Many B2B companies have asked us a variation of the same question lately: “Do I really need social media?” Our answer is a consistent, resounding YES.
Their concerns about social media marketing are valid yet misguided. Social media isn’t just an entertainment hub for millennials, but a digital resource with a creative, connecting cornerstone.
Thought leadership is one of numerous benefits social networks provide for B2B marketing. It allows businesses to establish a powerful presence and garner credibility. This method of community building doesn’t necessarily focus on products or services, but bringing value to the industry.
Increased visibility online also sparks demand – influencing the customer of your customers. This bottom-up approach drives sales. Reaching those in your immediate scope – as well as those beyond it – furthers engagement and branding potential.
In determining the right social networks for your B2B business, keep company goals top-of-mind. Each network is different in terms of intent and use – it’s not necessary to overwhelm your company by trying to excel in all social realms. Search Engine Watch does an excellent job breaking down the factors to consider, as listed here:
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– Audience breakdown of network
– Target audience types
– Content types by audience
– Purpose of social network
– Tone of network
– Engagement levels of network
The first social network we recommend for all B2B businesses is LinkedIn. The top professional network, LinkedIn is the most effective for lead generation. With over 200 million members, it provides the opportunity to reach industry leaders, potential employees and relevant community members. In fact, more B2B marketers found success in customer acquisition on the network than B2C marketers did (61% to 39%).
Google+ is a growing influence in the social business world. We think of the network as a cross between LinkedIn and Facebook – it’s more professional-oriented and educational, timely content is highly ranked. It’s also a search and social powerhouse, with a strong emphasis on SEO. Linking, shares and mentions on the site help Google index content in search results. All of this greatly benefits thought leadership efforts, helping B2B brands increase visibility.
Facebook and Twitter both have a place in B2B marketing. The largest social network, Facebook will help your brand build a presence by way of promotions, events and client services. Similarly, Twitter allows for instant client feedback and real-time news. Both contribute to search optimization efforts.
There are certainly other, more niche social networks that can be helpful for B2B businesses as well. It’s all about discovering your brand voice and goals, and then establishing an active social presence where it makes sense. If correctly optimized, social networks can increase brand affinity, traffic and sales. B2C brands shouldn’t be the only ones benefiting from the growing social sphere! Contact ZOG Digital today for a B2B social media optimization audit.
In conclusion, let’s play a little game of “fact vs. fiction.”
FICTION: Social media has no place in B2B marketing.
FACT: B2B companies need a social media marketing strategy.