Choosing the Best Social Media Platform for your B2B Business
Do I Need to Put My Business on Social Media?
It certainly is a tricky question; which social networking platform should my company use? For many B2C businesses it is quite clear cut; their customers are identifiable people who use social networks, so that’s where they need to be. However, for the typical B2B business, the average customer isn’t a person, but a business or organisation. Because of this, many think that they don’t need to have a social media presence, but in most cases that is wrong.
So What is the Point?
Because the price point is often larger for B2B businesses, and the sales lead time is, in many cases, longer, the customers tend to need more information, nurturing, support and trust-factors to encourage a single sale- Iron Paper. And this, amongst many other reasons, is why social media marketing can be beneficial; it offers another platform for you to have a helpful and encouraging voice for your customer.
The majority of a company’s followers on Twitter isn’t always people directly related to that industry. It may be that they are interested in your product outside of work or they enjoy your content, whether that be because you have something interesting to say, or you’re funny, or both! These people are useful to have following you too, they can help create more brand awareness and show that people go to you for thought leadership.
Making the Decision
As part of my job with Eden Agency, I often devise plans for different clients’ social media strategies. The majority of the customers for these clients are businesses or organisations, so there’s often a lot of critical thinking involved with the planning process.
The first thing I think about is the product or service that the client offers, this often helps dictate what platform will be best to use.
As you can see from this graph, from The Hub, the most popular social media platforms to use are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
That doesn't necessarily mean that your business needs to use LinkedIn and not Pinterest, it always depends on the content you have to offer.
I would suggest that most companies and organisations have a LinkedIn page. It is a very important tool to use when reaching out to business buyers and connecting and conversing with other professionals in your field.
In my opinion, the main beneficial feature of LinkedIn is that it allows you to link to professionals that you have worked with. Therefore, potential clients or business partners can then see those professionals and feel reassured about the standard of your work.
It depends on the tone of your brand, but I would often suggest to keep the content on LinkedIn of a more ‘high brow’ nature. LinkedIn is a great platform to post blogposts and case studies referring to projects that you have worked on.
LinkedIn Example: Dell
As well as regular posts about job updates, Dell also have brilliant blog content and through the featured groups, they offer the opportunity for more discussion amongst their followers.
Should you market your company on Twitter? For a lot of cases this answer will be yes. Personally, I feel as though this is often the best place to start. Twitter is quite intuitive (with the trending topics), so can help with deciding what you should be talking about and what content is popular. The point is to show authority in your field, whether that’s offering your opinion on a relevent topic or directing people to interesting articles.
What you need to think about is whether there is a niche that your company can fit in to- will people find your company interesting outside of work? If the answer is no, then maybe your company doesn’t work on Twitter. But before you decide your answer, think outside the box. You need to find a way to talk about the service or product you provide, but make it more interesting for more people. You could still talk about certain topics in your field that the average Twitter user may not understand, but having varied content is key. Share relevant interesting articles, videos, photos, your opinions and your projects, products or services.
Twitter Example: HubSpot
HubSpot have a good mix of content and they vary who they are talking to. One post may be to a company owner- giving advice on business blogging whilst another may be to an individual- giving advice on mastering your own personal brand. However, all of their posts link to their product, just in more of an interesting way.
If your company works on Twitter, then it will probably work on Facebook too. The same content often works on both of the platforms, the only difference is you have to be a bit more ‘choosey’ on what to post on Facebook. I would often suggest posting a few times a day on Twitter, whilst only posting once a day on Facebook. This is because the users tend to expect a lot of content on Twitter but may feel spammed on other social media platforms.
Facebook Example: Maersk Group
Maersk excel at posting beautiful imagery of their cargo liners alongside other content, such as blogposts or links to their website. The imagery catches the 'Facebookers' attention and encourages clicks to the other links.
YouTube can be utilised by many types of businesses, whether the tone of the brand is more serious or fun. Could you have something to teach your followers?
Videos can often seem more personal to your followers and can allow for improved engagement. You could use YouTube if you have something to show your followers, or if you want to give advice on how to follow out a task.
Youtube Example: Intel
Intel create a lot of video content, showing off their products with a sense of humour. An example of this is their video, 'Frozen Coffee: An Intel®-based Chromebook* Comedy Short
The main benefit of Google Plus, in my opinion, is targeted messaging. When creating a post, rather than sending it to everyone, you can target it towards people who are interested in what you have to say via the circles and communities.
Google Plus Example: Moz
Moz post a brilliant mixture of content that's consistently eye catching, including cross-links images and text.
Is your company particularly visual? Is there something interesting that is better to see, than to hear or read about? If so then an image sharing site will definitely work well.
Instagram Example: General Electric
General Electric post brilliantly breathtaking pictures on a regular basis.
Hopefully you have found this helpful and you can now take the first steps in creating an effective digital marketing strategy.