While no one can argue that social media is extremely important in any B2C strategy, when it comes to B2B marketing people aren’t always so sure. In a world where SEO and email typically reign supreme, social media can seem like an add-on or a lower priority component of the larger strategy.
Consider these statistics:
- As of 2015, 65% of adults now use social media compared to 7% in 2005.
- Facebook has nearly 1.4 billion users and generates 4.5 billion likes daily.
- Twitter has over 284 million active users posting 500 million tweets per day.
- 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising – just 10% trust brands today (Lithium).
- 81% of consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts (Lithium).
However, social media is no longer an innovative, new way to drive awareness and sales for your brand.
Essential to your organization’s survival in the competitive B2B landscape, it needs to be an integral part of any B2B marketing strategy. Social media helps B2B businesses showcase their credibility, acquire and retain customers, and build a strong reputation. “While tried-and-true B2B marketing techniques such as search engine optimization and email still bring plenty of prospects to the door, social media entices them to enter a dialogue, pick up some information of value and step into the sales funnel” (eMarketer).
Furthermore, social media can be even more impactful for a B2B company than for a B2C company. This is because B2B companies, as Convince and Convert explains, usually have “a smaller potential customer base, a higher average price point, and customer decision funnel that is more influenced by word of mouth and reputation.”
Here are 5 tips for developing a social media strategy for B2B companies:
1. Understand your audience and engage with your customers on social media. Leverage social listening to understand the pain points for your customer – what are their needs and desires and how can your product/service help solve those problems? The main benefit of leveraging social media for B2B marketing is to build relationships with current and potential customers.
2. Use social media for content promotion. Share various forms of content such as videos, photos, or longer form content to showcase your products/services in a broader context and to drive the authentic voice of the brand.
3. Drive traffic to website. Ensure that your website is prominently highlighted on all of your social channels and within your posts. Utilize link tracking to see which content drives people to click through to the website.
4. Invest in social video to produce more leads. According to a report by Software Advice, “video is the most-used content type and the content that generated the most leads for surveyed B2B marketers in 2014.”
5. Increase brand awareness with paid social. Allocating a percentage of the total budget to promoting social posts helps ensure that your content is visible to the right audiences. Social networks such as LinkedIn offer advanced targeting options for promoting your brand’s content, which ensures that you reach the most important and targeted audiences.
Social media is extremely valuable for top-of-funnel engagement and for generating strong leads for B2B companies. As we move into 2016, a social media component is going to be critical for every B2B marketing strategy.