SIAA

B2B Social Media

Every agency and independent agent wants to boost their business, but would you consider social media as an essential tool to do so? Social media can seem like a daunting task for some, but with a plan in place and consistent execution, it could really help your business and network grow. Here we’ll focus on a few simple ways to start business to business (B2B) marketing with social media.

Before you engage in social media, you should have a company website that is completely up to date, simple to use, with a clean and professional look. It’s also important to make sure your website is mobile friendly, as mobile usage increased 115% in 2013 according to Flurry Analytics, so your customers can access your information anywhere. According to staticbrain.com, only 53% of small businesses had websites in 2014. Furthermore, 67% of those with websites had an annual revenue of $2.5 million or more.  According to Forrester, online retail sales are expected to outpace sales growth at bricks-and-mortar stores over the next five years, reaching $370 billion by 2017.  Creating and maintaining a website doesn’t have to be expensive or confusing, but it will give you an advantage over those businesses without one.
In addition to your website, having a blog is very helpful, but not necessary if you’re limited on time or feeling constrained by other social media. Blogging has its benefits, such as providing original content to share on your social networks and improving your Google search rankings, as well as offering information that is useful to your clients and other businesses.  . Adding keywords and useful links from other blogs and your own related blog posts can help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), resulting in more traffic and better Google rankings. The higher your rank on a Google search, the more traffic you’ll receive and, if the logic flows, more business!

Another way to bring traffic to your site is social media. Conventional wisdom indicates that the two most important platforms in online B2B marketing are LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn, the most relevant platform with 332 million users, 40% of which log in daily, is a great place to connect with likeminded professionals. However, to get the most out of LinkedIn, and any other social platform, you should consistently engage. Join groups that are insurance related (or related to a market you seek to approach), where you can ask questions, answer questions and if appropriate, share your blog posts and be a thought leader! Make sure your personal profile is complete with only relevant information and your photo is updated and appropriate.
When marketing to other businesses, Twitter is probably the next best social media platform. Twitter hosts a wide range of users, but is more business-friendly than Facebook, which is a more casual, personal platform. The demographics of Twitter lean more towards the millennial crowd, accounting for about half of their users, while users aged 34-54 account for little more than a quarter. Twitter can be linked to your blog to send a tweet every time you post with analytics that track impressions, engagements and clicks of your tweets. In order to be successful on Twitter, you must also engage by “favoriting”, “retweeting” and responding to other’s tweets to start a conversation. There are other tactics to use in order to increase engagement. Due to Twitter’s nature of being less formal than LinkedIn, it’s ok to have a little fun and show some personality in your business tweets. Bear in mind, you’re limited to 140 characters in a tweet, so you must be succinct (definitely use links to major content – but you’re limited to 117 characters when you use links and photos).

Social media platforms, a blog and website are all great tools to have, but they won’t be successful without a plan. Start by creating an editorial calendar where you decide how often you will blog and post to social media. Initially, try one blog post and three social media posts a week, such as every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Aside from your blog post, if applicable, find content related to your industry and save the links in a list or in your email calendar for the days you decide to post. Each platform differs on the best time to post. It seems  best to tweet Monday-Thursday between 1 PM and 3 PM, whereas it’s better to post on LinkedIn Tuesday through Thursday either at noon or between 5 and 6 PM. Consistency and relevant quality content are key to a successful social media plan that will lead to more website traffic, potential sales leads and eventually more business!