Customers expect personalized treatment when they interact with your brand, and this is taking place more and more across social media channels. Unfortunately, when it comes to social media B2B companies have lagged behind B2Cs, but they are quickly finding that they may not be able to stay in the dark much longer. In today’s social media-saturated environment B2Bs not only need to participate in social media they need to do it effectively.
B2Bs are often challenged in social media for two reasons. They don’t get excited about social media because they don’t believe what they do is exciting and they don’t hire the right person to handle their social media efforts.
Having a social media presence is not enough. Engaging is the key, but if you don’t get excited about your company, how can you expect your customers to do so. Let’s face it, industrial products and most B2B services just aren’t that sexy. One might even say they are … BORING! Just because you are in what might be considered a boring industry doesn’t mean you can’t generate and share great content that is relevant to your customers. It’s a matter of finding hidden opportunities and coming up with the creative angle. The good news is that the tools for building excitement are right at your fingertips. For example, what kind of useful industry data do you have access to and how might you be able to share this with your customers? Or what about how-to-videos with brief tutorials on topics related to your business? These are just a couple of ways you can engage with your customers via social media.
B2Bs often try to hire someone who’s experienced in their niche, not someone who is an expert at social media. Many B2Bs are unaware of the complexity of social media and are only looking for someone to make status updates or respond to posts. Hiring a social media expert who has familiarity with your industry is a much better approach than hiring someone who is an expert in your industry but doesn’t know much about social media. Because B2B is not inherently exciting, it doesn’t automatically generate buzz. It takes a social media expert to really unleash the hidden power in B2B social media.
Giving your social team the resources they need will help elevate other business units as well. Marketers can tap into what customers are saying, sales teams have more chances to sell and upsell, recruiters don’t miss top talent, and executives have the opportunity to be seen as industry thought leaders. A great social media program can transform your customer’s experience when they interact with you but it can also help your employees do a much better job, no matter what area of the business it may be.
- 94 percent of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, making it the social media platform used most often (they also say it’s the most effective social media platform).
- 58 percent of B2B marketers use search engine marketing, making it the paid method used most often to promote/distribute content (they also say it’s the most effective paid method).
- 78 percent of companies will try / are trying to differentiate through customer experience in 2015.
- 68 percent of business owners believe outside reviews (done by some person or entity not related to the company) are the most important indicator of whether or not they can trust a new B2B vendor.
- 81 percent of marketing executives are shifting their budgets to become more customer-focused (vs. channel or product-focused).