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Use social media more effectively for lead generation

Social media is increasingly becoming an essential component of any marketing strategy, but the B2B industry has been relatively slow to accept this tool's effectiveness. However, B2B marketing teams may be encountering problems because they aren't maintaining a presence on the networks their target audiences are using. 

While LinkedIn is typically the go-to network for professionals, if your target audience is primarily B2C companies, they most likely are using Facebook and Twitter, which means it may be a good idea not to rule these platforms out, according to Fox Business. However, if your main segment is high-level executives, social media may not be as effective because these decision-makers don't spend a lot of time perusing these platforms. In fact, the higher up the chain of command an executive is, the less time he or she is likely to spend on social media. B2B marketers need to carefully assess their audiences before embarking on a social media strategy. 

Don't rule Twitter out for B2B lead generation
Although most B2B marketers start with LinkedIn as their platform of choice, Twitter has unexpected benefits for lead generation and qualifying prospects, Converse Digital said. Twitter's search features make it easy to track topics, find people and view their profiles. Because Facebook contains more personal information, most people set their profiles to private, making it a more challenging tool to use for lead generation. Many professionals use Twitter to share news about their industries.

The micro-blogging site also has features that enable you to create lists of targeted leads, which allow you to monitor activity and join conversations. This is highly beneficial for lead nurturing efforts. 

Refine social media campaigns based on your needs
One of the reasons B2B firms don't see the results they want from social media is because they are expecting to get too much from it. If you narrow down your goals, it's easier to target an audience and see return on investment rather than trying to use social networks as a solution for all your marketing needs. Because B2B sales cycles are lengthy in many sectors, social media can act as an invaluable way to build relationships with leads while they are researching different options. 

Determining how often to follow up with leads in the middle of the marketing funnel can be difficult, according to The Idea Grove. For example, following up infrequently can cause prospects to lose interest and settle on a different vendor. But getting in touch too often can annoy prospects. Social media gives you a way to stay at the top of mind for potential customers without bombarding them with communications. 

Social media is also an important component in the early stages of the marketing funnel because it gives your brand more authority. Social media has a positive influence on search engine optimization, meaning that a presence on these networks can make it easier for leads to find you through Google, Yahoo or Bing. Having a high number of followers also demonstrates your brand's credibility. 

In addition, social media can amplify content marketing efforts. The Idea Grove recommended having your marketing team answer questions through these networks because if people are posting in social discussions, it's likely that other prospects have similar inquiries. This cuts down on the time sales representatives need to spend informing prospects about different product offerings. Social media has several highly effective uses for B2B lead generation. Marketers need to be set goals in advance and ensure they are using the networks that give them the best chance of reaching their target audience. 

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.