Social media for your business-to-business company: Here’s why, and how to do it
The reach of social media is undeniable. And it’s constantly growing: Facebook recently announced it had surpassed 2 billion monthly users , with other platforms not too far behind. On a daily basis, people are using social media for entertainment, education and even as their main source of news . Companies are realizing the power, and seizing on the opportunity to build real relationships with their audience.
41% of Americans say it’s important that the companies they interact with have a strong social media presence. Nearly half of U.S. adults with a social media account have used it to communicate with a company . Rather than using it solely to promote products and services, B2C companies have realized that social media offers a way to connect with customers like never before. In fact, 92% of marketers acknowledge that it’s crucial for their business . But how can social media benefit business-to-business companies?
The benefits of social media for B2B companies
- Increase brand awareness
Successful B2B companies use social media to involve their followers. Instead of sharing only promotional posts, content should encourage conversations with your audience. This approach lets followers — potential customers — feel listened to and valued, and therefore more engaged with your brand.
- Create meaningful connections
B2B buyers take their time before committing. They often can’t make impulse purchases — they have to research, consult and get things approved by decision-makers. Building a rapport with potential customers via social media helps to develop a deeper connection and to foster a sense of trust, meaning you’ll be top of mind when the time is right to buy.
- Boost your SEO
Sharing fresh, interesting content is a simple and effective way to improve your search engine optimization. Search engines like Google analyze your online presence to determine the quality of your website and then use this information to decide where you will appear in search results. Using social media to share content enables you to engage with a huge audience, thereby driving traffic to your website and increasing the likelihood of people linking to your content — both of which are major factors in boosting your search engine ranking.
- Humanize your company
Businesses showing their personality on social media are often seen as more authentic and trustworthy. It works both ways — by sharing more about yourself, you can delve deep into learning more about your audience. Social media is a valuable tool for market research. By understanding your followers you can develop new products or services based on demand or their specific needs.
- Establish yourself as a leader
Social media is a great opportunity for B2B companies to position themselves as industry experts. Sharing content that is valuable to your audience, like blogs, articles, downloadable PDFs and white papers, will increase your web presence and will help establish you as an authority in your field.
So does it work? The answer is yes! Big-name businesses are showing that social media can be just as effective for B2B marketers as B2C marketers.
General Electric, for example, proves that it’s your chance to bring personality to something that can be perceived as relatively uninteresting, or very specific. GE has earned the title of ‘most exciting boring brand’ by sharing entertaining, educational and informative content. Their social media mission is focused on community engagement and brand awareness, rather than sales revenue.
In 2012 Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, won Social Media Campaign of the Year at the European Digital Communication Awards, beating out many popular B2C brands. Their goal is to get closer to their customers. By incorporating engaging content across a range of social media channels, Maersk is successful in fostering authentic conversation rather than simply advocating their offer.
Big-name businesses like these have paved the way for B2B companies, no matter the size or industry, to justify an investment in social media campaigns. Results aren’t always measured by sales — once you begin, you will understand the value you can find in building meaningful connections through increased brand awareness, engagement and loyalty. By sharing good quality content relevant to your audience, you’ll also boost your company’s search engine optimization.
How do you get started?
First, decide which social media platforms make the most sense for your business. LinkedIn is traditionally the most utilized platform for B2B interactions, but Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others can also be valuable when used correctly. For the best engagement, your content should be tailored to each specific platform.
Not all your content has to be created from scratch. If you already have professional blogs, articles, videos or white papers on your website you should share them everywhere that’s relevant. Videos perform especially well on Facebook.
Take advantage of the immediacy that social media offers. If you’re attending a conference or tradeshow, talk about it. Sharing what you’re doing is a valuable way to connect with both your existing audience and new people who may be interested. Think about creating a custom hashtag to help you connect better and drive meaningful connections.
It’s natural that your B2B social media reach will be more modest than for a B2C with larger consumer appeal. What’s important is that you foster connections with the followers you do have — they could be the decision-makers who are using your social media to get a feel for your company.
Add a compelling social media strategy to your marketing arsenal and you’ll build brand awareness, drive loyalty and create meaningful connections with your audience. Start sharing great content and you’ll also see a boost in your search engine ranking, giving you the opportunity to reach a larger audience of potential customers than ever before.
It’s easy to see the value social media can bring to your B2B company — just look at how it’s recognized and utilized by some of the largest companies in the world. If you need help getting started, the team at Different Perspective are experts in digital marketing. We offer a complete social media solution for your business, from strategy and set-up to management and engagement tracking. Contact us now to learn more.