It’s clear by now that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just a temporary disruption, a rough patch with familiar normalcy on the other side. We’re working from home, live streaming classes and get-togethers, and shifting even more of our social lives onto social media. The new habits we’ve learned aren’t going to evaporate the moment we conquer the virus.
B2B marketing has felt these shifts as much as any other field. Conferences and trade shows may be fading into memory, but new ideas and opportunities are emerging in their place. We are rapidly embracing technologies that help us adapt to life under lockdown. Social platforms have provided effective and coronavirus-safe ways for businesses to share and connect.
As the source of more than 80% of their social media leads, LinkedIn has always been the bright center of the universe for B2B marketers. With old-school marketing channels shrinking due to pandemic closures, connecting with potential customers on LinkedIn and other social networks is more of a priority than ever.
To thrive in a post-COVID world, B2B marketers will need to focus more on social media and meet their leads where they’re at. Here’s how to adjust your strategy to be successful.
Step one for optimizing your social media marketing strategy is to perform an audit and analyze your key performance indicators. Compare the things you were doing before with what you’ve been doing since the pandemic started. Be honest with yourself while trying to figure out what you’ve been doing wrong, what opportunities you may have missed, and what to do to fix it.
Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to interpret people’s moods and understand why they’re acting or feeling a certain way. In a marketing context, emotional intelligence is what you use to “read the room” on social media and other platforms. It allows you to determine the best voice and approach for the message you want to deliver. In a post-COVID world, a detached or self-satisfied tone will not get you very far with most leads. Hardly anyone is sitting at home thinking that they’d like to be on the receiving end of an aggressive sales pitch right now. It’s a lot easier to make inroads with fun, uplifting, community-building content. As a result, you might see your campaigns shift more and more toward top-of-the-funnel content. Once you’ve established a baseline of trust and goodwill, you can turn toward more traditional methods to close the sale.
Year after year, social advertising keeps growing. It’s always been friendly to B2B sellers who benefit from the fine-grained targeting that social ads allow. This is especially true on business-friendly platforms like LinkedIn, where sponsored InMail enjoys a 52% open rate. That’s more than twice as much as the open rate for regular marketing emails.
B2B companies generally have smaller followings than big B2C brands, but this can offer some advantages. Virtual events, webinars, and live streams can bring audiences together to learn about your products and how to use them. Social media also allows you to create and host user groups to engage in discussions and exchange advice. Just don’t treat these groups as a captive audience for ads and promotions. Instead, relate to them by sharing positive stories about your company and team, and answer the questions and concerns they bring up. When you stay involved in the communities of users and enthusiasts who buy from you, there are daily opportunities to build trust and loyalty.
Data analysis can get challenging when you’re nurturing communities and buying advertising on more than one social media platform. For many B2B companies, the most efficient tool for the task is an all-in-one social media management and analytics solution. These allow you to gather and analyze data from various social media sources. They help you organize and launch automated campaigns across multiple platforms, delivering consistent results and reliable insights.
To succeed in the B2B marketing landscape in a post-COVID world, you must rethink your strategies. You have to apply your emotional intelligence to create compelling social ads and experiences. You have to foster dedicated communities based on value and trust. And if something’s not working, use data-driven analytics to tell you when to change course. It’s a challenge — but by following these strategies, you can rise to it.