At its onset, social media was easily dismissed as little more than an amusing pastime. Facebook, for instance, was a social platform designed to facilitate the interaction of college-aged students. In its infancy, its user base was small, its audience reach miniscule, and its base interaction relatively minimal. By comparison, Twitter, by mixed-accounts, was a “microblog” with the primary function of sharing seemingly trivial status updates – anything from check-ins at locations to anecdotes about one’s favourite latte. Even Instagram in its earliest incarnation was seen as a platform facilitating the oversharing of mundane details about everyday life, the usefulness of such a function lost on many.
But while most of us couldn’t care less about what our friends ate for breakfast, the usefulness of social media has proven itself over time. While a variety of platforms have made it easier than ever to keep in touch with friends and family, in recent years the value of social media for businesses has come to light.
Marketers across the globe have finally started to realize the unlimited potential of social media marketing for reaching greater depths amongst target audiences. Today, not only is social media an amusement, but social media marketing has become a fundamental aspect of the marketing strategies of most notable B2C companies.
This begs the question: What Role Does Social Media Play in B2B?
While it’s easy to understand the value that social media adds to B2C platforms, the value of social media for B2B organizations is sometimes less clear. In part, there is hesitancy amongst B2B organizations to adopt social media strategies because of a “perceived inability to measure its effectiveness”. As a result, many B2B organizations have continued to rely on traditional marketing methods to grow their business networks. However, the value of social media for B2B organizations cannot be overstated and, in fact, pairing social media tactics with traditional methods leads to a more cohesive marketing strategy. As with their B2C counterparts, a savvy social media strategy positions organizations well amongst their peers and, more importantly, is critical for driving business and generating leads.
Developing a B2B Social Media Strategy
It’s easy to dismiss social media for B2B because, in many instances, companies that serve other companies are often not considered flashy or exciting. It’s hard, after all, to think about sharing content that others might consider boring. But this is where considering your audience is of utmost importance. Tailor your social media content specifically to the audiences that you’re trying to reach and work with and you’ll soon discover that your posts have unlimited potential. The key is to develop a cohesive understanding about your audience demographics above all else. In doing so, this will allow you to think beyond the scope of the services you offer and consider the broader range of topics that appeal to your given target group.
For instance, one of the many clients that we work with at Goose Digital is a key player in the promotional products industry. When we design a content strategy for their social platforms, there is a heavy focus on promotional products and how to best utilize and distribute these products in order to promote small and medium-sized businesses or charitable events. Small businesses are, after all, their bread and butter, so it only makes sense that they would provide tips, tricks, and suggestions for small businesses to utilize promotional products in order to meet their marketing goals. But the focus for this client is not limited to promotional products. To keep things fresh, exciting, and relevant to their audience, we mix in content that focuses on marketing trends, business strategies, and articles on entrepreneurship. Not only does this give their audience a welcome break from a product-centric focus, but content on marketing strategies as a whole provides value to their target audience, which is sure to keep their readers coming back for more.
Developing appropriate content goes hand-in- hand with selecting appropriate platforms for content sharing. There are a plethora of social media platforms available, and as such, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by choice. More often than not, many B2B marketers rely heavily on LinkedIn (at the expense of everything else) because they view social media marketing solely for its lead generation capabilities. However, a cohesive social media strategy should be about more than simply chasing leads. Your social media policy should allow you to develop and showcase your company’s brand.
At Goose, our social media strategy is heavily reliant on LinkedIn. It’s where our professional identity shines through and where we share strategic content that would best engage prospective clients, employees, and competitors. But we do not restrict ourselves solely to that platform. We have a client-facing presence on a number of platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and soon, Instagram. While these platforms are less about lead generation, they do allow us to showcase our brand and share our corporate personality. These platforms showcase day-to- day office life, company social and charitable endeavours, and generally humanize our corporate side!