Business Insights

Business Insights

Is Social Media Relevant For B2B Companies?

B2B brands have a limited number of clients who they service directly via business development and account management – so they don’t need to bother with developing a social media presence. Right? Wrong.

There are several distinct reasons why it’s worth making social media work for you – to nurture leads; to speak to customers; and to promote your brand.

Nurturing leads

When you research a business, you naturally Google them. You’ll find the company’s homepage, maybe a Wikipedia entry and its social media accounts (a simple SEO trick is to set up accounts for a business, which are then disproportionately likely to populate the first page of results). What you find on a company’s social media pages then tells you a great deal about the business. Does it have a LinkedIn company page, for example? And do they have a news feed with information about what they do and how they work?

As a counterbalance to that quick SEO trick, it’s essential to keep your social media pages updated and up to date. If you create accounts that never feature new posts or shares then it makes the business look lazy and unprofessional – and if your accounts display information that is actively incorrect then they are probably frustrating potential customers and costing you money.

Of course, it’s important to measure the performance of your social pages – though not all measureables are made equal. Revenue and ROI should be the KPIs that drive your business forwards and not vanity metrics like traffic, clicks or shares. What’s more, it doesn’t matter if you have a limited following as long as the right people are following you. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you have almost no following – as one of the purpose of your social profile is to offer a shopfront for your business, whether users interact or not.

Talk to customers

Of course, none of the above is to say that you shouldn’t care about your following. If someone bothers to like your page then it shows a proven interest in your brand, whether they have bought a product already or intend to make a purchase in future. Your social media channels hence offer an extremely valuable medium to keep followers up to date with company news and the latest products and offers – and, of course, to demonstrate your business’s leadership in its field.

Furthermore, users will often reach out to a business via its social media channels with questions, queries and complaints. And consumers have high expectations. Two-thirds of customers expect a response within 24 hours to messages sent via social media and 18% of those individuals expect an answer within an hour.

It also pays to keep a close eye on mentions of your brand name online. If customers have complaints then it can make a powerful impact to be seen to respond to them and to address their concerns. Rather than have an individual discouraging their network from engaging with your offering, you can instead turn them into a satisfied customer by responding to their point and demonstrating your commitment to customer service.

Promote your brand

Social media is also the perfect platform to distribute content and to reach new users, as well as engaging with your existing audience. By setting out with a clear objective, of what your brand stands for and which users you are trying to reach, you can develop a clear, consistent identity that connects with your market.

In any content marketing campaign, social media plays a pivotal role in driving virality – and individuals are of course far more likely to appreciate and share content that offers real value than to engage with straight advertising. Indeed, this applies just as much for professionals sharing insights and expertise with their connections as it does for teens sharing memes and Facebook videos.

Then there’s paid promotion – promoting content and offers directly to new customers. The first step with a campaign is to have a clear plan: who are you targeting and what do you want them to do (for example, would you like them to engage with a piece of content or head directly to a purchase point?). The second step is to ensure that you are able to track and measure the results of the campaign – how does spend and spend per interaction connect with revenue generated? If you can’t link the two, then you can’t calculate your ROI – so you’re shooting in the dark.

Social media platforms also offer an extraordinary degree of precision and control when it comes to targeting. This means that you can bid very precisely based on performance; and you can select granular audience segments to laser-target your messaging.

Cons

There are negatives to using social media for business, of course. Once an account has been set up, you do need to keep it updated rather than letting it fall fallow, for example, which will require a certain amount of maintenance and upkeep. Developing your following will also require work – and a commitment to monitoring results and optimising, in order to ensure that what you are publishing connects.

That said, with management, social media offers an enormous opportunity to engage with new and existing customers at scale and to promote your brand’s messaging to a potentially global audience. And, even if you don’t want to, then your competitors will certainly be looking into it.
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Peter Craven

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