Your company has its social media followers, the question is, are you able to engage them enough so that they feel compelled to dig deeper and become customers?
Beyond just implementing tactic after tactic, it’s important to make sure your B2B social media marketing is optimized to improve your conversion rate. On average, B2B buyers are 57% of the way through buying considerations before ever talking to sales—and aside from their own research, they get there via content and social media marketing that stands out among the noise, reaches into their psyche and compels them to act. If you want to achieve this for your B2B brand, you’ll have to use a little psychology.
Here are a few ways you can implement psychological knowledge in increasing your conversion rate from social.
As a B2B marketer, if you craft marketing messages that show what prospects stand to gain from your product, and especially what they’ll lose by missing out on it, you’ll find more and more of them will be compelled to act. This follows from the psychological principles of “loss aversion” and the “fear of missing out,” both of which state that humans are more motivated by the thought of losing than by gaining something.
Empathizing with your customers’ pain points and providing unbeatable solutions will turn social followers into leads, and then into customers. For example, your B2B software product might reduce a complex business process to a few clicks. Pushing the benefits will work just fine, but content that addresses the inconvenience of not having your product in an eye-opening way will urge your leads to act fast.
In order to always understand your customers’ pain points, you should have a good grasp on what they need, how your product or service fulfills that and what possible unexpected factors can play a role. Industry issues can arise and create new needs at a moment’s notice. In addition to relying on your tried-and-true marketing intelligence, stay on top of what prospects are looking for in several other ways:
Stay informed on current events. Social media is a breeding ground for breaking news. Staying up to date on current events means always being aware of what’s happening in your industry, but also means you are contributing to the generation of news. 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media when considering a purchase, so if you’re the first to publish social posts about what your prospects need, you’ll gain more cachet in their eyes.
Survey your customers and qualified leads. Sometimes all it takes is a few questions to understand your prospects’ troubles and trials in a certain business task. And then, getting their attention on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook becomes much easier.
Once you understand what your customers just can’t live without in their day-to-day business lives, you’re on the way to constructing social content that converts them.
One of the most powerful selling points for any product or service is to provide prospects with the true value it will bring to their lives. Customers are always looking for the highest value-added available. If you can prove how your offering not only solves a need, but actually improves a certain aspect of business or life, you can reach potential customers in a more authentic and honest way.
To present value with strength, you’ll need to make sure prospects know exactly what to do next. Make sure your call to action is abundantly clear, and perhaps have more than one, so that your social media followers can act as soon as they make a decision. Make it a snap for them to call you—or better yet, provide some interesting gated content where you can collect email addresses and phone numbers for sales follow-up.
Value should always be an underlining goal of your marketing efforts. Psychologically, whether knowingly or not, humans look for how something is going to enhance their life. Will it make it better, easier, more enjoyable, more successful? Use those features as selling points for effective marketing and higher-quality sales. Value is also an excellent characteristic to advocate customer loyalty.
Marketing maven Seth Godin, in his book “Tribes,” describes the eponymous concept as groups of people united by a common purpose or passion. And this is exactly what you, as a B2B marketer, have the power to create via social media marketing.
A social media “tribe” is an essential tool for your arsenal because it invokes the wisdom of social psychology—namely, that we humans enjoy and find immense meaning in associating with each other in groups. Belonging is essential to feeling safe and secure.
One of the best ways to create that sense of “security,” even if your prospects simply see it as useful online networking, is through social media communities. Through LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups, for example, you can establish your company’s thought-leadership by answering questions and offering informed perspectives.
There are some other ways to ensure that your tribe remains a cohesive, tightly-knit group:
Create a seamless user experience across all channels. Landor Associates estimates that 45% of a brand’s image is determined by what it says, and how it says it. If your prospect knows exactly what your brand looks and “feels” like, whether on social media, on your website and blog, or in your webinars and podcasts, they’ll feel more comfortable and connected to you. Make sure that every LinkedIn blog post, Facebook message, and Tweet, as well as every other place you appear online, is a consistent reflection of your brand’s message.
Encourage engagements via your blog and social. Actually ask your prospects to tell you what they think after reading your blog post, or to Tweet you back with their opinions on a new industry statistic. Conversations are the lifeblood of a tribe, and making the first move is the way to get them started.
Create a cause for your tribe. In a CEB study, 64% of respondents noted that their relationships with brands are due to shared values. When you give your followers a substantial reason to keep following you, you’re providing the glue that will hold your tribe together. Perhaps you’ve already articulated a corporate mission, for example, a commitment to excellence in your consulting services, or being a driver of technological innovation in your field. Those values are what will make you stand out and convert like minded prospects.
To make sure your mission statement reaches those who naturally align with it, make sure to spread it across channels. Build social content that addresses it and is targeted to prospects who’ve endorsed similar values. Even better, when you source testimonials and case studies from your best customers, be sure to emphasize how your products have made their lives easier and align with your shared corporate values. That, in turn, is great fodder for content to attract similar customers in the future.
B2B products often involve a prolonged sales cycle, multiple stakeholders, and many touch-points along the way. How do you create enough trust to ensure that an interaction with a prospect will eventually result in a conversion? Invite your prospects and leads to investigate and learn more.
By creating social campaigns and other content pieces that help your audience calculate value and make highly-informed buying decisions—which are essential components of B2B sales—you’re establishing your company as a trustworthy thought-leader, and your followers will often convert on the strength of that brand perception.
Here are some ways you can pull your social media followers into an investigative curiosity about your brand and products:
Use trigger words in your social media content. Using the “five W’s,” namely the questions who, what, where, when, and especially why, as lead-ins for your social posts and blog headlines are great for piquing the interest of professionals who are hungry for knowledge.
Build your content around customer curiosities. Just as you might have built content around prospects’ fears and frustrations to tap into loss aversion, think about new technologies or happenings that are on peoples’ radar in your industry—things that people are wondering if they should adopt or understand. Then, put together content that offers an informed perspective.
Use a variety of content forms for various stages of the buying process and different point-persons. For some of your prospects, a whitepaper that goes in-depth about a process or system might be all that’s needed, whereas others will respond better to an unfolding “story” via a series of blog and social media posts. Your “why” questions, if poignant and relevant enough to your target audience, make for great Facebook and LinkedIn status updates, Tweets, and even LinkedIn or Google+ discussion topics.
Use your imagination to create touchpoints that will pique your prospects’ curiosity, draw them into your “expert” content, and ultimately get them to convert.
As a B2B marketer, you’re already using psychology in every tactic you implement. But with a special focus on the psychological techniques above, especially in the easily distractible yet high-potential world of social media, your conversion rates will only increase.
Ben is the Director of Operations at Oktopost, a social media marketing tool for B2B companies. Before joining Oktopost he built the lead demand activities for Nolio, where he also played a major role in developing the company's inside sales department. Social Media played a key role in the lead generation program and Ben formed strategic programs that harnessed social networks to increase inbound lead activities.