Guest post by Justin Baynton
First and foremost, social listening is the surveillance of digital conversations to interpret what customers are commenting online about a brand and industry. Specifically, it scans social media platforms for mentions of a specific brand, its competitors, products and services, and any other information that is relevant. The next stride is dissecting that information for actionable insights. Today, businesses know that the strategy for social media marketing is constructed around approaching the right audience at an optimum time with richly insightful content.
However, similar to any other marketing aspect, to do effective social listening, and to facilitate a B2B marketing and lead generation program, it needs to be seeking precise information or resolving a particular problem. The procedure of generating B2B leads is not as convenient compared to B2C leads, where potentially everyone can be a lead. Some segments are agonizingly challenging to penetrate.
The reason is that there is way too much noise on social media platforms to just listen and expect some insights. Therefore, today’s B2B marketers should be well versed with what they should be listening to in order to generate quality leads. It can be made possible with a hyperactive social media listening strategy that breaks through all of the superfluous digital noise, and monitors only what is most valuable to the brand and relevant to the defined objectives.
Remember, social listening truly reveals its ROI for B2B enterprises when it comes to creating leads. As per Business 2 Community, more than 48% of B2B customers want to buy a new solution, but dreading the risk, have not spoken up about it. Therefore, instead of waiting for customers to come out and announce what they want to buy, marketing and sales agents are left to search for their prospective customers on social media.
Five Ways to Generate Leads through Social Listening
Stay on Top of the Business Mentions
The fact that your company is not the focus of thousands of social media posts every day does not mean you do not want to hear when customers mention your business, products, services, or top executives. It is far less about sentiment analysis and a lot more about unearthing what buyers are actually saying about your brand. Additionally, fewer conversations do not mean lesser value. In fact, it is quite the opposite since conversations are usually targeted. Also, the lower the volume, the less time required to examine all the relevant mentions.
Respond to Customers and Prospects
You did an excellent job positioning your company as contemporary and customer-centric. However, you followed that up with a delay in responding to queries and providing relevant commentary on social media. It is a move doomed to push your audience away. Therefore, tracking and actively responding to online discussions from potential prospects is more meaningful toward B2B leads generation than striving to outspend your competitors. Be ready to give away free advice to earn the trust of prospects that are asking for help on social platforms. Be first to respond with an answer to the problem and push your business to the top of the consideration set.
Stay In Sync with What Interests Your Buyers
Remember, it is not all about you and your business. Social media listening is a fantastic way to identify the topics, hashtags, and publications potential customers are currently into. You can use these social media revelations to update your B2B social media marketing and PR strategy.
Identify who Influences Your Niche Audience
Social listening also facilitates you to find the executives, thought-leaders, and bloggers that your buyers mention and share the most. It is true, influencer marketing is relevant for B2B brands, too. It is because the principal benefit of tracking social media is nurturing powerful connections with brand champions and the ones who wield the most influence in the industry. Additionally, B2B companies can discover their business or industry critics, listen to their reviews and feedback, and reply accordingly.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Initiatives
It is an alternative B2B strategy that focuses marketing and sales resources on a precisely defined set of accounts within a market and deploys customized campaigns engineered to echo each account. Therefore, a B2B marketer selling to a particular set of decision makers and companies will certainly want to track their conversations for insights into how to approach and engage them.
How to Get Started with Social Listening
As mentioned earlier, branded conversation for B2B companies is lower compared to B2C. However, you would be surprised to see the amount of chit chat piling up about your competitors on B2B social media (also, discussions about what they are not doing).
How to Make Sure Your Social Listening Creates B2B Leads
Whether you are using free tools such as Google alerts, or Talkwalker alerts, your social publishing platform (for example, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social), or a premium enterprise platform, select the social listening technology that resonates the most with your B2B brand. For instance, our friends at Socedo integrate with preeminent CRM and social media marketing automation systems on the market, enabling you to bring new leads and rich data automatically from Socedo, into such systems.
Establish What You Want to Listen To
You can start by listening to the mentions of your business, key employees, products, and/or services. Additionally, consider your target accounts, direct competitors, and the hashtags most relevant or significant to your business.
Be Ready to Answer and Engage
You need to stay ahead of your B2B marketing game by identifying the customer support questions, sales opportunities, and ongoing social media trends and crises. More importantly, you need to assign, in advance, the right individuals to respond to a given issue so that they can engage and react, as needed. Remember, B2B social listening is in real-time so you cannot afford to figure things out as you go.
About The Author
Justin Baynton is a digital marketing thought leader and industry innovator. Justin has successfully led digital strategy and implementation for many large enterprise organizations. Justin is a board member for AXO Digital and is writing this on their behalf. AXO Digital is an internet marketing company with deep experience in all digital marketing services.