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How to Win Customers and Influence People: Finding the Right Platforms to Reach Your B2B Audience

How B2B marketers can find the best social media platform to reach their target market

How to Win Customers and Influence People: Finding the Right Platforms to Reach Your B2B Audience image Article Lead generation how to woo your prospects in four steps4

Despite some reluctance to embrace social media as a B2B marketing channel, 91% of B2B marketers are using social media to spread their message. Plus, 58% of marketers who have been using social media for more than 3 years report it has helped them improve sales.

But with so many platforms available, it can be tempting to sign up to more than you can handle. The key is focusing your efforts on the networks where your target audience is already waiting.

Which audience, where?

Age: The 18-29 audience is commonly the biggest on every social media platform, but bear in mind these statistics:

  • 46% of Facebook users are aged 45+
  • Half of all Google+ users are under 24
  • Just 19% of LinkedIn users are under 34

Gender: Platform use is fairly evenly balanced between men and women, with the notable exception being Pinterest, which is used by a considerably higher number of women than men.

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  • Facebook: Women 58%, men 42%
  • Twitter: Women 63%, men 37%
  • LinkedIn: Women 46%, men 54%
  • Google+: Women 36%, men 64%
  • YouTube: Women 46%, men 54%
  • Pinterest: Women 72%, men 28%

However, B2B social media marketing has more facets to it than B2C marketing. B2B marketers must identify relevant industry dialogue regardless of basic audience demographics.

Conversions come from conversation; engagement and dialogue is the axis of a solid social media presence. But finding the right conversations amid the deafening noise of social media can be tricky.

For optimum effective reach, then, B2B marketers should:

  • Target platforms with large user bases.
  • Use keywords and relevant messaging to target the right potential customers.

Top of the B2B class

In a recent survey by Gleanster, top B2B performers indicated LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and SlideShare as the best platforms for user targeting:

  • LinkedIn: 93%
  • Twitter: 84%
  • YouTube: 71%
  • SlideShare: 56%
  • Facebook: 35%
  • Vimeo: 26%
  • Google+: 24%

Are they right for my needs?

However, this is not to say that some of the lower scoring platforms may not be more suited to your needs. Consider these points:

  • Facebook proves a successful B2B marketing platform in tech industries and those lending themselves to a sense of community (consultancies, services to businesses, caterers, etc).
  • Google+ now boasts more than 350 million users and is quickly becoming a hot new B2B destination. Business pages, video conferencing and improved search rankings are just some of the B2B marketing benefits offered by the site.
  • Pinterest doesn’t even appear on the list of targetable platforms, but it shouldn’t be ignored, especially if yours is a visually-driven brand. Click-through rates can be twice as high as Twitter or Facebook, and it provides a strong platform from which to humanise your company.

Finding the right platform

  • Use social media to seek out your competitors and see where they’re focusing their efforts (and how successfully!)
  • Get involved in online conversations to see what buyers are saying about social. Are they referencing forums, blogs, Facebook pages or Twitter accounts? Follow the trail of breadcrumbs and set up camp in places your customers are already visiting.
  • Ask for feedback from your business customers; a short survey alongside your latest email correspondence, for example. A simple ‘Which social platforms does your business use?’ will suffice.

Engaging your audience

Engaging a B2B audience is often more challenging than engaging a B2C demographic, but there are several crossover lessons to be had:

  • Listen to what your connections saying, then find content that resonates deeply with them. Make yourself memorable and they’ll remember you in their next buying decision
  • Embrace video content – social media users are watching more videos, and responding to them more positively, than ever before
  • Be mobile optimised – the advent of the ‘bring your own device’ trend means more and more business decision makers are accessing social through tablets and smartphones (78% of companies say there are more than twice as many personal devices connecting to corporate networks now than compared to two years ago)
  • B2B businesses can apply the same ROI metrics to their social campaigns as B2C companies, so use analytics information to determine what’s working and what’s not – and then change it if needs be!

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