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Jamie Kightley, Head of iBAengage

In a recent marketing survey, 51% of B2B marketers plan on increasing their content marketing budgets in 2016, but only 30% said they were effective at it!

I’ve taken a look at some of the common B2C social media strategies being taken up by B2B marketing managers and explain what they should really be doing in order to cultivate more high quality leads in 2016.

1: Instant checkout?

Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites introduced a ‘buy’ button late last year to start turning audience browsing into buying. A useful feature for consumers, but is it useful for B2B marketers?

The average time for just one B2B sales process is 6 months – hardly an ‘express checkout’. Guiding your potential client down the decision-making funnel takes time, but B2B marketers can streamline this process by having the right social media strategy, starting with choosing the right platforms.

2: The platform is only as good as its audience

Emerging video platforms such as Snapchat and Vine are becoming increasingly popular with B2C companies as an informal way to engage with audiences and build a brand.

The problem with these platforms for B2B is their audience – around 36% of users on Vine and Snapchat are under the age of 24. B2B marketers first port of call should be LinkedIn – 45% of users are upper management figures and decision-makers. Case in point – one of our clients recently made half their yearly sales target in one deal. Their first point of contact? A LinkedIn discussion.

3: Content strategy – feel good factor or lead cultivation

Having the right social media platforms is important, but the type of content posted on them is just as important for cultivating leads.

Over 60% of B2C marketers surveyed said visual content or ‘storytelling’ was an effective strategy for them, but how effective is this in the B2B world?

Not very, and for one very important reason. B2B marketers should care less about how their content makes people feel and more about how it could help their organization develop the business pipeline. More appropriate forms of content for B2B marketing are blogs, whitepapers and webinars – content that places your organization as an industry expert and market leader. But even when you are producing these forms of content, how do you compete with the mass amount being published and shared on social media?

4: Content fatigue – cutting through the noise

With 27 million pieces of content being shared on social media every day, it can be hard to tell what’s relevant and what isn’t. That’s because B2C marketing is about getting brand recognition rather than informing the customer about a product or service.

In the B2B world, a quality and informative piece of thought-leadership content can cut through the mass amount of noise being generated on social media. Well-written thought-leadership pieces are key to promoting what you can do for a potential client’s business.

5: Be productive, not just active

One of the main ways B2Cs measure their content marketing success is through traffic directed back to their website, even though it’s not certain that everyone who clicks on your website will make a purchase.

I think a better way of measuring success goes back to the ‘quality over quantity’ part – in B2B, the buying price is high and the audience small, so getting your message to a targeted audience who are actually interested in what you have to offer is important. The measurement of success in B2B should be through high quality lead cultivation and conversion rates, not in how many hits your blog or website gets.

B2B marketers should make it their top priority to change their social media strategies to reflect their lead generation needs in 2016, or risk being left behind and losing out on business.

Jamie Kightley, Head of iBAengage

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