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Five Tips for Using Social Media in B-to-B Demand Creation

June 18, 2013 | By Jessica Lillian

To help companies use social media in demand creation, a new framework from SiriusDecisions offers guidance for successful social programs and tactics. Here are five tips on effectively adding social media tactics to demand creation efforts

By now, most b-to-b organizations understand the merits of social media marketing.  More than 70 percent already use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social channels, according to SiriusDecisions research.

However, many companies undertake social activities outside their integrated campaigns or without fully understanding their buyers and how they use social media. These and other social missteps can result in inefficiency and limit positive business impact.

An instant survey conducted at SiriusDecisions’ Summit 2013 showed that 40 percent of attendees hoped to leverage social media for thought leadership, 26 percent sought to build brand awareness and 26 percent wanted to use social media to create demand.

To help companies use social media in demand creation, a new framework from SiriusDecisions offers a blueprint for effective social programs and tactics. Jonathan Block, vice president and director of the technology practice at SiriusDecisions, and Jennifer Ross, research director of SiriusDecisions’ demand creation strategies service, introduced the social demand tactics framework and provided guidance on implementation.

Here are five tips from Block and Ross on effectively adding social media tactics to demand creation efforts:

1.  Build personas.  Marketing professionals regularly build and organize personas in order to understand potential buyers. This essential step also applies to social media marketing. “We’re basically building personas – social personas,” Block explained. “That means we understand by role or industry how these individuals are using social.”

2. Interact. This step may appear obvious to some social media marketers, but interactions must be purposeful. Organizations should seek to find out their audience’s specific pain points and business problems, as well as where individuals are within the buying cycle, Block said. The more that is understood about individuals, the more interaction can take place, allowing the most useful content to be presented and facilitating the buyer’s journey.

3. Leverage and adapt existing content. Existing assets such as white papers and influencer pieces can be used in social media marketing. Based on the audience’s status in the buying cycle, key data points and other elements from these assets can be extracted and repurposed.

4. Be consistent. Block and Ross recommended using multiple social channels to share content. However, organizations must be careful to maintain consistent branding across all of the outlets used. Incorporating uniform creative elements, for example, provides a consistent look and feel, improving the viewer experience and reinforcing brand image.

5. Track. Finally, organizations must determine the impact of their social media activities within their overall demand creation programs. Look beyond frequently overemphasized metrics such as clicks, video views or white paper downloads and examine users’ actions after they access the social media content, Ross and Block emphasized. The most relevant metrics will vary depending on buyer personas.

The presentation concluded with key action items for marketing and sales. According to Block and Ross, marketing roles should ensure they plan to incorporate a social media component at every step of a campaign, while sales should use social media to gather customer insight and competitive intelligence.

Jessica Lillian

Jessica F. Lillian is a senior editor at SiriusDecisions and has more than seven years of b-to-b editorial experience, including five years as the editor of national b-to-b magazines. Follow Jessica on Twitter @jessica_lillian

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