Account-based marketing (ABM) is a growing practice at B2B tech companies — and across many other sectors as well. In fact, 70% of marketers reported using an ABM strategy in 2021, which is up 15% from 2020.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is a more focused approach to B2B marketing. Instead of starting with high-level brand awareness efforts and then gradually homing in on the prospects who really want what you’re selling, ABM strategies leverage “intent signals.” These are online activities of prospects at target companies that demonstrate more active interest in what you are selling. ABM can be used to go after a small(er) subset of prospects who are more likely to buy — often on a 1:1 basis.
Rather than casting as wide a net as possible, using an ABM strategy means that marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts (i.e. fewer, but more specific) with the hopes of turning them into customers.
ABM is a marketing strategy that can be leveraged through many different channels, such as personalized websites, landing pages, email campaigns, events, and content syndication.
One key thing B2B tech companies can do to engage with prospective customers, current customers, is developing a social media account-based marketing strategy.
Below, we will explore:
- what a social media ABM strategy looks like
- potential benefits
- the top five best practices to successfully execute a social ABM plan
The State of ABM Today
In 2019, the top five ABM tactics used by organizations were:
- Sales rep outreach
- Digital advertising
- Direct mail
- Marketing emails
But an under-utilized method to further your ABM strategy is to leverage social media channels. While many marketers know that social media can be used for ABM, not everyone is fully aware of its potential. Yes, you can do ABM on social. In fact, social media as an ABM channel cannot be ignored. Here’s how to do it well.
Why Test a Social Media ABM Strategy?
Your prospects are likely already spending countless hours on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter every day. This gives you plenty of opportunities to form a connection through a channel they are already on — rather than waiting for them to come to your website or sign up for your email list.
Not only can a social media ABM strategy be executed on its own, but it can also fit into a larger ABM strategy that uses multiple channels. For example, marketers can research the personal and professional interests of prospects via social media and incorporate that information into email outreach.
Now that you know what ABM is, some of the different channels you can use, and why social media as an ABM channel cannot be ignored, let’s explore how to do it right.
Related Content: Three Categories of B2B Content and Where They Fit into the Marketing Funnel
5 Best Practices for ABM Campaigns on Social Media
When it comes to account-based marketing, you get what you give. The amount of research, preparation, and collaboration put into this type of marketing strategy will determine how successful your results are.
With that, here are five best practices to keep in mind when building your social media ABM plan.
Use Social ABM to Increase Sales and Marketing Alignment
Sales teams and marketing teams struggle to speak the same language, align on KPIs, and agree about what “success” looks like.
Misalignment between sales and marketing doesn’t only waste time and decrease productivity. It costs organizations over $1 trillion a year and can result in 79% of leads never converting to a sale. (Ouch.)
On the other hand, when there is consistent and effective communication and agreement on strategy, far more leads can be converted to actual sales. Companies with effective marketing and sales alignment achieve 208% higher marketing revenue than companies without.
Excellent communication means that sales teams can tell marketing the best-fit accounts they want to connect with, and why. When marketing teams have awareness and access to those accounts and contacts that will have the highest ROI, they can more effectively create campaigns that will resonate.
Perform Proper Target Accounts Research
When sales teams have pinpointed which high-value accounts to focus on for an ABM strategy, proper research on each account is a must before building this strategy, especially with “Identifying Target Contacts” and “Researching Accounts” being the top two tactics used by marketers within an ABM model. You should know who the people you’re reaching out to are, which social media platforms they’re active on, and what they post about.
If the person you’re targeting is active on Twitter, but the content they post is mainly personal (jokes, memes, politics) rather than professional, that may not be a good place to approach them. Use your judgment and err on the side of caution so as not to come across as creepy or out of touch.
Personalize the Messaging
When you’re perusing your target contact’s profile, really try to home in on any patterns or interests that stick out — these could be professional or personal.
Maybe they post or interact with posts about hiking. Comment about how you also love hiking and maybe give some hiking trail recommendations. Only after trying to connect with them on personal interests about three or four more times (consistency is key, but we’ll get to that soon) should you then mention that you would like to talk about, for example, how they can improve the way they work on a day-to-day basis.
Just remember that your messaging for this part will be entirely dependent on what service or product you’re promoting.
If your target persona posts a mix of personal and professional content, don’t just focus on the business content. While it may look like the easy way, your persona will just see you as a hungry sales rep, and not a person who genuinely wants to make a connection.
Consistency Is Key (But Don’t Overdo It)
Here’s the critical part of any successful ABM program: consistency. You can’t expect a target persona to immediately respond and agree to a demo or meeting. Chances are, your potential leads are busy people. You need to get them to recognize you as someone they regularly interact with on social media. They should see you as a person, not someone pushing to make a sale.
But that doesn’t mean you should be reaching out to your target persona every day. Too much communication can be annoying, spammy, and in some cases could get you blocked. We suggest you reach out once or twice a week – just enough to keep you in mind, but not feel pushy. However, if your target audience doesn’t post that often, definitely scale it down to bi-weekly communication.
Align ABM Campaigns with Other Inbound Strategies
If you’re struggling with finding content to share with your ideal prospects (when the time comes), aligning your ABM strategy with other inbound marketing activities is a great way to find content.
Inbound marketing is a strategy where you provide helpful and relevant content on a variety of channels, as opposed to outbound marketing, which is directly advertising or pushing your products or services.
If your marketing team already has inbound campaigns in the works, take a look and see if any of the content, or soon-to-be-published content, would be relevant or helpful for your target audience. Not only could this help your ABM efforts, but it could help show your marketing team what types of content or topics are resonating with prospects.
Related Content: Why an Organic B2B Social Media Strategy Matters
You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself
On a final note, all of the best practices listed in this post may make the thought of a social media ABM strategy seem overwhelming. But don’t worry — there’s no need to go it alone. Our team has built social media ABM strategies and executed them for a variety of B2B businesses with success. We can provide high-level guidance and brass tacks content to help you achieve your goals through social media ABM.
Learn more about our services and how we can help with your social media ABM strategy now!