I’ve encountered many in B2B who say they’re struggling to find success with social channels and, portfolio-wide, to convert qualified leads to opportunities. Some struggle to just find qualified leads.
Not surprisingly, these same advertisers all fall short in adopting the six strategies I’ve found to be integral to building and maintaining healthy social ROI. So, before throwing in the towel and letting competitors sweep in on your misfortunes (typically, misunderstandings), adopt these key strategies to find success on social with your B2B account.
1. Warm up your leads before bringing them down the pipeline, then nurture those audiences
When was the last time you came across a brand’s ad for the first time on Facebook or LinkedIn, went directly to the landing page, bought in at a high price-point contract, and started using the software all in the same window session/sitting?
If you’re like all other good business leaders, this has most likely never happened, as your goal is to vet out your options and truly understand each solution’s offering and capabilities at each price point. So, why do you expect your prospective customers to first hear about your brand or offering and follow through to conversion in one go?
The answer is to warm up these targets by giving them ways to learn about your brand or solution, and how others are finding success with it. Too many times I’ve taken on accounts that are sending users to a landing page to start a trial or demo, and they can’t figure out why they have a poor trial or demo-to-contract-signed CVR. Marketers must understand that on social, especially when prospecting, this is interruptive marketing—you should hold your potential customer’s hand through the pipeline with strong content and nurture strategies.
2. Solve for pain points with content (and keep testing!)
Your sales team is sitting on a mountain of valuable qualitative information. They’re contacting users at different stages of the funnel, fielding their questions, and hoping to solve their pain points. Yet, most marketing teams are either oblivious to the fact that this information is out there, or are too busy to use it. Interestingly, teams like this also often have issues moving users down pipeline!
Just by holding recurring meetings with select sales staff or mining for this qualitative data out of Salesforce, marketers can understand prospects’ pain points and match or create new content to help solve for them. Once the content is ready, you can upload these audiences into social channels and serve the appropriate content piece tailored for that audience segment. Then, you can continue to build on this approach by testing content pieces against one another at each stage to find the optimal performance and user experience.
3. Test your attribution models and understand incremental impact
The vast majority of social traffic is on mobile, yet conversion paths and actions are still typically designed for desktop. This leads to attribution models typically showing social yielding poor acquisition costs, with even greater drop-offs when comparing to backend data. Given that social is mostly an upper-funnel channel to help find new audiences, it’s important to ensure that your attribution model can account for this drop in data.
There a few ways to do this, chief being multi-touch attribution (MTA) models (Facebook even has its own built-in and available for all advertisers) and incrementality testing. I recommend a mix of both, because even MTA isn’t perfect at truly understanding performance at all of the user touch points along the journey of a long sales cycle.
Advertisers who fail to adopt these practices into their models will also fail to understand a channel’s true performance, which will then lead them to misguided budget allocations. Ultimately, this drives advertisers to pull funding from social, and opens the door for their competitors to fill their pipeline with these new leads.
4. Adopt in-platform AI product features and
Similar to B2C, B2B marketers can and should be adopting most AI product features available in these social platforms in order to work smarter and leaner. Facebook specifically has grown its AI product sets, including solutions that find the best budget distribution across audiences, placements, and even the best creative messaging mix.
With only a few additional optimizations, B2B advertisers can use these tools to find success. Advertisers who work with AI will find themselves running more efficient accounts with better opportunities to scale.
5. Feed AI with as much data as you can
While AI can be a powerful tool, it must be fed ample amounts of data to find the best solution for each advertiser. The more touch points you can identify as a conversion event and fed back into each platform, the stronger AI will work for you.
With each standard event identified on the site, the AI platform will match that standard event in its black box of data of all advertisers’ standard events to find similar users in a similar market / vertical. This allows you to use your own data warehouse, plus each platform’s data warehouse, to match audiences and drive performance on the channel.
For B2B advertisers, it’s important to match these standard events to valuable event triggers on the website—for example, defining a blog subscriber as a shallower event than someone who submits a form for a demo video. (But, to each their own—understand your funnel and website user journey).
6. Find success on LinkedIn for improved pipeline performance
LinkedIn is a valuable channel that’s getting left in the dust due to high costs shallow in the funnel or even at the delivery stage. I’ve found LinkedIn to drive more quality audiences down funnel at more efficient costs deeper in the buyer journey, despite having over 400% higher CPM or CPLs. To help get you started, follow this proven step-by-step guide to unlocking success on LinkedIn.
I’ve tested these strategies with B2B clients again and again and have always found that they help strengthen the account’s performance. Before Q4 is officially upon us, take the time to reassess your brand’s standing on social platforms. If you find that there’s room for improvement (hot tip, there’s always room for improvement), dedicate some time to exploring these avenues - your bottom line will thank you.