What Good is B2B Social Media Anyway?
by Kathryn Brill, Social Media and Content Marketing Specialist
Are you burnt out on B2B social media? It seems like marketers are becoming increasingly disillusioned with social media, and wondering what purpose it truly serves their business. And who could blame them? Many marketers were sold on social with grand promises—millions of followers, thousands of leads—only to discover that the reality was much different. The powerful influence that social media has on B2C brands was tempting, but social doesn’t always produce the same results when it comes to B2B. In addition, social media itself has been overrun by bots and fake followers, mired in data scandals, and ruled by algorithms that make it difficult to see content. Who wouldn’t want to give up on such a flawed platform?
While the controversies and difficulties of social media are very real, there are still significant benefits to be gained from these platforms. You may have to adjust your expectations, but abandoning social altogether would be an overreaction. Here’s how B2B social media can still work for your business:
Giving your business a voice and a face. Social media is the Yellow Pages of our day. Customers visit a LinkedIn page or Twitter account to figure out if the company is active in their niche and what to expect from the company. Websites are broad, anonymous and often light on text; in contrast, social media accounts are extensive and speak with a definite voice. If your company doesn’t have any social accounts, customers may assume you’re not truly participating in the industry in any way. On the other hand, a good social media account gives customers assurance that you are engaged, communicative and ready to help them with their needs.
Demonstrating thought leadership. This goes hand in hand with giving your business a voice and a face. In an age of distrust, demonstrating trustworthy knowledge is more vital than ever. How can you prove to customers that you care about their needs, understand their pain points and know what you’re talking about in their industry? The interaction and content sharing that takes place on social media is a way to show your expertise in a meaningful way.
Interacting with others. Whether it’s conversing around hashtags at trade shows or conferences, answering support questions or connecting with prospects, social media is still the easiest place to interact with a wide variety of people in your industry, both customers and experts. In addition to sharing your expertise, you have the opportunity to expand your knowledge base through learning from others in your field. People are still talking on social, and you get to listen—and talk back. The unique nature of communication on social media can’t be replicated elsewhere, and B2B companies can’t afford to miss out on it.
And yes, leads too. B2B social media may never top the eye-popping engagement numbers that big B2C brands get. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t leads to be found on social for B2B. If you adjust your expectations, you’ll find that B2B social media can still generate leads, whether it’s through promoting content or through more direct interaction. Social media is also a great way to nurture existing customers and help them continue to buy from your company. If you loop them in as part of your social conversation, they’re more likely to trust your company as an ongoing solution for their needs.
Sure, social can seem frustrating, and sometimes feels like it’s yielding no results. But don’t give up on B2B social media. The benefits to your company still outweigh the downsides. Now go forth, and happy posting!