B2B businesses don’t target the common man. In fact, “B2B” refers to “business 2 business” — or a business that caters to other businesses. This can be through goods, services or other offers that specifically aim to help another business work more efficiently in one way or another.
Thus, the answer to the question of “What is the target audience of a B2B business?” would be “Another business,” and then with some specifics attached; i.e. a copywriting business, small businesses, etc. The trouble is that there are hundreds of thousands of resources, articles and tips available for helping businesses target a consumer audience, but not nearly as many geared towards B2B businesses who see consumers as a business entity, not the Average Joe.
The difference in how businesses market to other businesses vs. how a business would market itself to singular customers is staggering. For instance, many B2B businesses don’t heavily focus on traditional social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. They may use these sites as a side social media network, but there’s one big social space most B2B businesses invest most of their time into: LinkedIn.
This social networking site is where business peers connect with one another in order to form relationships not as people, but as extensions of businesses. If you have a B2B business then this is all 101 stuff to you — but have you truly examined your business goals for 2017 as a LinkedIn user?
Leveraging Short and Long Term Marketing Strategies
Marketing is generally about getting new clients on the hook, and B2B businesses also participate in a lot of this kind of short terms sales pitching. There’s also another form of marketing that must be considered as well: branding.
When you market with a long-term goal in mind, you focus on building your brand. Branding is something that establishes a business as a credible entity, which makes networking a lot simpler. For instance, you’re given two different types of soda: Coca Cola and Hype!. One you’ve obviously heard of before – who doesn’t recognize good ol’ Coke? The other is a new brand, one that’s just getting its business sea legs to stop wobbling. If you’re allowed to drink one, and only one, which do you choose?
Take the risk-takers out of the equation, and most people go with what they know over something new that isn’t established. In this scenario, a consumer is more likely to choose something they know will taste good as opposed to something that they have no experience with — will it taste good, or will it taste bad?
LinkedIn branding works similarly. It’s important to not only generate short-term leads, but also to build your brand. If you were the business owner behind Hype!, you’d want to establish yourself before really churning out any short-term sales marketing strategy. A 60:40 ratio is suggested by this LinkedIn article. Brands that are established are more likely to succeed when it comes to networking.
Go Above and Beyond to Find Your Peers
Sometimes the obvious reasoning isn’t what connects someone on LinkedIn. Many B2B marketers work their way up via the usual suspects. They find people who are suggested to them, connect with them and then connect with those related to them. This is smart in one way — when you network within a safe business zone, you’re more likely to get lasting connections.
However, simply sticking with what you know means missing out on untapped markets out there. LinkedIn has Advanced Search for a reason, you know! Even those who don’t pay for an upgraded site membership gain access to a lot of different ways to filter through LinkedIn members. For instance, you may find success in networking with university alumna or even through a particular keyword. Go forth — LinkedIn is your oyster.
Mobilize Your Team
If you’ve got a force of employees on LinkedIn (or even other social sites), it’s time to have a meeting. While it’s important to not control your employee’s social lives, it’s good to remind them that every interaction they have creates the potential for lead generation or branding. They don’t have to commit to making every night out or dinner date a chance to network, but when it comes to LinkedIn? They definitely do.
Make sure that your team is following along with the above advice. They too need to be out there connecting with people and putting their best foot forward. A company isn’t judged solely by its own LinkedIn account, but also by its employees and how they act as well.
Looking for more social media marketing ideas? Learn the 5 things your business should ask before posting every tweet.