Why B2B Marketers Don’t Drink The Social Media Kool-Aid [Research]
Since social media participants mainly use these platforms to engage with family and friends, it’s not surprising that B2B marketers aren’t leading the social media charge. That said, social media can help B2B marketers achieve their business objectives.
2012 B2B Social Media Marketing research found B2B marketers cited LinkedIn as most important method for social outreach. This makes sense since LinkedIn is the only major business-focused social media platform that helps participants grow their professional networks to achieve business goals. (Check out Phil Mershon’s examination of Social Media Explorer’s Social Media research.)
Deeper examination reveals that all social media platforms enable users to participate in, comment on and create content, as means of communicating with peers and the public. Astute B2B marketers can leverage these strengths to create social media content that amplify other forms of marketing, support search optimization, and generate leads and convert sales without detracting from participants’ main reason for engaging on these social media platforms.
Here are five social media options for B2B marketers with examples.
- Create a business blog. This is a sure-fire way to develop search-rich content that provides useful information, answers customers’ questions and celebrates your customers. Regardless of your business focus, you can create an engaging blog. ePromos does an amazing job with its blog called, “Everyone Loves Free Stuff”, that shows how to maximize your promotional investment with photographs. (Need to make the business blogging case? Here are 7 social media blogging tips and here are 42 tips to start a business blog.)
- Produce videos to show your product in context. Like a blog, videos let your prospects see your products and services in a live setting. Videos can answer customer questions while building brands. By incorporating appropriate keywords and text, they support search optimization, especially if you post them on YouTube, the second biggest social media site and search engine. Business furniture company Turnstone has 112 videos on YouTube answering the smallest of questions. Additionally, they can entertain and generate leads. Check out Live Vault’s Institute for Backup Trauma staring John Cleese which generated over 280,000 downloads in 2005. It’s a fun video that truly understood its audience. (Note: While I wasn’t the target market for this video, I found it funny and forwarded it to everyone of my techie friends.)
- Get in the picture. Photos are 2012’s white hot form of social media because they attract our attention. Use photographs of your product, your staff, and your customers. Don’t overlook company and other events where your brand is on view. They convey messages without the need for words. (Of course, you have to associate the appropriate keywords and other text for search.) While Pinterest and Tumblr top the list in terms of traffic, as a B2B marketer, you’ve got more options including your blog and third party media. For example, Architectural Record curates photographs from architects. What a great win-win for the publication and the architect!
- Present your knowledge to a broader audience. Use slide sharing sites to expand the reach of your conference and webinars presentations. As with other online content, make sure that you’ve added related search information. Also, ensure that the graphics you use are available to be used publically and are properly attributed to the owner. Don’t underestimate the value of creating tailored presentations for sharing sites. KPCB’s Mary Meeker’s presentations attract lots of attention across platforms. Slideshare is only one of many options used to expand her reach.
- Answer prospect and customer questions. Help others by providing responses to targeted questions. Think broadly about sharing information. In addition to blogs and social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, use Q&A sites like Quora and old fashioned bulletin boards. For example, Turnstone goes one step further and offers professional advice for prospects.
To boost your B2B marketing to the next level, use a variety of social media sites to create and distribute information about your products that your target audience will find useful and shareable. Just don’t tell your boss it’s social media.
What other B2B social media marketing tips do you have? What’s your favorite example of B2B social media marketing? Please include your responses in the comment section below.
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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andy_bernay-roman/1893997495/