Marketers are always seeking innovative ways to target prospects. These days, B2B marketers are transitioning from traditional marketing and other forms such as affiliate marketing, to a more personalized account-based marketing (ABM). In fact, around 80% of B2B organizations are already implementing the ABM strategy.
Account-based marketing trends have shifted the focus from quantity to quality-organizations are focusing on generating fewer, but qualified leads that are more likely to buy their product/service. An ABM based-approach helps them focus resources on campaigns optimized for specific accounts. According to a survey by ITSMA, ABM delivers the highest ROI out of all the B2B marketing strategies.
However simple it may sound, an ABM-based approach isn’t easy to implement. ABM requires organizations to refocus their efforts around specific accounts, especially on social media. In this blog, we will discuss everything related to account-based marketing and how you can deploy social media for B2B account-based marketing. So, let’s begin without further ado.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is a B2B marketing strategy that focusses on sales and marketing efforts on a specific set of target accounts within an industry. Here, your campaign is based on the attributes of the account you are targeting.
While Account-based marketing is popular among all B2B marketers, it’s particularly important for those seeking to acquire enterprise-grade customers. The ABM-based approach entails a higher level of personalizing and costs more than a traditional blanket approach that targets every business under the sun. However, with the emergence of social channels, the cost of B2B account-based has come down drastically.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Now that we have mentioned ‘social’, let us first understand what social media marketing is. Social media marketing is a form of online marketing that deploys social media platforms to promote a brand’s products or services. The primary goal of social media marketing is to create valuable, compelling content that users share within their network to increase a brand’s awareness and broaden their reach. The content can be in the form of text, images, infographics, videos, webinars, blog posts and articles.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube are the platforms commonly used for social media marketing.
Social Media Marketing and Account-Based Marketing
In 2019, we have 3.2 billion people (42% of the world population) using social platforms. Facebook alone has 2.2 billion users, followed by YouTube (1.9 billion users), Instagram (1 billion), LinkedIn (645 million) and Twitter (335 million users). The sheer number of social media users makes it the most appropriate medium for building and nurturing lasting relationships.
And building great relationships is the key to a successful B2B account-based marketing strategy. Businesses should, therefore, optimally use social channels to forge engagement with their target accounts and use.
Social media marketing brings numerous benefits to B2B marketers: it augments awareness about their brand, generates leads, boosts conversion rates and fosters lasting relationships with clients.
Social Media Strategies and Tips for ABM
Now that we understand what ABM and social media marketing are, let us discuss 7 ways in which you can leverage social media to create an effective account-based marketing strategy.
1) Identify your Target Audience
Before anything else, identify the accounts you need to focus your efforts on. To begin with, search for your target companies on LinkedIn. Go through their list of employees. Filter the list by location, industry and service to select the right decision-makers. If needed, go through their job description also. Once have the list of your target audience ready, keep them handy.
2) Follow your Target Audience
Connect with the audience identified in step 1. Monitor what kind of content they share or publish on LinkedIn and try to gauge their interests, and avoid using duplicate content. Find if these decision-makers have a Twitter account or a professional blog. If yes, follow them there as well. Now that some of these people will follow you back on social media, you will get ample opportunities to engage and take the conversation forward.
3) Optimize your Social Listening
Look for all the relevant keywords related to your target accounts: their company name, decision-makers, product/service and even jargon related to their industry. Use a credible social media listening tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to gather and analyze this data. The analysis will help you understand what your target accounts are saying and what all is being published about them. It will offer you a base for crafting a suitable content marketing strategy.
4) Tune your Content Strategy
Now that you understand your target audience well, all you need to do is to craft content that caters to their needs and interests. Publish blog posts that address their pain areas or aspirations and use insightful lessons to boost your business. Mention your target company or their key executives in your posts, reference quotes from their key decision-makers. Ask these executives to write guest posts for your social pages, share and republish their blog posts on your account. When you devise content marketing strategy around specific targets, you will certainly grab their attention.
5) Build and Nurture Relationships
The key objective behind tracking your target accounts is to build and strengthen relationships with them and create avenues for long-term association. This can be accomplished in several ways. Try to engage in conversations revolving around your target accounts, be an advocate of their brand and mention them frequently in your posts. Also, engage your business development team whenever the need arises.
6) Try Paid Social Tactics as needed
In addition to the aforementioned steps, you can use paid social tactics if your marketing budget allows. The following tools can be immensely helpful in this regard.
Facebook: With Facebook Ads, you can create a campaign for as little as $5. Facebook offers the flexibility to target audiences according to their demographics, location, behaviors, and interests. You can either use an existing post or create a new post from scratch. You can also decide the placement of your ads and track your results using Facebook analytics.
LinkedIn: Of late, LinkedIn has begun to offer account targeting that lets you target a list of individuals or a list of companies with additional filters applied over them.
Twitter: On Twitter, ads can be in the form of promoted accounts, promoted trends or promoted tweets. In promoted accounts, your brand will appear in your target audience’s “Who to Follow” section. In promoted trends, you can put your branded hashtags in front of your audience’s trending topics. You can also promote specific tweets by putting them in the newsfeed of your target audience.
7) Measure your Progress and Tune your Strategy
Be sure to measure your progress at regular intervals and tweak your strategy as required. Key metrics that you need to consider are engagement and traffic from your target accounts and the pipeline created so far. If these metrics are in the right direction, your messages are reaching the right audience and they are interested in your content. If, however, they aren’t up to the mark, you will probably need to reconsider your target audience or your message.
In view of the attention that social media has gathered over the past decade, B2B marketers need to leverage social media marketing to focus on their target accounts. Businesses not only need to identify and follow their target audience but also create content that caters to their needs and interests. Equally important is to measure the progress and tweak the strategy as needed.
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