That brands are embracing Social Media to connect with their customers and woo them for buying their products, is not a news anymore. B2B companies too have jumped on the bandwagon and are turning social for the benefits of this amazing media. However, for most of the brands, the social media starts and ends at Facebook with a little bit spicing up with Twitter profile and LinkedIn page. This strategy can be useful for B2C brands up to certain extent but not for B2B brands whose target audiences have different persona and therefore different behavior. This is multi-channel world and brands need to capitalize on the respective plus-point of different platforms. The following guide might help B2B brands decide upon which social platform they should use and why and more importantly how.
LinkedIn: why: LinkedIn is by far the most useful platform to reach out to B2B buyers. The ‘status update’ and ‘group’ features provide brands with an opportunity to build relationship, engage with target audience, generate leads and enhance traffic. LinkedIn also helps enhance online reputation and establish brand’s thought leadership in its domain. LinkedIn is also useful for employer branding and for recruitment as well.
How to leverage LinkedIn:
- Brands should leverage this platform to generate leads by effective combination of listening, sharing, networking and responding.
- The traffic can be enhanced by sharing content through status updates.
- The customers can be invited to write recommendation, leading to a boost in the trustworthiness of the brand which would further result into more lead generation.
Blog: why: In social media strategy, content marketing holds prime importance. A Blog is one of the most important tools for the B2B brands and can bring great benefits to brands. For e.g.the brands can enhance the visibility of their events if they are able to build up a story around it and publish as blogpost. Blogging helps establish brand’s expertise in their field of business and brings customers/traffic to the website. It also helps in engaging with the customers as blogs provide the scope to respond to comments and queries of the readers. Blogs can be used as a tool for online reputation management and can be used for communicating during time of crises.
How to leverage Blog
- The key to efficient blogging is to understand the content needs of target audience and provide them with content that they find useful. B2B customers can’t be swayed by product based promotion and therefore brands should focus on creating blog content that is educational in nature and NOT overtly promotional.
- There should be use of visual content also, as visual content is easy to understand and has higher recall value.
- The blogpost should conclude with an appropriate call to action from feedback to encouraging them to visit website or register for an event, depending upon the topic of the blogpost.
- There should be social sharing buttons to help spread the content.
- Apart from these benefits, a blog hosted on company website helps in getting fresh content on the website which enhances brand’s rank in search results.
Facebook: Why: Facebook is the biggest (user base) social media website and therefore should not be ignored despite the fact that it is more useful for the B2C. Facebook should be used for creating brand awareness and promoting the published content.
How to leverage Facebook:
- Facebook can be used to build community around and promote the product, related news and other announcements.
- Facebook could be good platform to promote the content like blogposts, videos, case-study ppt etc. The key is not to just share the link but a small and interesting description which force the reader to click on the link and reach to the desired site.
- The brands may engage with other brands too and share content which is useful for them. If permitted, they can post relevant content on other brands’ page as well.
- The B2B brands too can get benefitted through contests, especially if their target audience is small firm. The contests would help them spread the brand awareness. However if brand is high value product, their incentives should not be very small else it mat dent the image
Twitter : why Twitter is another very useful platform for B2B. It is a great platform for listening the conversations that affect brand’s target audience. It also helps in strengthening relationships with existing customers and generating leads and increasing traffic.
How to leverage Twitter
- Brands can ask questions and interact with audience proactively on a regular basis.
- By retweeting their customers’ valuable informational tweets, brands can nurture existing relationships.
- Twitter is a great medium for content marketing and brands can provide links to their useful content thereby bringing traffic to desired place.
- With wise use of hashtags, brands can ensure wider reach to their content and enhance lead generation opportunities.
SlideShare: why: Presentations area good tool to make lasting impression and keep things in memory. Brands willing to showcase their knowledge/ expertise in a given domain must use SlideShare.
How to leverage SlideShare
The brands can share well crafted case studies of their successful business.
- They may also share other knowledge content which could be further promoted on other platforms.
- A highly viewed slideshare presentation is further promoted by slideshare and enhances the visibility and reach.
- The brands can create database by collecting the contact details of the users who download presentation.
- Also, there should be a call to action at the end of the presentation for more benefits.
Pinterest: Why: Pinterest is by far assumed as more useful for B2C or for those B2B firms which are more into design and publishing business and can have lot of images and infographics to share. However Pinterest, which generates more traffic than twitter and LinkedIn, can also be used by B2B brands to enhance traffic to their blog, SlideShare or website.
How to leverage Pinterest
- An image used for slideshare or blogpost content with appropriate tags can be shared on Pinterest.
- Re-pinning the relevant content from the followers’ pins also enhances engagement.
- The images should be linked to the original content at blog, site or other intended webpage. Any user clicking on the image would reach to the complete content, thereby increasing the traffic and the opportunity of lead generation.
With an effective use of combination of these social channels, a B2B brand can leverage social media for marketing and achieve its objectives of enhancing brand awareness and traffic to lead generation and to strong relationships with customers.
What are your thoughts on this? Please do share in comments.