How to use social media for ABM and hyper-targeted B2B marketing

Ivaylo Borisov, Dublin, Ireland

Written by Ivaylo Borisov

March 10, 2020

Why account-based marketing is so important?

Cannot overestimate the importance of ABM (Account-based marketing) in B2B sales. One of the core differences between B2B and traditional marketing is that during the procurement process in an organization, decisions are rarely being made by one person in isolation. There is either a particular structure where several people are making decisions or the decision makers are advised by more than one different professionals, who are competent enough about the acquired products or services. And all is further complicated by time – although the procurement process could in certain cases take months or even years, in certain cases time is of paramount importance – research shows that the sooner we engage the lead, the greater the probability of deal. Therefore, acquiring lead’s contacts and engaging them is the primary goal for new business generation.

As a result of all this, the task of the B2B marketer becomes exponentially more difficult – we need to communicate to multiple people with different agendas and professional background, who are along different parts of the decision journey and most probably have different experiences with or brand. In addition, very often, if it’s a new account, we do not know all of the involved and we do not have their contact information. And even if we have, sometimes due to legal restrictions, we are not allowed to use it for direct marketing purposes.

Luckily, there are ABM digital and social media tools, which allow us to target these decision makers and influencers directly with different types of communications, appropriate for the different stages of the decision journey. B2B is getting so huge a business that all major internet platforms – Google, Facebook and LinkedIn – are stepping up their efforts to provide some aspects of ABM marketing capabilities.

Of course, leading in this area is LinkedIn but the biggest problem with LinkedIn is of course its reach. While very popular in North America and parts of Europe, LinkedIn is not enough to give you the reach to every possible target. The appropriate global reach can be achieved with the help of Facebook and Google, but do they offer ABM marketing capabilities? Here is what ABM marketing capabilities all three major social media platforms offer.

Account-based marketing (ABM), also known as key account marketing, is a strategic approach to business marketing based on account awareness in which an organization considers and communicates with individual prospect or customer accounts as markets of one. Account-based marketing is typically employed in enterprise level sales organizations.

Account-based marketing with LinkedIn

Of course, LinkedIn was the first platform to provide strong ABM targeting capabilities. LinkedIn is the only platform of the three that allows for company targeting. All you need to do is prepare a list of your target companies and upload to LinkedIn to Campaign Manager and create an audience based on the company’s list. Then you can create all types of LinkedIn campaigns, targeting the employees of the companies in your list. You can communicate with your account through messages for highly targeted or use other LinkedIn advertising options if the target is along different part of the customer journey.

Apart from company targeting, LinkedIn has another very useful functionality. Is not effective to target all of a particular company’s employees and LinkedIn allows us to segment our audience according to professional demographics. This could be useful, because for hyper targeting we could create separate communications for business executives or professionals in different areas of interest – technology, engineering, etc.

And of course, LinkedIn allows for use of lead forms, where all of the target’s contact details would be automatically filled-in and if necessary, sales could immediately engage them.

Here is a video to start with:

 

Account-based marketing with Facebook and Instagram

For some time, Facebook is very serious and investing quite a lot in B2B marketing functionalities. Their events and calendar functions are pretty good and established. Now they also allow for hyper targeting. The difference between Facebook and LinkedIn targeting is that in Facebook you can not target people according to companies. Therefore, for your Facebook ABM to work, we need to have our target’s contact information – emails, phone numbers or addresses. When we upload the list in Facebook, the platform creates a Custom Audience. Also, based on our customer list, we could create lookalike audience and target people who are like our target list. These functionalities make Facebook more of a complement than supplement to LinkedIn and I usually recommend client to use both of the platforms integrated.

The great advancement in Facebook B2B marketing is that now we can use lead forms on both Facebook and Instagram. When a person clicks on lead ad from Facebook, they are taken to an on-Facebook instant form. Likewise, when they click on your lead ad from Instagram, they are taken to an on-Instagram instant form. On this form, they can edit and confirm their pre-populated information before clicking the “submit” button.

Account-based marketing with Google Ads

Google also tries to step up its B2B marketing capabilities. In Google, like with Facebook, you cannot target companies but people. If you have emails or other contact information from CRM, you can prepare a data file and upload it to Audience manager. Here is also a template to use for your audience list. What Google could match is emails, phone numbers, names and addresses. When the system finds match in its records, it adds it to your list. What you cannot do is target these geographically.

When you upload your data, you can create your campaign and have different options to target. You can target the people on your list with Customer Match or if you want to expand reach, you could create Similar Audience based on your list. You can use Customer Match audience in Search, Shopping, YouTube, Gmail, and Display and Similar Audience in Search, YouTube, Gmail, and Display.

Google is also lead forms. Now even in BETA for Search. Lead forms are available only in search in video.

In conclusion, all three of the major social media platforms are investing in providing ABM and B2B marketing functionalities and with them we can reach almost any geographical region or business in the world.

They also provide different advertising format, which allows for targeting professionals along different parts of the customer buying journey.

With Google, Facebook and LinkedIn you can reach any B2B prospect.

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