5 Winning Social Media Strategies for B2B Consulting Firms

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Social media has leveled the playing field and bridged the gap between large B2B consulting firms and small ones. These platforms provide an excellent way to reach out to your target audience, engage with them, and show them what makes you different from the competition.

Many B2B consulting firms ignore what other brands are saying and doing on social media platforms. This does not help your brand.

If you continue to ignore your competition, you will miss out on a lot of valuable information that you can use to your advantage.

How B2B Consulting Firms Can Tame the Competition

Before you start checking what your competition is doing on social media, you need to develop your own unique strategies for your brand. 

1. Delivering Your Messages in a Unique Way

You can use either of the following ways or a combination of them.

 I. Use PowerPoint presentations. 

Tired of old-school paragraph posts? Many of our B2B consulting clients have found success creating powerful presentations instead, and adding some exciting designs and animations. 

II. Use images.

You can also make a graphic art of what you want to say. Research shows that people are drawn to images more than text. 

III. Use video clips.

This can be made like a PowerPoint presentation or using live-action video. Video is one of the most important types of content for social media. Choosing to ignore video in your social strategy will make you irrelevant. 

 IV. Use voice clips.

Try something new once in a while and convey your message through a recorded voice. This is actually an effective marketing strategy because a voice can be more encouraging than written words. 

V. Combine all of the above.

All the tactics above can be used at the same time. This will make for a unique and effective way of communicating with your subscribers. 

 VI. Use lists and bullet points.

A long paragraph is tiring to read. Make it easier for your subscribers to read by making a list instead. 

VII. Use highlighting if your social media blog allows this feature.

Adding a colored highlight to a word will probably make it stand out even more. Unfortunately, not all social media sites offer the option. 

VIII. Know the proper use of the opening word “ATTENTION!”

Sometimes, you can simply start a paragraph with “ATTENTION!” Use this sparingly. And make sure that the message is really worth the opening. 

2. Check the social media sites of your competitor

When developing a social media strategy for your B2B consulting firm, always check the social media profiles of your competition. For example, do they use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter?  Does their staff associate with the brand?

Observe your competition. Who knows? Your competitor might have come up with a cool new way to present ideas. Looking at the pages of your competitor will give you inspiration and an understanding of trends when you’re stumped for ideas. Check out 11 best Twitter tips for professional service firms, put together by our B2B consulting practice, for more tactics.

3. Mimic what works

Once you’ve identified the specific tactics your competitors are using that are earning them long-term benefits, implement them in your own social media campaign. However, do not copy everything. Otherwise, you’ll end up as white noise. Your followers look to you for insightful and valuable content – the value is lost if you’re just repeating what someone else said. 

Instead, observe on a conceptual level how and why their strategies work, then apply those concepts or something similar to your own brand. For example, do they seem to experience higher engagement when linking to videos? Did they gain new followers by posting an editorial piece? Perhaps you could do the same for your own brand.

 4. Check the number of hits your competitors have

This will let you know how well your competitor is doing compared to your firm. This will tell you if you need to improve your performance. 

5. Avoid throwing out negativity

Do not throw shade at your competitor. If you do this, it can backfire and you might never recover. Brands have faced negative criticisms due to a single Tweet.

On the other hand, if your competitor chooses to make negative remarks or comments about your services or brand, do not engage on this level. Rather, posts facts and social proof (such as testimonials) that prove otherwise.

With any luck, your satisfied clients and supporters will step in on your behalf. 

Instead of arguing, perhaps try turning a negative Tweet or post about your brand or services into a joke. If you found this blog post helpful, feel free to share on social media.

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Does Advertising Work for Professional Service Firms?

Over the past several years, the advertising industry has undergone a series of paradigm shifts. The era when radio, television, and print were the perfect trifecta is no more. Digital advertising is now the disruptor with billions of dollars invested in digital advertising worldwide.   That’s why you need to bring it to your business.

Why you need to consider advertising: 

There’s an old saying, “you need to spend money to make money”. 

Whatever type of business you are in and regardless of how big or small your firm is, you need to advertise. Relying solely on reputation, in-person events and word of the mouth referrals will only help you to maintain and bring in very few clients. It’s also not a scalable strategy as you grow.

Advertising via different channels (e.g. social media, content marketing, email) to promote your services greatly increases the pool size of potential clients, and in turn, boosts sales and better positions your business.

Without advertising, the chances of prospective clients knowing about your firm and services are greatly reduced.

Then why do professional service firms doubt the effectiveness of advertising?

First of all, most professional service firms are small to mid-size and have a smaller advertising budget. This means creating brand awareness of the firm will be challenging. In addition, when you are selling a service you are largely selling a relationship and this is very difficult to convey in an ad, no matter what the format.

With online advertising, you have the options of search or display ads and social media ads. With click rates for display Ad campaigns averaging only 0.35% and 1.91% for search Ads, it’s easy for many professional service firms to quickly dismiss paid advertising.

As a result, the need for effective advertising is undeniable, versus less strategic approaches which tend to be hit or miss.

The effectiveness of your advertising campaign depends on:

  • Your objectives – is the ad meant to generate website traffic or sales
  • The aspects that are specific to your business like your target audience and advertising budget
  • The type and medium of advertising you choose
  • Past experience — what has worked in your business before?
  • Your competitors

Advertising channels that are impactful for professional service firms:

Paid search ads 

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is a form of advertising where professional service firms can pay to drive traffic to a website and subsequently generate leads, but if executed incorrectly, you run the risk of getting undesired results.

PPC is one of the most effective means professional service firms can use to promote a landing page, promote a thought leadership piece, tool, checklist, etc. and then follow up with an email drip campaign to build brand trust with current and future clients.

One of the advantages of using Pay-per-click ads is that by spending $X in PPC ads you can get $Y in sales each month. Also, you can incorporate PPC costs into your pricing and be perfectly comfortable spending X percent of your revenue on advertising.

However, due to high competition for certain keywords, you need heavy financial investment and a planned, sustained strategy around campaigns to really get noticed.

The downside to PPC ads is that they may not work for every professional service firm. For example, if you are a niche B2B consulting business that typically has a complex and long sales cycle, your potential clients are probably not looking for a solution on Google, Yahoo or Bing. Rather than buy immediately based on a click, they have to get comfortable with you before hiring your services. In such a case, your money could be better spent on other forms of advertising like social media advertising, or sponsored content.

Social media Ads

Social media ads are less expensive in comparison to PPC ads and tend to have a higher engagement and conversion rate. According to the global web index, 4 out of 10 internet users say they follow their favorite brands on social media. This is perfect for professional service firms.

In terms of usage, Facebook is still the dominant social media platform in the United States but LinkedIn is better because it is as good as the personal network you create at in-person events.

The smaller but focused user base on LinkedIn means there is less noise than on other social media networks. This makes it easier to get to your target audience. In contrast to Facebook, on LinkedIn, you can still generate lots of leads and business without spending a cent.

However, both platforms still remain important advertising channels for many professional service firms.

Due to stiff competition, your ads need to be very targeted and have a specific objective and call to action (CTA). Consider Re-targeting prior visitors based on the exact page(s) that they visited during their time on your website. Make your ads dynamic by creating tailor-made content and messaging for the exact visitors you want to target. For example, consider targeting people who went to your pricing page.

Another important factor to consider is how persuasive and creative your ad needs to be to attract the attention of prospective clients.

So, Does Advertising Work for Professional Service Firms? The simple answer is yes, but its success largely depends on your advertising objectives, budget, and message.

Good advertising will create interest, generate public enthusiasm, and grow your business. The more effective it is, the more clients it draws in and the greater the profit will be for your firm.

Let us know in the comments which advertising channels you use, and which ones work best for you. As always, if you found this information helpful, feel free to share this blog post on social media.

Does Anyone Use a Phone Book Anymore?

The Yellow Pages and his brother, the White Pages. A standard of nearly one hundred years that is obsolete and largely forgotten. Yet for many businesses, inclusion in the phone book is tantamount to a badge of honor, and they believe it adds legitimacy to any business. In years past, if you didn’t have a business card and weren’t in the phone book, you must be some sort of fly-by-night operator that couldn’t be trusted.

Let me ask you a question is that advertisement in the Yellow Pages worth it for your professional service company?

I’ll preface that with another question when was the last time you looked up a number in the phone book?

That should tell you the answer.

Of course, there is a caveat to the demographics of your business. If you are old enough to remember the restaurant Steak and Ale, you might have noticed that they are all gone? Yep. Their guests all died, and the chain died with them. Sadly, that’s the state that phone books are in.

If you find that your area has loads of retirees or your particular practice takes care of a lot of elderly, then a large print ad might be a good business decision. On the other hand, if you are largely servicing a crowd that never watched The Andy Griffith Show, then chances are they do the same thing with their phone books as you leave them outside until they remember to pick them up and throw them in the garbage.

To be honest, even the companies that make phone books now largely sell online advertising, but the myriad of free search options and mapping software means that even an online ad for the Yellow Pages may never really bear fruit and cost you hundreds of dollars a year. A statistic from WhitePages.com points out that only 22% of its books are used, and they even offer folks the opportunity to opt-out of receiving the free books.

Now if there ever were a bad sales move, it would be the idea of advertising in a free publication that nobody wants and it is free!

So pick your poison carefully, because the fact is, there are better ways to spend those hard-won advertising dollars. Of course, if you are handling older clients, then you may find merit in being in the book and advertising in it, but otherwise, the smart move may be to use one of the many other mediums to broadcast your message.