Michelle Mckinley is the senior director of growth marketing at CareerArc, a team that offers technology-based social recruiting and outplacement...
The importance of social media for B2B is in constant question. The primary question being, “Does social media generate MQLs?”
This is a valid question and a challenging one to answer. Let’s start by addressing this question thoroughly and then dive into demand generation tactics you can execute across your campaigns.
Does Social Media Generate MQLs?
The question is not easy to answer, but in it’s purest sense, it depends on if you do it right. Let’s back our way into unpacking this answer by reviewing the top things people don’t get right:
- Incorrect Expectations
- Short Timeline + Small budget
- No Unique Value Proposition
- Lack of Targeting
- Poor Creative
- No Landing Page
- Bad Offer
If you are expecting that you will have to hire a new account executive or add more phone lines because you launched a Facebook ad campaign you will be sorely disappointed.
In isolation, social media advertising struggles to generate MQLs, but without you are losing out on a valuable channel that can increase your close rate, conversion rate, and content marketing. Social media advertising, when used as a supportive channel, has an immense opportunity. Just as social selling has proven to increase the volume of deals reps close, social advertising can increase your overall pipeline growth and supplement other channels.
Short Timeline + Small Budget
Social media advertising takes time to make an impact. If you are treating it as a supportive channel, it will take the amount days it take you to close a deal to have an impact on your MQLs. If your deals take six months to close don’t assume that social media will affect your MQLs in less time than that.
See how important expectations are?
The real value of social is to increase close rate, improve brand affinity, scale your touches across valuable accounts, decrease deal time, etc. When social is treated as a supportive channel the perception of its value changes.
In regards to budget, I recommend advertising an amount that you feel comfortable “losing” for the length of your current deal cycle so that you give it enough time to measure impact. We currently advertise only 1/10 of our advertising budget on social and feel confident that it is positively influencing our pipeline growth. If we felt more confident, we would spend more…or if we had a bigger pipeline that needed more supporting we could also spend more.
No Unique Value Proposition
At Directive, we ran into the issue of not having a unique value proposition. To tackle this, we niched into B2B and enterprise SEO. We knew that our service and approach could be a great fit for a B2B firms needs and allow us to differentiate ourselves in a commoditized market.
I recognize that as the CEO I can do this, but how can you differentiate your product or service line if you can’t change your brand or strategic positioning?
Step one, start to read your form submissions. What does your target customer request or define their needs as when they contact you? Take an index of all their submissions and then reposition your copy and creative across your social media ads to better align with why your target customer is contacting you.
By listening to your customer and doing a simple analysis you can immediately increase the effectiveness of your social ad campaigns.
Lack of Targeting
B2B targeting has drastically changed over the last five years. No longer is sales about how many dials a rep makes, but instead, it’s about how unique of plays your sales team can orchestrate to go after named accounts via multiple contacts.
The beauty of this change in the sales environment is that social media platforms, Facebook, in particular, allow you to leverage this data. You can now go beyond Interests and Behavioral Targeting in Facebook and instead go after companies, titles, industries, verticals, and more.
To get an idea, I have attached a screenshot of our latest targeting:
Notice how we are able to take our exact customer profile data and target them on Facebook! Pretty Good, Pretty, Pretty Good.
Unfortunately, creative can far too often be an afterthought for B2B firms. In an attempt to be “Enterprise” design suffers and differentiation is poor.
To get the wheels turning for you, I have attached an example from a campaign we are running now that leverages Facebook’s carousel ads to tell the story of how our process works:
You can have the best targeting in the world, but if your creative does not tell a compelling story visually your campaigns can struggle.
No Landing Page
An ad without a landing page is a running faucet without a bucket. You can not simply hope that the user (who you are interrupting on social media) will see your ad remember why they need you and be so convinced by your ad copy that they are ready to give you their private information.
Instead, it is important that you have a custom landing page with terrific copy and beautiful design. While this might seem idealistic, there’s an easy way to do this without being a programmer or graphic designer.
We use templates and page builders such as Unbounce. Other options that exist are LeadPages and InstaPage. Here’s a sample of some our latest landing page work to get an idea of what a B2B landing page can look like:
A consistent message from your brand to landing page + great design is a winning recipe for your current campaigns.
The best creative and most compelling copy can not overcome a weak offer. We have found this to be one of the weakest areas for ourselves and our clients across the board.
To overcome this weakness, we run split tests for ourselves using Unbounce testing our client’s responsiveness between Audit, Proposal, and Assessment. While “Assessment” won in our latest test, we have found that user reactions change quickly and this is something we frequently test.
On our client’s campaigns, we have discovered that a favorite offer/call to action (CTA) is: “Schedule a [Demo/Consultation]”. Unfortunately, this CTA brings a lot of psychological baggage along with it. Schedule a Demo can allude to an hour long session of unanswered questions, back and forth emailing, and no clear indication of a price. We weren’t positive though so we tested it.
Here were the results when we changed the offer from “Schedule a Demo” to “5-Minute Demo Video”:
It is truly amazing what testing and innovation can do to your conversion rates when adjusting your offer.
3 Social Media Tactics for B2B
Hopefully, this post has convinced you of the importance of social media for B2B when functioning as a supportive channel and I would like to leave you with three tactics you can implement across your B2B social media campaigns.
Tactic 1: Use Carousel Ads to Tell A Story
Carousel ads have been traditionally used by eCommerce companies to highlight multiple products or retarget users that have multiple products in their cart. As a B2B firm, you can use these same carousel ads to tell a story.
The story you tell is can be wrapped around your goal. Maybe you sell a multi-feature product and it’s important that your end customer knows about all your features. Instead, maybe you have a process that your end customer can expect for how you service them. Another way to tell your story is by using the multiple ads to highlight the benefits: Decrease CPA, Increase Conversions, Grow MQLs, etc.
The to telling your story well is that your creative and copy properly flow from each ad to the next.
Tactic 2: Upload CRM Data And Advertise
Your database of contacts is one of your strongest assets to leverage via social media. If you already have name accounts or contacts in your (HubSpot, SalesForce, Marketo, etc) why not increase your marketing touches with them at scale?
A simple way to do this not only across social media, but also Google’s Display Network (GDN) and other channels is via Adroll. Keep in mind that you will have less granular control then if you managed each campaign in its native platform, but if time and expertise are not on your side Adroll is a great option.
Here is a helpful video from Facebook on the value of custom audiences and how to leverage them: https://www.facebook.com/433382740093484/videos/667957883302634/
In addition, you can expand your targeting by taking 100+ of your top accounts or current customers and go after what Facebook calls “Look-a-Like Audiences”. With this approach, you can expand your reach with accounts that match you with new customers that mirror your audiences psychographics.
Tactic 3: Change Gated Content Form to Drive MQLs
I came across a landing page from Engagio the other day and I love their approach for their form. You can find it below for reference:
What I really enjoy about this form for their gated content is that they have a little option at the bottom titled: “I’m curious about Engagio, please have someone contact me!” What an awesome way to gauge the temperature of leads that are high in your funnel!
I do have one way they could genuinely improve this form.
What I would recommend is that they add a final field so that if you select “Yes” to “I’m curious about Engagio, please have someone contact me!” then a field for phone number will appear below. Without this, they are unable to follow up within 5 minutes of the form fill which can drastically improve their success rate with these warm leads.
In closing, if you are debating the importance of B2B social media and how it can drive MQLs I would encourage you to change your perspective and instead ask: “How Can Social Media Improve My Existing Channels?”