With 92 percent of B2B marketers reporting they use social media, the question is not whether or not you should embrace social media marketing—but where you should focus your efforts.
Vimeo, LinkedIn, You Tube, Facebook, Instagram, SlideShare, Twitter, Tumblr, Bitly, Google+, Vine, Pinterest—if marketers today have anything, it is certainly a wide range of social media platforms from which to choose
If you are new to social media marketing, this can be a very daunting list. If you’re not, it’s probably just exhausting. The good news is that when you look at your target audience, this overwhelming list of social media network options will fall away—and reveal the few networks with which your audience actually engages.
Below we take a look at the top-performing B2B social media networks. Which are you leveraging?
Considered the leading social network for B2B marketers, if you’re not using it already, it’s time to link your company in and get started. Not only can you create a company page for free, as of February 2014, you can be a publisher, too. This policy change enables you to publish content on this popular platform and share it through the rest of your social networks.
LinkedIn’s value stems from the fact that it’s built to support business connections. There are thousands of LinkedIn groups devoted to users wanting to connect with other professionals to discuss topics important to them. These types of groups don’t want to be sold to or bombarded with sales promotions. They represent a great opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and provide thought leadership on topics important to your prospects. Once you are an established, well-respected voice in these groups, it will become easier for you to start and manage a group of your own.
As you become more familiar with the platform, you may want to explore its advertising options. From LinkedIn text ads and sponsored InMail campaigns and updates, LinkedIn has unique targeting abilities and a range of advertising opportunities available to suit many different budgets.
Twitter has become an excellent network for businesses to engage and build relationships with their target audience, gain competitive intelligence, keep the marketplace advised of upcoming releases and build demand for new products. In fact, a Market Probe International study found that 72 percent of Twitter followers are more likely to buy something from a business they follow.
With Twitter, engagement is critical. It is not good enough to Tweet out a few updates each day. Follow your customers back, identify key contributors in your industry—with strong followings—and engage with them regularly.
When sharing content, use #hashtags to ensure your posts are being seen. Vary the content you share to include video, infographics and other images to keep followers engaged. Once you are an established user, consider trying out promoted Tweets and other advertising options.
Social video—or video shared through social networks—has come to play a significant role in B2B marketing. In fact, B2B marketers have cited video as one of the top three most effective social media marketing tactics. You Tube provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your brand personality by publishing your content through your own proprietary channel. Start buzz about a new product coming to market with a demo video, provide an inner look at what it’s like to work at your company—or show the human side of your support center.
Purchased by LinkedIn in 2012, SlideShare is visited by more than 70 million users each month. It has become a popular B2B social media platform for marketers to increase their reach and generate new leads. Users share presentations from webinars, sales presentations, market research and more.
When using SlideShare, make an extra effort to proof your presentations for edits and tighten up graphics to encourage views. Include a call to action, your website address and social media channels on the final slide so that users know what action you want them to take.
The first widely used social channel, Facebook now claims 900 million active users. To harness its full potential, it’s important to build your fan base. Many marketers do this with a contest; most use other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to promote it.
Facebook enables you to humanize your brand with employee photos, share video, even check up on support. It also offers a variety of ways to segment and target customer profiles though paid campaigns.
If you decide to add Facebook to your mix, make sure your prospects are using this tool to engage for business. Be realistic about its uses and its reach.
Remember, social media is loudest when played in surround sound. Use Twitter and LinkedIn to promote links to your SlideShare presentations. Embed the presentations within your website with calls to action to see a product demonstration on your You Tube channel. Whichever social media networks prove to be most effective for you, be sure to use them in harmony.