When was the last time you skipped going to a company website and instead searched for a business on a social media network?
Half an hour ago?
The use of social media is on the rise. In 2018, an estimated 2.65 billion people were social media users, and this number is predicted to increase to 3.1 billion by 2021.
Social media marketing is great for B2C ventures, but is it an equally effective tool in B2B marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, social media is the most used content marketing channel for business to business (B2B) marketers, with 61% of them actually increase their social media usage for content marketing from a year ago.
Here are some additional figures on the use of social media in B2B. 76% of business to business tech companies are using social media to drive bottom-line results. IDG reports that 84% of “C” level decision-makers are influenced by social media in their purchasing decision.
These figures support the case that social media marketing isn’t just for the B2C sector. Today, a lot of B2B brands understand the potential of social media and are using it as a core tool in their B2B online marketing strategy.
So, the hip is real!
Benefits of Social Media Marketing for B2B
It’s true that the B2B sales cycle is slightly longer and more complicated because of multiple decision makers and touchpoints, but B2B social media marketing comes with its own benefits. Social media a powerful way to build and enhance brand awareness. Social media channels also serve as an excellent platform to share and publicise your premium content, which builds credibility and trust, and we know how highly B2B consumers value this!
Other benefits include increased web traffic, more conversions, higher engagement, and more B2B partnerships. Stand apart from the competition by increasing your engagement, add a bit of the brand’s personality and flair to your social media. SalesForce’s Pardot is a first-rate example of a B2B company using social media to build interactivity and engagement with its community. Pardot’s Twitter account uses a special hashtag, #TrailblazerTipTuesdays, that establishes themselves as a high-quality content provider and also strengthens the bond between the company and its users.
Too Many Channels-Where Should I Focus my Efforts?
There are a variety of social media networks that marketers use, albeit in varying degrees. However, with an overabundance of channels, it's easy to stretch yourself too thin.
Your goal, should you choose to accept, is to have a rock-solid presence on a few, carefully selected social media networks. It is most likely that your business’ target audience is heavily dominant in just 1-2 sites, and you are simply wasting your efforts running behind every social media network.
Pick social media outlets that tie in with your SMART B2B marketing goals. You can also do a competitor analysis to get ideas on what channels they are utilising. An understanding of which demographics hang out on which portal will further narrow down your strategy.
To help you out, we have compiled a list of some of the top social media outlets that B2B businesses must consider.
Key Demographics - 33% of users are within 30-49 years age group. 50% of users have a college degree or more. 31% of users are male (Source: Sprout Social).
LinkedIn currently has over 610 million members, with approximately 40% visiting the site on a daily basis. Here are some other smashing statistics about this professional networking site, 92% of Fortune 500 companies have a presence on this portal, and 42% of social media traffic directed to B2B websites is generated from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is an excellent way to share content that solidifies your brand as a subject-matter expert. Get the most ROI from this channel by sharing and getting highly relevant knowledge, tips, product information via the various Groups (and trust me when I say there is a professional group for almost anything in LinkedIn, from digital marketers to hydraulic pump designers).
LinkedIn also makes “cold-calling” a lot easier because now a potential lead is just a click away. You can reach out to decision-makers and also strengthen partnerships. However, instead of bombarding leads and/or decision-makers with blank messages, write out a message that can be quickly personalised and serves as a conversation starter.
ProTip: Don’t overlook the importance of building a company page on LinkedIn. This increases your company’s chances of showing up in SERPs (who knew, right?).
Key Demographics - 36% of users are within 18-39 years age group. 29% of users have a college degree or more. 24% of users are male, and 25% of users are female (Source: Sprout Social).
What to know what is “trending”? There is no better place to do than Twitter. With approximately 320 million active users, Twitter is another powerful B2B social media channel. According to a CMI report, 87% of B2B marketers use Twitter for content marketing.
Use the relevant hashtags to get discovered by your target audience, and engage followers by humanizing your tweets. Refrain from tweeting generic tagline or information, instead post tweets that will prompt an emotional response from the audience and encourage them to further interact with your content.
Twitter for Executive reports that 288,000 CEOs use this portal to connect with customers and show thought-leadership. This makes Twitter a great conversation starter.
Key Demographics - 84% of users are within 18-39 years age group. 79% of users have a college degree or more. 75% of users are male (Source: Sprout Social).
Since its inception, Facebook has revolutionalised how people socialise and how businesses operate. If you are under the impression that Facebook is solely for the B2C market, then you are mistaken. The Content Marketing Institute study reports that 42% of B2B marketers prefer Facebook as the social media platform for their company.
Why? Facebook is a cost-effective social platform. It is free to create a company page, and you can set-up ads and promote posts based on your budget. Include links back to your company website and automatically watch your incoming traffic grow.
B2B firms also use Facebook because it strengthens their customer service. The portal makes it easier to interact with customers and address their needs and queries instantly.
SlideShare receives 500% more traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.– B2B Marketing
SlideShare, the largest presentation community online, is a boon for B2B marketers. Majority of this platform’s 60 million monthly users consist of professionals and small business owners. Marketers can quickly increase brand awareness, credibility, generate leads, and rank higher in SERPs by simply making SlideShare their premium content sharing portal.
B2B marketers can also push their SlideShare content to LinkedIn by syncing the SlideShare app to your LinkedIn profile. Embed lead forms and links to your site on the slides to further drive organic traffic.
YouTube, although facing stiff competition from Facebook and Twitter, remains an important B2B channel to distribute content. B2B companies see the most benefit from this outlet when they create and share “how-to” videos which highlight the company’s value proposition.
ProTip: Optimise videos by keeping them under 3 minutes, using keywords in titles, and delivering relevant knowledge. This will power them to the top of SERPs, increasing traffic to your website, and establish your brand as a credible, trusted source.
Social media marketing is a powerful tool for B2B companies. In addition to driving leads, social media is an excellent way to share knowledge, engage, and learn from professionals.
However, do remember that the key to successful B2B social media campaigns lies in focusing your resources on the right channels. Understand the B2B customer, what they are seeking from that social media outlet, and create specific content that will spark a connection and drive a conversation with that audience.
What is your company’s stance on social media for B2B? Is it a part of your overall inbound marketing strategy?
If you need help with understanding which social media outlet is best suited for your B2B brand, Transfunnel’s social media marketing services might be of interest to you.