce on Twitter.
Or like Oracle, you can share images of your employees engaging in volunteer work or participating in charity events.
#4: Leverage Your Customers
As mentioned earlier, people trust other people. That said, your target customers and social media followers are much more likely to trust claims from your customers over your own claims.
Use social media to share stories from customers to try and win the trust of prospects. Once they see how your company has helped other customers, potential customers are more inclined to do business with you. You can also share positive tweets from customers, or visualize in-depth testimonials by creating graphics to highlight top results and linking to their case study.
Another strategy presented by Intel is to share blog posts or videos showcasing a real customer experiencing your service or product. The following screenshot shows a picture of a 100-year-old former commercial pilot using a VR flight simulator for the first time. They have also included a link to the post where people can find out more about his experience.
If not case studies, you can still leverage your customers’ stories by turning them into valuable information that your audience would benefit from. For example, you can get your customers to share tips and ideas that would help business owners like themselves.
Selling on Social Media With Content
Based on these tips, you can see that what’s most important to drive B2B sales through social media are people and visuals. Build trust with your target audience by leveraging real people such as employees and customers to tell your story. This puts a human face to the brand and proves to potential customers that your team cares about people.
If you’re creating content for social media, visuals are a must. Whether you’re creating original graphics and infographics or explainer videos, visual storytelling can help you engage your target audience more effectively. The more engaged your audience is, the better your chance of convincing them to buy from you.
Use these tactics to optimize your B2B social media marketing strategy and your content strategy for increased sales. It’s important to remember that these tactics should be part of an ongoing strategy and not just a one-off content marketing campaign. This will help you yield long-term results and ensure that your growth remains stable.