With all the social media options out there, how does a business owner know where to be and where to direct valuable resources? Not all mediums are created equal, and some work much more effectively than others depending on your target.
According to Upfluence, the top social media channels for B2B marketing are:
With 1.71 billion users, Facebook remain the largest and strongest social network. Over the years it has demonstrated its capacity to innovate, anticipate users needs and shape the social media landscape.
Facebook can boost engagement levels and increase impressions on posts or videos, generate brand awareness and website traffic, impact customer churn and retention levels. With Instant articles and Facebook Live, the social media is expanding possibilities for publishers and companies to share content and interact with their audience.
The social network was initially more appropriate for B2C marketing and according to a recent ebook put together by BuzzSumo and HubSpot, B2C posts on Facebook get an average engagement of 85.6 versus 26.1 for B2B posts. However Facebook has big ambitions and it’s now becoming a go-to platform for B2B marketers too.
Now owned by Facebook, Instagram has grown exponentially over the past few years and has surpassed Twitter in active users, with over 500 million in 2016. Mainly a B2C platform, B2B organizations are also successfully using the media to share branded content and show their company in a different light.
With visuals being the beating heart of this network, brands are often using their audience best artwork to promote their brand and publish user generated content on their feed.
While sharing photos and videos might be a part of almost every network, Instagram has made it its business. Filters with names as famous as the network itself, linked apps like Boomerang offering more features for videos; Instagram has what it takes to increase visibility for branded content and images, acquire and retain new users and followers for niche communities or organizations.
The video network owned by Google has over a billion users which represents one third internet users. YouTube is also the number 3 website in the United States. The reach is huge, possibilities are endless and video is one of the fastest growing content format these days so why isn’t it higher on this list, though? The site is much trickier to engage with and monetize than most social networks.
Both B2B and B2C organizations are using YouTube daily, however a leading B2B software company compare conversions achieved by different social networks and YouTube accounted for 0.39% of conversions against 46% for Facebook and 27% for Twitter. Regardless, video is booming at the moment so you should get on that train!
YouTube is great for tutorials, interviews, and more educational content. It can boost brand awareness and increase views of branded content and videos, as well as impact search results. For example, B2B marketers can use it to replay webinars or share Q&A and interviews with experts.
As indicated above, and as I discuss more in My Brain Trust Weekly: Engaging Followers on Social Media, Twitter can also be an effective tool for B2Bs, especially related to promoting an organization’s thought leadership. Act-On says, “Many marketers recognize Twitter’s usefulness for engagement and brand awareness. But when you listen to what others are saying on Twitter (and successful sales people have known this for years), you can really begin to harness the platform’s full potential for lead generation.”
Act-On outlines how this can be accomplished via Twitter and the other platforms mentioned above:
- Connect – Look for people who have common interests or problems you understand.
You are not selling at this stage, just connecting and building a network.
- Prospect – First, understand your existing buyers and know why they buy from you. Next, look for prospects who align with some aspect of your best buyers. When you find a company that fits the profile of your best buyers, identify two decision makers, a middle manager, and a few non-decision makers on LinkedIn and Twitter. Decisions are increasingly made by groups, and you want to identify both decision-makers and potential influencers inside your target prospect. Do a little research –Find something you have in common and use that, or refer to how you found them, to establish a valid reason for trying to connect.
- Listen – As companies and prospects in your social funnel are communicating, you will be listening and soaking it all in. This will help you learn what’s important, through their company and personal, professional communications.
- Engage – After connecting with the right prospects and initiating the listening process, you can begin to engage. Start commenting and adding value to their social media posts across various channels. Be genuine as you engage and give your honest feedback. Don’t just proffer insincere flattery; you’ll lose the potential for honest conversation moving forward.
- Add Value – At this point, it’s time to start contributing to the relationship by educating people who are looking for answers. You’ve figured out what’s important to them and you’ve started to get noticed. This is where you start demonstrating the value that you can add to the relationship. Start sharing your content and be strategic about it. If you’ve done your due diligence in the listening phase, then it won’t be that hard to post content that you know they will find valuable.
So the data definitely supports the benefits to becoming active, but with so many other channels showing promise as well…how do you determine which are right for you?
Hubspot offers an excellent (and free… don’t walk, run to download), “Online Marketing Opportunity Report”, recommending that you should first start with a strategy. You realistically can’t – and shouldn’t be – everywhere. The report gives specific data on 33 distinct industries and what the social media activity is in each. Your strategy should include the following:
1. Determine where the conversation in happening;
2. Measure detailed activity and the competition;
3. Formulate a strategy for each channel.
It’s well worth the effort to strategically evaluate where your resources should be focused. Most importantly though, once they are determined, to gain ROI you must go beyond just pushing out your company news – you must converse, engage and enrapture. And you must do so regularly.
After all, it’s called social media for a reason… because for it to work it must be “social.” So go for it, and have fun…you have a great opportunity to show your personality and gain attention for what makes your business unique!