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Despite the fact that social media has become a nearly ubiquitous means of connection in our digital age, the old myth persists that social media marketing for B2B companies brings, at best, only limited benefits to your bottom line. As social media has worked its way more and more deeply into the fabric of modern life, though, B2B companies have been discovering that social media marketing drives numerous factors that feed into their bottom line including thought leadership, brand awareness, and lead generation. A 2017 survey by Content Marketing Institute found that 83% of B2B companies are leveraging social media content to engage their prospects and grow their businesses. Shouldn’t you do the same?
Not only does social media truly matter for B2B, but it’s a safe bet to say that if your business isn’t leveraging social media marketing, you will find yourself at a significant disadvantage compared with your peers who are using these channels. In their 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner reports that 61% of B2B marketers leveraged social media channels to establish thought leadership in their fields. Thought leadership is particularly important in a B2B context since, as reported by the IT Services Marketing Association, 89% of B2B companies rely on thought leadership for guidance when making purchasing decisions. By using social media as a platform for your thought leadership, you can utilize multiple channels in a targeted fashion to reach more of your prospects on networks where they are more likely to see your content.
Brand Awareness and Customer Loyalty
You probably know that brand awareness is every bit as important for B2B as for B2C, but what you might not realize is the extent to which social media platforms can increase your brand awareness among your prospects. Like everyone else, your B2B prospects are using search engines to find out more about what you have to offer. They will find your website online, which is beneficial as far as that goes. When you leverage social media, though, your prospects can form a much more well-rounded picture, not only of your brand and what you have to offer but also of how customers relate to your brand and how your brand relates to customers. This fosters not only initial interest and engagement but also continued brand engagement and long-term customer loyalty, if those impressions are positive. This is how your business develops influencers and brand ambassadors on social media who want to share and evangelize your brand on an ongoing basis.
Thought leadership and brand awareness both feed into improved lead generation. Smart use of social media channels works to benefit your business on multiple levels. Since social networks connect people, your efforts to engage customers and prospects on social media can contribute to positive emotions toward your brand, and when decision makers at businesses which constitute your target market feel well-disposed toward your brand, they are more likely to want to do business with you. When you leverage appropriate social media channels for your business, you will have more options and opportunities for your target audience to discover you, engage with your brand, and become prospects, then customers.
Most Effective Social Media Channels for B2B
To craft a strong social media marketing strategy for B2B, you must choose platforms that work for your business. B2B companies rely on lead generation to sell products and services, and sales cycles are more lengthy. Since the concerns of B2B companies differ from B2C companies, the social media platforms you choose must reflect those concerns. Both Facebook and LinkedIn are popular choices for B2B and its unique challenges. According to LinkedIn, B2B marketers in 2016 leveraged both LinkedIn and Facebook for successful lead generation, with 44% of marketers generating new leads through LinkedIn and 39% of marketers generating them through Facebook.
Social media marketing is more important than ever for B2B, and it can contribute in numerous ways to your bottom line. For maximum effectiveness, you need to develop a cohesive strategy for your social media marketing to make sure that you’re leveraging your resources in a thoughtful and targeted manner. You will want to rely less on strictly promotional use in which you advertise your products or services and more on sharing content that delivers value to your prospects such as thought leadership and engagement. You could also use social media to share videos, infographics, and webinars. In these ways, you’ll speak to the unique concerns of your customers and prospects and establish your business as a reliable, go-to source.
Contact the Social Media experts at SocialSEO to help you optimize your business’s Social Media profiles and create content for your business on the various Social Media platforms.