When it comes to B2B marketing using social media, it’s crucial to know who your ideal customer is, understand their buyer’s journey, and choose the right social media platform through which to reach them!
The B2B sales cycle is much lengthier than the B2C sales cycle, which means you’ll be courting your prospects via social media (and a number of other) channels for quite some time. So make sure you’ve identified your overall social media marketing strategy and have a clear understanding of how your social media efforts will support your overarching goals to get the most out of your B2B social media posts. With that being said, here are the best social media platforms to utilize for your B2B marketing efforts!
B2B Marketing Channel #1: LinkedIn
If you had to choose only one social media platform for B2B marketing, choose LinkedIn. While LinkedIn may not have as many monthly active users as Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn still boasts over 400 million total users and 100 million monthly active users. LinkedIn users also include most Fortune 500 CEOs, upper level management & c-suite professionals, not to mention the capabilities to search by industry and job title that will help you make sure your message is reaching the right target audience. There are plenty of qualified leads you can identify and reach via LinkedIn!
Typically when you’re selling B2B, part of the reason for a lengthier purchase cycle is because your proposal has to make it through levels of approval. By publishing to LinkedIn Pulse or to your company page, you’re increasing your brand awareness and the chances of gaining visibility with some of the higher ups you may need to eventually win over. Establishing a trustworthy impression of your company, product, and/or services prior to the final approvals process can only help your sales team.
The other great thing about marketing on LinkedIn for B2B purposes is that your audience tends to be in a more receptive mindset. Sharing case studies, 1-pagers, or webinar information amongst personal Facebook updates can easily seem intrusive and out of context. But sharing your case studies, whitepapers, and webinar offers on LinkedIn can not only be a welcome expectation but also a highly relevant, helpful piece of content that a user was browsing through LinkedIn to find anyways. LinkedIn is a professional social media platform, so publishing your professional content there fits right in with audience expectations and increases your chances of engagement!
Quick overview of ways to market on LinkedIn:
- Publish company updates
- Publish to LinkedIn Pulse
- Paid, sponsored company updates
B2B Marketing Channel #2: Twitter
While I caution against focusing on Twitter for B2C marketing efforts, Twitter is a fairly decent place to share content and increase brand awareness for your B2B goals. If you choose to use Twitter, spend a little bit of quality time on the platform publishing your tweets with the appropriate hashtags and engaging with other users each day. Twitter seems to reward frequent users and it’s all about interactions, so make sure you aren’t only encouraging a one sided conversation.
Lately, Twitter seems to be completely flooded with marketers and service professionals (in addition to the popular celebs and B2C brands!). While there can be an overwhelming amount of content flying through the Twittersphere, the amount of professional content getting published means your content won’t seem out of place. Twitter being flooded by professionals seeking professionals like yourself means that others may be searching via hashtags to find relevant content to curate, share, or learn from.
The challenge with Twitter becomes getting noticed by the right company or individuals. Finding the appropriate hashtags and posting regularly will increase your chances of getting noticed by the right audience.
You can also try out Twitter’s paid advertising to increase your chances of getting in front of the right eyeballs too! Take 15-30 minutes each day to tweet and engage others on Twitter. Your frequent tweets and conversations will help make your brand more familiar and, assuming you’re publishing quality tweets, trustworthy!
B2B Marketing Channel #3: SlideShare
SlideShare was acquired by LinkedIn in 2012, so without even knowing what SlideShare is, you can get a sense of its utility for marketing to professionals based on its acquisition! SlideShare is a slide hosting service where you can upload your decks privately or publicly. You can embed your presentations on your own website and even share them to LinkedIn!
Why SlideShare? SlideShare lets you establish your expertise and build trust by demonstrating your company’s personality and knowledge through your presentations. Chances are, you’ll be submitting a proposal and walking your contacts through presentations in the future. By offering up some free tips, tricks, reports, or other expertise on SlideShare, you’re giving your future prospects a chance to get to know you, what you do, and your style.
People also browse through SlideShare in search of reports and helpful information, so you’re able to share high quality content to an audience that’s expecting that kind of media and looking for a trustworthy source. Any time you create a presentation deck, put it on SlideShare and post a link to your other social media channels as well!
B2B Marketing Channel #4: YouTube & Google+
Nothing tells a story better than video. Not to mention, video marketing is on the rise and video can be some of the most engaging content published on social media. While you typically hope that working professionals aren’t spending their days browsing YouTube channels, your prospects are bound to be on YouTube at some point. YouTube has over 1 billion users, that’s almost 1/3 of all the people using the internet! Taking advantage of YouTube advertising and optimizing your videos can increase your chances of getting found on YouTube and the internet.
Let’s not forget that YouTube is a Google company. Use YouTube in conjunction with Google+ to create more opportunities in which you can get found organically in search results. Even if you aren’t in the habit of producing high quality videos, if you can record any podcasts, webinars, or presentations and upload these videos to YouTube, do it! Once you’ve published your video, post an update with a link to your video on Google+. These video touch points offer an engaging way for prospects to get to know you and your business, it gives them a more human feel for your style, your voice, and your capabilities.
Establish & Build Trust
No matter the goal of your B2B social media campaign, whether it be brand awareness, lead generation, or lead nurturing, the most important thing to keep in mind any time you publish is trust.
Think about it, you’re going after business customers. You’re asking them to enter into a long term partnership with you. Would you marry someone you don’t trust?
Whether you’re uploading a presentation deck to SlideShare, posting an update to LinkedIn, or uploading a webinar recording to YouTube, make sure you’re sharing high quality content (quality copy counts!) that offers some value to your viewers. Offering something of value for free is an act of goodwill, and goodwill is a great foothold for building trust in the B2B world.