A lot of B2B marketers have already made the switch from traditional marketing to the more personalized approach of account-based marketing (ABM). It offers a more focused approach to your clients, more personalized treatment, and returns a better ROI on your marketing dollar.
It’s also shifted the conversation away from pure lead volume and toward lead quality — ABM starts out with better leads, so conversions are higher and revenue improves.
But you can’t just flip a switch and transition your whole company over to an ABM strategy. You need a comprehensive plan for how every department in your business will handle an account-based marketing mindset, and that includes social media.
Social media, when used right, gives you a better understanding of your customers than any tool that marketers past ever had at their disposal. It allows you to connect with your customers, learn what they like and what’s bothering them, and put your message into the world. But a lot of marketers still don’t see the connection between B2B and social media. Allow us to enlighten you.
Finding (And Feeling Out) Your Prospects
You know that B2B stands for “business to business,” but you’re still selling to a human being. Before a business decision is made about a major purchase, several people at your target company are going to have to weigh in — unless it’s a very small company, you’re probably going to have to convince about half a dozen people.
You need to know who those people are, what they want, and what makes them tick. Obviously, you can’t conduct interviews with someone before you start marketing to them, so how are you supposed to find anything out about these key people? Enter social media.
LinkedIn and Facebook are some of the most valuable tools in your ABM arsenal, both in finding the right people and in planning your approach. Seek out the people in the right positions at your target company and try to learn what you can about them:
- Where are they? This refers to both physical location and the channels they use. If they’re super active on Facebook, but they haven’t updated their LinkedIn profile in six months, that’ll help you inform your advertising.
- What are their habits? Do they tend to be online in the morning or at work? When are they posting and when are they commenting?
- What do they complain about? You won’t always be able to find this information, but if you can find a tweet from your target about the slow response time of someone else’s customer service, you can take that into account when you’re pitching.
- What are their customers complaining about? After all, the goal of your B2B client is to improve the lives of their customers, so take a look at their company’s social profiles and find the posts from unhappy customers. If you can help them solve those problems, your pitch will sound a lot more appealing.
Tailoring Your Content
The cornerstone of an ABM strategy is customization — you’re not serving up the same marketing to everyone, you’re tailoring your content to suit the specific person or company that you’re talking to. Social media offers you a unique opportunity to do that.
First, look at the kind of content they’re sharing. Do they prefer graphics or text articles? Long-form or short-form? Which companies are they following and interacting with? Use their existing social activity to inform the kind of content you create.
Focus on their industry. Write a case study about “The 5 Most Common Mistakes That [your target company] Makes” and boost it for employees of that company. If you can get people in the building talking about it, you’ll get your product to the top of their minds.
Go after specific pain points, too. If you can determine the biggest issues that they face in their daily lives or with their customers, you can create content that shows specifically how you can solve those problems.
Finally, target everything. Both Facebook and LinkedIn will let you target ads and boosted posts toward the employees of a specific company — LinkedIn will even let you target by job title within that company. Take advantage of that! If your product is going to make their IT staff’s lives easier, target everyone on that team and boost your brand awareness.
At least as important as landing new accounts is keeping up a good relationship with the accounts that you already have. We all know that it’s a lot more expensive to sign a new client than to keep an existing one, and that’s true even with the reduced acquisition costs of ABM. Happy customers become advocates for your company, bringing in new business at no cost to you.
Social media is a great way to do that. A “follow” isn’t a relationship, so focus on more detailed interaction. Join in on their conversations, especially if they’re talking about something you have particular expertise in. Don’t be afraid to chime in! If your input is helpful, it’ll be appreciated. Remember, engagement isn’t about sales — you can send a few links, but don’t turn your comments into pitches.
Engage with posts. Share and like their content. Ask for their input on your content. Partner with them on specific topics, blog posts, and case studies. ABM is a huge upgrade for most B2B businesses, bringing in better leads, more brand awareness, and more revenue. It’s a major shift in the way marketing is done, and it requires the full participation of every piece of your company. Social media is going to be a big part of that plan, so make sure it’s done right!