Which Social Media Channels Are Best For B2B Marketers?Social media can be a powerful business marketing tool. You will find great examples of B2C social successes all over the internet, but what about B2B? Can you effectively use social media to market B2B products or services? If so, which platform will be best for reaching your B2B prospects?
Social media is a marketing medium that B2B organizations cannot afford to ignore. According to a recent study by eMarketer, 52 percent of small business owners in the U.S. feel like companies aren’t reaching them effectively. B2B marketers are missing the mark in understanding their prospects. Sales strategies are much too black and white.
Beyond Aggressive Sales
A thoughtful social media strategy can help bridge the informational gap between your marketing conversations and the needs of decision makers at B2B companies. A B2B marketing strategy can be tough to get right. Blasting out an aggressive sales strategy on every social platform will not work. If that is your plan, it is better to not get involved at all. You have to be a bit more strategic.
Before you jump in, you need to make sure that the platforms you’re using are well-aligned with your target market and marketing goals. Here are the web’s most popular social networks outlined in terms of a B2B marketing strategy.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. You may be surprised to know that it can be up to 300 percent more effective for B2B lead generation when compared to Facebook and Twitter. Through LinkedIn’s personal profiles, discussion groups, and advertising platform, you can directly reach the decision makers who are most likely to be interested in your company’s products or services.
You can also use LinkedIn to reach out to fellow group members directly. Consider joining other groups’ conversations, or host a company-sponsored group of your own to build a community of potential leads.
Before jumping into your LinkedIn strategy, make sure that you have completely filled out your personal profile. When someone comes to check you out because of a comment you posted, they need to be able to clearly judge who they are dealing with. Additionally, it is a good idea to set-up a company profile with a comprehensive overview of the products or services you sell. Always put your best image forward because you never know when prospects may be looking for you.
For effective B2B marketing, Facebook should be integrated with your blog and content strategy. By building an industry fan community around your brand, you can use Facebook for continuous traffic and exposure to your website. For added exposure, try promoting your blog content with the Promoted Posts feature.
Through Facebook advertising, you can find lead generation opportunities — just be sure to make use of the platform’s geographic, gender, and interest-based targeting features to reach the prospective customers who align most closely with your business. If it makes sense for your business, you can even try sharing promotions related to your B2B brand through Facebook’s Offers platform.
If you’re interested in developing a more advanced marketing strategy, consider taking advantage of Facebook’s Open Graph by developing an app. If you have the development resources, an app can help you get noticed on Facebook. Maybe you want to create a customer testimonial or achievements app. Think of a goal that your customers care about and build your strategy around it.
Twitter is more than just chatter — it’s the ultimate platform for conversations and networking. You can leverage Twitter to grow your company’s reach by connecting with other brands and relevant decision makers. Twitter can also help you achieve viral reach — you can join relevant conversations using the hashtag feature and ask your employees to tweet and retweet content about your brand.
The tool is invaluable for customer communications. You can solve customer problems in real time, and you can converse with fellow Twitter users 1:1 or through the hashtag feature. Just make sure to zero in and build a presence around the conversations that are most relevant to your organization.
G+ is a valuable platform for helping bring more visibility to your content in search. Google treats ‘plus-ones’ (a reader vote much like a “like” on Facebook) as a search algorithm signal, so make sure that the button is fully integrated throughout your blog and other content areas.
Posting your content to the Google+ platform can also help you to build new and targeted audiences. Segmenting people into different “circles” allows you to share content that is hyper-relevant to certain individuals. Connecting with people about what they care about can be the start of a business relationship.
Additionally, if you spend a lot of time on the phone with your clients and customers, try a G+ hangout instead. The face-to-face interaction will differentiate your brand from competitors and help you build a personalized relationship. You can host group training sessions, webinars, partner conferences, tutorials, q&a sessions, and more.
YouTube is a major brand awareness tool for reaching new prospects and building personal connections with existing customers. B2B organizations can find immense value in launching a YouTube channel. Your channel will give you a medium to demonstrate how to solve common problems, show the benefits of your offering in action, and share related industry information.
Make sure to optimize your YouTube videos for search (so that interested prospects can find them), and make sure that you support your lead generation efforts by prominently linking back to your company’s website.
Pinterest can be a powerful marketing medium and one of the top web traffic drivers. It’s a platform that you definitely shouldn’t ignore.
If you want to try it, use Pinterest to share photos of your products, provide tours of your office, or promote your customer testimonials. To keep your Pinterest presence interesting, showcase a mix of media including videos, images, charts, and infographics. You can also use Pinterest to promote your e-books and white papers — make sure that you integrate a ‘pin-it’ button throughout your site and blog.
What if you’re not a visually-focused brand? You can keep your strategy simple by sharing inspirational quotes and stories. You can also position your brand as a content aggregator for information and resources that your customers will find interesting. They’ll enjoy what you have to share and thank you for saving them time in finding valuable resources.
Your best strategy is to reverse engineer your social media marketing plan to your business goals. You have finite time to reach the right prospects, so make sure you’re targeting the communities where your customers are most likely to engage.
As a B2B company, LinkedIn is a must. If you find that you want more social activity, give the other a try. Be sure that you are tracking your results so that you can identify if you are getting the best return for the time that you are investing.
What has been your most effective B2B social media platform?
Image Credit: daniel.d.slee
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