Integrating social commerce into a B2B sales strategy may be a relatively new idea, but the underlying concepts date back to the earliest days of civilization: We are all social creatures who are community minded and driven by referrals from friends and family.
With each step of the purchasing process—from awareness to purchase to brand advocacy—companies must work to develop a socially driven shopping experience and promote sharing across social media channels. The name of the game is always driving traffic back to your landing page to make the sale. But with a buyer’s path to purchase becoming increasingly nonlinear, traditional B2B marketing strategies no longer make sense.
Here are four steps to get your B2B social commerce strategy off the ground and bring your marketing strategy into the 21st century.
1. Outline Your Objectives
What are you trying to achieve with social commerce? Is your goal to acquire new customers, or maybe convert customers into advocates? Determining your ultimate goals will help structure your programming accordingly and determine the appropriate metrics with which to measure success.
As a rule of thumb, avoid using “vanity” metrics. Instead, focus on actionable metrics that can inform your business strategy. A lot of the data offered by social media sites is fluff (fans and likes, for example). Measuring your success based on these metrics alone may show a high ROI, but you’re not getting the whole story.
2. Create a Promotional Strategy
You’ve established yourself as a social media business, but what else will you do to generate a strong brand presence? There is little room for organic growth on social media sites, making a mapped-out promotional strategy critical to ensuring that people are aware of your brand.
Your best option is, not surprisingly, implementing an effective referral marketing strategy. Consistently interacting with your customers will build a personal relationship that creates strong emotional ties between them and your brand. Offering new deals and exciting offers can help grow this relationship, and it will also incentivize your loyal fans to refer industry peers to your B2B brand.
For a B2B company operating in a highly specialized niche, finding your influencers and driving engagement with the right fans is the key to driving more sales and revenues to your business.
3. Create Content to Establish Your Authority
Any type of original content—be it photos, blog posts, or videos—is a great way to engage your fans in relevant conversations about your products. Over time, your content will grow into a library that not only establishes credibility and authority for your brand, but also builds a lasting community in the process.
Content works best when it’s combined with integration into social media via social sharing buttons. Every blog post or product page should include a share button to give shoppers the ability to push out content or referrals to all of their followers. Promoting this type of sharing brings greater awareness to your brand’s online presence. The importance of content sharing across the Web cannot be overstated. Make sure you’re effectively utilizing it.
4. Integrate Social Commerce into a Multichannel Strategy
Social commerce may be a large part of your sales strategy, but hopefully it’s not the only one. It’s important to determine what effect social commerce will have on other marketing channels and how you can support and integrate your marketing programs to optimize conversions and sales.
Outbound, inbound, referral, or otherwise, the success of your B2B business depends on offering a number of acquisition channels and leveraging the power of your network across all of them.
Regardless of niche, any company would be wise to hop onto the social commerce train now, lest they get left behind in the rapidly evolving world of B2B sales.