B2B Social Listening: 5 Things You Can Learn About Your Industry

As we sit in the middle of the first quarter of 2015, we can agree that all B2Bs need to be on the same page about digital marketing. Your website has to be optimized and user friendly. Content marketing needs to be curated carefully. And the liaison between your website and carefully audited content? Social Media. Sadly, social media is either shunned or not taken seriously by too many B2Bs. Sure, Facebook started out as the sleeker successor of MySpace. To think that an online channel can’t evolve into a B2B marketing tool impedes your ability to benefit from it. Leave those dark age notions with floppy discs and dial-up Internet. We’ll show you 5 things you can learn about your industry just by listening to social media conversations.

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1. Discover where your industry’s leads reside

A new lead is the ultimate validation for a marketing strategy. Learning where leads on social media occur can open the door to creative campaigns and more budget allocated to maximizing your company’s presence on respective platforms. How do you find those leads? Listen for them.

MarketingProfs reported that “Only 47% of retail brands engage on Twitter when tagged in an @mention.” Can you imagine the untapped potential for lead generation? Maybe someone is asking your company a question on Twitter? That answer could finesse a demo or a sales call.

Listening for mentions of your company across every social media channel not only ensures that you don’t miss an engagement opportunity, but it also provides daily lessons on where your leads are coming from.

2. Understand your strengths and weaknesses

On the other side of listening is conversing. When your social listening is in full swing, your conversations happen organically. Not every response you provide or resource you share will result in leaps in your lead generation. Use your history as a sounding board for what your audience likes and doesn’t like (literally!). Revamping your social media strategy is necessary, sometimes more often than we’d like. In doing so, you’re growing the brand and showing that you can evolve along with your audience’s needs.

[Tweet “…choose social media networks that are relevant to your customer base. via @BrettRelander”]

3. Track your competitor’s activity

Social listening isn’t always an act of vanity and new leads. Social listening for a B2B marketer is also about staying no more than 140 characters behind the competition. Monitoring for competitor mentions on social channels won’t leave you in the dust when there’s industry news or commentary. Moreover, if you’re new to the industry, keep an even closer on your competitor’s activity on social media. If the competition has more engagement on Twitter, figure out why.

4. Find industry related pain points

How many of your sales are completed thanks to your ability to solve a client’s pain? Some pain points are more obvious. If you offer IT outsourcing and a new business voices that they can’t do IT internally, that’s an obvious pain that you can fulfill. But what about people earlier in the sales cycle? Social listening also enables you to enter conversations much earlier in the research process. We all know that by the time a client has narrowed down vendor options, the research is done. Why not interject your brand early on during the brainstorming phase?

5. B2B social listening teaches you to be innovative within the industry

Innovation is one of those traits that every company wants to be known for. Don’t just be recognized for an innovative product, though. Be innovative in the way that you raise awareness about it. This also applies to social listening. If you’re behind the trend on a newer social platform, you’re not only missing a potential key audience but you’re also giving the impression of being behind – maybe even antiquated. Just like Facebook has become a resident marketing tool, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are quickly becoming as lucrative. Just be thoughtful in using these channels. Listen to how influencers and your competition are using them, and broadcast your message in a thoughtful and relevant way.

“But we must consider though that effectiveness varies depending on the way you utilize your marketing capital. Social media is not necessarily an ineffective platform. There are only ineffective ways on controlling it to your advantage,” notes Barbara Hoover in her B2BMarketing.net article, How to Streamline your Social Media Platforms for Better Generation of IT Leads.

Quin Woodward-Pu

VP-Marketing Audienti. Former Director of PR Brightline Interactive. Former Editor Vocus. Social media guru.

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