B2B brands everywhere are investing more resources in social media. Why?
Because social media is critical for B2B brands that want to:
- Boost their reputation
- Increase their sales
- Earn trust
- Increase their market share
- Retain customers
- Increase customer loyalty
Let’s take a look at how social media accomplishes these things and more for B2B brands.
Social media is where your customers are
Customer expectations for B2B have changed. Whereas just a few years ago, a B2B brand could get away with having only a website and maybe a LinkedIn company page, today your buyers want to see you on at least one or two platforms.
Why? Because that’s where they are. It’s where they’re getting industry news, finding thought leadership pieces, getting familiar with industry frontrunners, and even initiating contact with sales.
It’s also where they’re spending much of the exploration and evaluation phases of the B2B customer journey, searching for relevant content, looking at how you handle customer service, reading reviews, and more.
Take a look at these stats:
- 90% of consumers will buy from a brand they follow on social media (Sprout Social)
- 38% of customers prefer social media over other channels for resolving customer service issues, vs. 42% who prefer phone and 20% who prefer email (Statista)
- 78% of customers believe that social media is the fastest and most direct way to connect with a brand (Sprout Social)
These consumers are your buyers. They’re majority Millennial, digital-savvy, and used to doing everything online. If they can’t find you on social, then they’re likely to pass right over you and move on to your competitors.
The simple truth these days is that brands that aren’t active on social look stagnant.
Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, or Clubhouse, find at least one platform that will work for you—make sure it’s the one that your customers use the most—and invest the time and resources necessary to develop a robust and engaging presence. This will go a long way toward boosting your reputation and earning trust online.
Social drives traffic to your website
Even if you’re not ready to start selling via social media, social is an important way to increase your site traffic and direct users to specific pages.
Landing pages, content downloads, free demo sign-ups—social is key in getting users to the places you want them to be.
Paid ads, whether Google ads or social ads, also perform this function, but users are growing ever more distrustful of advertising (74% of consumers think they see too many social ads, according to Survey Monkey).
This means that you simply can’t rely on ads alone, and that social media has to play an even larger role in directing people to the right places.
By delivering value through information or entertainment, in a format that your buyers are already familiar with and using regularly, your B2B social media posts can be a much more effective way to increase traffic where it matters the most.
This, in turn, can lead to increased sales and an increase in new customers.
Buyers are using LinkedIn to seek out and connect with B2B brands
LinkedIn was already a major player in the B2B world pre-pandemic, and with the upheaval that came in 2020—including the huge increase in all-digital B2B selling and buying—LinkedIn’s role has only gotten larger.
LinkedIn’s own statistics bear this out.
When it comes to usage, LinkedIn’s platform has 61 million “senior-level influencers”—people who influence business decisions at their organizations. In addition, 4 out of 5 users on LinkedIn drive business decisions in some fashion, and 33% of B2B decision makers are using the platform to research their purchase decisions.
This is an audience you can’t afford to overlook.
When it comes to what you should be sharing on LinkedIn, think thought leadership content, insightful commentary on news stories, industry issues, or current events, and of course, the content your brand is creating. Live streaming on LinkedIn is also a great way to connect with potential customers, as live streams on the platform receive 7x more reactions and 24x more comments than regular video posts.
Social media supports a more personalized customer experience
Personalization is what both B2C and B2B customers are demanding, and social media helps your brand deliver in multiple ways.
For one thing, social media offers customers a more human view of your brand, especially if you’ve been diligent about developing your brand voice.
B2B buyers, just like B2C consumers, expect to be able to connect directly with the brands they’re working with. That means getting a personal, human response when they ask a question or post about an experience they had with your brand.
Customer retention starts with connecting with them on this level, anticipating their needs and responding to them quickly and empathetically.
But while your customers benefit from your B2B brand’s social media presence, your company stands to benefit even more.
Interacting with your customers on social platforms lets you get a clearer picture of what they value and what they engage with.
When you share content on social, for example, the number of engagements can show you the general degree of interest your customers and potential customers have in that type of content. You can even ask outright for their feedback, and get their opinions firsthand (otherwise known as collecting zero-party data).
The data you gather via social media analytics can also help you to further hone your content strategy, social strategy, ad strategy, even product and service offerings. Just as social media allows your customers to see who’s behind your brand, it also allows you to see your customers for who they are online—their interests, needs, desires, and more.
B2B buyers are more interested in self-service now than pre-pandemic
According to a McKinsey study, a full 97% of B2B buyers said they’d be comfortable using a fully digital, self-service model to make a B2B purchase, with most of that group comfortable spending $50k or more.
How does social media play into this?
Chatbots, for one—social chatbots, like the type brands can employ on Facebook, are one way to offer digital self-service.
Social media posts can also direct users to your self-service channels, if they’re housed on an app or on your website. From text-based knowledge bases, to video channels, to customer preference databases, B2B buyers want to be able to access your resources on their own without needing to go through a salesperson or representative.
Social can amplify your B2B PR results
Finally, social media is an ideal platform for amplifying your B2B PR placements.
Many brands, and even B2B PR agencies, overlook this critical step. Once press has been achieved, they stop their efforts.
However, if you’re not amplifying your PR coverage by sharing it, repurposing it, and using it to support further PR efforts, you’re only getting a small percentage of the benefits that you could be.
While it’s true that the outlets you’ve been covered in will share the article, podcast, etc., you also need to be sharing it on your social channels. This will not only increase your press’s reach and get more eyes on it—it will also show the outlet that you appreciate the coverage and want it to be successful.
Social media is just as important for B2B brands as it is for B2C, as it builds trust, boosts your reputation, and can help you increase sales and share of voice in your industry.
To get started on your B2B social media marketing, get in touch today!