Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

TL;DR Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

Social media marketing is any social media action you take that is unpaid. If you’re posting about your blogs, sharing info with your followers, or commenting in social media groups, you’re marketing. Social media advertising is any action you take on social media that is paid. From boosted posts to full-on ads to like campaigns, social media advertising is what you pay for. 

If you don’t know the difference between social media marketing and social media advertising, it’s okay to admit it. The distinction can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re new to the social media world or to digital marketing—especially since they’re sometimes used (carelessly) as interchangeable. There is a difference between social media marketing vs. social media advertising, and it pays to know that difference and to incorporate both into your overarching digital strategy.  

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is a crucial facet of any digital marketing strategy today. It encompasses your business’s online profiles on social media platforms, along with the social media activity of those platforms: posting, liking, commenting, sharing, and so on.

Social media marketing begins with creating company pages or profiles on relevant social networks. The networks that you choose will depend on your industry; B2Bs will likely find LinkedIn to be the most relevant network, since they’re marketing to other business professionals, while home builders and developers might make use of platforms like Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram to show off images of their homes and properties.

But it doesn’t end with just a page or profile. To effectively market using social media, interaction and engagement are key. Click To TweetYou need to interact with others on the platform by liking, commenting, and sharing their content, as well as by posting and sharing your own content. This will drive engagement, which is when others interact with your content—liking, commenting, sharing, and clicking.  

What kind of content should you share and post? 

Again, this depends on the platform and your industry. Industrial manufacturers may not have much luck posting photos of their products on Instagram. (Are the insides of factories usually very aesthetically pleasing? No.) But, they’ll have more success posting content about their processes, sharing their blog content, sharing relevant articles and news from industry publications, and posting infographics on LinkedIn. 

Twitter is great for sharing links, but because tweets are limited to 280 characters, it’s not the place for longform content. 

Instagram is designed for sharing images, and while you can use an image to promote a piece of content, you can’t link from a post directly. You have to include the link in your bio, which might not be the most effective way to direct people to that link. 

Why Do Social Media Marketing?

One of the major principles of inbound marketing is bringing your ideal customers to you. Since your ideal customers are using social media—everyone is—having a social media presence is a necessity if you want to draw in potential customers. 

Creating a community through social media marketing has some major benefits, like building brand awareness and helping to establish your industry reputation as an authority in your field. Also, it can establish your company as enjoyable to interact with, which can result in people converting to customers when they do need your company’s products or services.  

What is Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising (also known as paid social) involves running paid ads on various social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. These can include banner ads as well as native ads and activities like boosting posts or like campaigns. Social media ads are often charged on a pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression basis. 

You can use paid social to promote content, like a whitepaper or guide that your company or marketing agency has created. You can develop an ad around this content you’re offering, or boost the posts where you shared the content offer. This increases the reach of your content, which can lead to more website traffic and conversions of visitors to leads. 

Why do Paid Social?

Targeting

Promotional posts on social media don’t have a ton of reach on their own and aren’t likely to get a lot of organic engagement. Paid social allows you to specifically target audiences. This targeting is no joke, either. Depending on the platform, you can target audiences by criteria such as location, age, gender, search history, interests and activities, device use, even things like employer or job title. 

Since you’re paying either by the number of clicks or impressions (views) your ad gets, you want to ensure that you’re getting the most for your social media ad budget. You do this through targeting, which ensures that only the most relevant people (aka, your ideal customers) see your ads. This makes paid social a high-ROI advertising strategy. 

Additionally, the analytics that social media advertising platforms provide you can help better understand your audience and fine-tune your advertisements for better reach, engagement, and ROI.

Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

Essentially, advertising is a form of marketing that uses advertisements, which are paid notices that appear on public platforms. Not all marketing is advertising, but all advertising is marketing. 

When we talk about social media marketing vs. social media advertising, however, we’re generally making a distinction between paid and unpaid methods of marketing using social media. Social media advertising refers to the paid methods (like PPC ads) and social media marketing the unpaid methods (like your social media posts and shares). Click To Tweet

Which is Better? Social Media Marketing or Social Media Advertising?

If you’ve read this far, you probably already know what we’re going to say: you need both. 

  • Social media marketing helps you build a community and foster relationships with current and potential customers—it’s a long game. 

  • Social media advertising puts your name/products/services/links in front of people who are looking for what you offer right now

Both of these strategies can generate leads and sales, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. Using social media for both its organic (unpaid) and paid methods of reaching your intended audience is simply the most effective use of the vast power of social media. 

Marketing vs. advertising: that is the question. Click To Tweet However, when you use both, you can optimize your results for the best possible outcome. Not sure you have the team to handle both advertising and marketing? Get in touch with Evenbound. We specialize in both inbound and outbound marketing and would love to help. 

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How Pinterest Can Work like Houzz for Home Builders

How Pinterest Can Work like Houzz for Home Builders

How Pinterest Can Work like Houzz for Home Builders

If you’ve read any of our previous blogs for homebuilders, you’ll know that we’re very pro-Houzz. It’s an excellent marketing tool for any homebuilder, because it’s full of qualified leads just waiting for your advice. What we haven’t talked all that much about is Pinterest. Very similar in layout to Houzz, Pinterest attracts many of the same users and followers as Houzz, making it another ideal social media platform for home builders to take advantage of. If your home building company is already engaging regularly on Houzz, it’s a good idea to take some of that great content you’re putting out, and post it to Pinterest as well.

Why Should Homebuilders Market on Pinterest?

Because Pinterest is a captive audience made up of your target buyers. The majority of Pinterest users are women, 77 percent of those users are between 18-54 years old, and 87 percent of women on Pinterest trust it as a reliable source for information. Women between the ages of 18-54 are a homebuilders target market. Most often, it’s the women of the household who are making the final decisions when it comes to building a home or hiring a contractor for a renovation. That’s what make Pinterest such a rich source of potential leads for home builders.

How Homebuilders Can Market on Pinterest

Now that it’s clear why you’d want to use Pinterest—your target buyer lives there—let’s figure out how to use Pinterest. It’s certainly a tricky one, since there’s no real linear timeline or news feed like you’d find on other social media platforms. Instead, Pinterest functions on boards and pins. You can create boards, and pin different articles, images, and blog posts to those boards. You can post to other people’s boards if they’re public, and you can invite people to pin things to your board as well. For you, the homebuilder, it’s best to start small.

Create a Board that Showcases Your Work

Whether you’ve got some stunning before and after photos, or you’ve got some killer images of a staged home you just completed, that’s all great content to put on a Pinterest board. Make sure you follow standard best practices for optimizing your Pinterest pins:

  • Link to your website
  • Include high quality images
  • Provide detailed descriptions
  • Don’t forget NAP
    • Name of your business
    • Address and city name
    • Phone number or a way to contact you

Create a Board That Draws People In

Now that you’ve got your work up there, it’s time to start drawing people in. Create a board that answers a common question that’s relevant to the housing industry, and that you know people will be searching. For example, let’s say there’s a holiday coming up. A board that puts together cool DIY projects to decorate your home for the holidays is going to draw in a ton of people, and get eyes on your company’s Pinterest.

Say you wrote a blog about 10 Classy Holiday Place Settings: pin that to your holiday DIY board, and make sure it links back to your website. This will help grow your company’s awareness, increasing the chances that you get quality leads. In addition, the more people you get coming to this holiday DIY board, the more people you’re going to have checking out your original board—the one with all the awesome photos of your past work. More eyes on that board mean more calls to your sales team about how someone can get a home that looks like the one they saw on Pinterest.

Create an Engaging Board

Finally, while you’re getting your Pinterest account up and running, create a board that engages people. As a home builder, you can set yourself up as an authority, and as a place of inspiration for those considering building a home in the near future. By creating a board that invites people to contribute, you’ll boost the number of pins your board gets, and boost your visibility on Pinterest.

For example, create a board that asks followers to pin a photo of their favorite room in the home. This invites people to get involved in the conversation, and the more people who pin to your board, the more people who are likely to see it. This boosts your authority as a place for information and inspiration, while simultaneously growing your company’s brand awareness, and reminding people that you’re an engaging, interested builder they might turn to when they decide to build their own home.

Pinterest can certainly be a bit daunting at first. It’s a bit of information overload, and it can be hard to tell what’s what when you first start. But, if you stick with it and continue to post rich, relevant content that those Pinterest users want to read, you’ll grow your following and boost your number of incoming leads in no time at all. For more information on boosting your social media marketing strategy, get in touch with the team at Evenbound. We’re here to help home builders boost their lead generation potential, and break into better markets. See how we helped one construction pro increase their average web traffic and streamline sales in the free case study below:

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B2B Manufacturers: How to Get More Social Media Followers, and Why You Need ‘Em

B2B Manufacturers: How to Get More Social Media Followers, and Why You Need ‘Em

B2B Manufacturers: How to Get More Social Media Followers, and Why You Need ‘Em

If you’re not on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn these days, it’s almost like you don’t exist. Nowadays, social media is just as crucial for B2B companies, including industrial manufacturers, as it is for B2C companies. Sure, social media marketing seems more intuitive for B2Cs, but the truth is that nearly everyone is using social media, which means that your customers, and the decision-makers at those companies, are using social media.

And just having a profile for your business isn’t going to cut it. If a page exists on the internet and no one reads it, does your company get more leads? No, it doesn’t. That’s why you need to invest in your social media presence and attract followers on the platforms you use. Your social media presence will create the network where you can share and promote your company and your digital content, attracting and converting leads.

LinkedIn: A Great Place to Start

If you read our blog regularly, you know how we feel about LinkedIn. For B2B manufacturers, it’s the social media platform you should be using to reach your potential clients, for a variety of reasons; most importantly, it’s where your target audience is networking and researching suppliers. Getting more followers on your company LinkedIn page requires that you regularly post relevant, insightful content specific to your industry and your potential customers’ pain points. You can even target each of your different types of client with specially tailored showcase pages (read more about how showcase pages work for B2B marketing here).

On your personal LinkedIn account, you can search for specific people in specific positions at the companies you’re looking to make clients out of, and then connect with those people. Joining discussion groups relevant to your industry and sharing your knowledge and expertise is also a great way to establish your credibility and gain new followers. For more on LinkedIn, read our 6 Easy Ways to Make LinkedIn Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy.

Social Media Campaigns

Another critical aspect of gaining, retaining, and making leads out of your social media followers is by executing targeted social media campaigns. Just like other advertising campaigns, strategy is necessary to make your efforts successful. Well-planned social media campaigns will help you accomplish goals such as increasing brand awareness and promoting your digital content. To do this, you’ll need to determine the exact type of client you want to attract, and target them specifically with content matching their place in the buyer’s journey and their needs and pain points, through indirect (social sharing) and direct (PPC ad promotion) means.

Don’t fall behind the competition by neglecting your social media presence, either by failing to have one at all or by not investing time into engaging with your followers and working to attract new ones. If you’d like to learn more about social media marketing for B2Bs, or digital marketing in general, you should talk with the team at Evenbound.

Be sure to check out our other posts on how to make social media work for your B2B, such as this one on LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing, as well as the free case study below, that shows how paid search and social worked wonders for one B2B:

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5 Myths about Social Media for B2Bs

5 Myths about Social Media for B2Bs

5 Myths about Social Media for B2Bs

Many B2B manufacturing companies lack a robust social media presence, and it’s no surprise why: there’s an abundance of content out there that discourages B2B manufacturers from utilizing social media. The truth is, however, that social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and even Instagram are extremely useful, not to mention inexpensive, methods to reach a considerably larger audience than you ever thought possible.

That’s why we’re here: to bust a few of those common myths about social media for B2Bs. Any effective marketing strategy in this century should be making use of social media platforms, because regardless of your product or your business type, it’s one of the most pervasive ways to get the word out about your company. Here are five of the most common myths we’d like to demystify for B2B manufacturers:

Myth #1 B2B customers aren’t on social media

As a B2B company, it’s easy to forget that you’re still marketing to people. Sure, your end goal is to sell your product to a business, but a person is in charge of making that purchasing decision. And more than 1 billion people are active on social media today, regardless of their position or profession. It’s important to remember that Generation Y and Millennial employees are beginning to flood the workforce, both generations that grew up with and continue to use social media platforms on a daily basis. When such a massive percentage of the population is on social media, it’s hard to say that none of your potential clients are on social media.

What’s more, B2B purchasing decisions require a considerably greater amount of research than  B2C decisions. Your standard B2B decision maker is reading everything they can about your product, about your competitor’s product, what your warranties are like, what your company is like, etc. before they even consider talking to you. The best way to make sure that these decision makers have access to that information they’re looking for is for you to make it easily accessible to them on the platforms they use the most. Any purchasing researcher loves to read reviews and testimonials from previous clients, recommendations from other industry professionals, and especially case studies with hard facts. The best way to make sure they have this information and give your company a second look is to put it out yourself on social media.

Myth #2 Social media tactics that work for standard B2Cs won’t work for B2Bs

Sure, you’re not offering a buy one get one free deal on your parts, and you’re not selling something easily consumable like coffee or t-shirts, but that doesn’t mean that social media is out for your B2B company. The fact is that no matter whether you’re a B2B or a B2C, you’re marketing to people, and communicating with people is largely the same across the board.

Every consumer, whether they’re a person or a company, has pain points and different needs, that social media and content marketing work to solve. Certainly, you’ll have to approach your social media promotion a bit differently, but primarily in the sense that the content you’ll be delivering is different than the content a B2C company might offer. Where promotions and brand-building stories might work better for them, your company will draw in all kinds of qualified leads when you put out whitepapers and case studies that help inform those decision makers about your product, and show them why they should choose to buy from you.

Myth #3 Our product isn’t sexy enough for social media

It’s true that automobile parts or cement mixers aren’t quite as interesting as say, Starbucks coffee. But the job of the B2B manufacturing marketer is a bit easier in that regardless of the sexiness of your product, someone genuinely needs it. Your company is creating these parts to fill a demand for that product, which means someone is looking for it.

So it doesn’t matter if your product is sexy or not––there’s a purchaser out there who needs to read about it, research it, and then purchase it for their company. Your job is to make sure that the content they need is out there, and easily accessible. The best way to get your content out there for all of the decision makers looking for your product is to put it on social media.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can just put out any old boring spec sheet and expect people to immediately pick up the phone. It is still important to make sure you’re putting out content that is easily digestible for your target client, and that solves their pain points. You don’t want to put them to sleep with your content, but don’t worry if your product isn’t the most exciting thing out there. So long as you’re selling something people need, and your social media content is working to solve client pain points and pull them through the sales cycle, you’ll start to see a boost in that lead generation you were looking for.

Myth #4 Social Media works as another platform to broadcast our company news

This is one of the biggest myths out there about social media for B2Bs, and it’s not all that surprising that it exists. Many B2Bs are reluctant to get into social media in the first place, and then when they do, they’re not sure what to post, so they fall into the same push marketing tactics they’ve relied on for years.

The fact is that your social media accounts are not just another platform to blast your company news. People who follow your brand are likely to care about what’s happening at your company, but they’ll easily get bored if you’re only sharing things that matter to you. It’s important to remember that social media is a platform to increase social engagement, reach new clients, and nurture existing client relationships. To do this, you can’t just tell all your followers how great you are, even though we’re sure it’s true!

You need to make sure that your platforms function as a comprehensive resource for your followers, offering them access to information that they’re actively searching for, and that will help them in their purchasing decisions. This is the most effective way to make sure you’re regularly gaining new followers, and generating qualified leads via social media.

Myth #5 Social media doesn’t provide ROI, and it can’t generate sales leads

It’s true that social media analytics tend to measure the results most helpful to B2C companies, like number of likes and clicks. Though these metrics aren’t the most helpful for B2Bs, it’s important to remember that the end goal of social media marketing is to generate qualified leads and increase revenue for any company. You can easily tweak your social media analytics to monitor the metrics that matter most to your B2B, like conversions and click throughs.

To do this, it’s a good idea to link your social media accounts to your existing CRM or marketing automation platform. You can also make use of the multitude of social media analytics tools that exist specifically to increase B2B company’s social media tracking capabilities. Either method will give you a clear indication of your social media accounts’ ROI, and they’ll also help you figure out what to do to improve your company’s online presence.

Okay, but how do I get started?

It should be clear that social media marketing is an integral part of any marketing strategy in the 21st century. Your clients are on social media, it’s proven to produce results, and more than anything it’s ridiculously affordable. The hardest part is getting started. If your B2B manufacturing company is looking to boost your social media presence, but isn’t sure where to start, just pick one platform, and go from there.

We recommend Linkedin for most B2B companies. It’s very easy to use, and it’s the social media platform most likely to capture the attention of your ideal client. To get started, check out our blog on Linkedin for B2Bs, create your company page, and work on posting and engaging with other industry professionals regularly. Once you have the hang of that, you can start expanding to other social media platforms as you have the time and the resources to do so.
If any of this seems overwhelming, or you still feel like you don’t quite have a grasp on social media for B2Bs, feel free to get in touch with Evenbound. We’ve worked with a number of B2Bs, and would be happy to answer any questions you’ve got regarding social media or inbound marketing for B2Bs. Shoot us a message or email, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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6 Ways Linkedin Can Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy

6 Ways Linkedin Can Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy

Linkedin is the ultimate social media platform in terms of generating leads for B2B companies. Though Linkedin started just as a way for people to get their resumés out there, it’s evolved into something much larger, and has become a must-have tool for any B2B marketing strategy. Marketing on Linkedin is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. Everyone in the network is a professional, so once you figure out how to market directly to your target customers, you’ll be generating leads in no time. Here are our top 6 tips to get Linkedin to work for your B2B company:

  1. Join Discussion Groups
    A great way to get your company’s name out there and develop authority is to join discussion groups. Do other professionals have questions that you can answer? Can your company provide knowledge and insight to a certain group? Since you can only join about 50 groups on Linkedin, make sure you choose groups that are highly active, directly related to your company, and medium-sized. A group that’s too small won’t generate many leads, and in a group that’s too large, your comments and posts are likely to get lost in the shuffle. You can search groups on Linkedin and check them out before you join, so use this tool to make sure every group you join is highly relevant to your B2B company. Also remember that this is not the place to directly solicit your B2B company. Rather, you’re gaining trust and authority by posting relevant and insightful comments that address the questions of the group.
  2. Share Content
    You know all of that optimized content you’ve been working on for your blog and social posts? Well, Linkedin is an excellent platform to publish that informational, interesting content. You’ll be publishing to other industry professionals who know exactly what you’re talking about and are likely to fit your target audience. Linkedin is a great place to share your B2B company’s targeted content, both on corporate and personal pages.
  3. Connect with decision makers
    Linkedin was originally created so that business professionals could connect with other business professionals, so use that to your advantage. You can easily determine who company decision makers are by looking at their job titles and description. Once you figure out who’s calling the shots you can connect with them and set up a meeting to explain the connection. Before you approach them, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with their profile and page so you can provide a pitch that is personal and relevant. Showing that you’ve done your research, and are legitimately interested in their business’s needs and pain points is the best way to make a good impression.
  4. Make your company page work for you
    Your company’s page is the first thing that people look at when they hear about you, or are considering your product. Often before contacting you, potential clients will check your social media pages, and the best way to ensure they do contact you is to make sure your Linkedin page is compelling. Your page should include your logo and a visually interesting picture that captures your business well. You should also have a concise, clear description of what your B2B company is, and what it can do for your clients. Think of your company’s page as a way to generate leads. If you can get them to click through to your site from your Linkedin page, you’re doing it right. For more information about optimizing your company page, check out our free visual guide on creating the perfect B2B Linkedin page!
  5. Use the Advanced Search
    A really handy tool that Linkedin provides to help enhance your marketing strategy is their advanced search. You can use it to find professionals that are good potential leads by selecting filters relevant to your B2B company. You can filter your search by industry, location, current company, and past company, to ensure that you’re finding people who are viable leads. Another great aspect of the Linkedin Advanced Search is that you’re able to save searches, even if you don’t have a Premium account. Once you’ve saved your search, Linkedin will periodically send you emails with people who fit your search qualifications.
  6. Consider upgrading to a premium account
    Finally, it could be worth the investment to upgrade to a Linkedin Premium account. A premium account means Linkedin will send you more-targeted recommendations, will let you view unlimited profiles, and will also let you see, in more detail, who’s visited your page in the past 90 days. You’ll also be able to send InMail, a handy email marketing tool, if used correctly. Linkedin offers a 30 day free trial, so you can test to see if Linkedin Premium is something that’s truly beneficial to your company. After the trial period, plans start at $59.99 a month.

We can’t emphasize enough how integral Linkedin is to any B2B marketing strategy. It’s proven to be the top lead-generating social network for B2B companies, and it only continues to expand. If you have any questions about optimizing your business’ Linkedin account to generate more leads, or want help developing your B2B company’s digital marketing strategy, let’s talk.

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