Promoting a new or even established brand through all-pervasive and popular social media channels is no longer a novelty — it simply has become the norm. From taco trucks to Starbucks, the usage of platforms like Twitter and Facebook is common. They are proficiently employed to spread awareness and enhance insight about a business among customers. The usage of social media channels between businesses is another key area.
B2B social media is an altogether different thing. B2B and enterprise companies are striving to convince a smaller bunch of business entities with substantial budgets to purchase their products or services. They aren’t really trying to convert those countless individual consumers into customers. The power of social media to spread a marketing message all across the Web isn’t as relevant!
Of course, that doesn’t suggest social media won’t find a place in the challenging and complex B2B world. On the contrary, many of these companies have found it to be extremely handy:
- in generating meaningful leads;
- conducting market research;
- quietly projecting themselves as thought leaders.
Apart from understanding the ways to employ social media channels for the enterprise, we should also realize how B2B companies can or will use it in the future. For this, we need to follow the current state of social networking channels in the enterprise. Let us start by grasping what B2B marketers generally employ social media for…
While you might rightly feel that most B2B companies are probably less actively engaged in social media than a majority of their B2C counterparts, that’s not necessarily the case. A recent study of social media usage done by Business.com revealed that B2B companies (those surveyed in North America) were more likely to be employing social media tools and a wide array of related activities in comparison to B2C companies.
- Over 80% of B2B business entities were likely to have company-related profiles on popular social networks, compared to over 65% of B2C firms.
- Almost 75% of B2B companies actively participated in Twitter and hosted a blog (in comparison to 50%- 55% for B2C for B2C).
- Over 65% took part in online discussions (in comparison to less than 45% of B2C companies).
- B2C and B2B companies were equally alert towards monitoring user reviews; managing a community dedicated to customers, and advertising on popular social networks.
The broad conclusion is that the usage of social media in a B2B context is more popular than most would expect. The question then to be asked is: Why is an increasing number of B2B marketers resorting to social media.
According to an eMarketer study, most B2B marketers revealed using social media to provide ‘thought leadership’ for their respective brands. Another 49% stated they turned to popular social networks for the purpose of generating leads. An equal number of them used it for customer feedback, for advertising and for market research. In conclusion, customer service and thought leadership are the twin purposes that drive B2B social media strategists and marketers.