Do you suffer from marketing envy? It’s that longing B2B marketers feel when looking at your B2C counterparts and wishing you had it so easy.

All they have to do is post something funny on social media…All of life is one big GIF…Wish my marketing strategy was as easy as setting up a poll on which FRIENDS character is funniest…

Sound familiar? Well, it’s time to set things straight, because social media marketing isn’t just for B2C products and services.

Sure, social media is a bit of a slam dunk for B2C marketing, because people tend to hang out on social media. Companies are made up of people and some of those people hanging out on social media are members of your target audience.

The New Water Cooler

Consider this: Forbes reports that 83% of executives use social media as part of their consideration of a vendor when making purchasing decisions. Of that group 92% said that they had been influenced by social media in a purchasing decision in the last year.

It’s not just purchasers and executives spending time on social media. It’s also your competitors. Among B2B marketers, 82% prioritize social media marketing among their channels.

The Benefits

We use social media as a key part of our B2B marketing strategy because we see some clear benefits. First, remember that sales and marketing are always social. We take clients out to lunch, we attend networking events, we grab coffee and talk over marketing trends.

Social media works for the same types of conversations. There are differences, of course, because in-person interactions allow for more depth, but they also are limited in how many of your leads you can visit with at once. Social media has no such limits.

We also see social media as an opportunity to show off what we know without being that obnoxious guy who starts every sentence with “Actually…” We offer content that we know adds value and allow our contacts to notice that we seem to have some insight to offer. The next time they need marketing help, they will think of us first.

This also ties in with your search engine optimization (SEO). When traffic makes it to your website via social media, it bumps up your search rankings. That is helpful when a purchaser is doing a Google search related to your product and your name pops up first. Their first thought may be, “That’s the company that posted an article that helped me solve a problem. I’ll call them.” This may sound contrived, but consider that 94% of buyers say that search is an important part of their purchasing process. Corny? Yes. Far-fetched? Nope.

Before you get started, make sure you have some clear goals set along with related metrics to track success. A company that wants to boost brand awareness will have different metrics than one looking to increase lead generation.

We use social media partly to show off our personality. We are a creative bunch that runs a bit sarcastic, and social media is the perfect place to trumpet our unique voice and identity.

To be clear, however, social media needs to be social. It isn’t a shouting platform and it isn’t an end-all when it comes to B2B. Instead, it is an ideal platform to get the conversation rolling, allowing potential buyers to vet you without you knowing about it. To that end, make sure you have a strategy, follow it with consistency and match the message to what your target audience wants to hear.

Not sure how to make this happen? Trained professionals are happy to help you figure that out. And by that we don’t mean your college-aged daughter who uses social media all the time or the solopreneur who walked in the door to get your business because he knows social platforms. That’s not enough experience or knowledge to build a strong strategy that will produce results. Yes, it’s social, but it’s also business.