If yours is a B2B business and you’re not yet using social media, here are some reasons why you should be talking about b2b social networks.
Whenever I approach B2B business owners, some are reluctant to talk about or even consider using social media in their business.
They have the mistaken opinion that social media is only for B2C businesses. They tell me that their industry is a boring industry with nothing to post that would interest people on social media.
However, this is not true. Regardless of the industry, you’re in; there’s always a way for your business to take part in social media.
According to this research into B2B Social media marketing by Omobono, not only can business-to-business (B2B) marketers benefit from social media, but it could be their most effective marketing channel of all.
According to this article, the financial services industry’s 81.77% average follower growth per brand is especially impressive given the industry’s large median social following.
The same article notes that across the B2B landscape, brands in the machinery sector see the highest social media audience growth, with average annual follower growth across all five major networks of 129.02%.
The article notes that software brands see fantastic social media growth up 82% of total followers across 2015, on average but the worst content engagement with a 2.62% engagement ratio.
It all boils down to your strategy. You need to have a well-documented plan in place regarding your social media.
Unlike most B2C social media marketing, there is a limited mass-market appeal for a B2B organisation. So implementing a social media strategy designed around your industry is critical yet delicate.
For B2B organisations, social media marketing has to focus on nurturing relationships to build loyalty and brand advocacy.
B2B social media marketing is used to build your individual or company reputation, PR opportunities, positive web mentions, SEO and brand loyalty.
Social media and social media marketing are just a buzzword until you come up with a plan. Your strategy must stipulate the following:
- your ideal client’s personae
- type of content you will post,
- how you will generate your content
- the specific social networks you will use
- schedule for posting to these networks
- benchmarks you will use in measuring your performance
- Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) you will use to measure your returns
As a business owner, having a documented strategy for social media that highlights all the above will make it easier and more productive for you to engage in social media marketing.
Whenever I come across B2B business owners sceptical about adopting social media in their marketing mix, I try to encourage them to look at the bigger picture.
For instance, all businesses, whether business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B), deal with humans.
Even when you say your business is B2B, your staff are human! Some social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, have billions of users.
Therefore, there’s every possibility that your staff will belong to one.
So it only makes sense for your business to be on social, since that’s where most people spend their time these days.
Therefore, if your target audience is on social media, your business ought to be on it too.
As Bryan Kramer rightly says, “there is no more B2B or B2C. It’s H2H: Human to Human”.There is no more B2B or B2C. It's H2H: Human to Human. - Bryan Kramer Click To Tweet
By now, you must wonder which social media sites are best suited for B2B organisations.
The following social networks are ideal for B2B business owners:
For B2B networks, LinkedIn is the undisputed champion! With over 500 million users worldwide,
LinkedIn is the network of choice for professionals worldwide. If you’re serious about building a personal and business brand, then you need to be on LinkedIn.
Gone are the days when LinkedIn was an online job board for job seekers. Today, reputable business people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Jack Welch, have a profile on it.
This is the perfect site for any B2B company looking to have a strong organic marketing strategy.
It is typical for B2B brands to stick to sharing content from their company page or profiles.
Overall, B2B brands have the largest audiences on LinkedIn, according to this research.
As a business owner, you need to position yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn. Use your presence on it to build thought leadership and place yourself as an expert in your industry and for content marketing.
LinkedIn is the ideal platform for promoting your company news, blog posts, product launches, growing and strengthening your professional online networking and reaching key decision-makers in other B2B organisations.
You can create posts around quotes, user-generated content, or your company culture.
LinkedIn is also the online network to be when you want to keep abreast of news and trends in your industry or follow professionals from other industries to expand your horizon and explore new business opportunities.
LinkedIn should be a core component of your B2B lead generation and content marketing strategies.
A great way to generate leads on this social media platform is to join active groups related to your business or industry. Be an active member of these groups and provide value by answering questions from other members of the groups and providing relevant content.
Will you like to learn how to use LinkedIn to grow your business?
With over 300 million daily users worldwide, Twitter is the social network of choice for any business owner who wants to ‘see what’s happening in the world right now’.
Twitter is one of my favourite networks because it’s a micro-blogging network that you use to share your thoughts in less than 280 characters! Previously the character limit was 140, but they have since increased it.
Its users cut across various industries and socio-economic segments. You have world leaders, politicians, celebrities, journalists and business executives.
What makes it unique is that while other networks try to cage you in, Twitter encourages users to follow the links shared by other users!
The best way to describe Twitter is like a stream. You can step in at any point during the day and be sure you’ll catch up on the latest news and updates from the people and brands you follow with no endless scrolling down your news feed.
It is the ideal platform to create awareness for your brand, to humanise your brand and to promote your content and increase engagement with your content or brand by your followers.
Are you interested in learning tips on using your Twitter account to grow your business?
With over a billion daily users, Facebook is the place to be if you want to find your potential clients and explore new opportunities.
However, it is now a pay-to-play platform! So as a business brand, if you want your fans to see your post, you need to pay to boost it.
If your fans on it are actual humans and not bots, whenever you boost your post you’re reaching actual humans.
However, if you’re one of those who bought fake fans over the years, then too bad!
To combat all the negative publicity surrounding it in recent times, it is creating many measures to combat fake news and bots. So these are exciting times for professionals and marketers on this network.
B2B organisations can also use it and Facebook Messenger as tools to boost their client service.
Adverts here can also drive targeted traffic to your website at reasonable costs.
However, advertising on it is not a walk in the park. You need to be sure of what you’re doing, otherwise, you’ll throw money down the drain and get frustrated.
B2B organisations can also use it to showcase their company culture.
Use the live video feature on it to connect live with your fans during critical events and product launches.
Facebook Stories is another feature you can use to engage with fans of your page.
You need to pay attention when crafting your posts because its algorithm punishes any content that it deems to be too forceful.
Your posts need to be crafted to provide value for your fans and not for the hard sell.
It makes changes often. B2B businesses need to be creative on how to get the best out of their presence on this platform.
Though it may seem like marketing on this site is getting complicated, we can also look on the bright side.
It is forcing professionals and marketers to be more creative and strategic in marketing their business.
Want to learn how to make the best use of this social media site?
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world after Google! Users watch billions of hours of video on YouTube.
In recent times, video content has gained much prominence on social media.
The importance placed on video content has driven us to increase the amount of videos content we create.
The critical thing to note when using video for your B2B marketing is that your videos need to be useful and informative.
You need not spend a tonne of money creating videos.
Just make sure that the videos you create are useful and informative.
Then they will rank high in search engine result pages and help to drive targeted traffic and engagement to your website.
You can create videos to showcase product demonstrations and testimonials, show your expertise, highlight your brand’s personality, leverage trending events and to solve problems for your customers.
There is no more B2B or B2C. It’s H2H: Human to Human
– Bryan Kramer
Are you short of ideas on what topics to cover in your videos? Then repurpose your existing content into video format and upload these videos directly to your social media sites.
Uploading your videos directly unto your account rather than linking to your video from your website or YouTube will improve its organic reach to your audience.
Remember to track and analyse the performance of your videos using analytics tools such as YouTube Insights and Google Analytics.
Use the data you derive from your analytics to create a strategy for your video marketing.
Using data from your analytics will ensure that you’re not just creating video content for content’ sake, but creating videos that are providing value to your target audience.
Helping your brand to rank high in search engine result pages and ultimately drive targeted traffic and potential clients to your website.
Want to learn how to make the best use of YouTube?
Instagram is another social network that B2B organisations use to humanise their brand.
B2B brands can use their account to create awareness for their brand and the people behind the brand, i.e. your team.
Post-behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Highlight company news and product launches.
With a billion users, it is a platform that entrepreneurs need to consider in using to grow their business online.
Be creative in creating content that humanises your brand.
Even if you feel you don’t have any in-house information that is newsworthy or that you cannot create content for this site in-house, you can always rely on user-generated content. You can also encourage the use of branded hashtags in your user-generated content.
Ask your clients to share photos and videos of how they are making use of your product or service.
You can then get your clients’ permission to post this content on your business account. You can also ask your clients to make short video testimonials of how they benefit from using your brand.
As mentioned above, your account is an excellent place for B2B brands to showcase their employees and brand culture.
Your employees and brand culture are some key ingredients that make you stand out from your competitors.
Use it as a tool to attract new talent to your organisation.
You can showcase the benefits and perks that your team enjoys by working for your company.
It helps to attract new skills, clients and unique partnership opportunities from brands whose values and ideals are like yours.
With Instagram, your focus should be on storytelling instead of marketing.
Use your account as a tool to build an active community around your B2B brand.
On this site, hashtags are invaluable in helping to increase your brand awareness and build a community around your brand.
But as a B2B, approach social media to acquire leads first, instead of brand awareness.
Get a hashtag unique to your brand and encourage your team, clients and followers to make use of that hashtag about your brand.
Your hashtags connect posts from users who are not related to your brand into a single feed. So anyone searching the hashtags you used can see your post.
I hope you have not set your account to private! Otherwise, you will miss out on a tonne of potential engagement with your brand by interested persons.
Setting your account to private ultimately defeats the purpose of being on social media.
You can also use your Instagram account as a tool to tap into employee advocacy.
Encouraging your employees to share photos and videos of themselves at work or your company event using your hashtag is a fantastic way of engaging in employee advocacy.
It’s a win-win situation for your brand and your employees.
However, with Instagram, avoid being consumed by vanity metrics!
Yes, it might seem impressive to get hundreds of likes on your content. Instead, focus on metrics that showcase proper engagement such as comments on your posts and an organic increase of followers to your account.
As a business owner, you no doubt create a ton of presentations for your team, board members and other stakeholders in your business. Sharing and storing these presentations on SlideShare is a wise decision.
With about 80 million professional users, SlideShare is the most extensive presentation sharing community on the Internet.
Owned by LinkedIn, it is the premier place for sharing your business infographic, presentations, and PDF’s.
However, as a bonus, you can also upload and share videos and music files either in public or in private.
Besides sharing your content, B2B organisations can also discover great content on SlideShare on niche topics that will prove valuable in growing your organisation.
SlideShare is an excellent network where B2B organisations can gain targeted traffic to their website.
The presence of your brand on SlideShare will help to improve your ranking on search engines.
SlideShare is also a great place to get new followers and potential customers.
However, the key to success on SlideShare is to provide educational content rather than promotional content.
Do you want to learn more about using Slideshare to grow your business?
Why Talk About B2B Social Networks?
There you have it! As you’ve seen from the above, there are several reasons you should talk about B2B social media.
There is no credible reason to be reluctant about using social media in your business. B2B social media channels are indispensable for brand development and lead generation.
Solid engagement on the sites mentioned above is one key to a successful digital marketing strategy.
By incorporating these B2B networks into your existing marketing strategy, you are adding another channel for users to find your business and visit your website.
Since your existing and potential customers are on social media, your business needs to have a presence on social networks. Also, advertising on these B2B social networks and other pay per click sites is a great way to drive targeted traffic to your website.
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