Although B2B companies have a complicated relationship with social media, most organizations have already opened their budgets to this marketing tactic. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 78% of B2B organizations are currently active on social media, while another 19% plan to develop a social media strategy within the next year. Some companies find success in social listening; others leverage brand advocates and social influence to increase ROI.
Companies cited three top reasons for using social media: creating brand awareness (83%), encouraging social sharing (56%) and gaining trust and followers (55%). Under a third (32%) said they use it for lead generation, while only 16% use social media to assess market perception of their brand. Many companies do not have a clear cut and defined business goal for using social media.
B2B marketers clearly favor the ‘big three’ social networks as marketing tools. Those who use social media, 80% use Facebook, 78% use Twitter and 51% use LinkedIn. LinkedIn trails behind despite figures suggesting that it is almost 300% more effective than Facebook and Twitter for lead generation. In addition to the ‘big three’, social media also includes Pinterest, YouTube and Blogs.
B2B companies who are interested in developing a comprehensive social medial strategy must answer two questions to identify the best social media platform to use.
1. What is the goal for using social media? The only way a company can determine the return on investment is to understand what their goal is. There are some studies that suggest that it takes up to 32 hours per month to effectively manage one social media platform well. Without a clear cut goal and purpose it will be difficult to determine the effectiveness of committing the hours to manage the social media strategy.
2. Who are the people that you are trying to reach? Each company must identify the target audience they are trying to reach and determine which social media platform this audience is using the most. Facebook may attract more of a consumer audience, Pinterest is likely to have a larger female population, LinkedIn may have more of the professional services audience, Twitter may reach a younger adult population. Understanding the demographics that the company is trying to reach and matching that most closely with the demographics of the particular platform is key to creating a successful social media campaign.
Social video is the new trend in social media? Social Video = Social Media + Online Video +/_ Marketing. The cost of producing and distributing quality video has dropped dramatically, while video adoption in B2B has increased exponentially. Social media gives marketers an opportunity to take advantage of these trends and use social video to tell and distribute stories that drive action. The key to using social video to drive results is to create an asset that is participatory, engaging and agile: it tells an interesting story, is emotive and easy to share.