Many B2B entities discount social media's potential to influence their market but as more millennials take the decision-making reigns, social has become increasingly relevant and strategic. With the proper strategy, it can dramatically enhance SEO results, generate leads, help you connect with colleagues, foster media interest, and help establish thought leadership for your brand.
Leveraging the right social platforms is key. For B2B brands who are just starting to get serious about a market-targeted social media strategy, we would recommend focusing attention on Twitter and Linkedin. Below, we’ll make a case for the value of these two platforms for B2B marketers and give you a few simple steps for getting started on each one.
According to recent research, LinkedIn is the most-used social network among B2B advertisers — and for good reason! As the leading professional networking platform, Linkedin keeps you in front of targeted decision-makers, clients and prospects. These numbers help demonstrate why B2B marketers should be quick to adopt LinkedIn as part of their strategy:
- There are over 610 million LinkedIn members worldwide.
- There has been a 150% increase in B2B leads generated on LinkedIn since 2010. Source
- Every second, two new members sign up.
- 50% of members are more likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn. Source
- 80% of LinkedIn members want to connect with companies on the platform.
- 94% of B2B Marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content.
- 80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn.
As the only social media platform focused specifically on business, LinkedIn is a clear choice for B2B brands who are looking to hone their social media strategy. Here are a few quick tips for getting started on Linkedin:
Tip 1: Optimize your company & employee profiles for SEO.
LinkedIn pages are SEO goldmines. For getting discovered and raising brand awareness, optimized employee and brand pages are key. With a reported three-fourths of business buyers using social as part of the decision-making process, you have another important reason to make sure that your LinkedIn page is branded, concise, and compelling. Take the time and effort to build your page in a way that reflects your business and boldly states your unique value proposition, along with clear contact information.
Tip 2: Leverage Linkedin for generating leads.
LinkedIn’s reputation as a gathering place for professionals and decision-makers is backed up by user data: the average income of a LinkedIn member is around $109,000. For B2B marketers, LinkedIn is a proven tool for generating leads: a study from WebMarketing123 ranks it as the top platform for B2B leads and sales. Of those surveyed, 44% had generated leads from the site. If you want to do the same, start with engagement: share content, join groups, connect with colleagues, and search for decision-makers in your target company. For a deeper look, into this process, download How to Generate Leads with Linkedin [PDF].
Tip 3: Take advantage of Linkedin’s publishing platform.
When LinkedIn launched its publishing platform in 2012, only select “influencers” could post, but LinkedIn has since made the feature available to everyone. Posts on LinkedIn Pulse are automatically shared with your connections and followers, along with being searchable on the site, which improves both your discoverability and your credibility. LinkedIn’s blogging tool is an incredible inbound marketing opportunity for B2B brands because it puts you directly in front of potential customers and partners. Currently, 45% of readers are high-level executives like managers, VPs, and CEOs — and you can bet that your target customers are among them.
Twitter can help B2B businesses monitor and participate in online discussions on topics of relevance and offers opportunities to give thought leadership and contextual insights. In addition to contributing to SEO efforts, Twitter is a great tool for keeping up-to-date with industry news, sharing knowledge, building community and generating leads. If you’ve been questioning whether to invest your marketing efforts in Twitter, consider these numbers:
- 500 million tweets are posted each day.
- 59% of people who have seen a tweet from a B2B technology company have visited the company’s website, as compared to 40% of Internet users who have not seen a tweet.
- While 4% of average Internet users completed sign-up on a B2B tech site, Twitter users converted at more than double the rate (11%).
- There are over 200 million active monthly users.
- 72% of followers are more likely to buy something from a business they follow.
- 85% of followers feel more connected with businesses after following them.
- 87% of B2B marketers use Twitter to distribute content.
- B2B marketers who use Twitter generate twice as many leads as those who don't.
Along with helping you to establish credibility and awareness, your business can use Twitter to engage with clients, find prospects, and convert those prospects into qualified leads. Get started on Twitter with these simple steps:
Tip #1: Increase Your Reach
The more followers you have, the better chance you have of people seeing and connecting with your message. To grow your own following, the recipe is simple: follow and engage with others. You can connect with current clients and prospective customers, as well as with reporters, press, bloggers, and other influencers. Engage with other Twitter users by sharing and re-tweeting their content, liking their posts, and mentioning them in your own. Additionally, don’t be afraid to use hashtags and mentions. The former boost your visibility in organic search and the latter foster online community and encourage brand advocacy.
Tip #2: Optimize When and How Often You Post
Your goal as a marketer is to deliver the content people want through the right channels and at the right time. With Twitter, you also face the challenge of providing frequent updates — did you know that the lifespan of a tweet is only around 18 minutes? Twitter best practices recommend businesses tweet 3-5 times per day, but you should also take your audience into account and avoid sending too many tweets per day and flooding their newsfeeds. Similarly, too few tweets will cause your message to get lost in the crowd. Posting during “busy hours” (between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.) have 30% higher engagement than tweets posted in off-hours. The key here is to test what works best for your brand and go with that.
Tip #3: As Always, Offer Customer-Centric Content
This tip transcends platforms: smart marketing is about help, not hype. Even fans of your business will quickly tire of too many brand-centric messages. On Twitter especially, you have the opportunity to give your brand a voice that engages customers and offers them valuable and relevant content. Rather than tweeting all about your merits and accomplishments, post of mix of curated content (industry news or articles that you’ve read and recommend) and original content (posts from your own blog or news about your business). Consistent, valuable updates with keep your feed interesting and go far in establishing you as an authority on your industry.
The best way to develop an effective, strategic social media presence for your B2B brand is to simply get started. Focus on consistent posts that offer value to your target market and make sure you are tracking analytics so that you know what’s working and what needs to change. As your influence and user base grows it may make sense to expand out further toward more consumer focused channels but, for now, this is a great start.