In the United States, it is no longer socially acceptable for a viable business to consider email as a primary source of outreach. This is especially true in a niche industry such as building materials – make one person angry, and it could affect business with many partners. Countries outside of the United States are actually drawing the curtains on traditional outreach methods in a legal way. Canada and the EU define hard penalties for companies who are found to be in defiance of this new social norm.
With traditional outreach and mass platforms on the decline, at least for businesses, social outreach will certainly continue to experience growth in the near future. Social media has been identified as a core hub for big data and cost-effective trend analysis, even without the clamps being placed on other sources of outreach.
Do B2B industries need to worry about social media in 2017? The short answer is yes. Here are the specific reasons why:
Opportunities to Improve the Customer Experience
CX (the customer experience) is the new UI. CX is now the centerpiece of most successful social media initiatives from B2B companies. The best part – if you are highly focused on CX, you will be ahead of the curve, especially in the building materials industry.
Customers, especially large clients, love personalized service. They demand it. They are also looking for highly intuitive communications with you, even if that communication is knowingly automated. Your brand messaging must be consistent, especially if the customer is sitting at the beginning of the sales funnel.
If you have yet to solidify the connection between your major social media accounts, do so right away. Your landing page should move nicely into your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. NOTE: If one of the major social media hubs does not work for your company for some reason, it is better to get rid of it completely rather than have a dead channel on your hands.
Investments in More Interactive Content
Modern marketing is more visual than ever, and most of these visuals are not as static or 2D as they used to be. More B2B companies are investing in interactive content than ever before. Content that reaches out and grabs the viewer obviously has a positive impact on engagement. The overall result is a heightened priority on indirect marketing vehicles such as livestreams, blogs and interactive product demos over webinars.
The overwhelming majority of customers enjoy interactive content at all levels of the sales funnel. However, interactive content can be expensive to produce, and its rollout is usually slower. You will need to focus on social media to find the best opportunities to employ strong visuals and interactivity. You can also focus your efforts on your best customers through social media, ensuring that your ROI for more expensive marketing remains high.
Qualifying Better Leads
Customers basically give away their souls on social media. If your CMO knows how to collect and interpret data, you will be able to screen for qualified customers more diligently than ever. Converting your social leads will only become more important as email and other mass forms of outreach become less effective.
The most successful companies in the next five years will understand intimately how social media marketing translates into new leads, legacy customers and the bottom line. Get ready for increased investments in social as time goes on.