I’m a big fan of account-based marketing (ABM). I love how it forces B2B marketers to be specific about the companies and job titles they’re trying to reach and engage. No made-up “Clark the CIO” characters with ABM. Just real people, with real roles, in real companies. This approach makes it easier for marketing and sales to align with initiatives that are more likely to capture the attention of the right contacts on these strategic accounts.
Of course, the dirty little secret with ABM is that most prospects are probably happy with their existing vendors and have no interest in learning more about your awesome products or services. And while that may be bad news for the demand generation team, it’s not for us social media marketers. Why? Because we seek above all to build awareness, credibility and trust before buyers are ready to enter the field with new suppliers.
Here’s how to leverage social media to support your ABM initiatives.
Social media advertising campaigns increase the visibility of ABMs
If you haven’t considered social media ad campaigns to support your ABM program, now is a good time to start. Even a few thousand dollars in monthly budget can help keep your brand top of mind for target account decision makers throughout their buying journey. And you should consider both LinkedIn and Facebook (yes, you read that right) for these paid social campaigns.
LinkedIn and Facebook both allow you to create Custom Audiences by uploading CSV files of target accounts, expand your audiences by using “floss” to reach more people at these businesses, leverage video ads, and integrate lead generation forms. LinkedIn is better for targeting by companies and titles while Facebook has more reach and a much lower cost per click.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Social media is driven by discovery, while search marketing is driven by intent. This means that the right paid social approach is to craft campaigns that move target contacts through the stages of discovery to interest to intent. For example, video ads are great for discovery, non-gated blog ads work well for interest, and gated white papers and webinars work best for intent campaigns. Simply put, if you dive into intent-based demand generation campaigns from the start… you shouldn’t be surprised by poor campaign results.
- Make sure you have Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pixels on your website before running paid social campaigns. Retargeting website visitors and anyone who has engaged in previous social ad campaigns is key to moving target contacts through discovery to the interest-to-intent stages in a way that generates the results you are looking for.
- Consider purchasing intent data on “buyers in the market” from providers such as Bombora, ZoomInfo, and G2. Just keep in mind that yes, these contacts may have an “intent” around a product category, but that doesn’t mean they know your brand or product. So treat these contacts as if they were still in the discovery or interest stage when it comes to your social media ad campaigns.
- Consider testing ads on Facebook before launching LinkedIn campaigns. Using Facebook Dynamic Creative, you can test multiple ad versions (text, graphics, CTAs) and then use the best performing ones to help inform your LinkedIn ad campaigns. And did we mention that the average cost per click on Facebook is much lower than LinkedIn?
Related article: Use lookalike audiences to reinvigorate your LinkedIn ad campaigns
Awareness campaigns on social media
Social ABM is not limited to paid social campaigns. You also want to engage leads using organic social media. Here are the steps to achieve this:
- Start with 25-50 target accounts and have someone from the marketing team (intern!) research the Twitter and LinkedIn handles of people who match the job titles you’re interested in. You’ll probably end up with 100-150 names and social IDs in a spreadsheet.
- Find the right “offer” to engage the contacts you’ve been looking for. For example, invite them to virtual VIP events, ask them to provide quotes for management signatures, or even get invited to an upcoming podcast episode or panel discussion on a webinar.
- For contacts with a Twitter ID, you can tweet back to them using the Business ID. Here’s an example: @carterhostelley Hi Carter, we’re hosting a VIP roundtable for B2B marketing agency owners. We think you would have a valuable perspective to share. Interested in joining? Here is a link for more information: https://www.cmswire.com/digital-marketing/leverage-social-media-for-account-based-marketing/
- If you’re contacting through LinkedIn, you’ll need one or more people from the marketing and/or sales team to message contacts directly (since you can’t message through your company page). Just stick with a short, non-commercial outreach message similar to Twitter’s outreach example.
- Keep in mind that the goal is to build awareness and engagement, so any contact responses are the icing on the cake. Typically, social media outreach campaigns can get engagement rates of 20% to 60%, and for every 10 to 15 contacts you reach out to, you’ll usually get one or two who say, “Yeah, Tell me more…”
- It’s good to maintain a steady drumbeat of one or two social awareness campaigns each month, and while you’re working on your contact spreadsheet, be sure and note who is engaging so you can continue to take them through the “discovery-to-interest-to-intent” stages with your organic social media efforts too!
Related Article: 5 Lesser-Known Ways to Use Intent Data for ABM
Now it’s your turn
Have you done any paid or organic social ABMs? What have you found that works or doesn’t work? Feel free to share your comments below.
Carter Hostelley is the CEO of Leadtail, a B2B agency focused on making social media work for tech brands and startups. Carter is a strong advocate for the importance of social media and influencer marketing as a way to reach, engage and influence buyers.