Solution providers looking to build interest in their solutions ignore the power of social media, according to Ingram Micro presenters at the Ingram Micro One conference, held this week in Washington, D.C.
Building a successful marketing and lead generation program requires a thoughtful approach to social media, said Mindy Nguyen (left, in photo), digital marketing manager for the Irvine, Calif.-based distributor.
“You want to reach your customers wherever they go,” Nguyen said. “And they are on social media.”
Nguyen and her colleague Victoria Diaz, senior manager for marketing account management at Ingram Micro, told solution providers there are four top myths about social media in business-to-business environments.
The first, Nguyen said, is the idea that customers don’t use social media. Instead, she said, according to a survey by research firm Forrester, 94 percent of B2B buyers use social media, and 52 percent use Facebook.
Diaz, citing the same Forrester study, said that 75 percent of B2B buyers and 84 percent of C-level or vice president-level executives use social media to make purchases. Furthermore, she said, 55 percent of B2B buyers search for product or vendor information on social media.
“We can’t afford to ignore social media,” she said.
The second myth about social media is that it does not work for B2B. On the contrary, Diaz said, it is important for a business to create and harvest stories about itself as a way to lead to more interest, which in turn will lead to more stories.
Such content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing, but generates three times the number of leads, she said.
The third myth is that only friends and family will see a business’ advertisements. Diaz said that that myth is easily dispelled by making sure to do audience targeting when developing ads.
The fourth myth is that social media can’t be measured, according to Diaz.
There are tracking applications that can track click-throughs on advertisements, she said. It is also important to be knowledgable about industry benchmarks to understand the results of social media. For instance, she said, a $1.2 million return on 30 leads could be good news or bad news, depending on such benchmarks.
Diaz said that studies have shown that just over half of B2B marketers expect to increase their use of social media marketing in 2019, and that social media is expected to account for nearly one-fourth of B2B marketing budgets.
“We’re seeing partners investing heavily in content,” she said. “That is the best news I’ve seen. Content is the key to B2B marketing.”
Diaz said there are a couple of principles to keep in mind when designing B2B marketing plans.
These include making sure the message is personalized to the potential customers based on such things as type of business and market served, adding useful information in addition to marketing information, and making less “noise,” she said.
“Don’t try to target everyone,” she said. “Don’t try to be everything. … You have to provide value first.”
Ingram Micro has been talking a consistent message on B2B marketing for a few years, said Isabel Bernete, CEO of PCCorp., an Edmonton, Alberta-based solution provider and managed service provider.
Ingram Micro has been continuously updating its B2B social media message with new useful core components, Bernete told CRN. “They are more experienced now than ever before,” she said. “My marketing team will see the value of the new support Ingram Micro is offering.”