Archive for b2b marketing
Have you used Pinterest to promote your business-to-business (B2B) company?
Many consumer-facing businesses have had a lot of success promoting themselves with Pinterest.
A recent study by SteelHouse shows that “Pinterest Users Are Nearly Twice as Likely to Purchase Than Facebook Users.”
However, many B2B businesses are still wondering how to promote themselves with Pinterest.
Check out how these B2B businesses are using Pinterest. Try to replicate their techniques for your business.
Here are 7 tips for successfully using Pinterest for your B2B business.
#1: Use Infographics
Posting attractive infographics on your blog can be a great way to promote your B2B business on Pinterest. A well-designed infographic with helpful information can get you lots of pins and repins.
A recent infographic titled “How to Get More Pins and Repins on Pinterest” by Dan Zarrella shows that taller images are more repinnable and infographics are usually quite tall. So focus on creating tall, detailed infographics.
One example of a B2B company having success with infographics is KISSmetrics. They regularly create and post attractive infographics with useful information other businesses can implement. The infographics they post get pinned and repinned many times on Pinterest.
If you visit KISSmetrics’ blog, you’ll be able to see all of the wonderful infographics that are being shared.
A great example on which you could model your infographic is “How Do Colors Affect Purchases?” There are many facts and figures included in this well-designed infographic—it features good use of colors and it’s also quite tall. Create similar shareable infographics for your blog too.
#2: Use Ebooks, Guides and White Papers
Using ebooks, guides, white papers and other helpful documents can be a great way to promote your business on Pinterest.
Many people want to download your gated documents, especially if you have a popular blog with quality content.
To make them more shareable on Pinterest, you can add attractive cover images to your ebooks, guides and white papers.
Post an image of the cover on your document’s landing page. Also make sure you gate the content so people can access it only after they sign up. This will help you collect email addresses and names for your marketing efforts.
If your document is helpful and has an attractive image, your readers will want to pin and share it with their followers.
An example of a business using documents on Pinterest to the fullest is HubSpot. They have educational content such as ebooks, guides and white papers on subjects like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, SEO, Analytics, you name it. You can find them on this page.
All of these documents are gated and all have a good cover image on the landing page, which makes them pinnable and repinnable.
If you visit HubSpot, you’ll see all of the documents that are being pinned from their website.
Another important point to note is that HubSpot has a Pin It button on their landing pages too. This not only makes it easy for people to share the landing page, but it also adds social proof and credibility.
For example, if you visit the landing page of the guide “How to Use Pinterest for Business” and you see that it has been pinned more than 2,000 times, you really want to download it because all of those shares indicate that lots of people have found it helpful.
#3: Engage Your Fans
Ever since General Motors took their ads off Facebook, there’s been a lot of discussion on how social media should be used. Businesses need to understand that social media shouldn’t be used for direct marketing, but to engage followers and build relationships with them.
This is exactly how you should use Pinterest too. The primary focus needs to be to engage fans and make them feel special and to get them to share your pins, comment on them and like them. Selling your products directly should only be your secondary focus.
Do something like you do on Facebook, which could be to ask people to like your pin or to ask people questions in the description, which will encourage them to comment on it.
And when they comment on it, you can reply to their comments and build relationships with them. If you keep engaging your fans, you will eventually convert them into customers.
Here you’ll find pictures of Constant Contact customers and fans appreciating their service. This shows their followers that Constant Contact cares about them and it also works as a testimonial for Constant Contact’s services.
They also have a board called “Ask an Expert” where they pin videos of experts giving advice. These videos provide useful tips to fans and followers, thereby engaging them.
#4: Display Your Products
Along with all of these engaging pins, you can also display your products so that potential customers can notice them, and if they’re interested, you could generate leads.
There are many ways to do this. You can display pins of your products, which might lead to a landing page; you could just display them creatively to promote engagement; or you could display how your product works.
This board has some fantastic technologies built by GE. If you visit the board, you’ll see pictures of compressors, an LED light bulb, an aviation testing facility, etc. All of these pins show visitors what a big company GE is and all the wonderful products they create.
Another great example is how HubSpot highlights their product. On their Pinterest brand page they have a board called “Peek at HubSpot Software,” which contains pins of screenshots of the amazing things their software does.
The link provided on the pin leads interested viewers to a demo page where they can register for a customized demo of how HubSpot’s software can help their company.
#5: Display Your Work Culture
One of the best ways to engage your company’s fans and followers is to show people that there’s life behind your company’s website and your social media profile. You want to show people what happens behind the walls of your company.
This shows users that there are real people just like them working in the office and this encourages them to interact with your employees. It humanizes your company and your social media campaign.
You can apply this strategy to Pinterest by pinning images onto a board dedicated to work culture. You could also add your employees as contributors to this board so they can directly add their own images. This way, they will directly communicate with your followers.
An example of a company using this well is Marketo. Marketo has a board on their Pinterest brand page titled “Office Fun!” where they pin pictures of Marketo’s employees working and taking part in events and competitions.
These pictures show followers that Marketo has employees who are very social just like them.
#6: Pin Brand-Related Images
One of the best ways to promote your brand is to use relevant images. A recent study on Facebook shows that posting relevant images on your profile brings more shares. The same principle applies to Pinterest too.
If you are a B2B company that provides marketing services, pin pictures related to marketing; if you’re a B2B company that sells office supplies, pin images of interesting things used in offices, and so on. This way, you’ll build a brand on Pinterest and people interested in that will follow you.
An example is Intel, which has a board called “Geek Chic” where they pin pictures of technology. If you visit the board, you’ll see pictures of food equipment, USB devices, MP3 jewelry and all sorts of technologies. This works for Intel and helps promote their brand as a company that works in the field of computers and technology.
#7: Show That You Serve the Community
People like it when you take the extra step to serve them and everyone else better. It shows that you really care about them. This could be serving the community, making the world a better place, etc.
If you are a company that does this extra work, it’s a good business idea to display it to let your fans know about all of the good deeds you do. If it’s a cause they care about, they will support you and your company.
A company that’s doing this really well on Pinterest is FedEx. On their brand page they have a board called “FedEx Community Involvement” where they pin pictures of their crew members cleaning the environment, making donations, rescuing animals and many other things they do to serve their community. Visit their board to check it out.
All of these images show that FedEx cares and convince people to do business with them.
Another fantastic board they have is “FedEx EarthSmart” where they pin images and videos of steps they are taking to minimize their environmental impact. As FedEx delivers items, they use a lot of fuel, packaging material, etc. By showing they’re taking extra steps not to hurt the environment this shows that they care. This goes a long way in persuading people to work with them.
These are just a few examples of how B2B businesses can successfully use Pinterest. If you take a good look at your products and services, you should be able to come up with creative ways to promote your B2B business with Pinterest too.
What do you think? Have you used Pinterest to promote your B2B business? Have you got any tips you would like to share with us? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments in the box below.
Are you wondering, “How does social media work differently for B2B businesses?”
More than 1900 business-to-business (B2B) marketers shared their insights on what’s working with social media marketing and where they’d like to improve.
In this article I’m going to focus on those areas where B2B marketers have significantly different experiences than their consumer-focused counterparts.
Let’s dig in.
B2B Marketers Show Confidence in Social Media
Of the B2B marketers who took this year’s survey, over 93% use social media to market their businesses. While that’s slightly below their consumer-focused brethren (95.2%), there’s been a significant increase since the 2010 survey when only 88% of B2B marketers responded affirmatively.
B2B Marketers Have More Experience
Based on the results of this survey, marketers from B2B brands are more likely to have 3 or more years’ experience than their B2C counterparts (18% of B2B vs. 14% of B2C).
Social Media Is Getting Results
When asked about the benefits of social media marketing, B2B marketers noted the following:
- Over 56% of B2B marketers acquired new business partnerships through social media (compared to 45% of B2C marketers)
- Nearly 60% of B2B marketers saw improved search rankings from their social efforts (compared to 50% of B2C marketers)
- B2B marketers are more able to gather marketplace insights from their social efforts (nearly 69% vs. 60% of B2C marketers)
- The one area where B2B marketers significantly lag behind their B2C counterparts is in developing a loyal fan base. 63% of B2C marketers found social media helped them develop loyal fans, compared to only 53% of B2B marketers.
What Tools Do B2B Marketers Use?
While almost all B2C marketers (over 96%) use Facebook as a marketing tool, a significantly fewer 87% of B2B brands do the same according to this study. This barely surpasses the adoption of LinkedIn (86.6%) and Twitter (84%).
Where Will B2B Marketers Invest More Time?
There is little difference in how B2B and B2C marketers will increase their time investment except when it comes to Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging.
In 2012, B2B marketers are far more likely to increase their use of LinkedIn. In fact, over 76% of B2B marketers will increase their use, compared to only 55% of B2C marketers. These are both increases from 2011 (71% of B2B and 51% of B2C).
71% of B2B marketers plan to invest more time in blogging (compared to 65% of B2C marketers).
A significant majority of marketers will increase their use of Facebook this year, but B2B marketers (68%) lag behind B2C companies (76%).
What Do B2B Marketers Want to Learn?
If you offer educational products or consulting for B2B marketers, you’ll be interested to know that B2B marketers want to learn about Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter, in that order. Only in the case of LinkedIn does their interest surpass that of B2C marketers (56% of B2B vs. 50% of B2C).
The top topics B2B marketers want to learn about (compared to B2C) are:
- Measuring effectiveness of social media (77% vs. 78%)
- Converting activities to sales (72% vs. 69%)
- Discovering best social media tactics (69% vs. 74%)
Only in the case of converting activities to sales do B2B marketers exceed B2C marketers in their desire to learn.
Other Forms of B2B Marketing
It has been properly noted that many other marketing tools (like event marketing) are very social. Social media didn’t suddenly make marketers social. Nor does it replace such valuable tools as email and search engine optimization.
Heidi Cohen quips that we couldn’t have social media without email; how else would you log in to all of these platforms?
That understood, B2B marketers have a somewhat different experience marketing outside of social media. Only in the areas of email and press releases do they invest similarly.
B2B marketers are significantly more likely to use search engine optimization (67% vs. 62% of B2C), event marketing (68% vs. 60%) and webinars (28% vs. 12%).
B2B marketers are much less likely to use direct mail (37% vs. 45%), online ads (33% vs. 43%), sponsorships (25% vs. 31%), television ads (4% vs. 17%), radio ads (8% vs. 25%), and print display ads (25% vs. 47%).
In terms of future plans for these platforms, B2B marketers plan to increase their use of search engine optimization (69%), event marketing (62%) and email (61%). These are similar to B2C marketers’ responses, except that event marketing is far less important for B2C (51%).
Businesses Are Social Too
In studying history, one can see countless mistakes made by governments and businesses when they forget to view citizens and employees as human beings. In social media marketing it’s important to remember that other businesses are comprised of real people who behave socially (online and offline).
As demonstrated by this year’s industry report, many B2B marketers have found ways to connect with their audiences. How is it going for you?
What do you think? Please share your experiences and questions in the box below.