Business-to-consumer marketers are using social media as part of their online marketing strategy and have found these channels as a way of cultivating customer engagement. What about B2B marketers and social media? Facebook and Twitter have proven to be effective mediums for B2C businesses, but the platforms that have the greatest demand and are the most used in B2B are not the same. In a 2012 social media study of B2B marketing, marketers were asked to choose the one most important method that they use for their social outreach (see chart). LinkedIn, Facebook, blogging, Twitter and YouTube are the top social networks for B2B.
How Social Media Can Help Your B2B Business
In a study conducted by Social Media Examiner of over 1,900 B2B marketers, results indicate that while B2B marketers are finding success in their social media efforts, they still see room for improvement. Whether you’re a large company or starting a small business, here are a few statistics that show why you should be using social media.
- Over 56% of B2B marketers acquired new business partnerships through social media.
- 53% of B2B marketers found social media helped them develop a loyal fan base.
- Nearly 60% of B2B marketers saw improved search rankings from their social efforts
How to Use Different Social Media Platforms
Each social media channel is different and your approach to each should reflect that. Whether you are focused on engagement or generating leads, utilize each channel with specific goals in mind and a plan of how to meet those goals with the capabilities of the social media platform you’re using. We’ll cover the most successful methods of B2B marketers for the top 3 networks they’re using.
Facebook isn’t just a channel for posting products and recent updates from your business. Facebook is more personal and B2B marketers are picking up on this. Reach out to those interested in what your business offers. When using Facebook, you want to:
- Create an online community that encourages conversation. Ask customers and businesses what their take is on certain issues, trending topics, your products. You can answer questions and ask others to do the same for two-way dialogue.
- Use photos and videos. You can show off products without being pushy and market upcoming events. Photos and videos make your page more dynamic and interesting. Both forms of media are also easy for fans to share.
- Use calls to action. If you can offer a free trial, having a call to action that encourages other businesses or clients to try the product is a good idea. Even if you can’t, include a call to action that leads a fan down the conversion funnel.
Having a company blog is great for link building and SEO efforts, but guest blogs and tracking of comments are just as beneficial for B2B marketers. Whether you’re writing for your own blog, responding to a comment or creating a guest article, you should try to:
- Become a thought leader and gain credibility. Write about trending topics and make sure content documented, informative, and interesting. You can gain market insight and credibility in your industry.
- Increase “shareability” of your site. Each post should target a specific audience for engagement and encourage users to share the content across their social media channels as well as visit other areas of your site.
- Improve your site’s performance on search engines. Whether its anchor links, “strong words,” or long URLs in a comment on another site, SEO should be on your mind. SEO marketing is one of the main reasons businesses blog.
LinkedIn is a way for B2B marketers to connect with other businesses in your industry and generate leads. You can also gain industry insight and credibility. When you’re logged into LinkedIn as a business, you should aim to:
- Actively search and connect with various people and organizations. Instead of a cold call to a random company representative, you can immediately connect with the person you’re aiming to reach out to. Your lead generation efforts are now much easier.
- Ask for recommendations from previous and current clients. New, or potential, clients who see these will gain insight into your business, how it operates, and who works behind the scenes.
When it comes to B2B marketing and social media, not using the platforms is a huge disadvantage. You can generate leads, cultivate an online community, and directly interact with customers. When done right, your business will generate more impressions and greater credibility in your industry.