In a recent study by B2B Magazine, results indicated that 93% of B2B marketers utilize social media marketing. One thing I will tell you about us marketing folks: we don’t continue to use what doesn’t work. Social media marketing works. If you are a B2B business, these are the most important reasons why you need to develop your online presence and establish a strategy for a solid social media marketing campaign:
Lead generation. A shift has taken place that you cannot ignore: the people you need to connect with that are in a position of authority to approve spending (on your product or service) have social media profiles. More than any other social place or event, professionals (your buyers) are gathering online in social media circles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ and they are active online. In order to generate and nurture leads, you need congregate with these potential buyers. This is not to say that you abandon the offline lead generation programs that currently work for you but rather, use social media marketing to augment and elevate these efforts.
B2B Social Media Enhances SEO. Participation in the social media networks creates link-building to your website as well as fuels and enhances SEO. It was revealed to us earlier this year that social media activity influences Google rankings and that there is a deep integration of social search into Google’s algorithm. Consistent participation over time on the social media platforms using your keywords and business name (e.g. in your blogs, the ‘about’ section on your Facebook business page, your LinkedIn profile and tweets) will combine to compound over time to produce a higher ranking for your website.
Your Buyers Will Locate YOU. Marketing has changed from “push” disruptive outbound marketing to the use of more “pull” inbound marketing tactics. Firstly what this means for your B2B business is that purchasers for your product or service have sought you out on social media sites and willingly accepted information about what you have to offer them. This equates with not only a more pleasant way of conducting business (we’re so tired of being advertised to), but it is also more effective. The industries demographic you are seeking to connect and engage with are spending their time online with the majority of it on LinkedIn and Facebook. By the way, are you Linked In yet?
Business information resource. Studies indicate that for both consumers and businesses, we are going online to equip ourselves with the information we require on which to base a purchasing decision. All ages take advantage of social media as a key information source and even more so for the older demographic of decision- makers (read: the individuals you need to reach). Even as far back as 2 years ago Hubspot reported on a study indicating that a significant percentage of older buyers DO in fact rely on social media for information to fuel business purchasing decisions. This being the case, don’t you think that information about your product or service needs to be found on social media networking sites where it is shared amongst trusted colleagues in your industry and other related industries?
LinkedIn: Begin to participate in B2B discussion groups on LinkedIn. The best are B2B Social Media Group (with over 7,000 members) and B2B Social Media Lead Generation (with over 2,000 members). I also recommend reading this article about LinkedIn as the most effective for lead generation.
Books: Neal Schaffer has published two books and this is the most relevant and recent, his Practical Guide to Selling & Developing B2B Business on LinkedIn I also highly recommend this brand new release and one of my favourites, The B2B Social Media Book by Bodnar and Cohen.
Finally, to bring home the message that technology is changing our buying behaviour and the way business is now conducted has changed and you need to change with it or die (no joke), please please read Brian Solis’ book The End of Business as Usual.
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