It's no secret that most companies are present on almost all social media sites. But, for B2B companies, being on fewer social sites but making the most out of those platforms might be the better route. This blog highlights and explains the best social media sites that will be the most effective for your B2B company.
According to We Are Social’s 2015 global digital snapshot, 3.010 billion people are active internet users, and of those numbers, 2.078 billion engage on social media accounts. That’s about 70 percent! Most people use social media to connect personally, but in the last few years, B2B companies have seen a huge window of opportunity to engage with their audiences professionally.
A 2014 study from the Content Marketing Institute concludes that social media is the number one content marketing tactic that B2B companies use. There are so many different social media options circling the web that it’s nearly impossible to have a strong presence on them all. In fact, experts claim that trying to tackle too many social media sites at once means overextending your brand and stretching the limits of your marketing team. Therefore, they suggest that you pick a few social media sites to focus on and master instead of creating a weak presence on too many platforms.
Now comes the tricky part: which social media platforms should your business use? You need to select social platforms based on your company’s specific audience. You have to conduct some research to find where your audience is spending their time online and who they are connecting with. Here are a few networks that we’ve seen work in the past for B2B companies.
According to DMR, LinkedIn has more than 350 million users worldwide. LinkedIn is designed to provide an easy way to make professional business contacts. However; instead of having a bunch of connections you don’t engage with, you should have a marketing plan that drives demand and revenue opportunities. Here are some strategies that marketers and sales team experts believe will help your B2B business get the most out of your LinkedIn connections:
- Optimize your profile.
A lot of B2B companies make the mistake of just listing their services and achievements on their profile. The point of LinkedIn is to turn connections with people and groups into relationship-building opportunities, so it’s essential to create your profile in a way that encourages people to engage with your business, rather than read your credentials and click to the next page. To do this, find out what your audience needs and values, and show them how you can help them on your profile. Maybe you include a couple case studies to show how you’ve generated success for clients in the past, or find ways to target specific audiences instead of creating a one-size-fits-all profile. The goal is to create conversations with the people who are going to give your business opportunities, because people care more about how you can help them rather than what you’ve done.
- It’s not a numbers game.
B2B companies, like many other marketing and sales leaders, tend to make their LinkedIn connections more about quantity than quality. A lot of the connections that businesses make are long-shot opportunities of maybe getting a connection to introduce themselves or refer you to someone else. Instead, go the extra step and take the time to seek out those influencers who can make a positive impact on your business. Define who your primary and secondary prospects are and create a plan to reach out and develop real relationships.
- Make the most out of your connections.
So you’ve made the connections with people in your target audience and you have a pretty good idea of who can and can’t provide business opportunities, now what? You need to nurture these relationships and share new content often to remind your connections how you can help them. Create a strategy to deliver the content that will intrigue your audience to move into your pipeline and engage with you more. Think of how to provide case studies, articles, webinars, and other sources that shows your audience that you’ve been successful in the past and can do the same for them in the future.
Dan Levy, Facebook's director of small business, claimed in June 2014 that the social network now has 30 million active small business pages. This, combined with the 1.44 billion active users calculated as of March 2015, shows that your B2B business must be on Facebook to stay competitive in the digital landscape. Here are some simple secrets in order to build your brand and engage your target audience:
- Focus first on a content strategy.
You have to strategize, find, create, and deliver the kind of content that your target audience wants to read and invites them to engage with your posts. Content should inspire the reader to take action and start discussions. You need to strategically choose topics and ideas that are relevant to your audience instead of throwing out a bunch of random posts that creates clutter on their timelines.
- Mix it up. Don’t only post for lead generation.
The goal of B2B pages on Facebook is to generate leads, but in order to do so, post a variety of content that achieves other goals besides lead gen or driving sales. Some of these other goals can include more comments on posts for feedback or more shares for greater outreach and awareness. These smaller goals are stepping stones to what you really want: more business.
- Don’t forget the visuals!
According to HubSpot, the click-through rate of posts including photos is 128% higher than those with videos or links. More generally, Facebook posts with photos generate 53% more likes than those without. In short, get creative and get visual to further engage your target audience.
Twitter is one of the largest social networks on the web that people use personally, so it’s a great place for direct-to-consumer business. This is why many B2B companies overlook Twitter as an asset to their marketing campaign, but in reality, you can be just as successful at building your brand and engaging your audience as those other guys. Here are a couple tips:
- Sharing is caring.
Twitter is a landscape of constant, quick, and timely updates of information. The best way to get your name out there and engage your audience is to share and pass along content from other places. The more you share from other businesses, the more likely others are to share from you. Retweet from a variety of sources, and maybe even share from an industry outside your norm once in a while. Who knows, maybe they’ll take notice in your business and expose your brand to someone who was previously unfamiliar with it.
- Take advantage of your resources.
Twitter offers some useful analytics that go beyond tracking your new followers and seeing which posts are being retweeted. You can look at your growth overtime, see who unfollows you, and look at your mentions. This can give you a good idea on what’s working, what’s not, and who is engaging with you the most so that you can make the appropriate adjustments with your posts.
- Stay Active.
One of the biggest mistakes that B2B businesses make on this social platform is creating a Twitter account and then never using it, or rarely updating it. It looks unprofessional to have an account that sits dormant and clients can even question your reliability. If you can’t keep up with the times and manage a simple twitter account, how can you deliver all of the services that you promise? Decide who is going to be in charge of your company’s twitter account and make sure they incorporate posts and engagement frequently into their schedule.
Although there are many different types of social media platforms that all have their own perks and specialities, there is one thing they all have in common: they can be leveraged and optimized to build your brand, engage followers, and create relationships with your target audience. The tricky part is making your business stand out from the competition and delivering the content that your audience is looking for. It’s a trial and error process to see what works for your business and what’s making your audience run in the opposite direction. Hopefully this post provides a good starting point.
If you have any other useful tips that we forgot or have had success on any other social networks not mentioned in this article, please leave a comment below!
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