Social media channels are becoming increasingly important for B2B marketers: As is shown by a study by Google and Millward Brown Digital, around half of the B2B decision-makers fall under the digitally affine millennial generation (born in or after 1980), which obtains a great deal of information on the Internet before making purchasing decisions. The majority of them are also active in social networks: According to a study by the Social Examiner, 91 percent of B2B marketers use Facebook, 79 percent are members of the career network LinkedIn and 70 percent use Twitter.
B2B companies have meanwhile understood that social media are relevant for the industry. 90 percent of all German and 84 percent of all Austrian companies are now actively participating in social networks. To ensure that your company does not lag behind in this development, we are going to answer the question: Is social media marketing the right channel for my business?
According to estimates, there are approximately 200,000 blogs in Germany. According to an EARSandEYES study, they are becoming increasingly important. For example, 57 percent of the respondents trust in blogs to represent independent positions—blogs are thus becoming an essential medium for shaping opinions.
You can take advantage of this trust for your B2B company. Use your blog to distinguish yourself as an expert in your industry and to draw attention to yourself as follows: If a user is already reading a technical article on your blog, he is only a few clicks away from your product descriptions.
Background information, current industry news or in-depth explanations of your products are recommended topics for your corporate blog. If you, for example, offer IT services for companies, you could write a blog article about the best firewalls for business customers.
It is important to note that you should launch a corporate blog only if you have the required capacities. Statistics from HubSpot show that the traffic increases exponentially the more blog article pages a website operator offers. A corporate blog therefore pays off only if you publish articles on a regular basis.
The corporate blog is thus the foundation of your social media strategy. Now it's time to distribute your expert contributions to relevant networks. The starting point should be the career networks Xing and LinkedIn: According to the study among B2B companies, 71 percent of the German respondents said that they are already active in these career networks.
Xing is still the market leader among the career networks in the German-speaking countries and convinces with 13 million users. LinkedIn now counts eleven million members in the German-speaking region, but is well ahead internationally with more than 500 million members. Consequently, the career network you will want to present your company in depends on whether you find your customers primarily in German-speaking countries or internationally.
The career networks also give you the opportunity to distinguish yourself as an expert in your industry. Include links to your blog or interesting articles from trade media and comment on them drawing upon your expertise. This way, you have the opportunity to start technical discussions with relevant B2B decision-makers. But also pay attention to the hygiene of your profile: It must be maintained and included up-to-date information at all times. Moreover, you must rely on your employees to name your company as their employer.
77 percent of B2B marketers now use Twitter to distribute content. For 71 percent, the platform is even the most popular channel for new product launches. These numbers demonstrate: Twitter is of particular importance for the B2B sector.
When using the network, the best approach is to enter into a technical dialog with industry leaders and offer them added value. No B2B decision-maker is going to follow you if you communicate crudely for your own cause. Instead, rely on high-quality content directed at relevant decision-makers.
Being active in career networks is a rather natural choice. More difficult is the question of whether a Facebook profile is also suitable for your B2B company. Here you will meet B2B decision-makers in a more private environment, but you can also expect attention. For this purpose, it is worth taking a look at the Facebook algorithm: Since January 2018, Facebook has ranked articles in the newsfeed not only according to the number of “Likes” and comments, but has also included the quality of news sources in the algorithm. For B2B companies this means in concrete terms: They can draw attention to themselves with relevant information and, ideally, make B2B decision-makers share their own blog articles or posts with friends (ideally industry peers).
In this context, it is once again important that you have the necessary capacities to constantly maintain your profile and to react to any negative comments.
The video platform YouTube is also becoming increasingly relevant in the B2B sector: According to a Google study, B2B analysts are increasingly relying on videos to choose the right product. Consequently, YouTube offers you a suitable platform to fulfill the information requirements of your target group. With high-quality videos, you can even convey complicated content. The disadvantage is obvious: Video production is expensive and requires expertise.
Social media marketing offers B2B companies significantly more opportunities than many decision-makers have so far assumed. The critical factor here is a meaningful mix of high-quality content marketing and networking opportunities: With a targeted approach, you can initially convince potential customers of your technical knowledge in order to then start a technical discussion with them. Always be aware that the strategy must be quality over quantity: Being active in as many channels as possible at the same time is not an added value. Rather, it is crucial that you can be reached where your customers are.
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