B2B Social Media: Why Social Isn't Just for B2C Marketing

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Post Link: B2B Social Media: Why Social Media is Not Just for B2C MarketingB2B Social Media: Why Social Media is Not Just for B2CMarketingMany B2B wholesalers and manufacturers inaccurately assume that social media is mainly forcompanies that need to engage directly with end consumers, but it definitely has a place in B2Bmarketing as well. According to Harvard Business Review, useful content distributed throughdigital channels can be as effective in provoking a dialogue as face-to-face selling. This is truewhether the customer is an individual or part of a company.Social media provides the platform to distribute content your customers care about andenhance business relationships that matter. So, how can B2B social media work for wholesaledistributors and manufacturers and how can it benefit your business?B2C vs. B2B Social MediaSocial media as a marketing strategy is an obvious fit in the B2C world it can help to increasevisibility and establish or enhance relationships between companies and their individualcustomers. In B2B, it can also do this; its important to remember that the companies that yourbusiness sells to are made up of the individuals who work there. These individuals are the onesthat make the decisions and ultimately determine what the relationship between your firm andtheirs will look like.https://www.handshake.com/blog/b2b-social-media/https://hbr.org/2016/01/social-media-works-for-b2b-sales-tooOf course, not everything is the same when it comes to B2B social media. Your reasons forusing social media in a B2B environment might differ slightly, and the methods you use mightalso differ.In the B2C world, there are a multitude of social media platforms that companies can use tobuild relationships with online customers: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, toname but a few. The most important factor to consider is who your typical user is, and whatplatforms theyre using.The same goes for B2B. The most appropriate social media channels in a B2B environment aregoing to be the ones your customers and potential customers use most, They typically are themore business-oriented channels, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.Why Your B2B Company Should Use Social MediaBut why would a B2B company want to use social media in the first place? There are threemain reasons:1) Its where the customers are. A recent study found that 71% of adults that use theInternet are on Facebook, and 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites. Itsimportant to keep your company top of mind by communicating with your customers where andhow they prefer to be reached.2) Its the perfect place to share content. Not only does social media offer the ability toshare content with those whove already liked or followed your page, that content can be sharedagain with others, thus extending your reach. And for your existing customer relationships, its agreat way to keep them informed about new or improved products, as well as to share abehind-the-scenes peek at what makes your company special. Content shared will depend onyour industry to some degree, but can include blog posts, product announcements, casestudies and other content that will be both useful and informative to your customers.3) Improve your search results. Links to your company website from social media site areinbound links, which are an important component of your search engine rankings. Buyers will dotheir research to gather information before purchasing a product, whether its a B2B or B2Cpurchase. In fact, 94% of B2B buyers indicate that this is an important step in their decision-making.The upshot of this is that even for B2B companies, social media is an important way to extendyour reach and develop new relationships with customers, as well as to solidify existingrelationships.How Can Businesses Use B2B Social Media?B2B companies can use social media in a multitude of ways. Building awareness around newproducts and campaigns is a slam-dunk. But its important to remember that social media is atwo-way street that shouldnt be just about putting the word out. Rather, it should be about trulyengaging your customers and building relationships.http://www.oktopost.com/blog/differences-b2c-and-b2b-social-media-marketing/http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/social-media-update-2014/http://www.acquitygroup.com/docs/default-source/Whitepapers/acquitygroup_2014-b2bstudy.pdf?sfvrsn=0http://www.marketingprofs.com/opinions/2013/24034/why-b2b-marketers-should-use-the-top-social-media-platformsHow can we do this with social media? The first step is to ensure that you have a robustpresence on the networks where you plan to focus, whether its LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter or all three.Facebook for B2BOn Facebook, setting up a company page is the first step to engaging with your users.Facebook company pages allow you to promote blog posts, press releases and share othercontent that your customers, or those who fit the profile of your potential customers might beinterested in.To expand your reach beyond those whove already liked your page, you can pay to promoteposts or run ads that target users who have visited either your website, or sites similar to yours,within a recent time period. Once users find you on Facebook, you can use other tools toengage them, such as sharing contests or promotions on your page.LinkedIn for B2BOn LinkedIn, there are also a number of ways to engage with users. For starters, you canpublish blog posts and other news from your company on your company page. But you canexpand your reach even further by publishing on the LinkedIn Pulse network.But what should you publish? Any news related to your company, such as press releases andproduct announcements is fair game for your page. Blog posts that are useful and relevant toyour audience and potential customers are a great option for Pulse. Getting involved inDiscussion Groups related to your industry is another way to gain new followers and beginestablishing new relationships on LinkedIn.Twitter for B2BTwitter is a short-form publishing format with a very high volume of users some have likened itto a firehose. Because of these factors, it can be difficult to convey messages in-depth. Yet, ithas some other advantages that Facebook and LinkedIn do not have. One is, it is easier to gainnew followers on Twitter than it is on other networks, simply by following other users. Anotheradvantage is that you can post a higher volume of content. Engaging with other users is alsofairly simple using retweets and hashtags. This is a great tool for expanding your reach.Its All About RelationshipsThe most important thing to keep in mind with B2B social media is that it is about relationships.Just like in the offline world, relationships take time, so it takes time to see the results from yoursocial media efforts. Relationships also go both ways, so you will need to be very focused onensuring that the content you provide is relevant and useful to your customers.That said, with a strategy to provide consistent, useful content that your customers want, socialmedia can be a great tool for B2B manufacturers and wholesale distribution companies in anyindustry.Is your company using social media? How? Wed love to hear more about your results in thecomments.Post originally located at: https://www.handshake.com/blog/b2b-social-media/Handshake | Sales Order Management and B2B eCommerce Solutions - www.handshake.com Copyright 2015 Handshake Corp.https://www.handshake.com/blog/b2b-social-media/https://www.handshake.com