Why is B2B social media marketing so popular lately?
Nearly three-fourths of B2B marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago, and much of the attention is being put on social media engagement. The aim behind this renewed interest in social media engagement is largely improving the quality of sales leads and increasing web traffic.
B2B social media marketing actually helps to drive more traffic to your website, establish your company as a thought leader in the field, and seamlessly move your prospects along the sales cycle by taking a more hands-on approach to lead nurturance.
While B2B social media marketing can definitely increase the quality of your sales leads and make for easier lead nurturance, B2B social media marketing can also increase the volume of your social media followers and a number of actionable leads.
B2B social media marketing is the ideal way to collect more information on your prospects and deliver more relevant, value-added content that gets your content promoted across social media and enhances your search engine rankings. The result: more brand awareness and website traffic.
Which social media channels are most effective in terms of B2B social media marketing?
The short answer is that LinkedIn is usually seen as the gold standard by B2B marketers in terms of its ability to drive leads and build online communities. LinkedIn has grown in importance as a B2B social media marketing mecca due to the ease with which B2B marketers can glean valuable user data, deliver value-added content and generate fresh leads.
In fact, LinkedIn has been shown to create more B2B leads than Facebook (second place), Google+ (third place), Twitter and Pinterest. What's really incredible is that LinkedIn alone is responsible for four-fifths of B2B social media leads. Put another way, this means that Facebook, Twitter, and other social media behemoths together account for one lead for every four that LinkedIn social media engagement produces. (KissMetrics)
Any social media channel that creates more brand awareness thought leadership, lead generation, and engagement is going to work for your business. The reason that social media helps B2B marketers expand on all of these goals (e.g., lead generation) is that B2B social media marketing allows companies to establish closer relationships, streamline their content promotion, and drive fresh traffic to their websites. (Hootsuite)
Are certain social media channels inherently more effective than others in a B2B social media marketing context?
Research shows that 91% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, 85% use Twitter and 81% use Facebook to drum up interest on social media. Youtube is used by nearly three-fourths of B2B marketers to distribute content and over half of B2B marketers still use Google+ to do so. Adoption rates, then, remain high across the most popular social media channels.
One interesting wrinkle to the story is that there's a slight difference in opinion when it comes to the effectiveness of certain social media channels for large companies (>1000 employees) and small (<100 employees) businesses. Data show that B2B marketers from larger companies tend to rate the effectiveness of LinkedIn and YouTube as the first and second most effective social media channels in a B2B social media marketing context.
Smaller companies tended to rate SlideShare as the most effective B2B social media marketing tool and Twitter as the second most effective among all social media channels. SlideShare is LinkedIn's slide hosting service that lets B2B marketers keep other companies in the loop by sharing their expertise, best practice and a lineup of products online or via handheld, mobile devices.
How does B2B social media marketing work with search engine optimization and my other inbound marketing efforts?
Simply put, promoting content on social media should increase your search engine rankings and increase visibility to your website. Even better, the more that your content adds value and is shared by your followers on social media, the higher up in the search results your brand will soar.
Tweeting on Twitter and posting regularly on LinkedIn will enhance your search engine rankings and put you in closer contact with your prospects.
Using widgets can further expand the reach of your content and spur people on to share your B2B content across other social media channels like Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All of this effectively increases your brand awareness, improves your search engine rankings, and effortlessly drives more website traffic.
The process of creating B2B content for social media can also spark off a virtuous cycle in which the more people share their experiences with your brand, the more effectively you can craft content that addresses their current and future needs.
All the while, the people you do business with can come to you for customer service questions and you, in turn, can build more meaningful, lasting relationships: A recipe for greater brand awareness and sales.
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