In this day and age businesses are coming to terms with the need to integrate their social media efforts with their content strategy. Investment of time and money in Social Media has become a necessity, not a luxury.
The impact of social media in terms of lead generation, referral traffic and revenue is undeniable. Without previous experience or insight into the world of Social Media Marketing the foreign territory can seem challenging, however, it is vital that B2B marketers don’t fall into the trap of applying B2C Social Media techniques to their B2B business.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogging are the top 5 platforms used by marketers. B2C are more focused on Facebook and YouTube as well as other visual-based platforms such as Pintrest and Instagram, while B2B are more focused on LinkedIn and blogging.
What follows is a breakdown of the 5 most influential Social Media platforms and their importance for a B2B marketer. Statistics from “Social Media Examiners” 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report have been utilised throughout.
B2B marketers are more likely to increase blogging activity compared to B2C marketers.
Not since 2010 has blogging topped the charts as the number one area of increased activity for marketers. Blogging has incrementally increased from number four in 2012 to number three in 2013 and now to the top spot for increased activity. This activity is well focused given that B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those who don’t [HubSpot, 2015]. This may be because blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.
More than half of marketers select original written content as the most important content. As a result, a significant 68% of marketers plan on increasing their use of blogging, making it the top area marketers will invest in this year. Those who do invest time in this area will be pleased to know that marketers who prioritise blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive return on investment [HubSpot, 2015]. So get blogging!
The launch of Facebook pages has changed the way businesses develop loyal fans, gain marketplace intelligence and increase exposure & traffic forever. When asked if Facebook marketing is effective 50% of B2C marketers where inclined to say it was, whilst only 34% of B2B markers agreed.
Facebook dominates in the B2C space, with 68% of marketers selecting it as their number-one choice in 2014. However, for B2B marketers, LinkedIn passes Facebook. Be wary not to invest too much of you time to this domain as a B2B marketer. Read last weeks Facebook for B2B Marketers blog to help you decide whether your B2B Company should be on Facebook at all.
With over 332 million members, LinkedIn is selected as the number-one choice as most important platform for B2B marketers at 33%, versus only 3% of B2C marketers. On average LinkedIn is responsible for more than 80% of a business’s social media leads [KISSmetrics, 2015].
The LinkedIn platform, launched in 2003, provides a professional networking option for individuals and businesses. LinkedIn creates a platform for B2B companies to directly find targets and groups through the advanced search functions. If you are spending your valuable time focusing on B2C-specific social media tactics, you risk overlooking this vital social media tool for B2B lead generation.
Twitter plays a more important role in B2B than the Facebook-dominated B2C. Twitter is a valuable commodity for some of the same reasons that LinkedIn is, with its ability to target-search. It is, however, lesser widely understood how to utilise these components than on LinkedIn. Marketers can use the Twitter analytics to keep an eye on their competition and their standing in the market and can employ the platforms search functions to search professional Twitter profiles using key searches such as “manufacturing manager” and turn up hundreds of results. Not only that but most of the bios read like a micro- résumé, similar to what you would find off a LinkedIn profile.
The utilisation of both the Twitter and LinkedIn platforms presents the ability to achieve maximum reach on a global level. The globalisation of Twitter makes it more widely available than LinkedIn. Twitter supports over 35 different language, while LinkedIn currently supports 20.
YouTube has exceeded 2 billion views per day. In recent years YouTube has been more likely to be utilised by B2C businesses than B2B, however, this is changing. 73% of all B2B marketers utilise video content, with 70% of them creating more video content than they did in 2013 [ReelSEO, 2014]. After LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, 72% of all marketers list YouTube as their video platform of choice to distribute content for lead generation and brand visibility purposes.
As original content creation is rising in importance for businesses this platform is becoming more prevalent for both B2C and B2B marketers. However, original written content is still viewed as more important for B2B marketers than video content, as opposed to B2C companies reversed approach. So it is important to not place YouTube above Blogging when marketing a B2B company.
When utilised correctly, Social Media Marketing can be a valuable asset for your B2B business, so ensure you invest the time in order to get the most our of your efforts. Consider your product and the needs of your target in order to determine the most effective avenues to reach your prospects.