5 Reasons Social is Underrated for B2B

Many B2B businesses are hearing about wild successes from B2C companies in social media, and assuming it can't happen for them. However, social media is playing an increasingly large part in the digital marketing strategies of successful B2B companies, thanks to many of the benefits it can bring.

There is a certain level of misunderstanding with some business owners, from those who worry that it won't be possible to attribute a direct conversion, that their subject matter is 'boring' and not suitable for social media, to those who have tested a budget of £50 on boosting a Facebook post and seen disappointing results.

However, without getting into the intricacies of these, we'd argue that some CEOs are missing the bigger picture, and therefore the opportunity B2B social has to offer. As a result money and tangible results are being left on the table. If you're one of those people, do read on! We've created 5 reasons why we feel social media is currently underrated for B2B;

1. Reach decision makers directly

Whether using organic or paid social media, or a combination of both, the ability to get right in front of the very decision makers you want to is very real - they are active on B2B social media.

According to the IDC white paper 'Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience,' the average B2B buyer who uses social media for buying support is more senior, has a bigger budget, makes more frequent purchases, and has a greater span of buying control than a buyer who does not use social media. Furthermore, they are using social media to reinforce their buying decisions and gain confidence in them. Businesses who don't maintain a strong social presence are missing out on opportunities they may not even know about;

"75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/vice president executives surveyed use social media to make purchasing decisions,"

[caption id="attachment_5192" align="alignnone" width="660"]Frequent purchasers are more likely to use social media Source: IDC white paper:
Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience[/caption]

2. Confirm your credibility

As mentioned in point 1, your potential clients or customers are using what you say and do on social media as reassurance that you know your stuff, or are a thought leader in the industry. Neglecting your social media traffic could be costing you more than you could ever realise.

As Bob Dearsley, Chief Executive at itpr and The B2B Marketing Lab, points out on Smart Insights;

"Let’s put this into context. First of all, in B2B markets people don’t buy from companies without checking them out online first. So the first place people go to consider, review and check you out, is your website. Therefore, the more people that you get to your website checking you out, the more chances you have of doing business."

3. It's an essential part of content marketing

Content marketing and social media are interdependent; effective social media needs high quality content to drive traffic to the website and conversion points, and content marketing needs to be promoted via social media. The whole process fits together like a puzzle, and each piece supports each others' success. As Neil Patel states in his Kissmetrics blog,

"I’m convinced that the better a B2B company is at content marketing, the better they will become at social media."

4. Strengthen your brand in the eyes of your customer

Social media is a top 3 priority for B2B brands as part of your digital marketing mix, together with your website and email marketing (according to the study by Omobono below). Social media rates the highest of all channels for thought leadership and increased brand awareness.

Consider how to best tie together your tactics to deliver important metrics across thought leadership, deepened customer relationships, raised brand awareness and a deeper brand position across each channel.

[caption id="attachment_5215" align="alignnone" width="552"]Most effective channels for top 4 priorities Source: Omobono / Smart Insights
Most effective channels for top 4 priorities[/caption]

5. Facebook for B2B is growing - get on board before your competition!

Most B2B marketing has historically focused on LinkedIn and Twitter, quite understandably. However, due to the nature of Facebook, marketers are increasingly taking advantage of this previously-underrated channel for B2B marketing. Social Media Examiner (as reported by Sprout Social) found that more B2B companies are starting to pick up on this and are expanding beyond LinkedIn;

  • 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn
  • 88% use Facebook
  • 83% use Twitter
  • 61% use Google+
  • 55% use YouTube
  • 39% use Pinterest
  • 26% use Instagram

Hotwire PR research in B2B marketing (recently reported in Forbes) asked people which channel they would turn to regarding a purchase and 24% of people answered that they would look at Facebook first.

Why Facebook for B2B?

Whereas several years ago this might have sounded like nonsense, recent changes make Facebook a very convincing B2B channel. According to recent studies, the average decision-maker uses Facebook around 18 days per month versus the 13 days per month using LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn (and Twitter) are still important, but Facebook is moving quickly up the ranks, so our advice is to take another look at the opportunity and create and launch a B2B Facebook strategy now, before your competitors beat you to it.

Where to start

Success in social media all comes down to understanding your audience, their online behaviour and effectively weaving in your consideration and conversion funnels. Don't forget though, at the centre of all effective content marketing and social media is the ability and interest in your business to provide helpful and relevant content to your target audience and to provide the right touchpoints to them for engagement.

A strategy that delivers the right topic, to the right audience, at the right time, in the right place.

Getting this right repeatedly over time is more likely to lead to their conversion to a customer.

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