Emerging Trends in B2B Social Media MarketingCarmen Driscu
The social media explosion we have seen in the past few years means that now this is the place where people are. From humble beginnings, small places for friends to connect or reconnect, swap and share news, information, photos and videos, it has grown into a huge environment, being one of the main means for social interaction, including the occasional riots organizing.
Given the importance of the environment and its almost universal outreach (even my grandmother is on Faceboook), marketers cannot ignore it, as it is a marketer’s duty to go where people actually are. As a result most businesses have jumped on this fast moving train, many just out of fear not to be left behind, but some trends are starting to emerge, especially on how B2B marketers are using social media today.
Of course, the most important point for marketers about social media is that it is not one channel, but many and each seems to have its own specific uses. We are going to have a look at how the dominant social media channels are being used.
- LinkedIn is the social media method used the most by B2B marketers. As it is a place for professionals to connect, and as such directly linked to the business world, it is only natural to think of it first and professional B2B marketers recognize its value, especially for lead generation and branding.
- Twitter is the online social networking and “microblogging” service allowing users to send posts of up to 140 characters, and, most importantly, to add URLs to every tweet. This makes Twitter the perfect tool for B2B marketers to advertise anything from their business’ website, from special events to management changes. B2B marketers have recognized Twitter’s value for website traffic building.
- Facebook is a social network with more that 600 million active users. That is almost 10% of the total number of living humans (the total number including babies, small children and a very large number of people living without access to Internet or even electric power). So Facebook is the place where almost everybody who may want to buy something is. Most importantly, businesses can also create pages to present themselves and B2B marketers have seized the opportunity to use Facebook primarily for branding, but also for product or event promotion and customer feedback.
- Blogging is one of the most popular and used social media channels, being used by B2B marketers mainly to build, maintain and enhance brand and reputation, but they are also useful for increasing website traffic and SEO.
- Youtube is a video sharing website for users to upload, share and view videos. Most importantly, businesses can create channels and upload any videos they think may be of interest to customers, like TV commercials and product presentations. It is useful for businesses with something practical to demonstrate, as a live presentation is more effective than any description. Brand building is the main purpose of YouTube use by B2B marketers, although is not as popular as the others.
Considering the differences between various social media channels it becomes extremely important to carefully think the social media strategy and clearly define its objectives, as the goals of the marketing campaign will determine whether most resources would be better spent on one channel or the other.